The Faithful Church

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 7-13
Subject: Seven Churches; Church, Philadelphia; Faithful Church
Series: Seven Churches
Introduction

John the Apostle was exiled to the Isle of Patmos for preaching the gospel. While there, God spoke to him and gave him the book of Revelation. In Chapters 2 & 3, the letters are addressed to the angels of the seven churches in Asia Minor. The “angels” are the messengers or Rev. 1:16 “stars.” Christ is seen holding them in His hand, which means that He controls the leaders and the churches.

Philadelphia was located on a hillside about 30 miles S. E. of Sardis. It was founded by the King of Pergamos. His unusual devotion to his brother earned the city its name, “brotherly love.”

Philadelphia is a commendable church, not one rebuke from the Lord; it was a faithful church. It had experienced an evangelical revival; it had a world vision. This church believed right and did right. They had orthodoxy and obedience. It was a belief that affected their behavior.

I. THE SOVEREIGN CHRIST. 7-9

A. HIS RESUME. 7

“He who is holy” – He is absolutely pure and separate from sin.

Hebrews 7:26

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens”

“true” – refers to one who speaks truth and who is genuine or authentic as opposed to false.

John 17:3

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

1 John 5:20 - “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

True speaks of rightness in His conduct. Conduct is born out of character. He is holy and true.

“He who has the key of David” – in Isaiah 22:20-22 Eliakim was given “the key of the house of David.” This authority to admit or refuse admittance into the king’s presence evidenced the king’s great confidence in Eliakim. In Revelation 3:7 Jesus applied this terminology to Himself as one who could determine who would enter His future Davidic kingdom.

In Revelation 1:18 Christ has the keys to Death and Hell.

Revelation 1:18 - “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Jesus Christ has the sovereign authority to control entrance into the kingdom.

1. He Orders Steps “opens”

2. He Orders Stops “shuts”

Corrie Ten Boon, “God orders our steps and our stops.”

B. HIS REVELATION. 8

1. OF OMNISCIENCE.

“I know your works” - laboring to point of exhaustion

2. OF OPPORTUNITY.

“set before you an open door” – I have given you a door which I, myself have opened for you. It is a door that is my gift to you, a privilege for you.

1 Corinthians 16:9 - “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

2 Corinthians 2:12 - “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord.”

Colossians 4:3 - “meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.”

“open door” - it is the right to preach the gospel, the right to evangelize the world. The Philadelphia church represents this present age. It is the age we call the age of grace, the age of the open door, and the last age of the church, along with the Laodicean age. During the Laodicean age the church will become indifferent and unconcerned where doors are shut and opportunity is abandoned.

In Philadelphia the “open door” was perfect tense indicating the door is opened and remains opened. It is open until God shuts it.

There are many doors open today, but many of us are blinded by greed, selfishness, love for comfort and pleasure, and we often fail even to see the doors that are open.

Through the Apostle John, Jesus gave the church at Philadelphia a fresh vision of the Lord, His attributes, His resources and His prerogatives. The vision of the King always precedes the vision of the continents.

William Cary was a cobbler. In his little workshop could be found the tools of his trade, a book or two, a Bible, a Dutch grammar, and a copy of Captain Crook’s voyages. But the thing which would hold the gaze of the visitor was the homemade paper and leather map on the wall. As he cobbled shoes, Carry’s thoughts were far away over the seven seas. He had seen the King and the countries in their dark and crying need.

On May 31, 1792, William Cary preached his famous sermon in Nottingham, England. His text, Isaiah 54:2-3, “Lengthen thy cords; and strengthen thy stakes.” He then formed a mission society which awoke the church from the lethargy of a thousand years. Cary became its first missionary. He went to India and flung himself into the task.

The vision of the King gave birth to the vision of the crowds.

Our generation has been given an open door!

3. OF OBEDIENCE.

a. Feebleness.

By the way, this is a commendation. Jesus praised them, not for their strength but for their weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:10 - “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It is in the weakness of the church in Philadelphia that Jesus was glorified and magnified. Because the Philadelphia church recognized their weakness and went through the door that was opened, He was able to use them. They were weak, but willing. The things we ought to boast about are our holiness, the vigor of our spiritual life and our hunger for God.

b. Faithfulness.

“kept My word” - loyal to the Scriptures, the Word of God.

Satan corrupts the Word of God

Critics subtract from it

Liberals supplant the Word of God

People neglect the Word of God

World rejects the Word of God

Christians ought to love, obey, study and live the Word of God

c. Fearlessness

“not denied my name” - they confessed Him

C. HIS RETRIBUTION. 9

Anytime you find an open door you also find obstacles and opposition.

There are Jews physically, but they were not Jews spiritually.

Romans 2:28-29 - “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

The Lord promises to deal with the church’s opposition.

Romans 12:19 - “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.”

II. THE STABLE CHURCH 10-13

A. ONE OF DEVOTION 10a

“Persevere” - you kept the word of my patience; you have been committed to me, I will be committed to you.

B. ONE OF DELIVERANCE. 10b

“the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole earth” - a time of universal extent. There has not been a testing, a time of tribulation, that has encompassed all the world. It has not happened yet historically. The preposition “from” or “out of” supports the pre-tribulation rapture of the church.

C. ONE OF DIRECTION. 11

“I am coming quickly” - this speaks of a hopeful event which allows me to plan with the end in mind. The church must always live in a sense of the soon to be returning Lord.

“Crown” – is our reward; the service that is rendered through us will accrue for us rewards that we will bring and present to the Savior.

There are always enemies trying to defeat us in our personal commitment to Christ, to keep us from our crowns.

D. OUR DURATION. 12

“pillar” – believers will enjoy an unshakable, eternal, secure place in the presence of God.

“I will write on Him”

“the name of my God”

“the name of the city of my God”

“My new name”

Means the faithful belong to God, hold citizenship in the New Jerusalem, and are in a special way related to Christ. He will imprint His character on us and identify us as belonging to Him.

Revelation 22:3-4

“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.”

CONCLUSION

The Philadelphia Church was praised for its faithfulness to the purposes of God, not its strength or wealth. God help us!