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Summary: The Church has two options: it can be proactive and walk through the doors that are opened to it or it can wait passively and watch opportunities to come and go

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AMERICAN IDOLS: LOOKING AT OURSELVES AND OUR LOYALTIES THROUGH THE EYES OF JESUS

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE NEW YEAR

THE IDOL OF STOICISM: PHILADELPHIA

REVELATION 3:7-13

Sermon Objective: The Church has two options: it can be proactive and walk through the doors that are opened to it or it can wait passively and watch opportunities to come and go.

SERIES INTRO

Happy New Year! How appropriate that we are looking at the church in Philadelphia today. You’ll understand that more fully a bit later.

We are nearing the end of our series called “American Idols: Looking at Ourselves and Our Loyalties Through the Eyes of Jesus”

There are two categories of idols:

{1} an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.

{2} any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.

Our concern is with the latter. There are a myriad of “things” which could be classified as an idol … they are limited only by the passions of the individual in question. But there are certain dispositions or demeanors that our culture serves and pursues as an end in themselves … they have become idolatrous.

What we discover in “The Revelation” is that they are not just limited to our culture but that others have also pursued these with blind devotion. They include:

• Superiority (pride) – The Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) • Laissez Faire – The Church in Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) • Tolerance – The Church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) • Leisure – The Church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) • Stoicism – The Church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) • Independence – The Church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)

Today we will look at the church in Philadelphia and Stoicism. It is found in Rev. 3:7-13.

SERMON INTRO:

The Asian city of Philadelphia (now known as Alasehir, Turkey) has quite a history.

It was located about 25 miles southeast of Sardis. It was destroyed by an earthquake during the time of Christ and was rebuilt by Tiberius Caesar. One reason for the rebuilding was its significant location … a “door” if you please to the central regions of Asia.

You see, Philadelphia was the keeper of the gateway to Asia. It was founded in its geographical location for that reason. It was a “missionary city.” Its purpose was to consolidate and educate the central regions of Asia. Its specific mission was to bring Hellenism—or Greek culture—to the recently annexed Asian regions of Lydia and Phrygia; and it was highly successful. Before AD 19 the Lydian tongue had ceased to be spoken in Lydia, and Greek was the only language of the country.

Being a “door” to Asia brought a natural devotion and dedication to the Roman god Janus, the two-faced Roman god of doors and openings that guarded the gates since it could see both ways. It was also a very important god at the New Year since Janus could simultaneously face the year past and the year to come. For this reason the first month of the New Year was named after it … January. As I said, it is appropriate that we are looking at the city of Philadelphia on this first Lord’s Day of the New Year.


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