Introduction

  1. Text: Rev. 3:11-13.
  2. The saints in Philadelphia were warned to hold fast what they had: “that no one may take your crown.”
  3. In every possible way, the devil would like to hinder the Lord’s people – e.g. 1 Thess. 2:18.
    1. The problems our adversary can generate are of many different kinds: doctrinal, moral, etc.
    2. Sometimes we overlook the more practical ways the devil can hinder us.
  4. What are some things we must do to meet the devil’s challenges?

I. Remember What Our Work Is

  1. It takes discipline to stick to our work and let the Lord do His. Cf. Jer. 7:27; Ezek. 2:7.
  2. It is our work to “plant” and “water” — it is the Lord’s work to give the “increase” (1 Cor. 3:6).
    1. When we die, how many people will be left in our community that we never confronted with the gospel.
    2. We are tempted (a) to bypass the work of seed-sowing, or (b) to believe that we are already doing enough.
  3. We need to be a congregation from which the gospel “sounds forth” – 1 Thess. 1:8.

II. Live Above Pettiness

  1. It takes discipline to keep away from “itsy-bitsy thinking.”
  2. Selfishness, gossip, and factionalism are the bane of the Lord’s work. Cf. Phil. 2:3,4; 4:2.
  3. We need a sense of proportion and priorities.
    1. 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!
    2. It is much easier to “live above pettiness” when we “remember what our work is”!
  4. 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

  1. It takes discipline to believe that, with the Lord’s help, significant changes for good are possible where we live.
  2. Without some hope (desire + expectation), our work will cease altogether — and the devil knows it!
  3. When Christ sets before us an “open door” (Rev. 3:8), no one can shut it.
  4. 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

  1. It takes discipline to emphasize the positive rather than the negative aspects of our congregational situation.
  2. 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.
  3. A scriptural congregation is a thankful congregation – Col. 3:17.

Conclusion

  1. We must determine to meet these challenges successfully.
    1. With every temptation there is a “way of escape” (1 Cor. 10:13) — congregationally as well as individually.
    2. But we must see temptation for what it is and arm ourselves against it – Eph. 6:10,11.
  2. Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed – Rom. 13:11.
  3. We must not let the devil rob us of our salvation – Rev. 3:11. Cf. Heb. 4:1.
  4. We must meet our challenges in the strength of God!

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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