The Church in Philadelphia Revelation 3:7-13
A. John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love forone another." (NKJV)
B. 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (NKJV)
1. How easy it is to feel unloved! Revelation 12:10 tells us that satan is "the accuser of our brothers," and "accuses them before our God day and night,". . .. (NIV)
a) The Lord has made us to need to feel loved and accepted. Unfortunately, people can be very unloving and very unkind - EVEN AT CHURCH!!!!!
b) But this church was different!!!!
2. Clovis G. Chappell said, "Were it my privilege to go back across the years and attend a service at one of these seven churches, I think I should choose the church at Philadelphia."
a) This was the church of "brotherly love"!
b) They had so allowed the Lord to permeate their lives that they had taken on His characteristics of love!
c) They were not just "hearers of the word" as James speaks of but they were "doers of the word!"
(1) Because of this love for the Lord and for each other, the Lord opened many doors for ministry!
(2) And in this verses, He wants them to know how pleased He is with them.
II. THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA
A. The area around Philadelphia was rich farm land know for its rich harvest of grapes, mainly due to the volcanic ash in the soil.
1. This particular area in Asia was subject to frequent tremors and occasional earthquake!
a) At the beginning of the first century, they had suffered a tremendous earthquake that completely demolished the area around Sardis, but by the end of the century everything had been rebuilt and this church in Philadelphia had established a loving testimony for the Lord.
b) This church in Philadelphia by the way, is the only one of the seven for which the Lord has no words of correction!
A. Revelation 3:7 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (NIV)
1. Again it is important that we spend time studying the description the Lord uses for Himself as he address this church:
a) By describing Himself as "HIM WHO IS HOLY", He declares Himself to be God!
b) 1 Samuel 2:2 "No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. (NKJV)
(1) John told us that 1 John 3:5 . . . in Him there is no sin. (NKJV)
(2) Pilate and his wife called Him a "just" (meaning righteous) man!
(3) You see, the very nature of Christ is Holy, therefore it is impossible for Him to sin!
(4) By calling Himself Holy, He was by very nature claiming to be God!
2. "HE THAT IS TRUE"
a) G. Campbell Morgan tell us the difference between holy and true. He says that as the "holy One, Christ is right in character; as the "true" One, He is right in conduct.
(1) Because the Lord's character was pure, His conduct was also pure and correct.
(a) It is the same with us as individuals or we as a church. When our character is found in Christ, our conduct will, as a result be Christ-like!!
(b) Jesus called Himself the "TRUTH"
(i) John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV)
(ii) 1Corinthians 13:66 (Love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (NKJV)
(iii) Real Love always has Jesus as its focus!!!
3. Revelation 3:7 . . . He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": (NKJV)
a) This is taken out of Isaiah 22:22 in reference to a faithful servant named Eliakim under the rule of King Hezekiah.
(1) It seems that the man that preceded him, Shebna, was unfaithful and these scriptures were the Lord's promise to give his position to Eliakim.
(a) He promised him all the authority and privileges of the house of David.
(i) One of those privledges was sole possession of the keys to the treasury!
(b) This of course this was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ the one who already holds the keys to hell and death, and here claims the keys to the kingdoms of the earth as well!!
B. Revelation 3:8 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. (NKJV)
1. First HE holds the keys to the door of salvation. No one gets to the father except through Him.
a) John 10:9 9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (NKJV)
2. Second He hold the keys to the door of service. When they are open no one can shut them. When they are closed no one can pry them open!
a) Lehman Strauss believes that this church represents the period that immediately followed the Reformation period. 1750-1950.
b) A time when men like William Carey, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Adoniram Judson, Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, and Billy Sunday filled the world with the Gospel! the door was open!
c) General Douglas McArthur begged the Christians of America to send 5,000 missionaries through the open door that existed in Japan, we failed to answer that call!
d) In 1960, President Eisenhower was prevented from visiting by thousands of demonstrating communists!
(1) Recently many doors opened again, now they are quickly shutting!
(a) The Age Of Grace is quickly coming to a close!
3. . . .you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied My name.
a) "Little" is not always bad because the "Lord's strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9(NKJV)
b) James 4:6 . . ."God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."(NKJV)
(1) In this case their "little strength" was not condemned, it was praised because with that little, humble strength they had managed to keep the Gospel pure and stay faithful to the Lord!!
c) The "NAME" of the Lord is always significant!!
(1) As JESUS = He is Mediator!
(2) As CHRIST = He is Messiah!
(3) And as LORD = He is Master!
C. Revelation 3:9 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. (NKJV)
1. HE promises that those who were causing them the most problems, those who desired to be worshipped themselves, would be brought to their knees in worship of the Savior!
a) And these true believers would be witnesses of this! These "pretenders" would witness the Lord's love for the real church in Philadelphia!
D. Revelation 3:10 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. (NKJV)
1. This is one of the strongest verses supporting the pre-tribulation theory.
a) There has been and will be 'til Christ's return, a battle with satan and his demons from which no Christian is immune, but that is not the GREAT TRIBULATION!
b) This time of judgmental suffering coming upon the earth is for those "who dwell upon the earth" and that is not the Church!
(1) Even the ones who are martyred during the tribulation - it will be by satans hand.
(2) They will not be the object of the wrath of God!
c) Here the Lord promises to "keep them from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole earth"
E. Revelation 3:11 11 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (NKJV)
1. In every generation there are those people and things that seek to cause us loss of our rewards!
a) In Smyrna it was discouragement from trials, tribulations and poverty.
b) In Pergamos there were the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes.
c) In Thyatira, Jezebel threatened the Truth.
d) And in Sardis, they had a dead testimony!
(1) Matthew 13:22 22 . . .the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (NKJV) these things threaten every generation!
(2) We must guard that precious Life and Love that is ours!!
(3) Galatians 6:9 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (NKJV)
F. Revelation 3:12 12 "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And 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. (NKJV)
1. 1 John 5:5 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (NKJV)
a) Once again the Lord promises the Christian eternity!
(1) This promise contains three distinct characteristics of identification.
(a) The name of our Savior!
(b) Our own heavenly citizenship!
(c) And our own distinctive new name selected and awarded by the Lord Himself!
G. Revelation 3:13 13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." ' (NKJV)
1. Again this is a message for the church!
2. It is a message for the heart not just the ears!
3. It is a message to hang in there!
4. It is a message of hope and promise!
5. It a message to cause us to ask ourselves, how are we doing in the area of love?
a) Is it characteristic of the Lord's love?
b) Is there anyone we have hurt lately that we need to apologize to and tell them that we love them?