Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Non-series Sermons by Year 2022 Sermons . Philadelphia - The church we need to be (2)

. Philadelphia - The church we need to be (2)

PHILADELPHIA - THE CHURCH WE NEED TO BE (PART 2)

A GLORIOUS CHURCH

 

Revelation 3:7-13 (ESV) 7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8 “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’


3. Vindication.


9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

“Behold I will make” – is maybe the most exciting words a church can hear. We all desire to see God do what God will and can do. It is the same as the words ‘but God’ in  Ephesians 2:1-4 (ESV) 1 And you were dead (dead) in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world (deviant), following the prince of the power of the air (demonized), the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (disobedient)3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind (deranged), and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (damned). 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us (delivered).”

Oh, how we need God to act not only in our salvation as in Ephesians 2:4 but also in our vindication as in Revelation 3:9. We will see it again in verse 10.

 

Three times in verse 9&10 we see God in action: “I will make”, “I will make”, and “I will keep.

 

This is what we want to hear, I have little strength, my faith is week, we are but a small church, I am struggling with my daily issues …………. ‘BUT GOD’ or “I WILL MAKE ….”.


But let’s put this in context first.

What does Jesus mean when He says: 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.”


Does it mean that there was a community that were part of the synagogue who were claiming and ethnicity that wasn’t true? Does it mean that they were Greeks who claimed to be Jews, but were not? If that were true it should have no affect on the church of Philadelphia.

The key words here are: “claimed to be” and “synagogue of Satan”.

 

The answer lies in texts like Romans 2:28-29 (ESV) 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”


Jesus says that they are not led by God, they are led by Satan. That’s familiar language, isn’t it? They have not experienced the “But God” in Ephesians 2. They are still: “following the prince of the power of the air (demonized), the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (disobedient). So, in Romans 8 they claimed to be Jews, because they were Jews by birth. When they were born they cried in Hebrew (humour intended for the theological purists).

 

We see it again in John 8:39-47 (ESV).  39 They (the Jews) answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Again, they claim to be, and Jesus says they are not. They are of the synagogue of their father, Satan.

 

The biological Jews who were actually children of Satan, because they were not circumcised in their hearts were obviously persecuting the church of Philadelphia. Remember they did it this with Smyrna. We saw it in Revelation 2:9 (ESV) 9I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not but are a synagogue of Satan.”


BUT GOD, but the Lord makes an amazing promise: “I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.” Jewish people from a synagogue bowing down to Gentiles and learning that it is the Gentiles that the Lord God loves. The true church of Christ should never worry about those in society who are persecuting them. They should not worry too much about their theology, but rather focus on their own, they should not look with jealousy at their size, their programs, their buildings or their growth. What matters is that God loves you, and that He will humble them.

 

No matter that they are you adversaries, that they are your enemies, that they are making life difficult for you, that there is persecution – God will make them bow.

 

We all know that the Jews have rejected Christ, that they sent Him to the cross. Is their hope for them? Can Jews be saved? I do not want to go into deep theological discussions, but a simple glancing will have to prevail. Romans 11 teaches us much about this. A few thoughts must suffice. Paul asks in Romans 11 whether the Jews can be saved. He then answers it in Romans 11:1 (ESV) 1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.” Now remember that the Jews did not believe that the Gentiles should be included in the faith, but Paul says in Romans 11:11 (ESV) 11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” Even Jonah had a problem with the fact that God would give grace to the Gentiles in Nineveh.

These Israelites who claim to be Jews but are not were cut out of the main branch, and the gentiles who are people like the church of Philadelphia were grafted in. God will make the Jews jealous, God will make them acknowledge that He loves Philadelphia, God will humble them. According to 1 Corinthians 14:21 it is through the very language of foreigners that God again will speak to unbelieving Israel. That is the very purpose of tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:21 (ESV)21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”


The joy is that some will listen according to Romans 11. And so God will provoke them to jealousy, by humbling those of the synagogue of Satan to the point that they acknowledge that God loves the church of Philadelphia. The Jews throughout church history, and finally in the end, will see the blessing of God has been on the church. They will see that God has loved us.

And we are seeing it. This church is full of Jewish people who’ve come to Christ.

 

There is a further promise for the church of Philadelphia, not just Divine Protection.

 

4. Divine Protection.

4.1 He will keep them.

“10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”


We are not sure what is meant here as we do not have a clear-cut historical event that we can point to. It might be referring to elevated persecution. We must remember that in their day and age the whole world, was their world that they knew. They did not possess global maps. So, it might simply be that they were spared from some trial that came into their world at a given time.

