To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true,
who holds the key of David.
What he opens no one can shut,
and what he shuts no one can open.
I know your deeds.
See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
I know that you have little strength,
yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
The letters to the seven churches of Revelation 1-3 are both historical and prophetic. These churches actually existed and the descriptions of them are accurate. The passages picture each church being held accountable for actions and lack of action. One receives commendations from Christ, one encouragement for the persecution they are suffering, and the rest are judgments against the churches. I've always been fascinated with their application today because we can see so many churches reflecting one or more of the churches in Revelation. The church at Philadelphia is the only church that received praises for their complete faithfulness to Christ. In these verses we receive instruction for our own faith walk.
We hear many colloquialisms about God opening and closing doors, most of which are not actually biblical. For example, "When God closes a door, He opens a window." I'm not sure how this "work -around" mentality crept into church culture, but I've heard it a ton. To me it implies that if God chooses to close a door to something you want, He will still provide it, just in mode different from what you were seeking. He'll work it do get you want you want. He might close one door and open a different door altogether, sending you on a direction you didn't anticipate. Regardless, we can take hold of what scripture says. Christ holds the only key to heaven; He is the only way. He opens and closes the door to heaven according to His perfect judgments. There are no window through which people can climb in, escape or alter our eternal destination.
I think the passage holds other implications as well. God opens doors to us in this life too. His primary goal is the gospel. Ours should be too. God will open doors for us to give testimony to both the gosple and our own salvation experience. When He opens those doors, nothing can prevail against it to close it. Likewise, if He closes the door, if His judgments are enacted, no one can find another way. The lesson for us I believe is clear. If God impresses us with an opportunity to share the gospel with someone, we better walk through the door. He may close the opportunity to us if we don't. The Spirit will prompt us; we need to take that seriously. There is great joy is sharing what Christ has done. Regardless of the person's response, we know we have acted faithfully when we take the opportunities granted by God.
Design Details: I used Distress Oxide inks for the background. The door image is stamped as are the distressing details. The door and stone were colored using Copic Markers. Stamps used are listed below.