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Summary: Praying for the Persecuted Church on the International Day of Prayer For The Persecuted Church

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Revelations 3:7-13 November 16, 2003

The Message To the Church in Philadelphia

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

God’s Economy is not like ours – in his economy big is not always good, and small is beautiful. Last week we looked at the church in Sardis who had a great reputation for life – a really alive church! – But Jesus said in actual fact they were dead. This week we are looking at the church in Philadelphia, a small struggling community, but Jesus lifts them up.

God does this over and over – he chooses the smallest, most struggling person and raises them up and makes them great

The Nation of Israel – “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” Deuteronomy 7:7

Hannah – 1 Samuel 1&2

David – 1 Samuel 16

Mary – Luke 1:46-55

Mary’s Song

46And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has been mindful

of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me--

holy is his name.

50His mercy extends to those who fear him,

from generation to generation.

51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

53He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

54He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

55to Abraham and his descendants forever,

even as he said to our fathers."

"God opposes the proud

but gives grace to the humble." – James 4:6

Philadelphia the City

7"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

“Gateway to the East”

- meant as a “missionary city” to bring the Greek culture to the region

- Many temples and festivals – “little Athens”

In this Pagan city that is lit by the darkness of pagan festivals, there is this little struggling light of a believing community that Jesus comes too to encourage

The Image of Jesus

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.

Key = complete control over the royal household

Contrast with the local synagogue excommunicating Christian Jews

The Good News

8I 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. 9I 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. 10Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

Perseverance

It appears that the church was suffering persecution, not from the governing authorities, but from Jewish people who did not believe in Christ.


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