And He Healed them all: The Link between Holiness & Healing IX.mp3
To those who overcome…
To the Church of Philadelphia:
The name Philadelphia means brotherly love, and it was the youngest of the seven cities Jesus addressed in His letters.
Philadelphia was a prosperous city. “Philadelphia commanded one of the greatest highways in the world, the highway which led from Europe to the East. Philadelphia was the gateway from one continent to another, and was intended to spread the Greek language, the Greek way of life and the Greek civilization, throughout those areas and the regions beyond.”
Philadelphia was also known for her beautiful buildings many of which were temples. Philadelphia had so many gods and so many temples that sometimes men called it “Little Athens.
Accoding to Barclay, ” To walk through its temple-scattered streets was to be reminded of Athens, the center of worship of the Olympian gods.”
Rev 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
Philadelphia was the Church without correction.
Jesus describes Himself to the church at Philadelphia as…
- He who is holy
- He who is true
- “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”
There are two ancient Greek words which we might translate true. One means “true and not false.” The other means “true and not fake.” The ancient Greek word used here for true (alethinos) it second, with the idea of “real” or “genuine.” Jesus is true in all of who He is, He is the real God and the real man.
He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: This is a quotation from Isa. 22:20-23, in which Jesus expresses His power and authority, especially to admit and exclude. He shows Himself as the keeper of the keys and doors, not just some in particular but all keys and all doors!
Rev 3:8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
I know your works: The church at Philadelphia had served God well in difficult circumstances, and Jesus knew it.
I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it: Often, an open door speaks of evangelistic opportunity.
- 1Cor. 16:9, “But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
- 2Cor. 2:12, “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.
- Col. 4:3, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 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, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
Regardless of what the open door was – it could not be shut!
The emphasis here is on unhindered openness. Jesus is He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens (Rev. 3:7), He has the authority to keep this door open for the Christians in Philadelphia.
For you have a little strength: The term a little strength does not imply weakness, but real strength.
Guzik says, “They were weak enough to be strong in the Lord. We can be “too strong” or “too big” or too sure of ourselves for God to really use us. The church in Philadelphia had the poverty of spirit to know they really needed God’s strength.”
Have kept My word, and have not denied My Name: The church in Philadelphia also was faithful to Jesus and His word. The idea behind have not denied My name is not only that they expressed their allegiance to Jesus, but that they lived in a way that was faithful to the name and character of Jesus.
Some churches that claim great faithfulness to the word of Jesus deny His name – His character. They represent the manner and style of Jesus as something very different from what the Bible shows.
We’ve addressed this MUCH in here over the past 3 years.
Consider the features of the church in Philadelphia:
- They had been given an open door – possibly for evangelistic opportunity
- Reliance on God (You have a little strength)
- Faithfulness to Jesus (have kept My word, and have not denied My name)
Barnhouse says about their faithfulness…
“The church of Philadelphia is commended for keeping the Word of the Lord and not denying His Name. Success in Christian work is not to be measured by any other standard of achievement.
It is not…
- rise in ecclesiastical position.
- the number of new buildings which have been built through a man’s ministry.
- It is not the crowds that flock to listen to any human voice.
All of these things are frequently used as yardsticks of success, but they are earthly and not heavenly measures.”
These features seem “unspectacular.” and for that reason are not the focus of most ministry today. Yet Jesus was completely pleased with this church. He has nothing negative to say to it.
Rev 3:9 “Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.”
I will make those of the synagogue of Satan: Apparently, the Christians in Philadelphia were persecuted by Jewish people (the synagogue). However, these persecuting Jews were Jews in name only (who say they are Jews and are not, but lie). In fact, they have no spiritual connection to Abraham or to the people of faith.
“For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” ~ Rom. 2:28-29
I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you:
In this, Jesus promises that He will vindicate His people and make sure that their persecutors recognize they are wrong, and that Jesus and His followers are right.
The thought is of vindication before self-righteous “spiritual” persecutors. God promises that the church in Philadelphia will be vindicated before their persecutors.
Most Christians today attempt to grab promises like these and use them in prayers, mantras and on picket signs as a battering ram … demanding their rights or in a vain attempt to manifest God’s promise through activity. We condemn the world for not learning from its history when it agrees with our agenda, but we are nearly always guilty of the same.
God promised Israel that Gentiles would honor them and acknowledge their God in Isa. 45:14. The Jews did not attempt to force this reality, they just waited in faith. Nearly 750 years later it was realized following the resurrection of their Messiah.
Now the tables are somewhat turned, and these same Jewish people “will play the role of the heathen and acknowledge that the church is the Israel of God.”
The question is will Christians wake up and follow the example of the faithful in the ancient Jewish community and believe and wait with patience or will they attempt to manifest God’s promise by force?
As to the Jews worshiping before our feet, 1Cor. 14:24-25 speaks of unbelievers falling down in the midst of Christians to worship God. This establishes that it isn’t Christians who are being worshipped, but God is being worshipped in the presence of Christians.
To hear the message simply click on the link above.
*NOTE: I draw heavily from the writings of David Guzik, a fabulous commentator from Germany. You may obtain his commentary through e-Sword for free.