Church Of Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 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. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
In this series on the Seven Churches of Revelation, we have examined the Churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira and Sardis. Today we will examine the Church of Philadelphia and not only…how our church compares to it, but also how we as individual Christians compare to the Christians in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia was founded by the citizens of Pergamum to create a gateway to the central plateau of Asia Minor. This city was often damaged by earthquakes, which resulted in a fear that kept a large part of the population from living within the city walls. Today there still exist a town on the ancient site of Philadelphia called Alasehir in Turkey, having a population of around 15,000. The word Philadelphia comes from two Greek words: PHILEO, which means, "love" and the word ADELPHOS, which means "brother." Thus, the name Philadelphia means "brotherly love."
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens” 8 “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.
First: The church is greeted by the One who is Holy and True. Christ first reminds us that He is holy, or in other words, "set apart" from all that is evil. For the child of God, that’s good news.
It means that His love for us will never be corrupted by a lack of integrity or goodness on His part. His care will never be canceled out by selfishness or laziness. Because our Heavenly Father is holy and completely separate from all moral imperfection. He is able to love us with a full and perfect love.
Second, He wants us to see that He is true. He is absolutely genuine. He’s not like the gods of the world, who are only gods in the minds of their worshipers. Because He is true, there is never any doubt between what He says about Himself and what He actually is. He is the perfection of righteousness and the fulfillment of all prophecy. Christ is the author of truth, the One who is completely true and must be completely truthful.
The Messiah is the One who has the key of David. Jesus has the key to the kingdom from where all blessings flow. He has the key to grace. All who would find salvation must find it in Him. He has the key that will unlock all the bars and barriers to man’s heart. He has the key to health and healing. He has the key to providence and provision. All that happens is under His domain. He, (Jesus) not Peter, has the key to heaven. Jesus has all authority on earth and in Heaven. What He opens, no one can shut and what He shuts, no one can open. This statement was prophesied by Isaiah…
22 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.
Christ had no condemnation for this church. This church appears to be a small church, but one that is obeying the teachings of Christ. The church of Philadelphia, as the name implies, must have loved God and loved one another, even their enemies. Do you think Christ would have any condemnations for our church? If so… what would they be? Something to think about as a church and also as an individual.
Jesus in the same sense holds the key to the New Jerusalem that is coming when He returns. Christ holds the key...He controls who gets in and who does not. There is no one else who can open or close this door. Christ has the authority to say who will enter the kingdom of God. No one comes unto the Father except through Christ.
Christ knew their deeds, just as He knows our deeds. There isn’t anything that we do, or anything that we say, or anything that we think, that Jesus doesn’t know. Christ knew their hearts and He knew that they had truly accepted Him as their Savior and Lord. Jesus had opened the door to eternal life in heaven for them and no one could take that away from them. Is there anything in our thoughts or our life that we are ashamed of? Well, there are no secrets that Jesus doesn’t know. It is impossible to hide anything from Him.
The Christians at Philadelphia had kept the word and teaching of Christ and had done their best in spreading the word of Christ, even though they had little strength. They were probably few in numbers and not wealthy, but they were rich in the blessings of Christ and they always put Him first in their lives. They were probably witnessing everyday and those whom accepted the Word, Christ open the door for them, but…to those who did not, Christ shut the door to them.
9 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.
The persecution the church faced was from hostile Jews. The hostility exhibited by the Jews against the true believers was supernaturally empowered. I am going out on a limb on my commentary of this verse. We have many false religions and cults today that claim that they are Christians. I believe that Christ is referring to these people in the above verse. (so called followers) There are even people sitting in churches today that claim to be Christians, but have not really accepted Christ as their Savior. The time will come when the truth will be known. The day will come when these so-called Christians…but really members of the synagogue of Satan.
Again... “wheat and tares”, in the same house.
The Church of Philadelphia stood firm in their belief regardless of their fate. These believers faced the same battles that we face each and everyday. And…they stood firm!!!
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
As long as we are in the flesh this is our daily battle. Stand firm. When everyone is against you…stand firm. When the testing/trials come…stand firm. You and I know that we are not facing them alone. What does “Immanuel” mean? GOD WITH US!!! That is a promise. Its forever!
10 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.
To follow Christ is to learn how to endure, to persevere, in what He has asked us to do, because of who and what He asks us to become. This is called the perseverance of the saints. To hold on and obey Christ’s word no matter what we encounter in life…brings us tremendous blessings, here and in the life to come.
The Christians of Philadelphia kept the commands of Christ and they endure trials patiently (without complaining to God or blaming God). They will be spared from the great trail. I believe that all believers in Christ will be spared from the great tribulation that is to come. We will be raptured, but those that are left will go through many wraths from both the antichrist and God. During the great tribulation, only those who find Christ and refuses to get the mark of the beast will be saved, though they will still suffer much.
It will be extremely hard for a person to accept Christ while living through the tribulation. To do so would mean probable death or intense suffering for you and your family. By accepting Christ during the tribulation, you would have to refuse the mark of the Beast and then would not be able to work or even buy food. If you are here today and don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior…what are you waiting for? Cry out to God. Be saved, be forgiven, be made new. Receive the gift of eternal life.
Let us continue…
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 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.
If we overcome, as did the church of Philadelphia, we will be honored in God’s temple and always be with Him and we will always belong to Him. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior our names are written in the Book of Life. We belong to God and nothing can take that away from us. When I married my wife, she took on my last name and that meant that she belonged to me and not to some other man. It is the same with God. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are wed into the kingdom of God and we take on God’s name and we belong to Him forever. We will live with Christ forever in the New Jerusalem to come. I can’t wait! What about you?
Christ makes a special pledge to the overcomer. If we will renounce in this life the way of complacent and compromising Christianity, then in the next life, in God’s heavenly city, (which is considered a temple) we will be pillars, stable, immovable and secure.
God will assign us to strategic places of support to uphold His ministry. The Christians of Philadelphia might live in fear of earthquake, and persecutions on earth, but nothing will shake them in heaven.
A further promise is given that he will go out no more. This seems to indicate that he will no longer be swayed by the temptations and trials of this present life but will abide in the will of the Lord. In addition to this promise Christ gives them a threefold assurance that they will enjoy the heavenly Jerusalem because…. “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”. Does this sound familiar…from one of our bible studies, about receiving a new body? And now a new name? (1) they will have the name of God, (2) they will have the name of the city of God and (3) Jesus’ new name. These are eternal realities for those who overcome.
In Conclusion: A warning…
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Again… Jesus warns us that we need to listen to what He is saying to the seven churches for it applies to us today just as much as it applied to the seven churches of the book of Revelation.
Today we have looked at a church that Jesus was well pleased with. He was pleased with works of the church and the people. I can’t wait to meet the congregation of the church of Philadelphia. They must be a wonderful group. Think about it. There wasn’t a power struggle on who would make the decisions on how the church was to be run. Everyone got along. They loved everyone. They didn’t complain or get angry. They loved Christ so much that all they wanted to do was to please Him and obey all of His teachings. Wouldn’t it be great if our church was like that?
Six churches so far, one more to go. So far only two churches were well commended by our Lord for their faithfulness. (Smyrna and Philadelphia) And to all the rest…faced Gods judgement.
Let us pray….
Pastor Richard Santos
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