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Exploring Revelation
603
“The church of philadelphia pt.#2”
by Art Sadlier   
December 9th, 2007

Today we want to look more closely at the characteristics of Philadelphia. This could help you to determine if you are a Philadelphian or if your church is Philadelphian. It's not enough to say you are Philadelphian, or that you desire to be Philadelphian, you must possess the characteristics of Philadelphians in order to be one!

We want to see - FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PHILADELPHIAN CHURCH:

FIRST - THEY LOVED ONE ANOTHER -

"Philadelphia" means brotherly love, one who loves his brother. One of the characteristics of this church is LOVE! - Love for Christ - Love for the lost - Love for one another. It is a church which has never lost its first love. Demonstrated in Jn. 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." How are you making out so far?

LOVE is the key to a church being what God expects it to be. LOVE is to the church what water is to the lake. You cannot have one without the other. If we do not have this kind of love in our fellowship, we are on the way to losing our candlestick, to being de-commissioned as a church.

SECOND - THEY LOVED GOD'S WORD -

"and has kept My word," Rev.3:8. God's Word was the supreme and final and only authority in their lives, in their homes, and in their church. God's Word was preached, taught, believed, practiced, obeyed and loved.

The liberals said, "you stupid Fundamentalists, what you need is an education. You're so simple and naive, you believe the Bible literally, while all of modern scholarship shows the Bible is not to be taken literally."But God's true believers just keep on trusting God and His Word as their only rule of faith and practice.

Dr. Graham Scroggie, when challenged about God's Word said, - "I have been reading the Bible for years, and the Bible claims to be the Word of God," - "The Bible appears to be the Word of God," - "whenever I put it to the test, it proves to be the Word of God." He went on to say: "I need the Bible in my head, my home, my heart, my hands and in my habits."

In the period from about 1800 to 1950, the Philadelphian Church was in its ascendency. Bible Churches, Methodist Churches, Brethren Assemblies and Fundamental Baptist Churches loved God's Word and held to it tenaciously, they preached and practiced it. The Philadelphian Church is still in the world today, but along about 1950 with the advent of Ecumenical Evangelism and Neo Evangelicalism, Philadelphia lost its predominance to a form of Evangelicalism. (Laodicean)

THIRD - THEY LOVED HIS NAME -

"And hast not denied My name" Rev.3:8 They were in love with the name of Jesus. They could not stop talking about Him, teaching about Him, preaching about Him, studying about Him and witnessing about Him.They revelled in His Deity, His Holiness, His Glory, His Sovereignty, His Eternality and His Great Love. They would not stand to see the name of Christ dishonored - the Deity of Christ rejected - and the Efficacy of His Blood denied.

So they came out of mainline churches, Pastors and people who gathered around the Name of Jesus and the Word of God. They came together with hearts aflame with love for Christ and the Bible in their hands; and God smiled on them and blessed them!

FOUR - THEY LOVED THE LOST -

"Behold I have set before thee an open door," Rev.3:8

'An open door' is an opportunity to preach the gospel. Paul used the term that way over and over again. With the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, the greatest missionary movement since the first century began.The Gospel was proclaimed around the globe for the first time. Great revivals broke out in Great Britain and America. One of the dominant characteristics of Philadelpnia is a love for the lost. How are you making out?

FIVE - THEY LOVED HIS APPEARING -

"Because Thou hast kept the Word of my patience" Rev.3:10

This is the "patient" waiting on Christ's Coming for His own. (2 Thess. 3:5)It is a fact that the doctrine of the Rapture of the church has come again to the foreground in the last 150 years, with the rise of Philadelphia. The first time since the early days of the church.

The farmer sows his seed and keeps on cultivating and watering with patience waiting for the harvest. So these Philadelphians sowed the gospel seed and kept on sowing and working while they waited for the Lord of the Harvest to come. (see Ja. 5:7) They looked for and loved the thourght of Christ's coming for them.The Lord encouraged that expectation in Rev. 3:11, "Behold I come Quickly (suddenly)." Keep on waiting and watching while you work. It was this stressing of the Lord's expected, sudden return that filled the church with missionary zeal to evangelize the world.

THE CLOSING WARNING

"Hold that fast which thou hast." A Christian 'cannot' lose his, or her, salvation. A Christian 'can' lose His reward, His crown. How sad to have a crown already won and to lose it before you get to heaven. Hold on to what you have, that no man take thy crown." Rev. 3:11, "Don't Lose Your Reward!"

Why did the Lord say that? I believe there is a special reason. Understand, there is a period in which the Philadelphian Church and the Laodicean Church would be on the scene simultaneously, that's today! There is a great deceptive similarity between these two churches. The only real difference is an inward difference.THE ONE is flaming white hot in zeal, fanatical in love and devotion to Christ. THE OTHER is lukewarm and indifferent.

The warning is that if a Philadelphian loses his zeal he becomes Laodicean and as a result loses his crown or reward.

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