The City of Brotherly Love

'Revelation...It is a book of miraculous signs and wonders. But, the prophecies that it carries speaks of more than what is to come in the End of Days. Found near the beginning of the book, the Book of Revelation contains of collection of seven letters, dispatches from Yeshua (Jesus) delivered by Revelation's human author, John. These letters aren't fact, they are quite brief and straight to the point...the recipients...the early Christian churches. But, as these seven letters spoke to seven churches of antiquity, they, like the Book of Revelation are prophetic, prophetic in that by them Christ's words speak to all churches through all the ages. Seven churches, seven letters, seven messages for today's believers, relevant words of commendation and encouragement and of warning.'...Dr. David Jeremiah.

' Philadelphia, one of the seven churches written in the Book of Revelation was and has been known as the City of Brotherly Love. But, who was Christ actually directing that message to in that day? Of course, it was the 'Church' in Philadelphia. Let us explore more of this church and the words of the Lord concerning them.

The letter to the Church of Philadelphia appears to be totally positive. All the other letters more or less mentioned “I have this against you.” “Here's some good things and here are some bad things.” The Lord, in fact, commends this church. The word Philadelphia - “Brotherly Love” comes from phileo-”to love” and adelphos-“brother”. We are encouraged to love as brothers. We are encouraged to engage in the practice of 'brotherly love'.

Each of these letters represents a period of church history. The Letter to the Church of Philadelphia represents the period from the beginning of the l9th Century to the Rapture of the church. It was during that time that great revivals were taking place, many people coming to Christ, and welcoming them into their hearts, dying to self, believing in the His full Gospel, and gave their lives each and every day to Him for His work and good pleasure.'

The Church of Philadelphia will be present in some form when Jesus Christ returns today. But, many realize that we are now living in the Laodicean age before Christ comes back...which is the time of a great falling away and fear of the Spirit of God flowing through our hearts. It is a time when Jesus is knocking at His own church doors and people won't allow Him in for we have accepted more of a human religious form of worship and not that of the Spirit flowing amongst our own. It's sad really but very true. And, we wonder why the Lord is calling...calling us to return to Him. We have that free ticket to ride so we can say and do anything we want to and call out 'grace'. How truly sad it is when we refuse to accept His will, to be willing to be made aware of our wondering ways and repent and return to Him and climb up to that higher plain where Jesus can flow through us in abundance.

' Jesus is holy as stated in Revelation 3:7. Also, listen to I Peter 1:l5...Instead,just like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in everything you do. Then, He is not only holy but He is genuine and true...of having the essence of who we claim to be...that He is. In that Jesus is not a hypocrite. He is not spinning His holiness, He is who He claims to be. In that, Jesus wants us to be holy and He wants us to be real in whom we claim to be. We can put on so called holiness but Jesus is genuinely holy. That's how we should be as well.'

'We have to ask ourselves...'What are the characteristics of a church that the Lord God wants us to be?” Here are some characteristics that we should emulate: These characteristics describe what this church was about: They had a door of opportunity that was opened by God...(See Rev. 3:8). He said to this church...”You have a great opportunity...I have given you an open door.” Philadelphia was a very strategic city. It was at the plateau of the main trade routes to all these other areas. He told this church that no one can get from here to there without coming through Philadelphia. I have given you a great opportunity. Again, it was a great time in church history. The Gospel was being preached and when great missionary ventures were starting, churches were being planted and growing. That was the Philadelphia age...the age of the open door.'

They were also commended for having 'little strength'. That is a strange quality for a church. You don't usually get commended for having 'little strength'. But, what Jesus is saying is they did have little strength in as much as they had to ultimately depend on the Lord for His great strength. When we are weak then He can be strong in and through His church. You see? They understood that they could not walk through that open door in their own strength. That's divine humility here. II Corinthians l2:9 says...”My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” No church routine or function or songs we sing can open the door. The Lord, alone, gives the increase. It's OK. If you have little strength then you are going to depend on His strength. It is when you have big strength, that's when you are in trouble. You are depending on your ability or your budget or your staff or your organization's plan. But, the strength is not in the Lord but it is in 'You'. The church of Philadelphia were not much if you looked at them from the outside but they were 'mighty' in the hands of God.'

A lot of the time, we get to feeling that it is 'our' doing instead of 'His' doing. That's when churches rise up and then the door closes. Because they have become a 'self church', more of a business church instead of a 'Spirit-Lead church'.

