CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA

Today, we are considering further the Church at Philadelphia.  Also, we will look at two words which we have touched on in our study thus far, “holy and true,” which describe the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:7; 4:8; 6:10).  These words have been found throughout the bible as well as the book of Revelation and emphasize the Savior.  Consider this important verse: 

“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ” (I Peter 1:15-16, NKJV).

In Revelation 3:7-8 we find the speaker is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  What Jesus had to say about Himself (Holy and True) gives us insight to how He feels about what the church and the Christian’s daily walk should be.

In Galatians 5:16-18 we find that Victory is guaranteed, but a warning is issued of the internal struggle a Christian will face in life.

“I say then: WALK in the Spirit, and you SHALL NOT fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are CONTRARY to one another, SO THAT YOU DO NOT do the things that you wish.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18, emphasis added NKJV).

In this passage and others, we find important principles for the Christian’s walk that we need to pay attention to. The first is “walking in the Spirit of God and conquering the flesh.”

NOTE:  The ANSWER to conquering the lusts of the flesh is the Holy Spirit of God.   It is vitally important for the true Christian to recognize that God expects him or her to live [walk] daily in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  Walking daily in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit [living a Holy life] is the ONLY conceivable way he can keep himself from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

NOTE:  No person has the power to control the lusts of his flesh — not within himself.

Remember, in this section we are talking about a church that is alive and faithful to Jesus and the people are living Holy lives.  Let’s remember that the Lord Jesus is God’s Son and so we are considering God and that He is HOLY!

It is also important to remember that the word HOLY is a description of God Himself.  Jesus Christ is claiming to have the very same nature as God the Father, to be perfectly holy even as God is perfectly holy.  So, He has the right to expect His people to live Holy lives I Peter 1:15-16.

FACT:  Holiness means to be set apart and different from all other beings, completely and totally set apart.  Christ is supremely holy.  He reaches the summit of being different from all other beings.

FACT:  For the Christian to be holy or living a holy life means to be in a Spiritual War.

Do not lose sight of the fact that the flesh FIGHTS FOR DOMINANCE.  The flesh LUSTS AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT, the flesh struggles and fights to CONTROL the man.  The picture is of a tug of war  (A.T. Robertson.  Word Pictures in the New Testament Volume 4, p. 311). The flesh stands contrary to the Holy Spirit; you might think of a toe-to-toe battle or face-to-face struggle and there you have a picture of the battle going on.

Within the believer:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-16, NKJV).

FACT:  The flesh seeks to control a man who is walking daily in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). The word “lust” (epithumei kata) means a yearning passion to control.  Every person knows what it is to have his flesh lusting after something, to have it yearning and yearning to lay hold of something or someone.  The flesh is very strong and difficult to control.  This IS THE REASON why a believer’s only hope to control the flesh is the SPIRIT OF GOD. (The following is taken from The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible – Galatians, pg.77). The flesh seeks to control by:

*yearning                  *craving                     *grasping

*pulling                      *hungering               *grabbing

*desiring                   *thirsting                   *taking

*wanting                   *longing

Paul says:

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good” (Romans 7:21, emphasis added, NKJV).

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23, emphasis added, NKJV).

Paul finds two laws or forces WITHIN HIM.  Paul says that as soon as he wills to do good, he is immediately confronted…

  • by a law of evil (Romans 7:21).
  • by the law of sin (Romans 7:23).

NOTE:  The law of sin and evil battles THE LAW OF THE INWARD MAN (Romans 7:22), and the law of his mind (Romans 7:23).

  1. The law of EVIL or the LAW OF SIN means that sin is a law, a rule, a principle, a disposition, an urge, a tendency, a pull, a tug, a corruption, a depravity with man’s NATURE OR INNER BEING. It is called a law…
  • because of its regular attack; it rises and rules all the time,
  • because of its permanent and controlling power,
  • because it is impossible for man alone to break its rule and to keep from sinning,
  • because it has captivated and enslaved the nature of man (Romans 7:14), and
  • because it is not passive, but active, constantly struggling to gain the ascendency over the law of the mind.

NOTE:  ANY MAN WHO ALLOWS THE LAW OF SIN TO RULE IN HIS LIFE IS A MISERABLE AND HELPLESS VICTIM OF SIN.

  1. Let’s consider the law of the inward man or the law of the mind and what it means…
  • the divine nature of God is implanted within the believer.

“By which have been given to us exceedingly GREAT and PRECIOUS PROMISES, that through these YOU may be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE, having ESCAPED the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4, emphasis added, NKJV).

         It is a wonderful truth that the NEW MAN is created when a believer is born again.

“and be RENEWED in the SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND, and that you put on the NEW MAN which was created ACCORDING TO GOD, in TRUE righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24, emphasis added, NKJV). 

“and have put on the new man who is RENEWED in knowledge according to the image of Him who CREATED him,” (Colossians 3:10, emphasis added, NKJV).          

  • the “new man” is CREATED when a believer is BORN  AGAIN (John 3:16).  Saved and given eternal life, a guarantee to be in heaven with God forever and ever.          
  • Let’s think about the abiding PRESENCE of Christ in the believer’s life.  And how wonderful it is.

“I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you…At that day ye shall KNOW that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:18,20, emphasis added, KJV).

“I am CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST:  nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who  loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added, KJV).

  • Now notice the indwelling PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit.

