I don’t know how many churches are discouraged about their church’s size; maybe you wish you had more people than you do, maybe you are discouraged because you have less than what you used to have. I think our Lord’s words will encourage you. Revelation 3:8 “you have a little power.” When Jesus wrote that He wrote that to one of seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, and only two of them were blamelessly perfect, and the church with a little power, is one of them.
Don’t you think that is an odd thing to say to a church that is blamelessly perfect? Shouldn’t Jesus be saying to a perfectly blameless church you have lots of power, and here is why I point that out! Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Did you know that all hell can break loose against a church; the devil and his demons can mount an all-out attack to destroy your church or mine, and did you know they can’t overpower the church and do you know why? The church has lots of power! When you have Jesus your church has lots of power.
Why tell them they have little power? The church at Philadelphia is the littlest church, humanly speaking, when compared to the other churches! For example the church at Philadelphia was unlike the church at Sardis! The church at Sardis had a name they were alive, but they were dead, to the community they were a lively church, but not to Christ!
Perhaps this church had little name recognition. Maybe they had little money. The church at Laodicea had lots of money, Revelation 3:17 “because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy.” And perhaps they had little in the way of attendance unlike the church at Pergamum and Thyatira that had large attendance; perhaps this church had little in the way of people power.
My experience with little churches is they have the tendency to think they can’t do a lot for the Lord because they are little! Do you know what little churches with little power, humanly speaking, need to hear? Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: If Jesus can open a door that no one can shut and shut doors that no one can open do you know what little churches need to hear? Strength is not determined by the size of the church, but the Savior of the church!
Did it ever occur to us that some churches are little because of Jesus? Jesus is telling His little churches I am sovereign over the doors of life. We know what that’s all about don’t we? 2 Corinthians 2:12 “Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord.” We are talking about an open door to preach the gospel to save souls! I would argue some churches are large not because the Lord is opening doors but because they are–don’t miss that, that’s the church at Pergamum and Thyatira that had large attendance because of their come one, come all, come as you are and feel free to stay as you are mentality! Some churches are large because they are attracting a crowd not a church!
The church at Philadelphia was not little because they were not preaching; they were little because they were! Revelation 3:8 “You kept My word. You have not denied My name.” What if I told you that being faithful to keeping the word, never denying the Name, what if I told you that a church might still might remain little–and do you know why, Jesus is sovereign over size! Jesus sovereignly opens and closes doors, He opens and closes hearts, people don’t believe the gospel because of the church they believe the gospel because of Christ! When Jesus wrote to the church with large attendance He wrote Revelation 3:3 “So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it.”
The church with a name, the church at Sardis was not keeping what they received and heard-they were not preaching and they had a large attendance, the church that was preaching was little not large! I hope we all know that what appears to be is not always the way it appears! Please don’t ever assume because a church is little that they are necessarily doing something wrong, and please don’t ever assume that because a church is large they are necessarily doing something right because one of the two blameless churches was doing something very right and they had little power!
Little churches should not think little of themselves! Zechariah 4:10 “For who hath despised the day of small things?” There is nothing wrong with small or little. Take Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John and Jude–all one chapter books in the Bible. Little books, listen they are as divine as the 66 chapters in Isaiah. There is nothing wrong with being little.