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Wednesday: Christ’s Message to Philadelphia — 17 Comments

  1. Keys and doors feature strongly in the message to the church in Philadephia, and such metaphors associate well with the idea of opportunity, exploration, and change. This contrasts with the perception that many churches seek to maintain the status quo.

    This description has been applied prophetically to the biblical revival period in the Americas in the late 1700s and early 1800s and while some of the metaphors fit that period, it would be against the spirit of the message if we did not apply that message to ourselves now.

    One application that comes to mind is that the open door is an opportunity for us to grow our spiritual experience.

    I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Rev 3:8

    King George IV in his Christmas speech in 1939 said:

    A new year is at hand. We cannot tell which it will bring. If it brings peace how thankful we shall all be. If it brings continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.

    In the meantime, I feel that we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words, I would like to say to you.

    I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year. “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. “ And he replied. “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

    May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.

    These were brave and encouraging words when Britain was staring down the events at the commencement of World War 2.

    Doors are opportunities but they are also challenges. And the only way to take that step through the door is to put our hand in God's hand. God's promise is with us:

    Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Rev 3:10

    Amen!(34)
    • Could this "open door" also refer to those churches who become established and then refuse to accept "new light"? Which would then explain why we have so many, many churches today. Each group of people refuse to acknowledge they do NOT have all the truth.
      We are to continuously be searching the Scriptures, searching God's messages and be willing to learn more and lean more upon our heavenly Father.

      Amen!(4)
      • You could be right Alison, but I like to apply it to ourselves too. We need to understand that truth is not a platform to arrive at and then get off the train.

        If I can illustrate with a story from my own education. I became interested in computers many years ago and started programming them informally. Then I did a post-graduate diploma in Computer Science. As I received this diploma, I realised that there was still more to learn, so I enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons) course. I completed that to then start on a PhD in Computer Science. Had I learned all there was about computer science by then? to be honest, the main thing I learned was how little I really know about Computer Science. Since completing my PhD, I have seen so many new fields open up I just wish I had time to study them all.

        Spiritual Truth is like that. If we think we have arrived and know all the spiritual truth there is to know, we have a completely wrong understanding of what truth is. It is a journey, an experience, a relationship, not a set of static axioms, but something that embraces life itself. O taste and see that the Lord is good.

        Amen!(3)
  2. Generally the message to the churches is internal, the seals is the impact of the gospel on the world and the trumpets God's response to the negative response of the *people who dwell on the earth*, so it is interesting to find echoes of the cosmic conflict in this message, Jesus declaring he controls access to the royal storehouse of truth, opening a door to send the gospel out (1Cor 16:8-9, 2Cor 2:12,13) announcing a comming time of great trials on *those who dwell on the earth*, giving a forestaste of Satan's people bowing to and acknowledging Jesus as LORD, (Phil 2:9-11), Jesus has a new name as Victor, confirming he will keep his people through the trials by putting his seal - his name/character - on/in their minds and hearts, confirms he is coming soon, all in this short message. Praise the LORD!

    Amen!(16)
  3. Church in Philadelphia
    Character magnified by God - holy, true, holds the key of David
    Work of the church - you have kept my word and did not deny my name
    Glory of the church - I will make those of the synagogue of satan come and worship before your feet
    Reward - notice the word My in the way God rewards his faithful servant

    Esther 6
    6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

    Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head.9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”

    10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

    Haman was hung on the very pole he had set up for Mordecai.

    There are many who can give testimony the leading of God.

    Amen!(3)
  4. How I wish to have lived before 1844. The covenant that God made with the early christians up to 1844 in Hebrews 10:16-17 is an awesome covenant. Consider verse 17, God will not remember their lawless acts.
    Again, the church of Philadelphia should be a good example to us now. Though they have little power (little strength) they remained faithful to God.

    Amen!(1)
    • "How I wish to have lived before 1844"

      I personally believe you could well get your wish. The dynamics of this present point in earth's history are essentially very similar to what led up to the experience of 1844 (prior to the disappointment). Watch this space!

