Summary: Adapted in part from Warren Wiersbe (and others)...a look at the letters Jesus dictated to specific churches...with the ensuing question, "what would He write to us?"
THE CONSISTENT CHURCH
* Churches are known by her Characteristics. For instance, they are formal, loose, spirit-filled, charismatic, troubled, exciting, or the like.
* As we have studied the churches in Revelation, we have seen the Careless, Crowned, Corrupted, Compromising, and the Carnal Churches, tonight we look at the Consistent church. (The Complacent church is the only one left)
* Let’s begin with the question which drives this study. What kind of church are we? What are the characteristics which would describe us? What is said about us in the community? What does the “Lord Jesus” have to say about us?
* Let’s read His words the church at Philadelphia.
* We begin with the name of the city which by default is the name of the church, Philadelphia. Most of us know the city’s name gives to us the thought of “brotherly love.” Not to become too distracted with a great deal of history & background, let give some thought to how Jesus dealt with each church. Let us take a look at the Approval, the Accusation, & the Admonition.
1) The APPROVAL
a) Jesus begins with affirming who He is for them.
i) He is Holy. This is an attribute which is only relegated to Jehovah God. He continues this thought with “true one”. He speaks of not one among many, but one. One that is unique, one that is above all others. One who holds the keys to heaven & hell, life & death. I approve of you because you know me.
b) He says, you know me and obey me. You have kept my word. The consistent church goes to great lengths to make sure they obey the word.
c) He also says, “You have not denied my name.” I was reading today where in the early days of the church, the period of discipleship was on occasion as long as 5 years. You have remained faithful and true.
2) THE ACCUSATION – Although an argument can be made that the Lord had no accusation for this church, seems to me that those who “claim to be Jews” is a metaphor for those who “claim to be believers”. He is speaking of lost church member and calls them of the “synagogue of Satan”. Literally, He sees this bunch of people as those in whom the personification of evil or Satan dwells.
a) He also says they are “Lying church members”. The suggestion is made that these “lying folks” were spinning their tales in the public square.
b) It would seem that every local assembly since the beginning of time has contained hypocrites.
* This truth makes us wonder exactly “how does God see us.” What is it that He thinks?
3) THE ADMONITION
a) He begins naming the opportunity with which He rewards the consistent church, it is an open door. In the Bible, an open door is a picture of a great opportunity for ministry expansion. Warning; God opens the door and no one can shut it, but we can indeed refused to walk through it. We refuse to change, refuse to grow, refuse to learn, and become stuck in the mud. I submit that the reason churches are dying today is because they refused to walk through the open door. The reason churches refuse to walk thru the open door is because it is made up of members who will not walk thru the open door of opportunity for ministry and mission.
b) He continues with His protection. He tells this consistent church to not fret about these lost and lying members. Why? The word is that He will take care of them. “Vengeance is Mine!” I will bring them to their knees and they will know. He will also keep the truth believer from the tribulation. (this is a referral to the rapture)
c) He ends with His partnership - Concluding His thoughts, Jesus says I will make you a pillar and will write your name down. (Illus: Jas Mangum)