Summary: Keeping God’s word brings incredible blessing to the believer.
If Jesus Passed a Note in Church, What Would It Say? (Part 6 of 7)
(Series of sermon content original to W. Herschel Ford)
To the Church of Brotherly Love
Nov. 12, 2006 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor
A Jesus points no fingers at Philadelphia (one of two churches: Smyrna)
1 Not a perfect church...faired well in comparison to Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, & Sardis)
a Never been a perfect church, because it’s made up of imperfect people.
b If the church didn’t have Christ as its head it would have disappeared into oblivion centuries ago!
2 The church stands on the rock that is Christ Jesus!
a He’s the reason that she stands today!
b He’s the reason that the gates of hell can never prevail against her.
B Philadelphia (Greek for brotherly love or brother lover)
1 25 miles southeast of Sardis, on a main highway that connected Smyrna to Northwest Asia (modern-day Alasehir).
a Big Jewish community
b Earthquakes were common (in 17BC destroyed with 10 other cities, including Sardis). Alasehir suffered a major earthquake on 3/28/69 which killed 41 people & destroyed 3, 700 homes; from 1974-1994 region around the city has suffered 7 more earthquakes that caused extensive property damage (turkishnewsdaily.com).
c Name changed several times (Neocaesarea, Neokoros, etc.)
d Remained Christian until the 14th century
2 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 8 ’I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 ’Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 ’Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 ’I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 ’He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 ’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Rev 3:7-13 (NASB)
C Jesus promised to keep from harm those who kept His word (essence of the text in a sentence).
1 Keeping God’s word brings incredible blessing for the believer (essence of the sermon in a sentence).
2 I pray you’ll decide to keep God’s word by committing to reading Scripture everyday for the rest of November (objective).
a How many reasons do you need to keep God’s word? (Probing question)
b Let’s look at two reasons why the church at Philadelphia was different from the other churches of Revelation (transitional sentence).
I The first reason the church at Philadelphia was different than the other churches in Revelation was because...they faithfully kept His Word. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: 8 ’I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 ’Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.
A Jesus had opened the door for the small Philadelphian congregation because they kept His Word.
1 The "open door" is the point of debate among scholars.
a Open door may be an opportunity to engage in missions, evangelize, witness.
b Open door may be His Kingdom (salvation) to all those who love Him-reinforces v. 7
2 That "open door" caused some other doors to close.
a "Synagogue of Satan" (v. 9) opposed the congregation of Philadelphia (Jews who hated/rejected Jesus & persecuted His followers).
b Relatives, friends, coworkers, heritage...but they "kept My word & have not denied My name."