1. Hello, listening friends and welcome to this program.
2. We are so glad you’ve joined us today.
3. This series is taken from Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation;
4. and I want to begin today’s message by telling you a story.
5. A guest speaker was speaking on the subject of missed opportunities.
6. Afterward, a man came up to him and said, “I am sorry that you came to speak to us today.”
7. The speaker was puzzled and almost offended by what the man said;
8. then, he continued.
9. “The reason I am sorry that you came is because you have reminded me that I have missed God’s best for my life;
10. for, once, I felt the call of God to missions;
but I thought I first needed to make enough money, so I kept on making money;
11. and, now, I have all the money I will ever need for two lifetime, and, yet, emptiness is my constant companion.”
12. My listening friends, this man is not alone.
13. I think many people would testify to the fact that, when opportunities present themselves, they fail to act on these opportunities.
14. Whether it is because of fear, or timidity, or lack of faith, or apathy, or whatever the reason may be, they squander the opportunities that God gives them;
15. but here is the good news today.
16. In God’s economy, it’s never too late.
17. I want to repeat this.
18. It is never too late.
19. God is in the forgiveness business.
20. God is not honored when you sit back and sulk and regret.
21. Whatever opportunities you feel you missed out on,
22. it is never too late.
23. To be sure, past opportunities may never be repeated in the same way and at the same time or the same place;
24. but you can be as effective if you pick up the pieces and move forward.
25. Today’s message from the resurrected Christ is to the church in Philadelphia.
26. This message is one of the most delightful messages that believers could hope to receive from Jesus.
27. Jesus was as pleased with these people as He has ever been pleased with anyone.
28. There is no sin to chastise them for.
29. There was no false teacher to warn them against.
30. Of course, my friend, there is no such thing as a perfect church.
31. As long as the churches are made up of people, there is only a faithful church or an unfaithful church.
32. A faithful church is made up of faithful people.
33. Now, listen to Revelation 3:7 to 13, the message to the church of Philadelphia.
34. Philadelphia was the crossroads of that entire region.
35. It was a city of many temples.
36. Out of deep love for his older brother, King Attalus named the city “Philadelphus,” or, “brotherly love;”
37. and, because Philadelphia was strategically placed as the gateway to the east,
38. the Greeks used it to propagate Greek culture throughout Asia Minor and beyond.
39. In case you did not know this, the Greeks considered the rest of the world to be barbarians.
40. As we saw in the last message and in every message in this series, Jesus takes one of the characteristics of each city
41. and, either, applies it to the church, or, He warns the church against it;
42. and, here, the risen Christ is saying to the Philadelphians, in effect,
43. “Your city is known for exporting Greek culture and Greek language to the world.
44. Now, I have greater vision for you than Greek language or Greek culture or Greek philosophy.
45. Now, I have a far more serious message for you to spread abroad.”
46. Christ’s open door of opportunity is the very heart of this message.
47. If there is one foundational verse upon which this whole message rests, it is verse 8.
48. “Behold, I have set before you an open door.”
49. God always provides opportunities for us to share our faith.
50. The point is this:
51. do you have eyes to see it?
52. Do you have the spiritual sensitivity to perceive it?
53. Do you have the courage to seize the opportunities?
54. Are you willing to walk through these open doors?
55. The believers in Philadelphia had so many obstacles.
56. They had so many difficulties;
57. and they would have had every excuse for not sharing their faith;
58. but they would not miss God’s opportunities.
59. They would not ignore the open door.
60. They would not squander God’s call;
61. but here’s an important fact:
62. God’s open doors of opportunity will not be open forever;
63. and that is why Jesus is saying, “Because you are loyal to Me and My Word,
64. because you have not denied My name,
65. because you have been persevering under pressure,
66. I am going to give you a unique opportunity to do something great for God.”
67. I wonder how many of us really and truly see the opportunities of bringing someone to Christ as an incredible privilege.
