Thoughts on Revelation (6)
Philadelphia is the sixth church mentioned in the Revelation, and its name is literally “brotherly love.” There is no mention of any condemnation or rebuke to this congregation. Could it be that is because they truly practiced loving one another? The importance of brotherly love is so emphasized in the Bible that one would have to be purposely blind to not see it. Jesus said that loving one another would be the proof of our discipleship. His exact words were, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Another quality found in the Philadelphia church that prompted praise from Jesus was their reliance on His strength. He described them as a weak people who had kept His word and had not denied His name. It seems to me that the folks in that church knew what Paul had learned. It is when we admit our weakness that we make room for Christ’s strength to be made manifest. Noteworthy also is their high regard for the Word of God, and the resolve to never deny the name of Christ no matter the cost.
To such a church as this one come blessings and promises. Jesus gives them three specific promises. First is the promise of an open door which no one can shut. That reminds me of Paul’s words of confidence when he writes, “…if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The Lord also promises them a day of vindication before their enemies. Finally there is a promise to be kept from the time of great tribulation.
To these overcomers is the promise of blessings. Those blessings can be summed up as follows. They will be with God forever. They will have a special place in God’s city. They will have a deep personal relationship with God. But those blessings are not just for them.They can be yours and mine as well. Remember the words of Paul? “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)