CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA

We are still looking at the church at Philadelphia – Revelation 3:7-13.  As we examine further the Philadelphia church we are hoping to find help for searchers and churches of today.  Why?  Because Christ is dealing with a church for which He had no condemnation, because they were following principles that bring peace and encouragement to the obedient Christian and church.

  1. They had accepted God’s Son as their savior and were living Holy lives.
  2. They were faithful to the Word of God, which every Christian and church should be!
  3. They obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. They had kept His commandments.
  5. They demonstrated a true love for the Lord by keeping His commandments.
  6. They studied the Word of God diligently.
  7. They lived the Word of God.
  8. They proclaimed the Word of God to believers and unbelievers alike.
  9. This was an evangelistic and missions minded church.
  10. They confessed Christ in all that they did, in all its services, meetings, programs and activities.

God’s Eternal Blessings

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall NEVER SEE DEATH” (John 8:51, emphasis added, KJV).

“If you LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.  And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you ANOTHER COMFORTER, that He may abide with you for ever” (John 14:15-16, emphasis added, KJV).

“Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love me, HE WILL KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, AND WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM'” (John 14:23, emphasis added, KJV).

 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love…  Ye are my friends, IF ye do so whatsoever I COMMAND YOU” (John 15:10, 14; Ephesians 1:13-14, emphasis added,  KJV).

Study and Receive God’s Blessing

“These were more FAIR-MINDED THAN THOSE IN Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all READINESS and SEARCHED the Scriptures DAILY to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, emphasis added, NKJV). 

“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and TO THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, which is ABLE TO BUILD you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are SANCTIFIED” (Acts 20:32, emphasis added, NKJV). 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a WORKER who does not need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, emphasis added, NKJV).

“As newborn babes [saved], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  if so be ye have tasted [are truly saved] that the Lord is gracious” (I Peter 2:2-3, emphasis added, KJV). 

“And hereby we do know that WE KNOW HIM, if we keep his commandments” (I John 2:3, KJV).

THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA CONFESSED CHRIST; THEY DID NOT DENY THE NAME OF CHRIST. 

NOTE:  This means more than just witnessing for Christ.  It does mean that and much more.

NOTE 3 THINGS: to confess Christ (1) means that the Church confesses Christ in all that it does, in all of its activities and ministries, (2) it means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the center of ALL of its activities, and (3) to confess Christ also means that one lives, moves and has his being in Christ.

A wrong focus for a church, or Christian, would be that it/he focuses on: ritual, ceremony, programs, and activities instead of having Christ at its center.

But a church that has a right focus and pleases God is focused and centered always upon Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ has been made the focus, the center, the main purpose and attraction of every program and activity.

Also, to confess Christ means that a person [the church] stands fast against opposition and persecution of Christians.  The world does and will continue the persecution of true Christians by:

ridicule             Ignore               abuse                kill

mock                 bypass              backbite           tempt

poke fun at      curse                 attack                take advantage of

reject                imprison

NOTE:  The world [those who do not know Christ] will do all they can to lead the true believer to give in and join them on the path of the wide gate which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 6:22-23).

“Whosoever therefore SHALL CONFESS me before men, him I WILL confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall DENY ME before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33), emphasis added, KJV).

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:”  (Luke 12:8, emphasis added, KJV).                            

 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, thou shall be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10, emphasis added, KJV).

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father:  {but} he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I John 2:22-23, emphasis added, KJV).

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (I John 4:15, emphasis added, KJV).

FACT:  A church that is strong does three things.   The church that does these three things proves that it loves God and keeps His commands:

  1. They are evangelistic and mission minded.
  2. They KEEP the Word of Christ.
  3. They confesses Christ in ALL that it does, in ALL of its services, meetings, programs, and activities.

NOTE:  There is great hope given to the church that is alive and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ in all of its ways and all its ministries.  Notice how descriptive the following verse is:

“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” (Revelation 3:9, emphasis added, KJV).

NOTE:  The synagogue of Satan refers to the Jews who say they follow the true God, but they do not:  they reject Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  Jesus is the very One who came into the world to reveal God.  Therefore, to reject Jesus Christ is to reject the revelation of God, and also to reject God Himself.  Remember who a true Christian is in the eyes of God:

  • A true Christian is ANY person who TRULY BELIEVES in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be THE FATHER OF ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE, though they be not circumcised;  that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” (Romans 4:11, emphasis added, KJV).