68. If the risen Christ were speaking to us today,
69. He would most certainly say, “I have provided you with so many opportunities to share My Gospel with others.”
70. My listening friends, we have many open doors to share Christ with our neighbors and friends.
71. You can at least encourage them to tune in and to listen to this broadcast.
72. The Gospel message is sent through this program by radio and television and the internet to untold millions of people;
73. but you are the one who can tell your friends and neighbors about these opportunities.
74. Some of you may ask, “What part can I play to take advantage of these open doors?”
75. and the second question is this- “Why are these doors open?”
76. Because Jesus has the key to the door.
77. What does that mean?
78. It means that Jesus has the authority over the hearts of kings and the poor alike,
79. that Jesus has the authority over every heart and mind everywhere in the world;
80. and, one day, He and He alone will shut these doors.
81. I don’t want you to miss what Jesus said about the blessings that go with obedience for going through the open door.
82. Listen to verse 9 of Revelation 3.
83. “I will make those who are the synagogue of Satan to claim to be Jews, though they are not, but are liars, I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”
84. What does it mean by saying that “those unfaithful Jews” will come to you?
It means this:
85. that your enemies will respond and turn away from their wickedness and repent and become believers.
86. To have victory in any warfare, you must go on the offensive;
87. and it is the same in spiritual warfare.
88. You can’t just sit there and say, “I hope I can have victory in my life.”
89. No! You go to Satan’s territory and put him on notice.
90. You say to him, “Satan, in the name of Jesus and in the power of Jesus and in the strength of Jesus, I’m going to invade your territory.
91. I am going to rescue the perishing.
92. I’m going to heal the wounded
93. in Jesus’ name.”
94. We must be committed to taking the Gospel of the love of Christ to the enemies of the cross.
95. The second promise, here, is that, when we go through the open doors,
96. when we take advantage of the opportunities that God has given us, we will be protected.
97. There are people who pray for protection all the time, and we should.
98. There are people who pray for protection for their children, and we must.
99. There are people who pray for their own protection, and that’s proper;
100. but Jesus promises protection for everyone who obeys Him.
101. Listen to what He said.
102. “Because you have kept My Word, I will keep you.
103. Because you proclaimed and protected My Word from being watered down,
104. because you did not compromise, I will protect you from your enemy’s attack.”
105. Finally, the resurrected Christ, as always, promises several things to those who took the opportunity to share the Gospel with others.
106. First, they would become pillars in the temple of God.
107. A pillar is a symbol of stability and permanence.
108. Pillars also represent honor;
109. and Jesus is saying to the faithful believers
110. that those who do not squander the opportunities God has given them will have eternal honor.
111. Secondly, the person who shares the Gospel with others will have the name of Jesus written all over them.
112. Thirdly, that person will be in safety, security, and glory in the heavenly Jerusalem.
113. Ultimately, Christ will give that person a new name.
114. Please listen carefully, my listening friends, as I’m getting ready to conclude.
115. A story is told about a lady who had always dreamed of taking a train ride through the countryside;
116. but, when she got on the train,
117. she spent a great deal of time arranging and rearranging her baggage;
118. and, then, she became preoccupied with adjusting the curtains;
119. then, she got into an argument with another passenger;
120. and, just as she was about to sit back and enjoy her ride, her station was called out.
121. She said, “Oh, I wasted all of my time doing all these useless things and I missed my life’s dream!”
122. My listening friend, there are so many of us who are preoccupied with this life’s superficialities
123. until, finally, our train comes to an end;
124. and, then, we wonder why didn’t we take up the opportunities that God gave us?
125. Remember what I said to you at the beginning of this message?
126. Do not waste another moment in regret.
127. Do not waste another moment asking yourself what could have been.
129. arise and go back to the Lord.
130. Ask Him to forgive you for missed opportunities;
131. and ask Him to show you new opportunities for the future.
132. Ask Him to equip you for the task;
133. then, ultimately, ask Him to give you the victory as you invade Satan’s territories;
134. and, until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.