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A Church in Revival
The 6th church that John sent these messages to was the church of Philadelphia. Now Philadelphia was located where the borders of Lydia, Phrygia and Mysia meet. This meant it was a place where Greek culture could spread into the surrounding areas with ease. It was called by some the “gateway to Asia Minor”. It also made it a great “jumping off point” for the gospel to spread unto these areas. The name of this city today is Alasehir and is located in modern day Turkey. Now bear in mind this was a church during John’s time that was being commended but should also be found some place in the world today. The age that corresponds to this is from mid 1750’s up until the early 1900’s. This was a time of great revival throughout the lands. Apparently the churches AS A WHOLE had heeded the warning and awakened. Let us take a look at what is being said.
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These
things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key
of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no
This is clearly a message to a church that the Lord is pleased with. This is a church that has been doing what they are supposed to do. He tells them because they have kept the word and he will protect them from temptation. He also reminds them to hold fast to what they have so they will receive their crown. This church was located in an area that was ripe for sending missionaries and spreading the gospel and apparently that is what they were doing.
Historically the churches of this "age" (mid 1750's to early 1900's) were some of the most missionary minded churches there was rivaling only perhaps the early days of the church. We saw great outreaches during this time frame as Christians who had spiritually awakened from the ritualistic religion went forth to spread the gospel unto all nations. In America we saw the missionary movement spreading to the ”borders” of the expanding country as settlers moved westward. In foreign lands people were coming to America to the frontiers as well as going to Africa, China and other lands to fulfill the great commission so that the word would be preached unto all nations. Churches were uniting in their efforts to reach the heathen.
Now obviously the church at Philadelphia had its people that opposed them, those he refers to as the ones of “the synagogue of Satan” but he promises because these people have been faithful that these very same people from there should acknowledge they are the “real deal”. He states he will have them bow at their feet and admit that the people of Philadelphia who truly worship God are his chosen servants. He promises he will keep them from the "hour of temptation" or trials which is going to happen to the people of the world. These people he are pleased with.
Notice there are no rebukes at all in this message to them. It is only commendation and praise. This is only the second church to not be rebuked for something. The other was the church under persecution, Smyrna. This is truly the way a church should be today. Spreading the gospel, holding fast to what is true and doing what God would have us to do.
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