Summary: Sermon Seven of a series
The Revival Church
This city of Philadelphia was located about 28 miles southeast of Sardis. It was a place noted for agricultural products, but afflicted with earthquakes. In A.D. 17, while under the reign of Tiberius, it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake. Some say that it never attained the eminence of the other churches. That the church itself was poor and wanting in worldly endowments seems to be indicated by verse 8. This church and that of Smyrna alone escape criticism from the Lord. Its name means "brotherly love", as is commonly known due to the city in Pennsylvania that bears the same name. The same word "Philadelphia" is found in the Scriptures in 5 other verses. Consider Romans 12:10: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Other verses that use the word are 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Hebrews 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22, and 2 Peter 1:7. What a beautiful name for the church that was so commended by Christ. God loves to see His church, His people, loving one another. God loves unity. We notice the truth of this in Psalm 133:1, that says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Then, in John 15:12, Jesus declared, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Paul wrote in Philippians 2:2, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” God loves unity among His people. Children of God have no cause to be against one another. Jealousy has no place in the church. Bitterness is a cancer that will not only hurt the church, but will wreck individual lives. God wants His church to be a church of “brotherly love.”
With the beginning of the 19th century, came a change. The Blessed hope of the return of Christ had been neglected, and was utterly unknown by the masses of church members. But then the truth of the Lord’s imminent return was revived. The Church awoke as well and the Gospel began to be preached unlike it had been since them beginning of the church. Names like Whitfield, Wesley, and Edwards set the stage for those to come later, like Moody and Spurgeon. The Deadness of Sardis began to disappear with the solid, doctrinal, Biblical preaching of these men and others. This age reaches to us today. It is my belief that we are living in an overlap of the dispensations of Philadelphia and Laodocea. We will deal with Laodocea in the next section.
As the church at Philadelphia is addressed, we once again see Christ, the Author, describe Himself to His church. He is holy. Psalms 145:17 says that “ The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Then we read in Isaiah 6:3, “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” It is interesting to note that the only attribute of God that is ever mentioned in this way is His holiness. We do not find “love, love, love” or “grace, grace, grace.” Yet we find “holy” listed to the third power. God’s holiness is the essence of His being and character.
His holiness greatly attaches to the next attribute that is named. Jesus is Truth. In 1 John 5:20, the Apostle John had already penned, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” There is no truth aside from Jesus. Though many do not believe in absolutes, it matters not. Absolute truth is Jesus alone. It is just as John 1:17 says, “... grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
In verse 7, we also see a possession that belongs to Jesus. He owns the keys to the Kingdom. A key is a symbol of trust, power, right of access, and even ownership. I would not give a key to my home to someone I did not trust, or that I would not give authority to enter my home. This key, is the key to the house of David of which was prophesied in Isaiah 22:22, that says, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” The prophecy is further mentioned in Luke 1:32, in the prophecy concerning the Baby Messiah, that would be born. It was declared of Him, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” This is not the only key that Jesus has. In Revelation 1:18, we find “keys” in the Lord’s possession. It says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” The key to Salvation is Christ alone. The key to supplication in only through Christ. The key real satisfaction is through Christ. And the keys of deliverance from eternal separation from God belong to one, and that is Jesus. Many think they have salvation and deliverance due to some human goodness or religious or social affiliations. If it is not of Christ, it is of no value!