“And I WILL PRAY THE Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH; whom the world CANNOT  receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: BUT YE KNOW HIM; FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, AND SHALL BE IN YOU…But the Comforter, WHICH IS THE HOLY  GHOST, whom the Father will send in My name, He Shall TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:16-17,26; Ephesians 1:13-14 emphasis added, KJV).

“What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  Why?

For ye are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore GLORIFY God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20, emphasis added, KJV).

  • the “HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART”

“But let it [one’s appearance] be the HIDDEN MAN of the heart, in that which IS NOT corruptible, even the ornament of a MEEK and QUIET spirit, which is in the sight of God a great price” (I Peter 3:4, emphasis added, KJV).

NOTE:  Very simply stated, the law of the inward man is the law, rule, disposition, urge, tendency, pull, and tug of the Holy Spirit to please God and to delight in doing His will (Romans 8:2).

The confession of Paul declares that the law of sin WARS against the law of his mind and it gains ascendency.  The law of sin captivates and enslaves him.

Romans 7:24 – the Spiritual Struggle – Sanctification.  Paul confesses that he is a desperate, wretched man who needs a Deliverer.  One might think of a Christian as a walking civil war.  Think of the Christian man as seeing what is good, but he is unable to do it on his own.

The Christian struggles against the power of the flesh, and he desires to be freed from it; but despite all his efforts, he still finds himself under its influence.  This is the bondage of sin, of coming short of the glory of God.  It is like he is disapproving what he knows is right and approving what he hates.  He groans under the weight of sin, of being short of God’s glory and of failing to be conformed to the image of Christ.  He aches to walk in humility and meekness and to be filled with the fruit of love, joy, and peace.  But day by day he finds the force of sin reasserting its power over him.  He struggles and struggles against it, but he finds that he cannot find the power to free himself.  The believer senses an utter helplessness and longs and desires for God to free him.

He becomes more and more aware that deliverance is found only THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord.  Paul helps us to recognize that the only true deliverer is the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, we must recognize that deliverance does not come through…

  • some man-made law,
  • some man-possessed power,
  • some man-possessed ability,
  • some superior quality and faculty, or
  • some great spiritual force of man.

FACT:  The deliverance comes through the Great Deliver Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, our personal Savior and Lord. He is the Deliverer from sin.  He alone can deliver from sin.

“Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’ ” (John 14:6, KJV).

“And behold they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee’ ” (Matthew 9:2, KJV).

(See also Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:2; Ephesians 1:7; I Timothy 2:3-6.)

NOTE: THE TWO WAYS JESUS DELIVERS THE BELIEVER FROM SIN:

  1. Jesus Christ justifies the believer (Romans 6:14-15).
  2. Jesus Christ places the believer under God’s grace (Romans 6:14-15).

Paul’s conclusion is that he serves the law of God with his mind, that is with his RENEWED MIND.  The believer who truly knows that his deliverance is through Jesus Christ our Lord learns something wonderful.  He learns that his MIND is transformed and renewed by Jesus Christ; He learns that his MIND is born again and experiences a new birth just as his “old man” does.  He learns that his OLD MIND becomes the NEW MIND and that his “old man” becomes the new man:

“And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2, emphasis added, KJV).

Let’s think about the victory that the Christian has even though the struggles of life are fierce.

  • First and foremost, it is the one who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior who enjoys victory over the flesh, Satan and the world [the enemies of the Christian].
  •  The person without Christ will not recognize the following as a path to victory over the struggles in life.  Why?  It begins with the selection of the door through which we start our journey of eternal life – Matthew 7:13-14, when we choose either the Narrow Gate or the Broad Gate; John 3:16 Romans 10:9-13.
  • Once one is saved [born again] – John 3:16 they are now safe in the eternal hands of Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 10:27-30).  
  • Comfort comes to one who recognizes that Greater is He who lives within the Christian [the Holy trinity] than he that is in the world, Satan (I John 4:4).         
  • Strength and power comes to the one who is strong in the Lord and lives in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).
  • Victory comes to the one who sets their mind on things above, not on things on earth and focuses on Christ who is in heaven and puts to death [controls] their members on earth (Colossians 3:1-5).
  • Victory comes to the one who walks [lives] in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:16].
  • Victory comes to the one who recognizes that he/she has within them the road to victory and in Faith over comes the Christian’s enemies.

*It is the believer’s faith that overcomes the world – I John 5:4-5.

*It is the believer’s walk and Faith that defeats the flesh – Galatians 5:16.

*It is the believer that in Faith, submits to God and resists evil that causes Satan to flee and the Christian has victory over his enemy (James 4:7-8).  However, the believer must also do their part:

+submit to God, 

+resist the devil,

+draw near to God, and

+cleanses their hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

APPLICATION:

REMEMBER THAT EVEN THOUGH THE BATTLES OF LIFE ARE FIERCE, GOD HAS PROVIDED ALL WE NEED TO HAVE VICTORY, LIVE A HOLY LIFE AND PLEASE HIM!  YOU CAN HAVE VICTORY!

  • The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18. 
  • The filling of the Spirit – Ephesians 5:15-21.          
  • The one who comes to God must live by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him – Hebrews 11:6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; 5:6-10.

After reminding the Christian of the war, Paul reminds us that we are saved (Romans 8:1,31).

  • Romans 8:1,31 – If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • Philippians 4:6 – Let your request be known to God.
  • I Peter 5:7 – casting all your care on God.
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things thru Christ who strengthen me.
  • Philippians 4:19 – God supplies all our needs.