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Lessons From the Letters: Philadephia

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Lessons from the Letters

Philadephia

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Lessons From the Letters: Philadephia

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The admonition of Jesus Christ, "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" that appears in all seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3. This means that these letters contain vital information relevant to all of us, even today. This Bible study series, which began November 6, 2010, analyzes what we can learn from each of these letters.

Sermon Notes

Lessons from the Letters – Philadelphia Bend 11-5-11

NKJ Revelation 3:7-13 Revelation 3:7-13 [7] And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; [8] I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. [9] Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. [10] Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth. [11] Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. [12] Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name. [13] He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.
American King James Version×
 ¶ " And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ' These things says 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": 8 ¶ "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie -- indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name. 13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." '

Background “Philadelphia was the youngest of all the seven cities. It was founded by colonists from Pergamum under the reign of Attalus the Second, who ruled in Pergamum from 159 to 138 B.C. Philadelphos (GSN5361) is the Greek for one who loves his brother. Such was the love of Attalus for his brother Eumenes that he was called Philadelphos, and it was after him that Philadelphia was named” (The Daily Study Bible by Barclay). 7a) He who is holy… · “holy” = separate & uniquely different from the world 7a) He who is true… · “In Greek there are two words for true. There is alethes (GSN0227), which means "true" in the sense that a true statement is different from a false statement. There is alethinos (GSN0228), which means "real" as opposed to that which is "unreal." It is the second of these words which is used here” (The Daily Study Bible by Barclay). · So the Greek word translated "true" (alethinos) can means "genuine." · The Philadelphian spirit was genuine and uniquely different from the world in substance as well as form. 7a) He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens"

The use of the name "David" points to Christ as the Messiah, who alone determines who will participate in his kingdom and who will be turned away” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary). 8a) "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. NKJ John 10:7-10 John 10:7-10 [7] Then said Jesus to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. [9] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
American King James Version×
7 ¶ Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. · Because the Philadelphia congregation members were faithful and did not compromise and deny Christ’s name, He offers them an open door to the kingdom of God. There may also be another meaning to this “open door.” NKJ Acts 14:27 Acts 14:27And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
American King James Version×
Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. NLT 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 [8] But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. [9] For a great door and effectual is opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
American King James Version×
8 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.

NKJ 2 Corinthians 2:12 2 Corinthians 2:12Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me of the Lord,
American King James Version×
 ¶ Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, NKJ Colossians 4:3 Colossians 4:3 With praying also for us, that God would open to us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
American King James Version×
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…. · [The city of Philadelphia] “was founded with the deliberate intention that it might be a missionary of Greek culture and language to Lydia and Phrygia; and so well did it do its work that by A.D. 19 the Lydians had forgotten their own language and were all but Greeks. Ramsay says of Philadelphia that it was "the centre for the diffusion of Greek language and Greek letters in a peaceful land and by peaceful means." That is what the Risen Christ means when he speaks of the open door that is set before Philadelphia. Three centuries before, Philadelphia had been given an open door to spread Greek ideas in the lands beyond; and now there has come to it another great missionary opportunity, to carry to men who never knew it the message of the love of Jesus Christ. 9) Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie -- indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. · Their enemies will someday have to bow before these faithful men and women of God when they rule with Christ in the kingdom of God.

Other examples – Job’s friends, Joseph’s brothers 10) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. · This may refer to the period of persecution of Christians that began with the Roman emperor Trajan in 98 AD and continued for over a century (cp Commentary on the New Testament by R.C.H. Lenski, p. 146-147). 11a) Behold, I am coming quickly! · The point is that all Christians must be in a state of readiness for Christ’s coming because we don’t know when it will occur. · His “coming” may also refer to His intervention in the lives of His people, which can happen at any time. 11b) Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. · "It is not a question of someone stealing their crown but of God taking it from them and giving it to someone else, because they were not worthy to wear it" (Daily Study Bible). 12) He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name. · In A.D. 17 there came a great earthquake which destroyed Sardis and ten other cities. In Philadelphia the tremors went on for years; Strabo describes it as a "city full of earthquakes."

