Fit For Service - Church in Doctor's Office #7

Bible Book: Revelation  3 : 7-13
Subject: Servants of God; The Open Door; Church, Work of the; Ministry; Service
Series: Your Church in the Doctor's Office

Revelation 3:7-13

I would like to share with you my definition of opportunity. Opportunity comes from listening to the right person (right message), being at the right place (right location), at the right time (present), and doing so with the right attitude (faithful and serving spirit).

I want to invite two of our church youth up on platform with me. I will ask them if they are willing to be part of a week long test. I will give them both $10.00 and tell them over the next week they will look for ways to increase that money. They cannot do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical. They must first talk over what they want to do with their parents to make sure they have their permission. For example, they can use the money to buy supplies to wash cars, or to buy a rake to rake leaves … in other words, they will look for opportunities to increase what they have been given. Next Sunday, they will come back on stage and share with the congregation by telling us what they have done. Pray for these young people this week, that God will open doors of opportunity for them to increase what they have been given. I will give all the money to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

We now come to the Church of Philadelphia. Jesus had inspected five previous churches and shared with them what was needed in order to honor Him. Every member in every church had come from a different background, just like us, and each member of each church had gifts, some had more and some had less, but they all had certain gifts. It is good to remember that our Lord does not judge us according to the gifts we start with but on what we do with what He has given us.

The Church of Philadelphia is no different. The name Philadelphia means “Love of the brethren,” and the Church was living up to its name. It is not enough to love our fellow believers, we must also love a lost world and seek to reach unbelievers with the Good News of the Cross. Christians have been redeemed, bought back by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and our sins have been dealt with. We should desire to share that Good News with others. This calls for faith – for trust in the Lord’s power to work through us and use us.

We need to trust in the redeeming power of Jesus. Trust is essential in matters of salvation. Trust is something that we put into place in every area of our lives. Sherry and I have been looking for a car for Kelly. It will be her first car, and since we have purchased cars for the other three, we are obligated to buy a car for Kelly. We have saved money to buy her car, so now we are looking at classified ads. When looking for a used car, one reads the description of the car, and then you go look at the car. This past week we looked at a car that had a great description, but when we saw it we realized that the description did not match the automobile. The man selling the car told me, “I don’t want a check, I want cash.” He was saying, “I don’t trust you, because I don’t know you.” After looking at his car, I didn’t trust him either! Because of the lack of trust, I still have my money, and he still has his car.

With the most important matter in your life, your soul, you are going to have to decide whether or not you are going to trust Jesus to save you and keep you for now and forever.

The Church in Philadelphia had decided to trust Jesus as Redeemer and as Lord. They also trust Him with their daily lives. They also trusted Him with their opportunities to be effective in their world. Are you trusting in Jesus Christ as your Redeemer and Lord, and are you making the most of the opportunities He has opened for you?

Using my definition of opportunity, I want to examine the Church of Philadelphia to see how and why they were so successful with their opportunities. Remember, our series of messages on these seven churches is entitled, “Your Church in the Doctor’s Office.” The Great Physician is always examining HIS Church. So let’s set ourselves up for a spiritual examination in regard to be fit for service.

I also want us to see why Jesus opened doors for this Church to be a witness for Him. I also want to see how FBC Cherryville stacks up with this Church.

I. Lordship - Listen To The Right Person (Jesus Christ)

Jesus describes Himself as the “One who is Holy and True.” This description was also used by those who were martyred for the Word of God in Revelation 6:10. Because Jesus is holy He must judge sin, and because He is true, He will vindicate His people who have given their lives for the Gospel.

  • We know that Jesus is Holy in His character, He will never lie
  • We know that Jesus is Holy in His actions, He will never misrepresent
  • We know that Jesus is Holy in His purposes, He will never mislead

He is the original, not a copy - He is not manufactured by the heart or hands of mankind

“What He opens, no one can close, and what He closes, no man can open.”

Jesus is the right Person, and the only Person who gives us the right opportunities for service. Jesus determines…

  • Where His people shall serve
  • When His people shall serve
  • When His People will have an Open or Shut Door

If He opens a door, we must work

If He shuts doors we must wait

II. Location - Being At The Right Place (Position)

One of the biggest questions you must answer is this: Will I serve God where I am? With this one life He has given you, God expects you to serve Him where you are. Physical location does not hinder spiritual effectiveness.The church of Philadelphia was situated in a strategic place on the main road from Rome to the East. It was called the “Gateway to the East.” People came through their city everyday - people that needed Jesus. They also had some disadvantages living in Philadelphia. Their city was called “Little Athens” because of the numerous temples in the city. Just know this, God can use you where you are because that is where He has placed you.

