The Lord’s eyes are searching the earth looking for those for which He can show Himself strong on their behalf. It appears such persons are hard to find! Look at II Chronicles 16:9; “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” What is the secret? What is God looking for? Understand that the word “perfect” in the above scripture implies wholeheartedness for God, single-mindedness, sincerity–not sinless, perfection. So, it is not strength, good looks, talent, wealth, or other attributes of that nature that God is looking for. God is simply looking for that person who is wholehearted and sincere toward Him.
Notice II Chronicles 15:12; “And they entered with a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul.” What was the result of this decision? “And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about (II Chronicles 15:15).”
The church in Philadelphia was in type a picture of the visible church of Jesus Christ between AD 1750 and AD 1900. The Bible says of this church “Thou has a little strength,” yet God showed Himself strong in her behalf. The Scripture says that a door that no man could open stood before the Philadelphia church. Jesus said, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; (Revelation 3:8).” So Jesus opens the door that no man could open and says that no man could shut this door He has opened.
It was during this time period that God used individuals and small groups in a great way. Whole continents and countries were opened up to the gospel. India, China, Africa, and others were opened to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a great time of evangelistic and missionary labor. Doors of opportunity were wide open, but today missionary doors are closing. Over half of the world today is closed to the missionary of the gospel.
What was the secret of the Philadelphia church? Let’s read Revelation 3:8, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Notice they had little strength, so strength was not the secret because they didn’t have much. There are two things listed that are the secret of God’s blessings:
1) They “Kept my word” and 2) they “Hast not denied my name.”
“Kept my word,” means that they kept the Word of God. God’s Word should be our sole authority. “Hast not denied my name.” This is speaking of witnessing. The Bible says, “Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).” “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).”
It is the opposite of these two qualities that Jesus Christ is ashamed of in his believers. In Mark 8:34-38 Jesus is speaking to disciples about service not salvation. Jesus says, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of His Father with the Holy angels (Mark 8:38).” Notice the phrase “ashamed of me” is the exact opposite of “hast not denied my name.” Compare Mark 8:38 with Revelation 3:8. Also the phrase “ashamed of my words” is the opposite of “hast not denied my word.”
When Jesus returns, he will judge believers by their works to determine the degree of reward or loss of reward in heaven (I Corinthians 3:11-15). This judgment is called the Judgment Seat of Christ. Jesus says that He will be ashamed of those believers who are ashamed of the Word of God and ashamed of speaking the name of Jesus Christ. Believers are warned in I John 2:28 of this. “And now, little children, abide in him; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
The Apostle Paul had the secret. First of all, Paul kept the Word of God and taught others to keep it. “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9).” Secondly, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).” Paul, one man, was able to accomplish so much because the Lord was strong on his behalf.
Jesus Christ explains the Two Secrets as vital to an effective fruitful Christian life. In John 15:4-5, Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
“Without me you can do nothing.” Does that sound like the door that no man could open? See Revelation 3:8 and compare.
First, let’s define the phrase “abide in me.” Jesus gives the answer in John 15:10. “If you keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” Notice! Isn’t this the same as “hast not denied my name (Revelation 3:8)?” When we keep the commandments of Christ, we are fulfilling the first point. One of His commands is to witness (Mark 16:15).
Second, let’s define the phrase “I in you (John 15:4).” Jesus in John 15:7 makes “I in you” equivalent to “my words” abide in you. This would be equivalent to “kept my word” or letting the words of Christ so richly dwell in you that you keep the word of God.
The consequences of not incorporating the two secrets will be no fruit (John 15:5), no strength (Lord’s), no rewards (I Corinthians 3:15), and the Lord will be ashamed of you at His coming (I John 2:28).