The AMI QT Blogs from June 5-11 are provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.) has just returned from E. Asia, where she served as a missionary for two years. Currently, she serves at Church of Southland and Kairos International University.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
“The End Result Outweighs the Present Discomfort”
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia… ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.’”
Has anyone ever asked you, “If rejection were not a factor, how would you outwardly express your faith?” Whatever your answer may be, you would probably set out to do it with an increased boldness and steadfastness.
In this passage, God is assuring the 1st century church in Philadelphia of His unshakable love and acceptance for them. He gave them “an open door which no one can shut.” Why was this a significant affirmation for the church?
At that time, the small congregation in Philadelphia faced great opposition from the Jews—or more specifically, people who falsely claimed themselves as Jews (v. 9). Very likely, the believers in Philadelphia were former Jews who became Christians and were rejected and ridiculed by the local Jewish synagogue because they professed that Jesus was the Messiah. God’s Spirit is reassuring them that even though the door to the synagogue is shut, the door into the messianic kingdom remains open forever. Though they were vulnerable outcasts in the eyes of their oppressors, God commends them for keeping His Word and not denying His Name publicly. Furthermore, God promises the church that He himself will show their oppressors that He has chosen the church and loves them (v. 9). One day, the oppression will end and those who attacked them before will actually “come and bow down at your feet.” This gives the church continuous boldness against harsh rejection, because they know they are on the right path with God and that their present suffering is small compared to their future reward.
Having assurance of your eternal home in God’s kingdom, how do you want to live your life in the present? How are you responding to your present hardships and discomforts? This morning, let’s ask God to give us the same faithfulness that the church at Philadelphia lived out.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, Your love and acceptance is constant and unchanging. I praise and thank You! Lord, please help me to follow the example of these believers in Philadelphia who kept Your Word and did not deny your Name in times of opposition. As You are faithful to me, help me to be a faithful witness of your Name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 1
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Isaiah 60:14-15: “The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation.”
Questions to Consider
- What is the context of this promise?
- What will “the sons of those who afflicted you” notice about Israel?
- What does this promise reveal to you about God?
- God is telling Israel through the prophet Isaiah what will happen when they are lifted up from exile and when God restores Israel. Among the many good things to come, one thing is that the nations who treated Israel negatively will in the future treat Israel differently. God will cause this to happen.
- They will recognize that Israel is the people of God, the city of the Lord. They will ascribe honor to Israel because of God, the Holy One of Israel.
- Personal response.
The church at Philadelphia is an example of a people who waited upon God to be exalted, to be lifted up. They followed the humility of Christ. When they were persecuted, they did not return evil with evil. They continued to acknowledge Jesus and to follow Jesus. Tonight, reflect on Jesus’ teaching in Luke 14:11: “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”