The Church at Philadelphia – The Faithful Church.
We started this series with the church that lost its first love, and now with the sixth church we find the “Faithful church.” As our text so indicates, it is a church of faithfulness,
The more the reason to word search problematic words in the Bible to understand the intent and particular meaning; it does make a difference.
The Book of Revelation, chapter 3:7—13. Verse 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.’”
This church, as with Smyrna, has no rebuke from the Lord Jesus. The opening verse of Authority, establishes the authority of Jesus, who He is and a delineation of His awesome authority. Just a few words as to the “ He who has the Key of David” and ‘He’, (Jesus), who it is that opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens.” This is a reference to Isiah 20—22 and Eliakim who was the steward of Hezekiah, and held the key to the palace in Jerusalem. The significance of the statement is that Jesus, the Davidic Messiah, is the key providing access to God, Jesus is the gateway to God, and none can enter except by Him. He is the sovereign judge, who opens and closes with no one being able to reverse his actions or what he says.
Jesus goes on “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. 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 church at Smyrna was the promise that the Jewish opponents would not be victorious; however, here the church in Philadelphia, Jesus promises that they would be victorious over the Jewish opponents that that Jesus would make them to worship at their feet. Note, if you will it does not indicate that they would worship the Christians of Philadelphia, but at their feet, they would worship God; knowing that I have loved you. In the end of time Jesus will make it known to those who have persecuted Christians, and denied Christ and His truth, will know that Jesus loves us, and at the time they were persecuting Christians and denying the name of Jesus; that He loved them as well, not what they do.
The passage continues with the promise, however, this part of the promise is exceedingly precious. “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” This is a promise to the church in Philadelphia, nonetheless, the whole purpose of these letters is that of the “Christian Church” which is the Christian people, and they indicate the church, and people of the church, as it cycles in and out of these seven conditions during the sanctification journey.
The promise is the ‘Rapture of the church’ at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, which will engulf the whole earth. The church, i.e., all true believers, will be taken out of the world prior to the cataclysmic upheavals of the Tribulation judgment.
From there we deal with guarding our crown and as for the “overcomer” just as before, this is in reference to the true believer. Being made a pillar and the names written is our identification, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, will be a remarkable sight.
How is it with you, are you sure that you are sure, that you are sure you are, first, a born again Christian, doing your level best to persevere? These are difficult times yet they are not as difficult as the times, which are coming, especially if you are lost and are of the world.
How is your church? Does it compare with the faithful church? Perhaps, it is as one of the other churches that have not persevered in the faith. I truly do not see that the church in Philadelphia is a perfect church, it very well may have been. However, the Lord Jesus did not commend them for being perfect; He commended them for being faithful to persevere. They did not hide under a bushel nor did they listen to the heathens who persecuted them. It is highly likely that they continued faithfully and steadfastly in the faith.
Do you, and does your church, continue faithfully to persevere? On the other hand, is there compromise to avoid the name-calling and persecution of the heathen world? Have you parted from being faithful? The only answer is in your relationship with Jesus. Remember His promise for those who truly believe. If so you will be praying for those who are against you, you will love people and that is what God expects, however, He does not expect you accept their sin, nor enable them to continue to sin.