Friday, July 7, 2023

The Tale of Two Brides - Part 1

Bobservations' Column

Titled - "The Tale of Two Brides" - Part 1
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Ephesus had left their first love. Pergamos? Jesus has a few things against them, and against Thyatira too. To Smyrna, Jesus knew their works, their tribulation, and their poverty, but to Sardis, “Thou art dead.” Coming to Philadelphia, they were given an open door and the promise that He would keep them. It sounds like the promise of John 3:16, from death to Eternal Life for those who believe.

Like today, there were good churches, and bad. Some stayed the course with good doctrine. Others had been led off the narrow path, and onto a broad way. The problem is a familiar one, because churches are led by mankind, and mankind is fickle. But for those who stayed focused upon Jesus, great promises were theirs because Jesus was at the core of their teachings, worship, and hope.

We start today with the Church at Philadelphia. The name comes from the Greek word “phileo” meaning a love based upon relationship, with a give and take. Our own City of Philadelphia, PA, known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” that was the likely motto of that Asian City of Philadelphia also.

But while they were a loving church, they found that their beliefs were at odds with the surrounding world. Just several kilometers to the southeast was the Church of Laodicea, a church that was wealthy, and in need of nothing, and Jesus tells them they are spiritually wretched, poor, and naked.

One might ask how some churches do well in the world, and others that stick close to The Word of God struggle continually. They hear the same words of Jesus. They read of the same Commandments and miracles of Jesus. The only difference is their individual leadership. Enter the human element: fickle, and subject to the goals of the world. Philadelphia, and the last church of the chapter, Laodicea, represent opposite ends of the spectrum of “the church.”

These seven churches represent different eras of the Church Age, and they also represent the different kinds of churches evident in each era. Jesus warns the problematic churches to overcome the temptations of the world: to lead, to be the most beautiful, or to be the largest, most active, most social, or most critically acclaimed for their good works.

Whether we are churches or individuals…

John 14:26-30

Jesus invited Peter to the miraculous: Peter walked on the water, then he saw the waves at his feet. Take our eyes off from Jesus, and we too will sink

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 3:7-13 - "The Tale of Two Brides" - part 1


This morning we are continuing our study in the Book of Revelation from chapter 3, verses 7-13.

In this morning’s text, we will look now at the sixth letter to the churches, the church at Philadelphia.

Remember these were real cities with real churches, but also, they set for us seven samples of kinds of churches throughout all of history. How instructive these verses are for us.

Philadelphia was about thirty miles southeast of Sardis. It was founded by a man name Attalus who was king of Pergamos. Philadelphia means brotherly love.

The writer of this letter identifies Himself. "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." Jesus always introduces Himself with a description of His character, a description of His person.

He who is holy - Who is holy? None other than God. Throughout the Bible, God is repeatedly identified as the One who is holy. The holy One identifies Himself as absolutely sinless, unstained, unblemished, flawless. What does holy mean? It means, separate. From what? Sin. The word holy means separate, and He is utterly separate from sin. In the gospels, Jesus is identified as the holy One, for He shares the holy, sinless, pure nature of God. He is God!

He "Who is true." He is true. He is the Author of truth. He is the Revealer of truth. John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." In the midst of a world of so much that is false, so much that is perverted, so much error... the Lord Jesus is truth.

He "who has the key of David." Who has the key of David? Jesus. See Isaiah 22:22. David symbolizes the messianic office. A key is a symbol in scripture. Whenever you see a key, you can equate it with authority. If the word "authority" gives you problems, try the word "control." Whoever has the key has control. Whoever has the key has authority. Jesus says that He is the One who has the key of David. He is the One who can open the treasure house and pour out on you His royal riches. Jesus is the key to all that they need, all that we need.

Not only that, but He alone opens the door. Open the door to what? Open the door to let anybody into the Kingdom. In John's gospel Jesus said, "No one comes unto the father but by me." If you're going to come, you've got to come by me. "I am the way, the truth and the life." John 14. In John 10, He said, "I am the door." Here He says, "I have the key." The key to salvation, to life, to the Kingdom. The open door to blessing and spiritual treasure. The door of spiritual opportunity for service and evangelism.

So, the Lord Jesus is identified as the author of the letter, and He has looked upon the church of Philadelphia. He knows they were not perfect, but He looks and finds that they were faithful.

He characterizes this little church. This is a small church, no doubt just a few, but they had some influence in the city. They have little power. A little dynamite. Small but mighty. It reminds us of 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul identifies some of the struggles in his own life, and he sums it up by making a great statement: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." Sometimes in the weakest vessel comes the delivering of the greatest power, like a grain of mustard seed. This little church, with little strength, is spiritually faithful, lives were being transformed.

This church is characterized by obedience, "and has kept my Word." In John 14:23 Jesus defines the nature of discipleship. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." This is the character of a believer.

This church is also characterized by loyalty, "and hast not denied my name." No matter the pressure, the trials, the hammering, the detractors, the persecutors, the intimidators and fierce persecution, through it all, they did not deny His name. They persevere. They hang in there. They don't deny His name, the mighty, powerful name of Jesus Christ. The name which is above every name. The name that will cause every knee to bow. They endured patiently and faithfully through it all. Some don't - they cave under the pressure. This church didn't deny Jesus, they were loyal.

In verse 9, He tells they that those who are their persecutors, He will make them bow down at their feet, knowing that Jesus loves them. Those who hated the fact that they were proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, proclaiming Jesus is God. They belong to the synagogue of Satan.

There are more promises to this little church... but you'll have to listen to the audio to find out more.

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