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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Letter to
The Church of Philadelphia


< Revelation 3:7-13 >

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, 'He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie-indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 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. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.' He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"



Exegesis

Verse 7: "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:"

The Lord reigns over the Kingdom of Heaven as the King of all. He is God with absolute authority and power-what He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open. The Lord is the perfect God who came to this earth and delivered sinners from all their sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The gate of Heaven can be opened only with the key of the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by the Lord. Nothing else can open it, for everything that belongs to this Kingdom all depends on our Lord God.


Verse 8: "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."

The Lord has opened the door of evangelism through the church of God. As such, no one can shut the door without the Lord's permission. The saints must therefore hold fast to their first faith until the very end, when the Lord makes his return. This is the kind of faith that the servants of God and His saints must have. Their faith must not be the kind whose beginning is big but whose eventual end is dead. They must hold on to their first, unchanging faith that the Lord had given them.

The faith of the saints is the faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the faith that believes in the fact that the Kingdom of our Lord will come to both this earth and the New Heaven and Earth, and that we will all live in this Kingdom forever. The saints must hold fast to this faith until the day they will meet the coming Lord.

The servant and the saints of the Church of Philadelphia had only a little strength. They also had many shortcomings. However, most importantly, they kept the Word of God and did not deny the name of the Lord.


Verse 9: "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie-indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you."

God said that He will bring down some of the false believers to their knees so that they would know how much God really loved the Church of Philadelphia, a church of His.

"The synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not" refers to the Jews who considered themselves to be glorifying to God with their faith. But many of them, in fact, were not. On the contrary, they had become the servants of Satan and were hindering the church of God and His saints.

We need to realize that today, as before, many of those who call upon the name of Jesus and worship Him have also turned into Satan's servants, being used by the Devil as his instrument. God showed particular love for the servant of the Church of Philadelphia whom He loved and used as His vessel of honor.


Verse 10: "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."

In particular, the Lord commended the servant of the Church of Philadelphia for keeping His command to persevere. Without this kind of special patience, in fact, we cannot wait for the fulfillment of all the Word of God's promises. To keep His command to persevere, we must therefore have absolute faith in the Word of God. For its perseverance, the Lord gave the Church of Philadelphia a special reward. This special reward came in the form of keeping the Church of Philadelphia from the hour of trial. The hour of trial here refers to the hindrance of the Antichrist.


Verse 11: "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."

Because the return of the Lord is imminent, the saints must defend and keep their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They must also believe and wait in their hope for the New Heaven and Earth promised by the Lord. The servants of God must be with the saints and keep them from losing their faith, so that their reward from God would not be stolen.


Verse 12: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name."

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Those who overcome Satan will join the column of martyrs. Their names will also be written in the Holy Temple of the Kingdom of God. Even as now, they are being used as the great workers of God's church, and they will continue to be used as such instruments by the Lord.


Verse 13: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Those who have the ear to hear the Word of God are the servants of God and His saints. They hear what the Spirit says to them through God's church. As such, the servants of God and His saints must remain within the church that God has permitted them, and they must protect and defend this church.

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