      Amen!(1)
    • Kura, the covenant referenced in Hebrews 10:16-17 is the eternal covenant, also known as the "new covenant" that God made with all who are willing to accept it. It is, indeed an "awesome covenant." 🙂

      It did not end in 1844!

      Amen!(3)
  5. *Philadelphia*

    Philadelphia was a small city which was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 AD. and rebuilt by Tiberius. The Jews plagued the Christians there. A global religious revival began by the end of the 18th Century and continued until the middle of the 19th Century. It was prophesied that the Second Coming of Christ would be the main topic (3:10). There is no reprimand for this church, but an “open door”, a new glimpse of the spiritual truths of the Heavenly Sanctuary.We’re encouraged to keep what we have. Jesus will place His character (His name) in us, and we’ll live forever with Him.

    *Hebrews 10:16-17 New International Version (NIV)*

    16 

    “This is the covenant I will make with them
        after that time, says the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their hearts,
        and I will write them on their minds.”

    17 Then he adds:

    “ Their sins and lawless acts
        I will remember no more.”

    Amen!(6)
    • Dan 2 has 4 beasts (powers) and eventually it is broken by a stone from outside. The statue represents an effort by man, led by Satan to build their own kingdom (salvation by works) with the characteristics of the prior continuing into each subsequent era. Satan simply rehashes his plan with a new twist. At the same time God is building a different kingdom. It will crush all the previous attempts at self worship and self works which result in independence from God by our own will power. The characteristics of the last church are not glorified because we see our need, not because we were found perfect in His eyes. I remark that the Philidelphia church was not translated as Elija or Enoch:Genesis 5:24 KJV
      And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

      There remains one judgment for the wicked. The Laodicean church realizes this, they are not ignorant but paralyzed by lack of love through Satans plot to decentralize our first love. Too many distractions causes fence sitters. Soon we see them removed...

      Amen!(0)
  6. Some lessons from the halls of Philadelphia:
    • God’s plan of salvation is to heal and restore His character in human beings
    • We either become a sanctuary for God and reveal His character of love or a sanctuary for Satan and reveal his character of selfishness.

    What do you think of the open and shut door metaphor? Is it referring to a literal door made of matter, or a door of ideas, the path of truth, a door in our hearts and minds that we must choose to follow through? There was a shut door in
    • Noah's day (1SM 63.3 and Gen. 6:3)
    • the days of Abraham (1SM 63.5)
    • Christ's day (1SM 63.6 and Matt. 23:38)
    • 1844 -- "All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness." (1SM 63.9)

    In each instance their hearts and minds were shut to Jesus. Who shut the door to their hearts? So what door do you think Revelation is referring to when it says a door opens and a door shuts? Is it not the door to our hearts and whether we are lovers of truth and willing to follow it where it leads?

    And what is the truth of the Three Angel’s? Is it not the truth of God’s character of love and design law of love? The message God is working through Christ is to free us from all the lies about Him and heal us to be able to live in His presence.

    Amen!(2)
    • Consistent with what you are suggesting regarding the "darkness" that results from misperception of the nature and character of God, the following quote comes from the concluding pages of Christ's Object Lessons by Ellen White. (I have shortened it only for the sake of brevity).

      "...the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history.... It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth." (COL 414-415)

      Amen!(0)
      • How is God's character to be made known? How is it best defined for sinners in a way that will lead them to...what?

        I would suggest looking at what God has "once delivered to the saints", which all are directed to "contend earnestly for".

        Amen!(0)
        • Hi Robert

          "How is God's character to be made known? How is it best defined for sinners in a way that will lead them to...what?"

          Good questions.

