You have to admire the church of Philadelphia, (Revelation 3:7-13) for its stand against sin and its commitment to serve Jesus in spite of the persecution that they faced, and the persecution that was to come. But, a church is made up of people so Jesus’ message to the churches is really a message to the people who call themselves the community of God.
When we read the messages to these seven churches in Revelation we are to understand that they are messages to us as Christians, as well. In each church there is a warning against indifference and sin, and a word of encouragement as well.
Though straight forward in His messages to the churches Jesus never leaves them hopeless. The very nature of the letters is to strengthen the people in their resolve to trust Him and rely upon Him for their salvation. He wants them to remember that it is only through His substitutionary death that they have redemption and are reconciled to God.
Of the seven churches only Philadelphia has no condemnation. They are the church of the open door that because Jesus has “the keys of David” no man can shut or open without going through Him. We have seen in previous posts that the door is narrow, however, and in order to go through we have to leave our baggage behind. To enter in through the gate is to trust Jesus and go forward by faith.
Revelation 3:11 reminds the people, “I am coming soon, hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” This is a message for us as well. We so easily give up in the face of discouragement and trials instead of holding fast to Jesus. As long as we are “in Christ” no one can steal our crown. The crown, of course, is symbolic and represents our standing as sons and daughters of the King when we accept Jesus.
Jesus continues in the letter with these amazing words, “He who conquers I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God; and my own new name.” Revelation 3:12
What could be more appropriate for this amazing church of sincere Christians who proclaim the name of Jesus throughout their city and regions around them regardless of persecution? We can only stand firm for our faith when it is based on grace. It is, therefore, grace that makes us pillars in God’s temple which is heaven. To be a pillar is to be secure, stable, immovable and not even the earthquakes of persecution or of trials can shake us because we are solid in Christ.
There are three great blessings in verse twelve. Jesus will write on us, “the name of my God,” and “the name of the city of my God,” and then, “my own new name.” For Christians who are willing to leave the baggage of this world behind them and enter into a relationship with Christ by entering the narrow door which is Jesus, a whole new world opens up on the other side of that door.
What comfort these words must have been for the martyr’s and persecuted throughout the ages? Though they may have been driven from city to city, country-to-country, they knew that they had a permanent home and it was the New Jerusalem. Though battered and beaten they know they are secure as pillars because they went forward in the name of their God. And no one could snatch (see John 10: 28-29) them out of the hand of God because they carried the very name of Jesus in their hearts.
There is an evil that is coming over our world once again. You can almost feel it in the air and most certainly read about it in the newspaper or on the Internet every day. Once again people are looking for answers and the opportunity to share their faith is growing daily.
Like our brothers and sisters from the church of Philadelphia we are called to stand firm for Jesus and proclaim the good news of His amazing grace to a confused and frightened world. The great message of Philadelphia is don’t be frightened, Jesus is with us and opens the doors to men and women’s hearts. We need only speak up on His behalf.
My friend Harvey commented on the last post and told of when he was a boy they use to sing a song:
“One Door and only one and yet its sides are two,
I’m on the inside and which side are you?”
In light of the message to Philadelphia that is a great question, have we entered into relationship with Jesus or does our baggage keep us looking in?
* Please remember to pray for the Christians who are suffering persecution for their faith in many countries around the world. These people hold fast even unto death. There is a great evil settling on this earth and we must be vigilant in our prayers and stay close to Christ. Our hope is in Christ and he is faithful to his people. Please take the time to read about what is taking place in the world around us at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…