“I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon. Hold onto what you have so that no one will take away your crown.”
When God chooses to open opportunities the possibilities are endless. Life, for us, upon this earth is like walking through a maze sometimes. We don’t see everything so we don’t know what is going to happen around the next curve of life. However, God is Holy and Pure and knows exactly what He is doing, why He is doing it, and how it will impact our lives.
The word Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) means “brotherly love.”
The church in ancient Philadelphia had little power, but it had potential. How? Because of their faithfulness and listening to God. They refused to deny God. Many false teachers had crept into the church but God had said that they would be contended with. I don’t see where it said how, but it would happen. Maybe many of them would be converted. God also said that He would keep the Philadelphia Christians (and all believers) from the worldwide tribulation that would come. (end times)
The church of Philadelphia devoted itself to the study of scripture and doing right. This church was the faithful church. This church devoted themselves to faith in the Lord Jesus and produced fruit. They had a personal faith in Jesus.
As we study the word of God we learn of many prophesies warning us of future catastrophes. However, we live on this earth, each of us, for such a short time. We need to learn what the Bible says and believe what the Bible says. The Word of God is a living message that will outlive all of us. It speaks to us every day if we let it. It warns us of things to come, it comforts us as we need it, and it encourages us to go on. God listed 7 churches in the Bible…all different. Yes, they were churches back then, but each of those 7 churches we see all around us today as well. They were, to us, an example so that we would see what was/is good in the church, and what is bad and not to go that way.
Each of these 7 churches sends a message of importance and urgency in varied ways to every church then and now. The gospel is in our court now. We are to be its outreach and we are to now be its core spreading only the truth of God. We are not to add to the word nor are we to take away from the word, and we surely are not meant to make it say what we want but are to preach it as God wants. Not our opinion…but His!
Have you ever wondered why Christ’s message to Philadelphia in the book of Revelation was very different from the ones he sent to the other churches? Let me say here that all of us could study this specific church and why this church and how it acted is important to us today. Oh, we can choose to be like the others on that circuit (the other six), but I’ll take this one.
This church remained faithful even amid all the opposition that was going on around them. They loved Jesus and were trying to please Him. Out of the seven churches, only the one in Philadelphia and that of Smryna received outright praise. Philadelphia stood between Rome and the eastern world and was known as “little Athens” because of the many idols. Despite the idolatry in the town, it remained faithful to Jesus. Can you even imagine how difficult that must have been?
The people in the church of Philadelphia faced great persecution and a lot of it came from the Jews. However, the church chose to rely on Jesus for finding solutions. They stayed strong in the Lord. That should apply to all of us; the Lord’s strength should be evident in our weaknesses.
The Church of Philadelphia flourished on patience and endurance in the Place of Prayer. Was it any wonder why the Lord told them to hold on to what they had so that no one would take their crown? You do not earn a crown by brains alone for it takes patience, persistence and, hard work makes a worthy winner. This church was a praying, a believing church, and, again, they were the faithful church. Don’t you want your church to be known for these things with God?
They were the ones to build a stronger community in Christ during unacceptable situations. Nothing would have held a Philadelphia Church back in today’s world. Ever wonder how this church would have handled the covid situation? I don’t have any doubt that they would be the ones to go out and help do the right things.
This church taught the truth even if it would mean great danger to themselves. They were leaders like all churches should be. They wanted people to have a personal relationship with Jesus and they stood their ground. Isn’t this what every church should be and do? They did not compromise for had they been a compromising church God would have told them which would tell us.
You can study all about the history of the area and the church, but I just want to tell you here a few things about this church.
Every church should be a process for God to lead people into a personal relationship with Christ. It is what the Church of Philadelphia represented in the scriptures and even now. They collectively had a passion for the spread of the gospel, and they understood that they did not need to have a spiritual gift to evangelize. We all think that we must have a special gift or we can’t go out and tell others about Jesus. How many think that you must have a degree to be able to share the word of God? Did the apostles and disciples back then have this? You study and you share the Lord. Even if only one person accepts Jesus as their Lord from what you share…that is one less person that won’t miss heaven. All of us have a job. All you need is your faith and a willing heart to share the word. You don’t have to be a pastor to share the love of the Lord. What has Jesus done for you?
Our message is not to go to just the saved in this world, but to those who don’t know the Lord. If we don’t tell them about the Lord and give them that opportunity to know Him too…are we doing the job Jesus has called us to do. Oh, they might not listen but they were given the opportunity. The rest is between God and them. Ours is to be obedient.
Think about this for a moment. Most everyone has a phone nowadays, social media something, texting, and sites they can go to leave messages on. Share the Lord. We have a lot of tools nowadays to our advantage. The Church of Old had to go on several walks to convince people to follow Christ, but the church today, is in a world without walls- anyone, anywhere can be reached with Technology. Evangelism has become very easy. Why are we stalling? Why are we not telling someone? So, what if they ignore our message? You can always try again. Maybe your part is to sow the seed of the gospel, maybe it is to water that seed, but God is the one who brings the harvest and tugs on their heart.
We are no longer limited in how we get the message of Jesus across to others. You might feel limited and some are more than others, but we can all do something. We can be like this Philadelphia church.
In this day and age, people out there in this world say the church is bad, and Christianity is bad. They do all they can to make our life miserable and to destroy the church. However…………we know the end of the Bible and we are on the winning team. These people listen to every other perspective and accept all the garbage out there, but don’t want to learn about Jesus. They call us all kinds of names but they accept all the evil as good and fact. How sad they are for one day, if they have still rejected the Lord they won’t like their eternity.
I don’t want to miss the opportunities of God. I don’t want to hear God say why didn’t you do as I said. I don’t want to be the one who wouldn’t take a chance and tell someone about Jesus and they would miss heaven. I am no speaker that is a given…but I can still tell others about Jesus. We all have opportunities to tell someone. How about when you go out to eat…why not take even a little card with a Bible verse and leave it on the table. It just might be what that person needed to hear that day. We can all let our light shine in some way. I know for a fact that if we build our lives and the church on the premise of the Church of Philadelphia, the hope that Christ promised us will become our reality. As for me…I choose Jesus and have faith in Him. He is always there for me even on the day I don’t feel He is hanging out with me. I make mistakes and so do you. We mess up all the time if we are honest. I have allowed opportunities go and thought I was just too busy…but are we so busy with life we can’t love others and share Jesus even for a moment? Send someone a text today and tell them Jesus loves them. Even if they don’t want that message…it will be in their brain.
Of all of the 7 churches that were given a message, I would like to believe that I would have been in this church back then, and in that type of church in the here and now. I don’t just sit and listen to a sermon for they could deceive me into believing a lie, I study what they say and see if what they say is what God said. I know how to study, to research, and if it is true…then believe it. If what they wanted to tell me was a lie, a deception, etc., I will not entertain it. You see my salvation is of great importance to me. I don’t want to believe a lie. Everything in the Bible is there for a reason. God didn’t just toss it there to entertain you in some way. Search out the truth so that one day you will stand in heaven and know that it was because you accepted Jesus as your Lord, that you are doing His will in your life, and that you are a faithful servant of His. Hold on people…the road will get even more bumpy. May God bless you and guide you.