Summary: Part 6 of 7 in our summer series exploring the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. Today's message examines the letter to the Church at Philadelphia.
Opening: On the top of your notes... How many doors are in this room/sanctuary portion of the building? Don’t turn and count... just take a guess... write it down. (WB ~ 20/NR ~ 12). How do you know that? I’m told ppl who are bored w/ sermons count all types of things... pews... lights in chand. lights out... you name it. Doors in entire building/church? (NR ??... WB = 194 doors)
TRANSITION: There are # of diff types of doors mentioned in Scripture... Today we are going to examine the 6th letter of the 7 in Rev. 2-3 written to the youngest of the 7 cities. 30 mi SE of Sardis. Philadelphia. Founded 2nd Century BC. Named after Hattalos 2. Came into the position upon the death fo his brother to whom he had shown deep loyalty (thus Philadelphia).
Great Location... Southern end of a river basin and at the beginning of a large plain of lava deposit... fertile soil what was perfect for vineyards... most interesting feature is that it sat atop the fault responsible fore the severe earthquake... so severely impacted that Emperor TIberius let them off paying for takes for 5 years so they could recover. (Bail-out isn’t a new idea). In 92 AD, Domitian made a sweeping decision that required grape-growing to be cut in half... to increase corn production for his armies. It devastated Philadelphia economically.
READ REVELATION 3:7-13. It is easy to think that bigger is always better. The Church at Philadelphia is a reminder that significance to Christ is not measured by the size of the church.
I. THE CHRIST OF THE TEXT (v 7)
First description of Christ not basically a reflection of Ch 1. Church greeted by one who is holy & true. Not simply one who is... but definite articles are before each in Greek text... Christ is designated here as the Holy One and the True One. OT lang. of God Is. 40:25, Hab. 3:3. As in Rev. 6:10 & 19:11... reflects John’s high Christology... high view of Christ.
2nd description of Christ... holds key of David. (see Is. 22:22) keeper of keys = steward in charge of royal palace and another would take his place. John is saying this belongs to none other than Christ. Both in Isaiah and Revelation the 1st task of the keeper of the keys is to open what is shut, not to lock what has previously been opened.
II. THE CHURCH OF THE TEXT (vv 8-10) I know your works... praise for present promise future
Receive no critique of any kind... like Smyrna... Set before them an open door...
2 forms of praise.... I know you have little power/strength... patient endurance... essentially same thing... these believers have been loyal to the gospel even in persecution. 3rd time “endure” is used in these letters. Discipleship in the NT understood the reality of suffering.
3 Promises. (1) Keeper of keys... placed an open door before them. (evangelism... Christ expects more in Philadelphia to become disciples)... (eschatological - future kingdom) (2) temporal... not sure who they are but opponents will yield to them... (3) “then” clause... since endured patiently keep from hour of trial. explain difficulty... don’t know when or really the what... we simply know that Christ will keep them from the hour of trial.
III. THE COMMAND OF THE TEXT (v 11)... I am coming soon... Hold Fast what you have...
His coming... present tense is vivid. Only command in entire passage... Hold fast... pres imp. It’s not that anyone can steal their crown but they can forfeit it... Esau forfeited his place to Jacob... Saul to David... Serving God is a high privilege but it is withdrawn at times bc of disobedience (not royal crown... stephanos... victor’s crown... EX. of Holding being active not passive. USA soc.
IV. THE CROWN OF THE TEXT (vv 12-13)
Pillars = reminder of earthquake destruction... always will be in the presence of the Lord.
God will write His Name on them as opposed to another mark that is mentioned later...
New Jerusalem... believers from earthquake-prone Philadelphia will inherit a city that will endure for ever!
New Name.... Ultimate sign of ownership... Rev. 19:11-21. Christ defeats beast... His new name is King of Kings and Lord of lords... divine ownership not personal gain!