Another characteristic of this church was found in Revelation 3:8...”But, you have kept My Word,...” They read the word of God and it was their authoritative means by which they conducted themselves.

Asked why I feel that the church has eroded into the Laodicean era we see today? It is when God is taken out of the center of the church and His Word eroded into human effort and not that of the Holy Spirit power working through weak and humble lives for all to see.

'When people have no idea how we should be treating Israel, it loses its influence. When we no longer follow the Bible in marriage, it loses its influence. When we no longer follow the precepts on how to treat our brothers and sisters, the Word has lost its influence.

The people of Philadelphia not only kept the Word as the center of their lives, they followed the Word of God...the whole Word of God. They didn't pick and chose but accepted all that was offered in Christ Jesus through that Word. In Revelation 3:8, it is also stated that they did not deny His name. Even facing Caesar's decrees, they would not deny the Lord their God. They stood for the Lord with all of their hearts and would not compromise their beliefs.

So, looking at these qualities, what does a church look like if God is blessing it? First, the people have to realize that God has opened a door for them. The church realizes that they are powerless unless God gives them the power to do what they must do. The church is committed to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ as their Head with all of their hearts, minds, soul, and strength if the church will put them into this position where God can do great things.

' Finally, let's look at Revelation 2:9...where Jesus gives comfort when people came against them... “I know your tribulation and your poverty (yet you are rich), as well as the slander of those who say they are Jewish (Christian today) and are not, but are a synagogue of satan.” He promises to humiliate their enemies. The verse goes on to say...'indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.' He promised to humiliate their enemies. It is not our battle but the battle is the Lord's. We get into battles with other people when the battles aren't truly between people. The Word says in Ephesians 6:l2..'For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.' He promises to keep them from the hour of trial. This extends even to us today...'Rev. 3:l0...Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth.' God gives us a promise in His word that He will keep us from ever experiencing the Great Tribulation...not that we will become immune to the persecutions of the world right now. We all suffer persecution but God will keep us from the Great Hour of Trial that will be coming upon the earth.

In Revelation 3:ll-l2, the Lord says, 'Behold I Am coming soon--hold on to what you have so no one will take away your crown. The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God.'

That is a marvelous promise for those who walk as these folks walked, depending on God's strength instead of our own. In closing, I have to mention that as we have entered different churches of our day, there is a spirit within each one that can only be described as one of these seven churches. Which one describes your church or your life?

I am saddened by what I have seen, how we have gone astray and need to return to Our Wonderful Lord and Savior and follow the Truth of His Word. That has been our Ministry's cry so people can see and return before it's too late. It is a call of realizing how wonderful Our Savior truly is in all His power and might and how it is time to truly humble ourselves and step aside to allow Him to reign and rule in our churches and our hearts and lives today. If it comes from the throne, why should we fear any gift from God? That same open door is offered to us 'if' we would only humble ourselves, trust Him, and be willing to walk through.

Pastor John Hagee once commented that he has come to make it a practice to repent each and every day as the Lord's return ebbs closer and closer. He repents as he arises in the morning, throughout the day, and as he falls asleep at night. If a great man of God feels this is so important, perhaps, we should listen to his words and follow his example as the church. Repent...for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

As I reflect on this teaching, I have to say that I, personally, have just come out of the hospital with pneumonia and a list of other things that I do not claim to be so. I prayed for the Lord's help and found it through the days of my hospitalization. For out of the blue came two of my most dear Christian friends whom I had no idea were nurses. They had never ever mentioned their occupation to me before. They were there just when I needed them, like angels sent from heaven...a special and wonderful gift from God. God gave me rest from my trials and healed me after the prayers for my healing were lifted up on a Sunday. From the sickness not budging to my lungs made clear, you could just see the grace and hand of God answering all who prayed. Hallelujah! I could do nothing but the Lord God did everything.

And, as I returned to my dear country church, I saw the true spirit of the love of God as everyone came to me and loved me as Christ loves His own.

We maybe living in the Laodicean era; but, God does have some who can only be described as the Church of Philadelphia who meet every characteristic and follow His Word. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus for your greatness and kindness to those who cannot do anything without you! You have shown yourself faithful and true.

May this teaching and words encourage someone today to climb up and stop fearing and that we too may humble ourselves, begin to trust Him, die to self daily, repent daily, and allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of God's true light shining through us as it did the Church of Philadelphia.

Amen and Amen.

Bible verses taken from the Messianic Jewish Family Bible

Certain marked quotations by Dr. David Jeremiah..personal sermon notes...

'The Church of Philadelphia'.