A message to Philadelphia
This is a positive study on what a true church is and how God responds in favor to their faith and obedience especially when they reached out to a world that did not know Jesus Christ with the proper motives in their heart.
(7) "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy He that is true. He that has the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (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. (9) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (11) Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name. (13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:7-13.
Philadelphia had a distance 30 miles from Sardis and was destroyed by the same earthquake in A.D 17. Tiberius Caesar was very good at rebuilding cities and this area was also included in his projects.
The main business in Philadelphia was wine and a man by the name of Bacchus was considered the god of wine and many people got drunk in this population.
The Jewish people were persecuted under Roman law but some of them resorted to turning in Christians to plea bargain their punishment to a lesser degree so as you can see suffering was also in this church too. Roman laws were hard on Jews and Christians but believers in Jesus Christ seemed to be on the lowest level of society.
The Philadelphia church was very missionary minded. Jesus presents Himself as the one who opens doors of opportunity for His children to share the gospel with other people.
I know a little bit about this subject because I have seen God open up many doors of getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to many people but I have also experienced the Triune Godhead shutting doors for a bigger purpose. One time God opened every door for me to have a street ministry and then closed every door. I was not able to continue but did give the project away and as a result the ministry grew at least fifty times greater than the original endeavor for the Lord.
The type of street evangelism that we did does not even exist anymore so we should let the great craftsman apply His trade to our lives because this is an example of God seeing all of life and eternity. Jesus Christ is in perfect control. If God opens the door walk through it but if God closes the door accept it and seek the Lord because He might have something bigger in mind.
Jesus said to this church He possesses the ... "Key of David" ... Revelation 3:7. The Philadelphia church was being persecuted by some Jews and this was a reminder that the Davidic Covenant was promised eternal blessings through Jesus Christ Himself. The true Messiah was giving them a promise that one day these Jewish people would have to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and they would be vindicated as innocent before Him.
"For there is a wide open door for me to preach and teach here." 1 Corinthians 16:9. Paul said this in his ministry and Jesus praises them about their work for Him because He opened the door and nobody could shut it except God. Jesus promised to open up more doors but they only had a little strength so these dedicated Christians had to rely on God because they were weak. This is good because there is no room for human manipulation to do the work of God. This played out in a good way because there is not one rebuke to this church. In fact the essence of what Jesus said was to hold fast and keep on doing what you are exercising in Me.
Jesus gave a lot of promises to this Church. Our Lord promised the open door of opportunity to witness to a dying world. God will open the door for every one of His children but believers in Christ have to be sensitive to the calling of God. Don't even try to predict who will be receptive to Jesus Christ and who will not because we just don't know.
In the nineties I poured my heart out to an individual about the Lord because he was going through a persecution and sure enough he accepted the Lord into his heart, converted his two sons and is very involved in the work of the kingdom of God today. He is very busy for the Lord. I never would have thought he would have even moved but I saw the Lord work through Him in good times and bad throughout many years of hardships.
God has already opened up their minds but they have to open up their hearts. The longest twelve inches a person will ever travel is from their mind to their heart.
In verse ten Jesus promises that the Philadelphia believers will not have to go through a time of testing which is coming on the whole world. The promise goes far beyond this local church because the words of our Lord talk about an hour when the whole world will be in a crisis mode under the wrath of God. This has not happened yet but we are in the general vicinity of this time frame which will last for seven years.
Although the promise was given to the Philadelphia church this has prophetic application to our time because this local church was a type and (they/we) (were/are) promised to be kept from this hour of horror that is to come upon this planet sometime in the near future.
This is the rapture of the church. (16) "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Not kept through the trial but kept out of the wrath of God. This is a time frame of seven years for people that have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord in their lives. These global judgments are described in Revelation chapters six through nineteen.
There is prophetic implication to the church of Philadelphia because these body of believers in Jesus Christ is typical of 1750 A.D to 1925 A.D which was the great missionary era in history. Christians reached out to people who never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. It was sacrificial in spirit and God honored their work and many different types of people came to know Jesus Christ in their hearts. Many dedicated preachers moved across England, America and other parts of the world.
Time periods tend to change and shift. Unfortunately this came to an end after World War One. There were exceptions but the hand writing was on the wall with churches and schools gradually moving away from biblical principles. This mentality is present today because they compromised the word of God.
There is a remnant in this world today that is typical of the Philadelphia church and they will be the individuals that will be part of the rapture. The dominant church now is prophetically significant of the Laodicea body of believers which will be the article for next week but until then realize there is a narrow way. God commends the Philadelphia fellowship in their faith and obedience to Jesus Christ better known as the missionary church.
I am one of the few that sees the Philadelphia church as a tremendous role model and example for me to follow. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then this is a good article to perhaps read a couple of times so the understanding of what God desires in a fellowship is worth following so we will all be found doing the will of God before and at the rapture of the church.
If you are not a Christian I urge you to make a decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and making a decision to follow the example of the Philadelphia church through a sound biblical fellowship and a yearning to reach a dying world for Jesus Christ. Remember God loves a missionary oriented person and will never forget his or her efforts to get the gospel message to people who need to get saved through Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Living God.
God Bless you,