- Text: Rev. 3:11-13.
- The saints in Philadelphia were warned to hold fast what they had: "that no one may take your crown."
- In every possible way, the devil would like to hinder the Lord's people - e.g. 1 Thess. 2:18.
- The problems our adversary can generate are of many different kinds: doctrinal, moral, etc.
- Sometimes we overlook the more practical ways the devil can hinder us.
- What are some things we must do to meet the devil's challenges?
I. Remember What Our Work Is
- It takes discipline to stick to our work and let the Lord do His. Cf. Jer. 7:27; Ezek. 2:7.
- It is our work to "plant" and "water" -- it is the Lord's work to give the "increase" (1 Cor. 3:6).
- When we die, how many people will be left in our community that we never confronted with the gospel.
- We are tempted (a) to bypass the work of seed-sowing, or (b) to believe that we are already doing enough.
- We need to be a congregation from which the gospel "sounds forth" - 1 Thess. 1:8.
II. Live Above Pettiness
- It takes discipline to keep away from "itsy-bitsy thinking."
- Selfishness, gossip, and factionalism are the bane of the Lord's work. Cf. Phil. 2:3,4; 4:2.
- We need a sense of proportion and priorities.
- It is disastrous to "major in minors." We must be able to see the largeness and importance of the work we are doing in comparison to our own personal concerns - e.g. Phil. 1:15-18!
- It is much easier to "live above pettiness" when we "remember what our work is"!
- We must not only be able to operate, but also to co-operate - Phil. 1:27. Cf. "together" in Eph. 2:19-22; 4:16.
III. Believe the Gospel Can Make a Difference in Our Community
- It takes discipline to believe that, with the Lord's help, significant changes for good are possible where we live.
- Without some hope (desire + expectation), our work will cease altogether -- and the devil knows it!
- When Christ sets before us an "open door" (Rev. 3:8), no one can shut it.
- We must keep in mind that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world - 1 Jn. 4:4.
IV. Maintain Gratitude for Our Blessings
- It takes discipline to emphasize the positive rather than the negative aspects of our congregational situation.
- Few congregations have had more problems than Corinth -- yet even in Corinth, there were many things to be thankful for - 1 Cor. 1:4-7.
- A scriptural congregation is a thankful congregation - Col. 3:17.
- We must determine to meet these challenges successfully.
- With every temptation there is a "way of escape" (1 Cor. 10:13) -- congregationally as well as individually.
- But we must see temptation for what it is and arm ourselves against it - Eph. 6:10,11.
- Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed - Rom. 13:11.
- We must not let the devil rob us of our salvation - Rev. 3:11. Cf. Heb. 4:1.
- We must meet our challenges in the strength of God!
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com