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The Message to Philadelphia

Revelation: Church! Hear This...  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:22
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Mali Africa

I use this country to open with for two reasons...
1) This is the Sunday we recognize, remember, and bring awareness to the persecuted church around the world (pray for the World book)
(slide of Tower)
2) Because of what a local pastor told me about how God worked there in the town of Kati just outside Bamako, the capital.
The communist were building this massive radio tower taking up almost twenty-five acres
The more the Christians prayed the more efficiently the work on the tower was done (WEAK & HELPLESS… SMALL)
The day before the tower would go live and send the message of communism across Africa, communism fell
The only qualified people to run such a station were an American missionary couple who used the radio tower to broadcast the Gospel message to Africa!
Weakness / a Feeling of Inability to do something about a situation...
Any here feeling weak?
The church Jesus sends a message to in our passage today felt weak, that they had “little power” and needed great encouragement
Revelation 3:7-13
Revelation 3:7–13 NASB95
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 ‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and 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 My new name. 13 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
As we read this message, I want you to remember what this book of Apocalypses is… Revelation 1:1 we are discovering and knowing Jesus Christ deeper and more completely...
Revelation 1:1 NASB95
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,


“Brotherly Love” We cannot read into the name of the city and apply that to the church.
However, we do see that this church in this city may have had a heart for the lost and God was going to honor that
Known well for the powerful earthquakes shattering the city and its buildings
This city was known as “Little Athens” … Gateway to the east! Many gods were worshiped here
There were many here who are religious, but few who have relationship with Jesus Christ
May have even been the case for the Jews in this area… religious yet having no relationship with the God who called them His people
To this church in a city full of gods Jesus introduces Himself...

Jesus Is...

What a precious thing that we have God giving us His Word to remind us of His Character! What a comfort… REMEMBERING!
Def: “one perfect in goodness and righteousness
Only God is Holy.
Here once again we see a clear statement to the fact that Jesus is stating He is Deity. (NOT a deity, But rather Deity!)
Mankind’s holiness is only that which is imputed, coming as a result of the work of Jesus Christ
Jesus is genuine, he is the original, He is the real deal in a place full of counterfeits.
He is authentic and creator in a place full of false and manufactured gods
In a place where lies of Satan run rampant, Jesus stand as the One True God!
A place where things “LOOK” true He “IS” true. WOW what a contrast and what a hope for this church who feels little power.
Consider this: Revelation 6:10 the martyrs here refer to Christ as “Holy and True”…
because He is Holy He has to judge sin, because He is True, He has to vindicate His people slain!
Revelation 6:10 NASB95
10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Jesus Is...

In His Holiness He not only has the Authority to Judge, but also to rule!
The Keys of David… the Kingship belongs to Him!
Keys lock and unlock… given to those who have authority
With His authority comes control… He opens, He closes
Not chance, man, not happenstance… His choice, time, and control
Consider what He says about this open door… that no one can shut!

An Open Door to the Church

Jesus was going to work!!! I love watching Him work… Remember He is the One building His church
In the new testament the Phrase “Open Door” consistently refers to ministry opportunity
Jesus Christ is… “Lord of the Harvest” the Head of the Church, He determines where and how people will serve
WOW!!! What a blessing when God uses someone or someones who are little in power to show His greatness
David and Goliath
The small group of believers in Mali
Paul and Silas (Prison Doors) or Peter walking right out!
Allow God to work
Then be ready to declare Christ
Verse 8… “not denied name”
Kept His Word… the truth in the midst of lies
This church had a great potential for the work of God! WHY?… because of the One they placed their Faith (NOT… resources, wealth, size, etc.)
Jesus would work in spite of their obstacles:
Obstacle of size or power
Obstacle of Jews in the city: synagogue of Satan… God’s chosen people were now the tool of Satan!
Spreading lies about you
Jews have a great heritage but heritage is not a guarantee for salvation… (Christian home/ Nation / Lineage)

God’s Promises

To a church that needs encouragement… (first I will use you!) then...
The Religious will know… His love for them! “they will bow down at your feet
When? How? We don’t know if this would transpire in the near future for the readers of John’s day or if it is referring to end time events.
Was God going to humble the Jews in Philadelphia and open the door to bring the gospel to them?
There is no record of this but none the less it could have occured. We do know that in the end God will show Himself to be TRUE!
There is a certainty given here for the overcomer / victor!
God’s promise regardless of the time of fulfillment would bring comfort and hope to the believer as it would with His NEXT PROMISE....

Kept From Hour of Testing

verse 10
NOTE: Jesus does not promise to spare believers from suffering or martyrdom but to shield them from his wrath and to transform martyrdom into triumph
As we approach this passage we need to consider what is being said here:
There is an “hour” coming where the Whole World will be tested (This is global)
God will judge evil and sin on a global level (Revelation unveils Christ in His role as judge after the messages to the churches)
So Why Tell Philadelphia?
You will be kept from this… Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Hard to see them going through this and not being impacted
Comfort and encouragement… was for them then and for us know, and for all in between!
Patterson states this well: Eschatological promises made to the churches, such as the church at Philadelphia, many of which would never be actually experienced in their own lifetime, were, nonetheless, the cause of great comfort. The church today reads those same promises and is comforted by them. Death is conceivable for any believer prior to the beginning of events described in the Apocalypse. Nonetheless the people of God are both comforted in their sorrows and encouraged in their task by the ability to read and know that their work is not in vain and that the forces of Christ and righteousness eventually prevail over the tragic evils that have scarred the landscape of human history. Consequently, even if the promise to the church at Philadelphia involves a deliverance that neither they, their children, nor their grandchildren actually experience, a promise of God for the ultimate triumph of those in Christ remains for the future.
In light of persecution that may go on in the mean time God promises to come quickly...
Quickly? 2000 years later… 2 Peter 3:7-9
2 Peter 3:7–9 NASB95
7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Church… He is coming quickly… He has opened a door of opportunity to share the gospel… but time is short!

Christ’s Rewards to the Faithful!

Victors Crown… this can be taken by choosing:
not to persevere
not to hold onto his Word
they will be a pillar that cannot be shaken in the New Jerusalem
Assurance, new name, you are mine!!!
Consider in Closing what we learn about Jesus Christ
The church today is like the church in Philadelphia , Jesus Christ presents to us many open doors of ministry opportunity. If He opens the doors, we must work; if He shuts the doors, we must wait. May we be faithful to Him and see the opportunities, not the obstacles.
Are you feeling weak or discouraged? Consider the greatness of your God, look for what He is doing and advance with Him!
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