A Study on the 7 Churches (Philadelphia)

A Study on the 7 Churches (Philadelphia)

The Church at Philadelphia

This is part six in a seven-part study on the Churches in the book of Revelation.

The notes below compliment this live worship-hour video recording of a teaching on the Church at Philadelphia.

Almost 2000 years ago Jesus shared a message to seven churches in seven cities located in present-day western Turkey. That message is presented in Revelation 2-3. When John wrote the book of Revelation, there were about 100 churches in greater Asia. So then, the question is: Why these seven churches?  These churches were not the largest or most notable—two of the seven churches had grave issues. Many believe Jesus chose to speak to these churches because their location and ministry are representative of both future periods in church history and the major issues individuals and churches struggle with today.

Philadelphia was the youngest of the seven cities noted in the book of Revelation. To this church, Jesus offered only words of commendation and promise. This church was strong, loving, and faithful. In the 14th century, Philadelphia stood alone as the last Christian city in the entire region. Jesus commends this church for its ability to endure, to remain faithful to His Word, and not deny His name. To the faithful, He promises a great reward and an escape from “the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world…” (Revelation 3:10b).

The message to the Church at Philadelphia reminds believers of the importance of love, endurance, witnessing and faithfulness. To the faithful Jesus promises a great reward and an escape from “the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world…”  (Rev. 3:10b)

The Church at Philadelphia is said to represent a time of love, spiritual growth, and championing the name of Christ. Between 1648 and 1900 AD, revival broke out in many places across the globe. Great preachers such as Whitfield, Spurgeon, Sunday, Finney, and Wesley were well respected and ushered-in a new era of respect for the church. There was a hunger for Bible study, and sacrificial efforts to establish many Bible Colleges, seminaries, and missionary training and sending centers. This period of history marks one of the high points of Church history.

A REVIEW OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION

  • The book of Revelation is sometimes referred to as the Apocalypse (a word derived from a Latin base) = THE UNVAILING
  • The book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read and study it.
  • There are three divisions in the book of Revelation: What was, What is and What shall be.

THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

  • Philadelphia was located about 25 miles southeast of the city of Sardis (now called Sart).
  • The modern Turkish city of Alasehir was originally known as the city of Philadelphia. It was founded in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamon (197-160 BC). Eumenes named the city in reference to the love he had for his brother, Attalus II. His loyalty earned him the nickname Philadelphos, which means “one who loves his brother.”
  • This city and church survived the longest. During the 14th century, this city stood alone as the one free self-governing city in the region.

WHAT HISTORY REVEALS:

  • This city and church survived the longest of the seven churches in the book of Revelation.
  • Christians in the city were known for their faith, love, and courage.
    • A great witness!

PRONOUNCEMENTS / WORDS OF PRAISE:

  • These are the words of him who is holy and true.
    • Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
    • Mark 1:24 notes that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
  • [Jesus is] holy and true [and] holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut (V.7)
    • The one who holds the key of David is referenced in Isaiah 27. The role of Eliakim foreshadows the role of Jesus (Rev. 3:8).
      • Jesus is the door (John 10:9).

WORDS OF PRAISE AND COMMENDATION:

  • “I know you have a little strength…you have kept My word…” (Rev. 3:8b)
    • “…You have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” (Revelation 2:3)
    • “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
    • “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” ( 24:13)
  • You have kept my commands
    • “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)
    • “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
    • “And this is love, that we walk according to His Commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.” (2 John 1:6)
  • You have endured patiently
    • “Be joyful in hope patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12)
    • “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
  • You have not denied my name (Revelation 3:8c)
    • “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory…with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)
    • “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God…” (2 Timothy 1:8)

WORDS OF PROMISE:

  • “I am coming soon.” (3:4b)
    • The comma in John 14;2b-3) provides a hint for how long it will be before Jesus returns. In John 14 we read: “I am going…to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you[,] I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:2b-3)
      • Comma = small or brief amount of time.
  • I will keep you from the hour of trial…” (Revelation 3:10)
    • A reference to the Rapture: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. [And] we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:16-18)
  • “To those who overcome I will make a pillar in heaven.
    • Application: Great reward awaits the faithful. “Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is ” (Matt. 5:12)
  • “…They will walk with Me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.” (3:4)
    • Application: In Christ, we can find forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and are made holy and worthy (1 Peter 1:16).
      • We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)

 

 

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