Summary: Of all 7 churches of Asia Minor, here’s the one we want to emulate -- Philadelphia: 1. Highly commended 2. Deeply challenged 3. Greatly compensated - Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
READING SOMEONE ELSE’S MAIL
PHILADELPHIA, the Commended Church
Yazoo, MS…in the 1930’s…the Great Depression. People didn’t have extra money / children especially had no extra money for candy / people would go to general store and get a big jar of molasses, go home and make their own candy / it was kept in big wooden barrel in middle of store / people filled their jars there…
6 year old boy got a sweet tooth / slipped finger into the barrel, then into his mouth / owner scolded him: ‘that’s unsanitary’ / kid was embarrassed, left / few days later his tongue guided him there again / did same again…was caught again / this time man took him by arm and escorted him out firmly…spanked him / you’d think he’d learn his lesson, but 10 days later he did it again, but before he could get it to his mouth, owner caught him red handed / he picked him up, turned him upside-down and, yes, dipped him in head first / last thing you could hear as he was lowered was a prayer, “Lord, give me a tongue equal to this opportunity!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, GBC has been granted an incredible opportunity to impact this area and the world for Jesus Christ…we need to pray now that we will be equal to the opportunity.
Now, anytime God gives a great opportunity, there will be obstacles set by Satan. Anytime God tries to bless, the devil tries to blast! Such is the case w/ the church at Philadelphia, seen on the map here.
3 things about the church at Philadelphia:
1. Highly commended
2. Deeply challenged
3. Greatly compensated
Let’s just look at #1 this morning, and then 2 & 3 tonite.
1. Highly commended church
We’ve seen a lot of criticism from our Lord in the first 5 letters. But you’ll notice that to the church at Philadelphia, there’s not one negative word…not a hint of rebuke.
Of all these 7 churches, this is the one we want to be at GBC! If you’ve been here for this series, you’ll remember that each of these 7 churches represents a type of church. All 7 were real in John’s day, and all were at different levels spiritually. They represent 7 periods of church history, from the time of Christ, to these last days we now live in. The Philadelphia period was a time of the greatest revival the world has ever known, and took place from approximately 1700-1900 A.D. But you could place its existence between A.D. 33 and The Rapture! For Jesus has always had true followers in every age. They may have been few in number in the dark ages…Thyatira…but there’s never been less than today, in the Laodicean church age, the last days of this age of grace!
The goal is to be a present day Philadelphia church...to bring that spirit of the past to the present. Of all these 7 churches, this is the one we want to emulate! This is the church we want to be like. The Lord says to them, you’re doing a great job, keep up the good work.
Let’s look first of all at the One Who commends them:
Notice how the Lord introduces Himself to this church:
7 “holy…true” Why say this? Probably because the city in which this church was located, Philadelphia, was filled w/ heathenism and paganism. There were pagan temples on every corner / so many heathen shrines that Philadelphia was nicknamed “little Athens”.