Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Revelation 3:7-22 - The Churches in Philadelphia and Laodicea

Revelation 3:7-13 – Philadelphia, The Faithful Church

Philadelphia was located at the east end of the broad valley.  Its soil was rich and good for agriculture.  It was on the main road from Sardis.  They had a lot of trade and was famous for its temples.  Its name means “love of a brother”.

John wrote to the church at Philadelphia telling them that these are the words of Him who is holy and true and holds the keys of David.  What He opens no one can shut and what He shuts no one can open.  The door of heaven is opened only by Jesus.  He Himself is the door.  I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved…”John 10:9.  Jesus has great power and is in control of all that happens. 

Jesus knows their deeds.  He knows they have little strength, but they have kept His Word and haven’t denied His name.  They remained faithful.  Jesus will make those of the “synagogue of Satan” fall down at Philadelphia’s feet.  One day our enemies and the enemies of God will be forced to bow down before Him.  They will know that Christians were right in following Jesus.

The church at Philadelphia kept His commands and endured patiently so Jesus said He would keep them from the trials to come.  Jesus promised to protect His church from the time of trouble.  Some believe this implies pre-tribulation rapture.  This is what I believe.  Christians will be removed from the earth before this real trouble starts.  This trouble is also known as the Great Tribulation.  We will learn more about this later in our study of Revelation.  This removing of the church is what is called the rapture.  But remember, Jesus does not promise that Christians won’t suffer in this world and we should not assume that we will be removed before this great trouble takes place.  We don’t know when this will happen or when Jesus will return.  Until then, Christians must continue to believe in Him and not be deceived.  Revelation 4-22 tells us the things which will happen to those who dwell on the earth during the Great Tribulation.

Jesus said He is coming soon and they are to hold on to what they have and let no one take their crown.  He will never leave them.  He will write on them His name.  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”Rev. 3:13.

How faithful are you?
How do you demonstrate your faith?
If Jesus returned today, would you be ready?

Revelation 3:14-22 – Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church

Laodicea was about 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia.  It was riches of the cities.  It was the major commercial and financial center.  They were famous for their medicines and medical school.  They had indoor plumbing, but they had no water supply so they brought water in from about 6 miles away. 

John wrote to the church at Laodicea telling them that these are the words of the Amen who is faithful and a true witness, the ruler of Gods’ creation.  The Amen acknowledges that Jesus is valid, binding, true, and trustworthy.  Jesus was there when God created all things.  Here again, Jesus knows all and sees all things.  He knows their deeds and He knows ours.  They are neither hot nor cold.  He wishes they would be one or the other, but they are lukewarm.  Because they are lukewarm, Jesus is about to spit them out of His mouth.  In other words, He is about to vomit them out. -  It sounds much worse when you say it like that.  They are rich and are proud of their wealth and think they don’t need anything.  Jesus told them they didn’t realize they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

This describes some churches today.  Does this describe you?  They are prideful, complacent, and indifferent.  They have become preoccupied with what they have or even the work they do.  They work for sake of working.  They just go through the motions.  They, like the Laodiceans are self-sufficient, have material comfort, and think everything is OK.  Remember if this is you, Jesus is about to vomit you out of His mouth.

Are you lukewarm for Jesus?
Do you realize you need Jesus or are you like the Laodiceans?
Of what do you need to repent?
If you are a church member, are you a true child of God?

Those Jesus loves He rebukes and disciplines.  Jesus told them to be earnest and repent.  “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and with me.”Rev. 3:20.  Discipline is always hard but it benefits the person.  He loves them and wants them to be free from all kinds of evil things and wrong attitudes.  Jesus will come in to our hearts, if we invite Him.  But we have to ask.

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcome and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”Rev. 3:21-22.

The 7 letters in Revelation close with a promise to those who overcome.  Who are overcomers?  Overcomers are followers of Christ who successfully resist the power and temptation of the world.  They have complete dependence on God for direction, purpose, fulfillment and strength.   They are those who overcome the world, the anti-Christ, and Satan. 

God promises rewards to those who overcomer:
Rev. 2:7 – He will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life
Rev 2:11 – He will not be hurt by the second death.
Rev 2:17 – He will give hidden manna, a white stone with a new name
Rev 2:26-28 – He will give authority over nations
Rev. 3:5 – He will not blot name in book of life
Rev. 3:12 – He will make a pillar in the temple and never will leave it, will write on him the name of God
Rev. 3:21 – He will grant right to sit on His throne

Are you an overcomer?
Your name may be on a bottle of coke, but is it in the book of life?

These letters to the churches are very clear and we should carefully evaluate ourselves to see if we are in true faith.  Getting away from God’s Word can become gradual and we can drift away without realizing it.  We should be on guard and alert to false doctrines and teachings.  Times are changing.  The world asks us to be tolerant, but where do we draw the line?  We kill unborn babies, live together before marriage, men marry men and women marry women, and the list goes on.  Just because our culture is changing doesn’t mean God’s laws are.  So be careful and if in doubt about something, go to God and His Word for the right answers.

Do you have any characteristics like that of the 7 churches?
Are you faithful?    
How are you true to His Name?
In what ways do you tolerate false teaching?
Are you lukewarm?
Do you need to repent?

Join me for next week's study.  Hope to see you here.

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