The Church of Philadelphia
“The church of brotherly love.” Jesus had a special provision in His heart for this church, even though they were weak in their standing and resources, and tried by persecutions from a demented culture and the apostate Jews that surrounded them. Jesus encouraged them to persevere, and told them that they could do it. Christ plainly tells us that when He gives us opportunities, He also gives us the empowerment to pursue them; therefore, He wants us to take advantage of them. What Jesus does not want from us is apathy or complacency, laziness caused by burnout, or anxiety caused by our failures. We are not to allow suffering or past experiences rule us. He does not want us to neglect Him because we are afraid of others or of what He might call us to do. He will never call us to do anything that we are not capable of doing with excellence, or to go anywhere we would hate to go. Our gifting means that we will desire to be used and even thrive in it. Our service to Him will be a joy and a pleasure, even when times are dark.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is Holy and true! That means He is untouched by sin and always comes through for those who are in sin. He also has the ability and right to judge our sin. He is not required to forgive us because of duty; however, He forgives us anyway. This is the love and grace that He gives us.
Even though the church in Philadelphia had little left to give, they still gave. When most people would have given up and churches would have closed, they persevered. They recognized His holiness and wanted to continue to please Him in their spiritual formation and service, even though they did not know how, where, or even if they could. Jesus was with them, as He is with us today, saying yes you can, and I will help you! This church has persevered all through the centuries, experiencing devastating earthquakes, disasters, invasions, and famine, and is still there to this day! Imagine what Christ can do for us when we do not give in to fear or give up because of our situation!
The Church of Philadelphia, as with the other six churches, was surrounded by countless gods and goddess, all worshiped and adored even though they were all made up in the minds of people to suit their own agendas and needs. (Only Christ is true and can satisfy – 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Rev. 6:10.) They were burnt-out, weakened by all their bad experiences, and wondering what was next. Like the Church of Smyrna, they too were expelled from the Jewish community and synagogue, cut off from their friends, family, and all networking and business opportunities, which were their livelihood. This left them open for more persecution from the Romans. Even with their strength depleted and no options visible, they were still in the hands of God who had a plan and was presenting them with new chances and prospects to thrive, all for their betterment and His glory.