You can really see the love of Jesus for the church in Philadelphia. This is another church (like Smyrna) who gets no rebuke. They are small and weak, the perfect storm for God to be glorified. When we feel weak and rely on the power of God to rescue us or sustain us, God is glorified. When we can set aside our own ambitions and desire for power or recognition, realizing we are nothing without God, God can work inside us, too.
What did you think about the way Jesus introduces himself to the church in Philadelphia. “This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open.” The “key of David” is our gospel message. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the one who can open the doors of heaven to us. There isn’t anything we can do to open those doors. If Jesus allows us in, nobody can stop us. So how do we make sure he opens the door for us?
There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. However, when we stay true to him, obey him, and seek his will, we will find favor. We can take refuge in these words, too. “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the world, especially with all the pain and fear we see in the news. We can let fear and uncertainty take control of us if we aren’t careful. Some think we may be in that “time of testing” right now. I’m not going to speculate on that. What I will say is that we need to be on guard at all times. Do a self check today. How strong do you feel your faith is? Is it sustaining you through this period of world crisis?
I love the promise Jesus makes to this church in Philadelphia. “All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it.” This promise would be even more meaningful to this church because the town of Philadelphia was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D. and then rebuilt. It was an area known for earth tremors. The pillars they would be familiar with would not necessarily stand the test of time. Jesus was promising them a future of victory! We, too, can have victory in Christ when we stand strong in our faith.
Jesus has had a separate message to each church, focusing on a particular weakness, strength, or adverse circumstance. We can likely find ourselves in most, if not all, of these messages. We can heed them as we keep ourselves strong and in tune with Jesus. Will we see Jesus’ return before we die? It’s not for us to know or even concern ourselves with. We have enough to do in simply being good followers and ambassadors of Christ’s love.
Take some time today to revel in the victory we have in Christ. Who do you know that needs to hear this message? Pray for them to be open to hear.
Let’s pray. Lord, you are the victorious one! In you I put my trust. Deliver me from my time of confusion and worry. Relieve the stress I feel when I look at the great tasks before me. May your peace wash over me. Help me to trust you and wait on your timing. Thank you that I can share in your victory over sin and death. I pray you find me worthy to be a citizen in the New Jerusalem, your mighty kingdom! In Jesus’ name. Amen.