In Ephesians 5:23 we find comparisons between the way the church hierarchy is constructed by God and how the family is constructed by God.
Christ is the Head of the Church.
The father is the head of the home.
The church is subject to Christ’s authority while the family is subject to the father’s authority.
Both the family and the church are made up of individual Christians.
Therefore…sometimes…when God says something to a church, it can be applied to the individual person as well.
Israel was a peculiar people set apart for God (Deuteronomy 14:2) and that could be considered God’s original “Church.”
We too are a peculiar people according to Titus 2:14 and again in 1st Peter 2:9.
Paul encapsulates this connection between individual saints and the Nation of Israel (the original “Church”) in 1st Corinthians 10:11…
Keep that in mind as we study the ministry of Philadephia…
Who doesn’t want to minister?
Who doesn’t want God to open doors to minister?
Who doesn’t want to impact another person in a positive way?
Who does not want to be part of God working a miracle?
Revelation 3:7-13…The Church at Philadelphia…
- God holds the keys to certain doors (vs 7)
- God alone can open and close doors (vs 7&8)
- God gave Philadelphia an open door (vs 8)
- God opened the door to Philadelphia for three reasons:
- They had a little strength
- They kept His word
- They did not deny His name
Tonight I want to focus on one specific aspect of the Church at Philadelphia…and that is the first point…that they had a little strength.
This was not said in a tone of condemnation at all.
God did not say, “Because you ONLY have a little strength…”
NO, God was GIVING them OPEN DOORS because they had a little strength. That’s the bare minimum God wanted to see out of His church, and we as individuals…so let’s look at some people…
John 6:1-14… “The feeding of the 5,000”
- Open door to minister was given (NOT to the desciples)
- They doubted (Philip in verse 7 & Andrew in verse 9)
- They dismissed what the boy had to offer as “not enough” (verse 9)
- The Open door was given to that boy who had come forward with the “little” he had (verse 9)
- In a crowd of over 5000, it’s doubtful the disciples scoured the mass of people looking for what people in the crowd had…assuming they were even willing to share.
- With so many adults there, it’s doubtful they would have even looked upon children for food they were unlikely to be carrying.
- Jesus knew this boy’s heart and knew he was willing to give to Jesus all he had even though humanly speaking it wasn’t much at all (verse 9)
- It’s likely this boy came forward and offered what he had to Jesus through the disciples.
- God took that “little” bit of food and ministered miraculously to thousands.
So…Aspect Number One of effectively ministering…you have to be WILLING to give whatever you have, no matter how little.
2nd Kings 4:1-7…The widow’s little bit of oil
The widow had some financial issues.
The creditor was going to take her sons to become slaves to pay off the debt owed to him.
She had not enough money to repay the debt and spare her two sons the horror that awaited them.
All she had was a LITTLE oil in a flask.
She was a godly wife of a godly man who died in “Bible college” while studying under Elisha.
She sought Elisha’s help and he told her to gather up “not a few” empty pots, but to gather MANY.
Then he told her to pour her LITTLE bit of oil out of the flask and into an empty jar…and it filled the jar…it actually multiplied and filled ALL the empty jars she gathered.
In the end there was enough to pay off the debt and to live off of for a considerably long length of time.
Aspect Number Two of ministering is to seek godly counsel or godly wisdom and follow it. Don’t waste what little you have, as God can work a very visible miracle if you follow His guidance. Take what little you have and use it as God leads you.
Mark 12:41-44…The widow with the two mites
Jesus is observing very rich people dropping into the treasury very large and significant gobs of money.
One after the next the people come parading in…some maybe even trying to better the one that went before them.
It was a show of opulence for OTHERS to see and make themselves feel important as the givers of such great gifts.
It was also an opportunity for these rich men to flaunt their wealth so as to make others envious of them and want to be like them some day.
This was a very carnal and selfish act that took place by many that were there that day…except for this woman…
All she did was meekly and humbly with a spirit of humility come and offer 2 mites…hardly anything compared to what was given if you quantify its face value.
But it was WAY more in relative value because the Bible tells us it was ALL that she had. She gave every last LITTLE mite she had to the treasury.
Aspect Number Three of ministering…others first. Ministering may mean having to be put out for a while. Can’t buy food and clothing with no money…but she took no thought to that!!!
1st Samuel 17:32-50 “The little shepherd boy”
The mighty fighting men of Israel were getting whooped by the Philistines.
Goliath was taunting the frightened Israelites…and they fled in fear (verse 24).
David basically stood there and rebuked the captains of the Israeli army (verse 26).
Eliab, his brother rebuked David and accused him of being prideful and questioned his motives (verse 28).
One by one the people sided with the army and Eliab (verse 30).
David now faced Saul who didn’t really offer much encouragement to David…because he was LITTLE (verse 33).
Even Goliath took verbal shots at David (verse 42-43).
Goliath threatened him (verse 44).
Then comes David’s response to the verbal onslaught he took (verse 45-47).
David prevailed (verse 49-50).
Aspect Number Four…If God told you to do it, He will get out of what little you have to offer, whatever it is that He wants…just trust in Him the way David’s faith held firm against the naysayers.
So whether you have a little strength (like the Church at Philadelphia) or you have a little money, or a little time, or a little talent in an area…no matter what, God is able to perform miracles if we keep in mind the following we just learned about…
- Be willing to give that little bit to God like the boy and his lunch.
- Be willing to follow godly counsel and follow it so as to do the right thing with what little you have to ensure it doesn’t go to waste the way the godly woman sought godly advice from Elisha…the prophet of God.
- Be willing to be put out for ministering, but keep others first, the way the widow did when she gave away her whole life worth in one shot.
- Be willing to trust God even in the face of opposition and people trying to discourage you from ministering and making you feel like what you have to offer is insignificant, the way David just trusted and called out his God before everyone.