          In John 17:3 Jesus states that eternal life is via knowing God and Christ. Knowing (in the Hebrew and Greek) means having personal experience of and with. Then Jesus goes on in John 17:4 to say that He had completed the work that God had given Him to do - glorify God on earth. To glorify God essentially means (from the Hebrew and the Greek) to manifest His character. Jesus repeats this in John 17:6 with "I have manifested your name..." which means to manifest God's character. Then in John 17:18 Jesus states that He has sent disciples into the world just like God had sent Jesus into the world.

          Thus, God's character is to be made known through the way His followers live - including how they relate to others. This is why I speak so much of self-renouncing love, not as an abstract concept, but as a characteristic way of living and interacting with all others. Thus, from my perspective, God's character is to be primarily displayed and secondarily defined (when someone wants to cognitively know more of the details). I believe God's truth is to be lived out rather than just being spelled out.

          With regard to what God has "once delivered to the saints", Jude 4 goes on to talk about the decadence and immoral living of "ungodly persons" that was distorting the view of the grace of God. Again, the concern was not that these people had improper definitions, but they were living improper lives that were misrepresenting God's character and bring about the 'cancerous' consequences that are inherent in living a 'life' that is out of harmony with abundant life. We are either walking the road to abundant life or we walking the path of perishing (Jn 10:10; 1 Jn 2:16,17).

          While Jude 1:3 was calling for defense of the faith, how does he go on to explain how to do this? Most of Jude is talking about what will be the eventual outcome of those who are "ungodly".

          Interestingly, Jude doesn't ask the believers to weed these people out or even to confront them and point out their sin. Instead, he tells the believers to be even more diligent about exhibiting the character of God in their interactions with "ungodly" people (ie people displaying an alternative character to that of God), and to be extra careful to not become likewise become "ungodly" themselves in the course of their association with the "ungodly" (Jude 1:20-23). This is what they are to "contend for".

          Amen!(1)
          • Thank you for this reminder, Phil, that God's character is best displayed by the way we live, not by the doctrines we preach. That is in line with what Ellen White wrote in Christ's Object Lessons, p. 515:

            The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.
            The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness.

            If we are to reveal God's character, we must understand the essence of His character, and the beloved Apostle John tells us that first and foremost, "God is love." Thus, if we are to reveal His character, we need to let Jesus reproduce His character of self-sacrificing love in us.

            Character does not consist in correctness of belief in every detail. Character does not consist in correctness of action in every detail. Character does not consist in what we eat or drink. Rather, character is a matter of the heart, and it reveals itself in the way we treat those around us.

            Correct doctrines are important insofar as they reveal the loving character of God. Correct actions are important insofar as they demonstrate unselfish love towards those around us, and what we eat and drink is important insofar as it enables us to be of better service to our family, church and neighbors.

            Anything that is done for self-serving motives (even being "righteous" enough to enter the Kingdom) does not fit us for the Kingdom of God. Rather, we need to allow the mind of Christ to be in us, as the Apostle Paul teaches. (Phil 2:5)

            It's a sobering thought: Only Christ, through the Holy Spirit can accomplish this in us. Otherwise all our good words and deeds are tainted with self-serving motives. It was the recognition of the fact that all my "good deeds" and "good words" were tainted with self-serving that led me to throw myself at the feet of Jesus and cling to Him alone for salvation. And that experience began the genuine transformation of my life that continues to this day. Knowing that there's nothing I can contribute to my salvation makes me continually grateful for what Christ has done for me and is continuing to do in me.

            Amen!(4)
          • Amen Inge. Oh that we individually and corporately would recognize this reality in its fullness and allow Christ to work in us His will by His power (Philippians 2:13; Matthew 28:18) for without Him, we are utterly helpless and impotent (John 15:5).

            Amen!(1)
  7. We find the language of victory in this letter, in contrast to the prior letter to Sardis. Those in Philadelphia, (such a fitting name!) have “kept the Word”, and will become pillars in the temple of God, and will be kept from the hour of great temptation that will come upon the world to try all who dwell on the earth.

    So what is the temptation to come, and how are these faithful ones kept from it?

    Amen!(0)

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