“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name“
Philadelphia is the second church that Jesus does not censure (Smyrna is the other church). He does not rebuke this church in any way.
I know your works.
Nothing escapes the notice of the Lord Jesus. Nothing that goes on in any churches has ever passed His attention. Jesus knows. There is nothing that He does not know.
Jesus knows their “works.” He knows how they produce.
See, I have set before you an open door
Jesus provides favorable conditions for serving him. In the face of adversaries, He gives opportunities to serve Him. The words “have set” literally mean give.
Open doors are something that Jesus gives out of His grace. We do not earn or deserve the right to serve Him. Our opportunities for service are unadulterated gifts of grace from the Lord Jesus.
The word “open” is a verb and means a door that Jesus opened in the past with the result that the door still stands open (perfect tense). God opens doors of positive volition as He did for the city of Nineveh where an entire city came to God (Jonah). He also keeps these doors open.
and no one can shut it
No force, whether man or Satan, can shut a door that Jesus opens. The gates of hell cannot prevail against God’s church (Matthew 16:18). No one can witness apart from God opening the door.
for you have a little strength
Even though their strength is not proportionate to the wide door Jesus gave them, yet they are true to His name. The church at Philadelphia did not depend on human ingenuity or human power.
have kept My word
The church at Philadelphia stayed faithful to Christ in the face of opposition. They never denied the name of Christ. They were true to truth by being faithful to the Word of God. The word “kept” means guard. They stood on guard for the Word of God. They were true to Scripture.
and have not denied My name
This church witnessed in the face of opposition. They maintained the integrity of what they believed although they faced great pressure to compromise.
Every open door of service is a gift from God.
If Jesus were to appraise you and your church, how would He view you? Would He view your situation as those who seize opportunities to win others to Christ? Would He see you as true to truth in the face of opposition? Jesus opens doors of opportunity because of prayer (Colossians 4:3). Do you pray for opportunities? God is responsible to open doors of opportunity if people open their hearts to Him. When God opens these doors, no opposition will stop our witness. Although you may not have much strength (you may be a small church numerically), God will use you.