“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
The above words are part of Jesus’ letter to the ancient church in Philadelphia. It was a faithful church that resisted false doctrines and temptations of sin. It was always eager to worship and serve the Lord. The Philadelphia church was ready to press on with the preaching of the Gospel, though there were strong oppositions around it. The Lord acknowledged its faithfulness – “I know thy works… and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
Nonetheless, the church was not strong in itself to meet all its needs on its own, and to overcome the opposition to its faith and service. So, the Lord Jesus Christ made an astounding promise to the Philadelphia church.
Firstly, Jesus assured the church that He had “set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it”. This promise is made in symbolic language. The picture of “open door” refers to the believers’ salvation, service and the spreading of the Gospel. The Lord assured the church that no one shall prevent it from entering into those spiritual blessings (“no man can shut it”). Elsewhere in Scripture, an open door depicts freedom to proclaim the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 16:8-9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:2-3). What an exciting prospect it was for the church to have the Lord’s promise of excellent opportunity to spread the Gospel!
Like the ancient Christians of Philadelphia, we too must be faithful and fervent to trust in His promises, and press forward to spread the Word to all around us, whenever God gives an opportunity.