• Tony Birkhead

What’s Wrong with the Church?



We Have Been Given an Opportunity to Spread His Love. Rely on His Strength and Be Faithful to The End!

INTRODUCTION

Even promises made with the best of intentions can be broken this side of heaven because a promise is only good as the one who makes the promise. We are all fallen and despite our best efforts cannot keep every promise we make. Jesus is not like us. He is perfectly honest and perfectly reliable. Every promise of God find their “yes” in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). Christ promised the church in Philadelphia and us today, that if we place our faith in Him, the door of heaven is always open to us.

KEY SCRIPTURE

Revelation 3:7-13

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What were some of the biggest promises that were hard to keep as a kid?

What’s the most difficult promise to keep today?

The church at Philadelphia was one of two churches about whom Jesus says nothing negative. What did Jesus commend them for?

What specific promises did Jesus make to those who continue in obedience to His commands out of love and faith for Him in these verses?

What are some ways we hold fast to what we have in Christ? What does that look like in your own life?

PRAY TOGETHER

Praise God for opening the gates of heaven to us. Thank Him for loving you and preparing a place for you. Pray that you would live your life in the hope Christ is coming soon. Ask for the grace to hold fast to God and His Word.

MOVING FORWARD

  • How is the promise of heaven comforting when we go through trials and hardship?

  • Do you live as though Christ is coming soon? What would change about your life if you lived every day as though Christ was coming soon?

COMMENTARY

Revelation 3:7-13

3:7 Philadelphia, 40 miles southeast of Sardis, suffered long-term effects from the earthquake of a.d. 17. Thus, the people planned for the future with earthquakes in mind. Although there is little extrabiblical evidence for a Jewish community in the city, the letter indicates a situation similar to that of Smyrna. Nothing is known of the origin of the church, but there was a connection with Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, like the other six local churches. The phrases the key of David and no one opens echo Isa 22:22 and speak of Christ’s authority in the household of God.

3:8 Christ commended the faithful works of this small congregation, in spite of their limited strength. The open door that no one is able to close opens to heaven and God’s kingdom (Col 4:3-4).

3:9 On synagogue of Satan and who claim to be Jews and are not, see note at 2:9-10. These phrases are in reverse order from 2:9, implying there is a key point of comparison in the two letters. It is likely that the brief and local “tribulation” faced by the church at Smyrna (2:10) contrasts with the promise to the church at Philadelphia that it would be kept from the worldwide “hour of testing” (3:10).

3:10 The hour of testing refers to “the great tribulation” (7:14). Though the wording may sound like a reference to all who will inhabit the world at that time, those who live on the earth (“earth dwellers” from this point on in the notes) is a phrase used repeatedly in Revelation (Revelation 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8), speaking of the non-elect, “whose names have not been written in the book of life” (17:8). To “keep... from the hour of testing” has been taken to mean: (1) removed before the time of tribulation, or (2) supernaturally protected within the tribulation. Since the word “hour” suggests a period of time, and the purpose of the hour of testing is to test the non-elect “earth dwellers” rather than believers, it seems more likely that believers will be removed before the hour of great tribulation begins.

3:11 On coming quickly, see note at 1:1,3. To hold on to what you have appears to refer to the faithfulness of the church, described in verse 8.

3:12 The victor (see note at 2:7) is promised a permanent place in the sanctuary in God’s eternal city, the new Jerusalem. This “sanctuary” is actually the Lord Himself and the Lamb (21:2,22). Christ’s new name may refer to “a name... that no one knows except Himself” (19:12).

#revelation #Philadelphia #enduring #love

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