The letters in Revelation remind us that the Christian life can be hard, and it can be tempting to quit on God. This was the situation of the Christians in Philadelphia. Jesus warned them not to turn from him in the midst of their persecutions and trials. In order to encourage them to finish the race until the end, Jesus explained the reward he gives to those who follow him to the end.
Jesus Will Vindicate Those Who Follow Him
The church in Philadelphia had “little strength.” They were small and the Jewish Christians among them had been kicked out of the local synagogue. From a worldly perspective, it seemed foolish that the Christians would suffer all of this persecution. But Jesus reminded them that this situation was only temporary.
Revelation 3:8 I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.
Jesus reminded the readers in this letter that he is the one who controls access to heaven. And everyone who trusted in him would be publicly vindicated for their faith. You may have to suffer opposition for following Jesus now, but one day Jesus will publicly show that you made the right choice.
Jesus Protects Us In the Midst of Trials
God’s help isn’t limited to the future. He helps us through our struggles today. Jesus told these Christians that since they had been patient and persevered he would protect them from a greater time of testing that is coming to the world.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.
Jesus promised to protect his people from God’s wrath that is coming to judge the world as described throughout the rest of Revelation. However, we shouldn’t misunderstand the promise. Christians will still face the wrath of Satan as he tries to destroy God’s people. But through the power of God, the followers of Jesus will be protected from the schemes of Satan (see John 17:15). God doesn’t abandon us in hard times, but is often more obviously present to us in those moments. In our darkest hour, we can connect with God through prayer, hear his voice in the Bible, and find support and help through other Christians.
Jesus Gives Us Permanent Security
The Philadelphians lived in an uncertain world. They were plagued by natural disasters and faced economic ruin. Christians faced additional threats through their persecution by Rome. In the midst of this fear and uncertainty, Jesus promised security that would never fade.
Revelation 3:12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
Jesus promised that his people will live in his city, in his presence, for all of eternity. This is a promise that cannot be made void. And so, Jesus tells us to persevere to the end and continue to push on in the midst of trials. The reward that God has for us, the crown of life, is too great to give up.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is something that you think you gave up on too soon?
- Have you ever wanted to give up on Christianity? If so, why did you feel this way?
- Read Revelation 3:7-8. What does this verse tell us about Jesus? Why is it significant that only Jesus controls the “open door” to heaven?
- What does it mean that the Christians had “little strength”? Do you think this is also an appropriate way to describe Christians today in your community? Why or why not?
- How does it make you feel to know that every decision you make to honor God in life will be proven right?
- Read Revelation 3:10. What does Jesus mean when he says that he will “protect” them from the “time of testing”?
- How have you experienced the presence of God in difficult times?
- Read Revelation 3:11-12. How would you summarize the promises in this verse?
- Why should we “hold on” to Jesus in the face of opposition?
- What do you think will matter to you after you die?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.