It often happens that, when a great earthquake comes, people meet it with courage and self-possession, but ever. recurring minor shocks drive them to sheer panic. That is what happened in Philadelphia…. Shocks were an everyday occurrence. Gaping cracks appeared in the walls of the houses. Now one part of the city was in ruins, now another. Most of the population lived outside the city in huts and feared even to go on the city streets lest they should be killed by failing masonry. Those who still dared to live in the city were reckoned mad; they spent their time shoring up the shaking buildings and every now and then fleeing to the open spaces for safety. These terrible days in Philadelphia were never wholly forgotten, and people in it ever waited subconsciously for the ominous tremors of the ground, ready to flee for their lives to the open spaces. People in Philadelphia well knew what security lay in a promise that "they would go out no more"” (The Daily Study Bible by Barclay). · “…the city was constantly threatened with earthquakes. Often the only parts of a city left standing after a severe quake were the huge stone temple columns. Christ promises to set believers in his temple (the future kingdom?) in such a secure fashion that no disturbance can ever force them out.

Moreover, a faithful municipal servant or a distinguished priest was sometimes honored by having a special pillar added to one of the temples and inscribed with his name (Barclay, Seven Churches, p. 89). This may well be the sense of the second promise, "I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, ... and ... my new name." The inscribed name signifies identification and ownership. To those who have "little strength" (little influence) because of being ostracized, Christ promises recognition in his kingdom worthy of the most noble hero of any society” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary). 13) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. So what lessons can we “hear” from this letter? 1. We must be holy—separate from the world—by living in the world without compromising with its wrong beliefs and practices. NLT John 17:14-21 John 17:14-21 [14] I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. [16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. [18] As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. [20] Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [21] That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
American King James Version×
I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. 20 ¶ "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.

21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one -- as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. · Those who remain true to God maintain that uniqueness and separation without compromise. · Mr. HWA emphasized the need to not compromise as one of the major assets of this Church. NKJ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 [14] Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? [15] And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? [16] And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
 ¶ Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." · Now that another Holy Day season has ended, we enter the dark, dreary period of pagan holidays, which present us with the challenge of remaining pure and without compromise. 2. We must be genuine in our worship of God and how we live.

2 Timothy 3:5 2 Timothy 3:5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
American King James Version×
‑ End time religion is described as form without substance. NKJ John 4:20-24 John 4:20-24 [20] Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. [21] Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. [22] You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. [23] But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. [24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true (Gr. alethinos – genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." · Our worship and Christian life must have genuine substance, not just outward form. · We must worship Him from the heart, not just go thru the motions (“play church).” 3. If we remain faithful and endure to the end, continuing to remain pure and genuine, Christ will open the door of the kingdom to us. NKJ Psalms 15:1 Psalms 15:1Lord, who shall abide in your tabernacle? who shall dwell in your holy hill?
American King James Version×
A Psalm of David. LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; NKJ Matthew 5:8 Matthew 5:8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
American King James Version×
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. NKJ Matthew 24:12-13 Matthew 24:12-13 [12] And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. [13] But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
American King James Version×
12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

NLT Matthew 24:12-13 Matthew 24:12-13 [12] And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. [13] But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
American King James Version×
12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. NLT Luke 21:34-36 Luke 21:34-36 [34] And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come on you unawares. [35] For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. [36] Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
 ¶ "Watch out! Don't let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, 35 ¶ like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man." 4. Christ has opened many doors for us to preach the gospel. · GN magazine, literature, Internet, social media (Facebook, Twitter) & KOG seminars to name a few. · We must also pray for their success. · Darris McNeely, Robin Weber and I are now in the process of drafting the presentation outline for the next seminar in January. · Please pray for God’s inspiration and for our next teleconference on Monday. 5. When we rule with Christ in the kingdom of God our enemies will have to bow before us and acknowledge that we were right. 6. We must be ready at all times for the return of Christ, as well as for God’s intervention in our lives in other ways. 7. All of the firstfruits are destined to be “pillars in the temple of God” and be given new names that reflect our new identity as spirit beings.

What is this temple? NKJ Revelation 21:22 Revelation 21:22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
American King James Version×
 ¶ But I saw no temple in it [the New Jerusalem], for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. · We will be pillar members of the family of God that will never be replaced or removed. · Even now, nothing can separate us from the love that God the Father and Christ have for us. NKJ Romans 8:35-39 Romans 8:35-39 [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? [36] As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
American King James Version×
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No human being can close the door of our entry to the kingdom of God except us. 8. We have only a little strength, but we must hold fast what we have, so that no one may take our crown, and encourage fellow members to hold fast, also. · No one or nothing can separate us from God unless we allow them or it to do so. NKJ Hebrews 10:19-25 Hebrews 10:19-25 [19] Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: [25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version×
19 ¶ Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true [alethinos] heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

NLT Hebrews 10:23-25 Hebrews 10:23-25 [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: [25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version×
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. 13) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.