A. Being In The Right Place Doesn’t Mean All Things Are Good

They had but little strength according to the Word of God. But, it is apparent that they used what they had for His glory. Will we use what He has given us for His glory? If we do, as little as our strength may be, He will provide what is needed.

B. Being In The Right Place Doesn’t Mean All Things Are Bad

When you do have but little strength, you are pressed to depend upon God’s power. Power can be easily abused, but weakness often leads to dependence on God’s power. We may seem weak in the face of the world's power, sin and work against us, but always remember that greater is He that is you that he that is in the world. God and one faithful servant is a majority!

C. Being In The Right Place Provides Peace To Carry Out The Mission

When you know you are at the right place, right where God has placed you, words of discouragement will not stop you from doing what God has called you to do. The Church of Philadelphia had obstacles even while they were at the right place and serving the right Person. They had opposition by Jewish believers from the synagogue and these people said things about them that were not true. But, these words and opposition did not dissuade them in the least.

D. Being In The Right Place Helps You See Opportunities Not Obstacles

Note that Jesus will take care of our enemies (Rev. 3:9).

Note that Jesus will keep us from tribulation (Rev. 3:10).

Note that Jesus will honor us when we honor Him (Rev. 12).

Trusting the right Person and being at the right place produced an “Open door” for this church. Why? Because they were true to the Word of God. Jesus said, “I know thy works.” Jesus will always look for fruit in the lives of His followers. John Calvin said, “Faith alone saves.” It was Melanchthon and Beza respectively who added, “Faith alone saves, but faith that saves is never alone.” In other words, the faith that saves will lead to service.

Being at the right place listening to the right person will give you the opportunity for service.

III. Living - Active at the Right Time (Present)

If you are going to make the most of God given opportunities, you must be willing to live life in the here and now. You can't talk about lost opportunities of the past or unseen opportunities in the future. You cannot wish that you had lived in another time and place. You were meant to be here now. This is your time. You are to live in the present and do it for Jesus, regardless of the circumstances

A. Love Jesus and Belong To Him In The Here And Now

Jesus must be Lord right now. The believers in the Church of Philadelphia served Jesus as Lord in their present age and time. They knew that they belonged to Him. They served with the opportunities presented to them. That is what we must do – right here in Cherryville – right here in the First Baptist Church! This is our time and we belong to Christ.

B. Listen To God In The Here And Now

He may call you to do something you don’t want to do. You have to answer this question: Am I a fan or a disciple? A fan watches and may even cheer. Of course, a fan can carp and whine when things don’t go the way he or she wants them to. We have all seen fans of particular sports teams on television wearing bags over their heads as a protest of shame at the failure of those playing on the field. But, those fans never risk anything. Those fans never get hit, or throw themselves into the enemy line! They can cheer or boo as they wish. We are not to be fans but rather we are to be players - workers for the Lord.

Disciples have to get in the game - they are followers of Jesus, not just fans cheering others on. Someone has said of a football game that the game is made up of 22 players who need rest and 50,000 fans who need exercise! Many in the Kingdom of God are just like this. They sit on the sidelines but never get in the game. The Christians at Philadelphia were players. They got in the game.

C. Look For People Who Need God’s Love

A Christian has waht a lost person wants, and that is a relationship with Jesus. The problem is that the lost person may very well not even be aware of his or her need. People are looking for peace, satisfaction, significance and meaning in life. Jesus is the only one who can give these things to people in life. If we live for God in the here and now, we will hear Him saying, “So send I you!” You are to be that witnesses to a world that needs Jesus more than anything else.

IV. Loyal - Living with Right Attitude

The right attitude is to be faithful and have a serving spirit.

How do I show the right attitude of a faithful and serving spirit? I have to be loyal to Jesus. I am not called to be popular, but to be faithful. My spirit must be like that of Jesus. He said that He did not come to be served, but to serve. We must have a serving spirit!

A. Remain Loyal Disciples Of Jesus

We must remain loyal regardless of where He places us.

B. Encourage People To Walk With Jesus

Live In The Power Of His Love

Take Advantage Of Opportunities To Share The Gospel

Don’t allow your opportunityto serve God to slip away from you. God is opening a door for you right now, what will you do? If you are wise, you will submit to Him and serve Him with all your heart and being.