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.