Revelation 3:7-13 The Unspectacular, Faithful Church

by | Apr 26, 2023 | New Testament, Revelation

I. Philadelphia; Jesus V. 1

A. Philadelphia

1. Founded as a missionary outpost for the Greek culture into the Asian lands.

2. Had a highway to the Far East, a gateway from one continent to another.

3. Beautiful city, known for its architecture. Known as the Little Athens.

4. Suffered from frequent earthquakes and frequent evacuations.

5. Hosted temples to all the Greek gods.

B. Jesus

1. Jesus is holy- Jesus’ very nature is that of holiness: “set apartness”. Not common.

2. Jesus is true (and not false) – authentic, genuine as opposed to the false gods & false Jews.

3. Key of David- Keys speak of authority to permit entry or close. (Isaiah 22:20-22)

II. Jesus’ Words To The Church @ Philadelphia Vs. 2-3

A. Commendation

1. I know your works-These Believers had faith that was seen through their works.

a. James 2:14-18 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

2. Open door-Different ideas on this, but it is an opportunity granted to them.

a. The city of Philadelphia was a missionary city for Greek culture.

i. The church @ Philadelphia was to be a missionary city for the kingdom of God.

b. These could be doors of ministry/evangelistic opportunity opened for them.

i. 1 Corinthians 16:7-9 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

ii. 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…

iii. Colossians 4:3-4 (NKJV) 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, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

c. Another idea is that those within the “synagogue of Satan” did not consider these Christians as ones that God would accept. Jesus may be saying that He, the holy and true One, has the keys to grant them access to Heaven, regardless of what others said.

3. Little strength-mikros-(mee-kros’) they didn’t have much strength. Very little strength.

a. So often, we see people that seem to be Super Stars, and we feel inferior in the faith.

b. We recognize our own internal struggles, fears, weakness, and failures.

c. It becomes easy to leave “ministry” to the “paid professionals” or to the “strong”.

d. Havner– “It is not a matter of great strength, not great ability, but great dependability. Samson had great ability but poor dependability. A little strength faithfully used means more than much strength flashily and fitfully used.”

e. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore 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.

f. Weakness is no advantage unless we allow ourselves to be strengthened in Christ.

4. Kept My word- This was a church that adhered to God’s word both in word and deed.

5. Not denied- Their allegiance to Jesus was maintained; they didn’t abandon the faith.

6. Jesus’ evaluation- Evangelistic opportunity; little but real strength; faithful to Jesus,Word

7. Many would consider the Church at Philadelphia an unspectacular church.

a. There were no obvious Super Stars.

b. They didn’t have a name that they were alive. (Sardis)

c. They simply did what every church should be doing all of the time.

d. David Guzik- In some ways, these features seem unspectacular. They should be commonplace among churches. Yet Jesus was completely pleased with this church. He had nothing negative to say to the church at Philadelphia.

8. Man’s evaluation spiritual importance can be 180 degrees opposite of what Jesus says.

a. Luke 16:14-15 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

B. Recognition Of Local Opposition V. 9

1. These people claimed to be true followers of God but weren’t. Religious pretenders.

2. worship before your feet- Not that the Christians would be worshipped, but that these Believers would be joined to Jesus, and eventually these religious hypocrites would bow before Jesus, and the Christians of Philadelphia would be there to see it. (See 3:21)

a. Philippians 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

3. to know that I have loved you- It seems these false Jews were saying the opposite, but they would eventually be proven wrong.

4. NOTE- They were not told to prove that Jesus loved them. They were told that he had opened a door for them to walk through. Don’t try to prove you’re loved; follow Jesus!

C. Promises Vs. 10-13

1. V. 10- Their perseverance granted them exemption from a trial coming upon the whole earth. (Luke 2:10 refers to Roman Empire, same phrase. Some 1st century event)

2. V. 11- Quickly-suddenly. They were to hold on and not forfeit their reward. (Esau/Jacob)

3. V. 12- Overcoming-Holding fast, not turning away.

a. Go out no more- Philadelphians often fled the city due to earthquakes. No more…

b. The name…Philadelphian temple pillars had inscriptions of special citizens.

c. Names- ownership, identity; like a slave with his master’s brand burned into him.

4. V. 13- Invitation for all in the church to listen and take to heart the words of Jesus.