Scripture Focus- Revelation 3:7-13
7 Churches in Revelation- Historical, Representative, Applicable
Philadelphia- Located 30 miles or so SE of Sardis; founded around 150 BC. The name means brotherly love from phileo meaning to love, and adelphos meaning “brother,” literally means one who loves his brother. Eumenes II named the city for the love of his brother Attalus whose loyalty earned him the nickname.
The Gospel extended out of Ephesus into Asia Minor. We don’t know much about the church. The Church Father Ignatius is said to have come through there on his way to Rome where he was martyred. Some believers from Philadelphia were martyred with Polycarp at Smyrna. The city lasted for centuries until it was overrun by Muslim conquerors.
The General Pattern in these letters- Jesus, Commendation, Condemnation, Encouragement, and Promise
If Jesus were to write a letter to our church, what would he say to us??
Jesus knows the works of his church.
V7 Jesus is the Holy One– pure, perfect
Jesus is the True One– authentic, genuine
Jesus has the key of David- who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one will open.
Reference to Isaiah 22- Hezekiah caught Shebna the steward of the king’s palace in a fraud. He had used his position to allow those only favorable to him and his idealogy in the king’s presence. God sent Shebna into exile in Babylon and replaced him with Eliakim, giving him the key of David. He had access to the king’s resources.
Jesus as the heir of David is the Key, and has been given all authority to grant entrance into Heaven and the New Jerusalem- forgiveness, life, and eternity.
V8 Jesus placed before his church an open door no one could close.
Jesus knows the works of his church, but these are not works for salvation, these are works because of salvation.
You have little power- small in number, and small in strength
You have kept my Word- Believe, Live, Proclaim the Word
2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness so the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
You have not denied my name– How do we deny the name of Jesus?
Deny who He said He was-
1 John 2:22-23 Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father, he who confesses the Son has the Father as well.
Deny Him in front of others-
Mt 10:32-33 Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge me before others, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven.
Deny Him in hypocrisy-
Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
V9 Note this: I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying- I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you.
A Jewish gathering existed that had rejected Jesus as Messiah and persecuted the church. Jesus said they would come and bow down at the feet of the church and know that Jesus loved them.
Interesting! The source of love is Jesus Himself!! The evidence of love is sharing it with others.
Jesus encourages his church to hold on.
V10 Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
A great time of Tribulation is coming upon the earth. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 24 and Revelation is building up to it. There will be a great and final upheaval in anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus. Some believe this verse is a reference to the church being gone during this time (Pre, Mid, Post Tribulation views).
V11 I am coming soon. The coming of Christ is an incentive for perseverance under pressure.
I John 2:28 So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
V11 Hold on to what you have- Don’t budge! Don’t give an inch!
A couple of years back a man by the name of Maickel Melamed from Venezuela ran the Boston Marathon. He finished in 20 hours. He has a form of Muscular Dystrophy. “In any marathon, you have to know why you are doing it. Because in the last mile, the marathon will ask you.”
So that no one takes your crown– Rewards are grace gifts.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will experience loss, but he himself will be saved—but only as through fire.
Jesus promises those who conquer, a certain future.
Jesus has been building his church for 2000 years.
Every local church is just temporary. They are feeder systems for the True Church, the Eternal Bride of Christ. Dr. Andy Davis
Jesus promises to make those who conquer a pillar in the temple of God, v12 – A pillar supports the weight of the building, a picture of strength.
Jesus promises those who conquer a permanent position- and he will never go out again, v12– An eternal place of honor in the sanctuary of God.
Jesus promises those who conquer a prominent name- v12 the name of my God (ownership); the name of the City of God (citizenship); the New Name of Jesus (Relationship, forever united with God in Christ!)
Author Randy Alcorn recalled a two-month missions trip that he and his family took some years ago that included a visit to Egypt. While in Egypt, Alcorn’s hosts took him to visit an abandoned graveyard located at the end of a garbage-lined alley. The host pointed out one tombstone in particular—that of William Borden (1887-1913), heir to the Borden dairy estate. William was a millionaire by 21, but he renounced his fortune, giving nearly all his wealth to missions. His heart’s desire was to take the gospel to Muslims in China. On his way to China, William stopped in Egypt to study Arabic, but four months later he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of 25.
I dusted off the inscription on the headstone of Borden’s grave. After describing his love for Christ and his commitment to and his love for the Muslim people; and his sacrifices for God’s kingdom; the inscription ended with some words I wrote down on the spot—and I have never forgotten them to this day. The inscription ended with, “Apart from faith in Christ there is no explanation for such a life.”
Then Alcorn wrote, “And I thought, Lord, what’s the explanation for my life?”
V13 Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.