RACIAL DESCENT DOESN’T COUNT WITH GOD

  • A true Christian is not a person who claims outward racial descent.  A true Christian is a person who is a Christian inwardly, who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 5:17).

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that Of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise IS NOT OF MEN, BUT OF GOD” (Romans 2:28-29, emphasis added, KJV).

  • A true Christian is also a person who walks [lives] in the steps of faith of Abraham, who walks [lives] in a faith that is placed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

”And (Abraham is) the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Romans 4:12, emphasis added, KJV).

  • A true Christian is not a person of an earthly race, but a true Christian is one who has the same faith that Abraham had.

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.  For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE ARE COUNTED for the seed.  For this is the word of promise, at this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son” (Romans 9:6-9, emphasis added, KJV).                                       

Again, from God’s perspective, a Christian is not of some earthly race.  A Christian is a person who truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The point is that there were some Jews [physically] in Philadelphia who were persecuting the believers.  They were claiming to be Jews, the chosen people, the followers of God, but they were not.  They rejected the Son of God; they were actually pagans [unsaved].  They actually were an assembly of Satan, not of the only living and true God.

True believers shall be vindicated because some of their persecutors will be saved (Revelation 3:9).  They are going to come and worship with believers.  In the Old Testament Israel is seen as the true follower of God and other peoples of the world are seen coming to Israel and worshiping the God of Israel.

In the New Testament, the picture is reversed and Jews are seen coming and worshiping with the church (Revelation 3:9).  This means that the Jews will be saved and worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ.

“…I will call them [the Gentiles] my people, which are not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God” (Romans 9:25-26, KJV).

The Christian is being called into fellowship, not only of God but also other gospel believers.  This is one of the blessings of salvation (I Corinthians 1:9; I John 1:3).  The doctrine of the  church reminds us that we who also are saved are NOT just ISOLATED bits of humanity scattered about the world.

Christians are united to carry out the mission of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

The Christian has been spiritually united TO ALL SAVED CONTEMPORARIES; we belong to a great human fellowship that exceeds national and denominational boundaries.  Christians have a special relationship to the Lord Jesus, and they engage together in worship, edification, ministries of compassionate love, and evangelism around the world.

We should also be reminded that the Lord’s Universal Church was not a subject of old Testament Prophecy (Ephesians 3:1-6).  This truth was kept secret until the Lord Jesus openly declared:

  • His purpose in building His church (Matthew 16:18; John 10:16; Ephesians 3:3-6).
  • His use of the future tense (“I will build”) indicates that the construction had not yet begun (Matthew 16:18).
  • He declared that He Himself would be the church’s builder and foundation (I Peter 2:3-6; I Corinthians 3:11).
  • Referring to the Church as His possession, He asserted that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
  • He did not say what the Church would be or when its construction would begin.  This was left to later divine revelation (Acts 1:5; Ephesians 3:6; I Corinthians 12:13, 27; Ephesians 1:22-23).
  • Veiled references in the Bible to the Church’s construction were made by John the Baptizer, when He spoke of Jesus’ baptizing with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), and by Jesus, when He spoke about uniting two folds of sheep to form one fold (John 10:16).  These folds are those Jews and Gentiles who are saved during the Church age (I Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 3:6).

FOR THE CURIOUS

For the ones who are studying the church at Philadelphia or just wondering about heaven and HOW to get there, a little help would be in line.

God’s free gift of Salvation is the most exciting gift that a man or woman can receive.  The following information is provided for your understanding.

Nicodemus had such a question when he said, “…Rabbi, we KNOW that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I SAY TO YOU, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ ” (John 3:2-3, emphasis added, NKJV).  This startled Nicodemus and in the context Jesus gave Him the answer of “how” to go to heaven in John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world [you] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, emphasis added, NKJV).

APPLICATION:

God’s love is not static or self-centered; it reaches out and draws others in.  Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love relationships — when you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice.  God paid dearly with the life of His Son, the highest price He could pay.  Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and He offered us the new life that He had bought for us. (adapted from the Application Bible).

Consider the following questions and then make the decision that God is directing your attention to:

  1. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus is God’s Son?
  2. Do you believe that God has a plan for your life and wants you to join other Christians who are serving Christ in the world?
  3. Do you believe that God wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him?
  4. Do you believe that God put John 3:16 in the Bible for you?

If you do, please read the following and then make sure you will be in heaven by accepting God’s Son as your personal Savior.

Read: Romans 10:9-13 and follow the principles that the passage expresses, you will never be sorry.

We will be praying for you.