Revelation 3:7-13 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath 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. 10 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.
Have you ever heard of a Charge Coupled Device? You may not know what it is – I didn’t – but you’ve probably used it. CCD technology made it possible to capture images digitally. If you own a digital camera it uses CCD technology. The man who discovered it – and put Kodak Film Company out of business because of it – was a scientist named Willard Boyle. The technology he developed not only allowed us to make digital cameras, but also the Hubble Telescope. In 2009 Boyle was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics because of CCD Technology. A few years after he invented CCD Technology Dr. Boyle went into an electronics store to purchase a digital camera. The saleman began talking, trying to explain how the camera worked but in the middle of the explanation stopped, arrogantly saying “This is probably too difficult for you to understand”. Dr. Boyle told him “No need to explain – I invented it!” When the salesman laughed Dr. Boyle told him to look up his name, “Willard S. Boyle” on the Internet and see for himself. The young man apologized and – before Dr. Boyle left the store – asked to have his picture taken with him.
We do the same thing to God all the time. God invented life and Christ invented the Church. As the Creator of both Life and the Church the Lord Jesus knows how it is supposed to operate. He knows what is right and good. Jesus sets the parameters – after all it is His Church that “He as God purchased with His own Blood” (Acts 20:28). The Church belongs to Jesus. Jesus knows what He wants His Church to do and be.
Jesus Wants His Church To Love Him
And To Love One Another
As we have come through the Book of Revelation we have seen Jesus address – and rebuke – nearly every represented Church.
Ephesus needed to love Christ more.
Pergamos the Fortress began to undervalue the Word of God.
Thyatira allowed the spirit of Jezebel in their midst.
Sardis failed to finish what they started.
Smyrna Suffered For The Lord.
Jesus did not rebuke Smyrna,
Nor did He rebuke Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is made up of two Greek Words. PHILOS which means “Family Love” and ADELPHOS which means “Brothers Together”. Philadelphia means “A Family where Brotherly Love is”. If the name Philadelphia sounds familiar to you it is because we have an American City by that name. Philadelphia was originally founded as a Christian Quaker Colony by William Penn. It’s not that anymore!
The Church at Philadelphia was characterized by love. They loved one another – and loved Jesus as He is. Some people think that you are not a Church unless you love one another and are accepting of everything people do. The Church that loves and embraces sin is not the Church of Philadelphia.
God’s Church can be Seeker Sensitive but not not Sin Embracing.
His people are to reach out to a lost and dying world, but are not to be worldly.
Jesus is …
Revelation 3:7 …. he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Jesus says FIVE THINGS in this text about Himself. FIVE is the number of GRACE. What does Jesus say of Himself?
- He that is HOLY. Jesus is HOLY as God is HOLY. Jesus saves us to HOLINESS. The love that impresses Jesus is a HOLY love, a love devoid of selfishness and self centeredness. God expects His Church to love with a godly love.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 15:12-14 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Jesus is HOLY, and the love He shows us is HOLY. Jesus laid His life down for the undeserving. This is why Jesus came to this earth. The HOLY came to make us HOLY, to bring us into God’s Family. Mary was told that she
Matthew 1:21 ….. shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
It is not love to promote sin.
Our Lord Jesus came to this earth, and for thirty three years kept the Ten Commandments and every single Law of God. He then went to a Tree of Mocking, a man made thing of wood and iron, designed to torture and torment. Above His Head was written I.N.R.I.
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum
Which meant (see John 19:19) “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews”. What Pilate wrote was meant to mock, but what Jesus did was no mockery. He died on that Cross to show us the Love of God. Love lays down its life. Love does this to cover sin, not to elevate sin. Love offers the weak a way out. Love offers admittance into the Family of God, a holy and righteous Family, a Family bathed in the light of God’s Glory!
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- He that is true. Jesus’ Way is TRUE. Love does not lie. It does not hide. The Bible says that a Church is to …
Ephesians 4:14-15 … be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
As we learn of Jesus we become more like Him. Our love always reflects Jesus. Our love always follows Jesus.
Romans 12:9-10 (ESV2011) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Revelation 3:7 …. These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
- Jesus has the Key of David. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is Jesus who opens the door that no one can shut, and shuts the door that no one can open. This is a quotation from:
Isaiah 22:22 (ESV2011) And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
People have always underestimated the Lord Jesus Christ. They see Him and His works and think “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”. Jesus was humble and kind when He walked this earth, the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world. But Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Revelation 17:14 (ESV) They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.
Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV2011) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus Christ watches over His Church.
Christ’s Church Will Be Attacked But Not Defeated
Revelation 3:8 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.
Philadelphia is not only a Loving Church, but a Working Church. Jesus tells them “I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it”. When the Church binds together both Godward and Manward in love then God opens doors of opportunity. He said “No man can shut it”. One person can not stop a loving Church. God walks with His own because they walk with Him. He’s holding the door open.
The Church that moves forward in love with God and in love with one another cannot be stopped. Jesus is holding the door open for us. With the little strength the Church had, it did two things that Jesus wants us to do.
Philadelphia guarded Christ’s Word,
and did not deny His Name.
What does that mean? We hear and live by Christ’s Word. We present His Gospel as the Only Way to Life. Attacks are inevitable. Jesus said:
John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
God’s people have always been persecuted by the world. The Bible says that Christ came into the world to save the world. But the world resisted salvation. Why? The Bible says:
John 3:19-21 …. light (our Lord Jesus) is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
Jesus sets an open door that no one can close before His Philadelphia – but His Philadelphia must neither turn from His Word nor deny His authority and power. Many Churches do that today. Like the Church at Corinth they justify sin rather that declare the Gospel that saves from sin.
All are sinners. All are broken. But Jesus came for all! The message we carry – His Gospel – is to repent. Turn to Christ. Receive Him as He is. Believe Him as He has said. Follow Him in Baptism and loving works. His Way is the Way that His Church must be!
We Will Be Victorious In Him
Revelation 3:9 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.
Jesus had very harsh words for those who say that they are Jews, but are not but do lie. He called them “the Synagogue of Satan”. They were the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that Jesus warned us against in Matthew 7:15:
Matthew 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Those who are Christ’s love Christ and His people. Those who are Philadelphia love God and love one another. Jesus says of the false ones “I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and know that I have loved you”. Those who stand up against Christ’s Philadelphia will, in the end, be bowed down. But those who bow down and worship the Lord Jesus will be lifted up by His glorious hand!
Jesus makes an interesting promise to Philadelphia, a unique promise that is found with no other Church. Jesus says:
Revelation 3:10 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.
The Church that loves Jesus will be spared from the “hour of temptation”, that 7 year Great Tribulation that God will allow to fall on the earth. Jesus told Philadelphia “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” The end times are coming. The “Hour of God’s Wrath” is coming. We live today in the Age of Grace, but one day Jesus will come and lift up His Church from this earth. When that happens seven years of Tribulation will come. God’s Children by faith in Christ will not have to go through this – but pretenders and deniers and Judaizers will. The Apostle wrote of this when He said:
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Oh how I look for that change. Oh, how I yearn for that day! Christ tarries to allow one more moment, one more hour, one more day for one more soul to enter the Ark that is the Church. Will you come? He might come today, and call for you. Will you come? Everything is ready. Pastor Adrian Rogers once said:
“When will the Rapture take place? At any moment. We are not looking for some sign. We’re not looking for some prophecy to be fulfilled before Jesus can come for His Church.”
All things are ready. Are you ready? May God touch your hearts with His Word.