 

But it can be deeper than that, because the language is very deep and sweeping.

It could be referring to the end of history when a time of severe judgment was going to come on the earth. They knew about the coming of the Great Tribulation Daniel’s Seventieth Week; a time that is described to us starting in Revelation 6 through Revelation 18; a time that is described in sequences of sealed judgments, trumpet judgments, and bold judgments that come on the earth that are just devastating beyond comprehension? It’s about to come, not in the sense that it’s coming in days or weeks, but it’s next, it’s imminent, it’s nearer every day – like our salvation, Romans 13, is nearer than when we believed.

Could this be the time of tribulation, the time of great tribulation spoken of by Daniel, Ezekiel, Zachariah, Revelation? And here, is our Lord not saying then to the church, “I will keep you from the hour of testing. The present trouble will be enough. The final test that comes on the whole world will not be for the faithful.”


We know we’ll be kept from the eternal wrath to come, and so would they. I believe it refers to the Pre-tribulation rapture of the church. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV) 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”


Why do I believe that it is this? Simply because they will not go into the tribulation. Something will happen that protects them from entering into it. Well, we might say, so what, they lived 2000 years ago, so how could this be a comforting promise for them. The same way it is to us. 1 Thess 1:10 was applicable to Philadelphia, and the early church, and the church in the middle ages, and in the reformation, and those that existed during the 1st and the 2nd World war, and to those during the turn of the Millenium, and it is applicable to us today. So, whether we die before or are raptured before the great tribulation we are spared.

The language used here then leads us to believe that those who are part of the faithful church in the end will be kept out of, or out from that time of trial.

Verse 11 helps us further. Revelation 3:11 (ESV) 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” As much as we are reminded that He is coming soon, they were.

 

We know based on Scripture that you cannot lose your salvation. All that you can lose is your reward. Romans 8:1 teaches us that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, but we will along with the church of Philadelphia be judged one day according to what we have done in this life, and we will receive our crowns of reward, or lose out on our full reward. 2 John 8 (ESV) 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”


4.2 He will make them.


12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

If you’re a believer, if you’re an overcomer – this is counsel and comfort to the true Christian, the genuine believer.

There are four eternal blessings given here which we will cover under 3 points.

 

4.2.1 He will make them pillars in the temple.

“I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.”


What does that mean? It simply means that you are going to live in heaven forever. Your place in heaven is a permanent, immovable place in heaven. It is interesting when we look at the ruins of those times, as I have post on the screen numerous times, that it is often the pillars that are left standing. It is an apt reminder to the Philadelphians and us that we will be pillars in the temple of God forever.

 

4.2.2 They will receive the Name of God.

“I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven.”


It was tradition in those times to honour people by carving their names on pillars. God will write on us, His pillars His name and the name of the New Jerusalem. We are His and we live in His Holy city. It’s incredibly gracious, stunning mercy. We will be forever God’s, forever honoured. We have permeant citizenship in heaven with all rights and privileges to the Eternal City.

 

4.2.3 He will write on them His new name.

:… and 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.


We are reminded of the new name of Jesus in Philippians 2:10-11 (ESV) 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


It is not at the name 'Jesus', but the 'name of Jesus' that every knee will bow. Because He died God gave Him a name that is above every name. Whatever that name is, be it Lord or a name we’ve never heard, it will be the name that encompasses the fullness of His eternal majesty. The name will encompass the fullness of His eternal majesty.

 

Closing.


And so, this is a little church with little power, but much loyalty, obedience, endurance and faithfulness. The Lord threw the doors open and heaven was made accessible, the riches of the kingdom available. And this little church was used by God to bring people to those open doors, and the Spirit of God ushered them into the kingdom. This church had such an impact that even its Jewish persecutors bowed down and acknowledged that God loved them. Ans so God made them promises, eternal promises, and those promises are available to us today, if we too keep His word, do not deny His name, and endure to the end. We will also then experience a ‘but God’ or an ‘I will make’.

 

And here we see again that the holy, true, sovereign, mighty Lord knew everything about this church. They were not perfect, but they were faithful. And He poured out heaven’s privileges on them; gave them opportunity to be the open door for the gospel; promised to deliver them from the hour of testing; and to come quickly, take them to heaven, and give them everlasting privileges. This is the blessedness of being a faithful church.

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 6 February 2022