Revelation (7 of 24) Letters To The Churches Of Philadelphia And Laodicean

3:7-22 Letters To The Churches Of Philadelphia And Laodicean

Memory Verse: Revelation 3:15

3:7 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Philadelphia

  • 3:7a Jesus tells John to write to the sixth church, Philadelphia, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the church. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. This city located in a valley that was a center for Greek language and culture.
  • 3:7b Jesus starts His letter by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “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 man openeth.” This description of Jesus isn’t taken from the previous vision of Him, but from the Old Testament. (1) God alone is holy. Therefore, when Jesus claims to be the Holy One, He is claiming to be equal with God. He is completely separated from sin and perfectly good. (2) Jesus is truth. In a world of lies and error, we can come to Jesus to find real meaning and understanding. (3) He has the Key of David, symbolizing He is the authoritative Messiah. He controls who enters His kingdom. (4) Jesus can open and close the “doors” and no one can reverse His decisions, because He holds the ultimate authority. We should listen carefully.
    John 14:6; Isaiah 22:22

3:8-10a Jesus Praises The Church Of Philadelphia

  • 3:8a, 10a Jesus praises the church for their works. Jesus gave the church an “open door” which probably symbolizes their opportunity to preach the gospel. Even though their might have been many adversaries, they couldn’t “shut the door,” or take away this opportunity to share the gospel. The church was faithful with their given opportunity.
    Colossians 4:2–6;1 Corinthians 16:8–9; 2 Corinthians 2:12
  • 3:8b, 10b The church had little strength, maybe because it was a small or poor, but Jesus commends them for being obedient, faithful and loyal. (1) They kept Jesus’ word, meaning they were doing their best to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus. (2) They didn’t deny Jesus’ name, meaning that even though there was opportunity, pressure or gain to deny Jesus, they refused to and remained faithful to Him. (3) They kept the word of Jesus’ patience, meaning that through the difficulties they experienced, they were faithful in persevering.
  • 3:9, 10b Because this church was obedient, faithful and loyal, Jesus makes two promises to the church: (1) Jesus will make the false Jews come and bow down before their feet, and they will learn that Jesus had loved them. (2) He will keep the church from experiencing the seven-year tribulation period. This last promise is indicating that Jesus will remove all faithful or real churches from the great tribulation period that is coming.

3:11-13 Jesus Challenges The Church Of Philadelphia

  • 3:11 Jesus doesn’t criticize the church, but He does challenge them. First, He says, “I come quickly,” meaning that He could return at anytime. Therefore, they need to “hold fast” or continue to persevere, revealing they have genuine faith and no person could take away eternal life from them (the crown). God gives us the power to endure, thus those who leave the faith didn’t loose it but reveal they never had it.
    Matthew 10:22; 24:13–14; 1 John 2:19
  • 3:12-13 In the end, Jesus will give true believers (him that overcometh) a permanent position in the temple of God (a pillar in the temple of His God – go no more out). They will enter a personal relationship with God (write upon them the name of His God), be given citizenship into the heavenly city of new Jerusalem (write upon them the name of the city of His God), and know Jesus for who He really is (write upon them His new name). If you are willing to hear this message, then listen and obey it.
    1 John 3:2

3:14 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Laodiceans

  • 3:14a Jesus tells John to write unto the seventh church, Laodiceans, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. The city was a strategically located and prosperous commercial city.
  • 3:14b Jesus starts His letter, first by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Jesus is the Amen, meaning that Jesus affirms the truth of God and His will. He is the faithful and true witness because He Himself, bore witness of God without error. He is the source or beginning point of everything that is created, thus holding ultimate authority in His hands.

3:15-22 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Laodiceans

  • 3:15-17 Jesus doesn’t praise the church but criticizes them for being lukewarm, meaning they were claiming to be believers but not acting like it. They were not hot—passionately living for God above all else; nor were they cold—openly rejecting God and going their own way. They were materially rich which caused them to think they needed nothing, but spiritually they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They were hypocrites.
  • 3:18 Jesus gives the church counsel, inviting them to salvation. He uses the metaphor of “buying” from Him, which means to have faith in Him, to obtain three things: (1) Gold tried in the fire or salvation; (2) White raiment or righteousness; (3) Eyesalve or spiritual understanding.
    Acts 26:18
  • 319-20 Jesus loves the entire world, therefore He will rebuke and chasten them, showing them their false ways, convict them of their sin or judge them. He challenged them to be zealous, no longer passive, and repent. If they did they could believe in Jesus who stands at the door and knocks. Those who hear His voice and opens the door will enjoy a real relationship and fellowship with Him. Will you repent and believe in Jesus today?
    John 3:16
  • 3:21-22 Believers (the one who conquers) will sit with Jesus on the throne the same way He conquered and sat down with His Father on His throne. If you are willing to hear, obey!

Review Questions

  • Who is writing the letter to the churches?
  • Why does each church receive praise?
  • Why does each church receive criticism?
  • What was the challenges to the churches?
  • Who are overcomers and what will they be given?

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