Watch Focus

Friday, February 12th, 2021 — 

The Faithful Church

Revelation 3:7-13, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The “key” to this letter, literally, is Jesus’ reference to Himself. He quotes Isaiah 22: “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.” The prophecy of Isaiah concerns two men, Shebna and Eliakim. Shebna, called the steward, prefect, or treasurer, was elevated over the royal household, a pivotal position as the man in highest authority under King Hezekiah. Shebna had a lofty opinion of himself and was so certain of his political future that he had an inscription made for his tomb, to be set among kings, revealing his ambition and pride. But he would never inhabit his rock-hewn home. His politics were against the Lord and God’s plan for the nation. God says Shebna’s glorious chariots “shall be the shame of your master’s house. So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position will pull you down.” Shebna is believed to have been taken captive as a slave. He was replaced by Eliakim who foreshadows Christ and is given the key to the palace, referred to as David’s house. So he determines who comes and goes into the King’s presence.
 
This was a word of great consolation to Christians in Philadelphia who were being rejected by the ruling religious sects and political powers of their day. They were outcast from the synagogue. Their plight may remind us of the creep of woke religion on public institutions and politics now. The Philadelphian believers were being “cancelled,” pariahs to be despised, shunned and shut out for the offense of following Christ. Jesus assures them that He holds the key accessing the royal house, and He opens the door for them. In the final analysis no one will be able to shut them out.
 
Moreover, those faithful ones will be exalted to a prominent place of standing in the eternal household of God. As Isaiah says, “Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your (Shebna’s) robe and strengthen him with your belt (referring to his official position and power); I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house” (Isaiah 22:20-23). Eliakim and this prophecy foretell Christ being exalted as Lord.
 
This story reminds us of persecuted Mordecai in the days of Esther and how the Lord turned the destruction Haman plotted back on his own head. Jesus tells the church at Philadelphia: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12).

Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

We are running a long-distance race. As we near the culmination of this period of corporate prayer and fasting, let us renew our spiritual vigor. Commit afresh to hold fast to your convictions and witness. Be vigilant for the well-being of other believers. Rejoice together and encourage one another. The Chief Overcomer has destined us to race together in His steps. He anticipates presenting you with your victory wreath. Don’t fall for the wiles of the devil trying to isolate or make you fearful or ashamed. Let no one take your crown!

1 Peter 5:6-11, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
 
James 1:12, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
 
Psalm 18:
3  I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
 
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
    with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

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* There is not a need for you as an individual to fast a full forty days. Feel free to participate in this fast at the level and intensity that is comfortable for you. You may do a partial fast, skip one meal a day on your fasting days, or a Daniel fast (fruits and vegetables). Ask the Lord how He would have you participate. For more specifics on fasting, please see our classic book, The Hidden Power of Prayer & Fasting.
 
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