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Summary: The Messenger to the CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA identifies Himself by saying, “THESE ARE THE WORDS OF HIM WHO IS HOLY AND TRUE.” These are divine attributes. Deity is delivering the message to the church of brotherly love.

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 6-19-15

Lesson: II.F: The Church at Philadelphia (3:7-13)

Revelation 3:7-13 (NIV)

7“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.

13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Introduction

The city of Philadelphia was twenty-five miles south of Sardis. It was named for its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, who was king of Pergamos. It was on the edge of a great volcanic plain bearing the marks of lava, and the ashes of volcanoes then extinct. Such land is fertile; and Philadelphia was the center of a great grape-growing area and a famous producer of wines. But that situation had its perils, and these perils had left their mark more deeply on Philadelphia than on any other city. In A.D. 17 there was a great earthquake which destroyed Sardis and ten other cities. In Philadelphia the tremors went on for years.

Today the city is named Allah Shehr, meaning “City of God,” and it’s populated largely by Greeks (there are approximately 15,000 there). The remains of early Christian influences are more clearly seen today in this than in any of the other cities in Asia where the seven churches were located. The ruins of twenty-five churches can be found there, and marble pillars—the remains of great churches—can be a plainly seen. No doubt these marble columns are the remains of pillars that were there even in John’s day or shortly thereafter.

The city of Philadelphia continued longer than any of the other cities named by John, and was the last Christian city to surrender to the Turks. When the Turks and Mohammedanism flooded across Asia Minor and every other town had fallen, Philadelphia stood erect. For centuries it was a free Greek Christian city amidst a pagan people. It was the last bastion of Asian Christianity. It was not till midway through the fourteenth century that it fell; and to this day there is a Christian bishop and 1000 Christians in it. With the exception of Smyrna the other churches are in ruins but Philadelphia still holds aloft the banner of the Christian faith.

The name “Philadelphia” means brotherly love. Brotherly love is a distinct characteristic of the household of God—“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19). Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John 13:35).

Commentary

7“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

The Messenger to the CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA identifies Himself by saying, “THESE ARE THE WORDS OF HIM WHO IS HOLY AND TRUE.” These are divine attributes. (Read Hosea 11:9; Jeremiah 10:10; Revelation 4:8; 1 Thessalonian’s 1:9; Isaiah 6:3; 1 John 5:20.) Deity is delivering the message to the church of brotherly love.

Holiness is an essential attribute of deity. In the Old Testament Jehovah refers to Himself as “the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). On a number of occasions He said, “I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). Jesus quite naturally says it, and rightly so, for He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). Peter testified of Him as the One “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Holiness is what Christ is in Himself, in His essential character. This is tantamount to declaring that He is God, which, of course, He is. Jesus Christ is “HOLY” in His character, His words, His actions, and His purposes. As the Holy One, He is uniquely set apart from everything else, and nothing can be compared to Him. Because He is holy, every word He ever spoke and everything he ever did was perfect.

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