Quarter’s Theme: DIVINE DISPLAY OF THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
Unit 2 – I Know Thy Works-Time For Critical Self-Examination (Lessons 4-11)
LESSON 10 9/8/2015
PHILADELPHIA: THE FAITHFUL CHURCH
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 10, 68
Devotional Reading: 2 THESS. 2:13-17
Topic For Adults
LITTLE STRENGTH, BIG OPPORTUNITIES
Topic For Youths
IT PAYS TO BE FAITHFUL
Topic For Intermediates
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Memory Verse: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it, for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Be Watchful, Victory Is Sure
The Sardis Church fell asleep on the job, Laodicea was deceived, blind to hope in God as a result of their riches but the Philadelphia with their little strength did not give up because they knew that victory was sure. You must discern what keeps you on track, even when you grow weary and become doubtful. Also, watch out for anything that could make you discouraged. Victory is sure and your name will never be erased from the book of life if you chose to be faithful till the end.
Point of Emphasis: I am coming soon hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown (v. 11)
Prayer Point: Keep me O Lord from the hour of trail so that I will finish strong.
The persevering faith and faithfulness of the Philadelphia church made God to
promise that He would deliver the faithful there from the “wrath to come”. The church made efforts within their ability to endure opposition from the world and resisted conforming to the evil trends of other churches. They also had persevered in loyalty to Christ and the truth of the gospel. The promise of Christ to the faithful extends throughout the ages. This is the focus of this week’s lesson.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL (REV. 3:7-8)
The destination of our Lord’s sixth letter was to the believers in Philadelphia, located about thirty miles southeast of Sardis.
The background history of Philadelphia probably affected the church. Philadelphia is from a Greek word “Philadelphus” which means one who loves his brother. The city was founded mainly as a missionary field of Greek culture and language to the surrounding cities. At a time when Caesar helped them, they changed the name to New Caesarea. They later changed it to Flavisu when Flavier came to their aid. This was finally changed back to Philadelphia. The town was destroyed by the great earthquake of A.D. 7 and was rebuilt by Tiberius. Drinking was a major problem because of abundance of wine there.
The letter to the Church in Philadelphia was an extremely beautiful one. It was full of praises with no rebuke as such. They were given several promises with the warning that they should hold fast to the faith. The church was an extremely strong one because they were missionary minded. They were always witnessing the good news and sending people out on missions. The fact that God did not rebuke them is a beautiful and great lesson to us.
(2) JESUS’ IDENTITY TO PHILADELPHIA CHURCH (REV. 3:7B-8)
The letter was sent by Jesus who alone is the universal head of all the churches. He chooses to present Himself to the church as “He that is Holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth”.
This is a proper identification of Christ to a church that had endeavoured to adhere to Christ in holiness and truth. This opened a door of opportunity under Christ’s care and government. He alone (Christ) opens a door of opportunity to His church entrance to His ministries, admission to His visible church. He shuts at His Will, not according to the will of man but in line with His absolute sovereignty.
Verse 8 attests that Christ knows them and had them in mind despite their little strength. It must be affirmed that the holiness of God makes Him different from the gods. This should prompt every child of God to be different from the children of the world. We must be peculiar in everything (1 Pet. 2:9)
The fact that Christ is having the key of David signifies that the Lord alone can cause great revival in the church.
(3) DON’T GIVE UP (REV. 3:9-13)
Yesterday’s outstanding performance is not sufficient to justify today’s poor performance or stand in the gap for the future’s failure. It is only the reached that cannot be beaten. In view of this, efforts must be made in order to finish strong.
Though the Philadelphia church had a good commendation from the Lord, nevertheless, they were warned not to relent in being heavenly focused.
There is a promise of great favour which consists of two things: Christ will make the church’s enemies subject to her. These enemies included the Jews who pretended to be the only and peculiar people of God, but were the synagogue of Satan. The real Israelites of God are those congregations that worship God in truth and in Spirit.
Also, by the power of God upon the hearts of His enemies and by singular and peculiar favour to the church, they will see the working of God and be forced to acknowledge it. Their hearts will be softened and be made to enter into communion with Him (i.e. be convicted and converted)
It should be noted with serious mind the duty which Jesus calls the church of Philadelphia to: though with their little strength they had big opportunity, as much they should not give up. Believers must not feel satisfied with the status quo. Rather we should find what keeps us from moving to the next level and work it out.
Verse 13 which rounds off this division demands our attention “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith to the churches”. This demonstrates how God loves and values His people that are faithful. He will surely reward their fidelity if they don’t give up.
There is no genuine love without discipline. Despite the attempt of the synagogue of Satan who call themselves Jews and were not (verse 9) to influence them negatively; the Philadelphia church stood their ground to preserve their core values. Faith was the foundation on which they grew spiritually. This helped them to develop a virtue of strong character and discipline. They had knowledge and understanding of what God thinks and values. They exhibit self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Pet. 1:5-11). We must emulate this faithful church in order to end our Christian race successfully.
(1) Explain briefly the background of Philadelphia.
(2) Why was the letter sent to Philadelphia described as extremely beautiful?
(3) How did Jesus identify Himself to the Philadelphia Church?
(4) What should we affirm about the holiness of God?
(5) What is the attention that verse 13 calls us to?
SOIS VIGILANT, LA VICTOIRE EST ASSUREE
APOCALYPSE 3 :7-13
L’église de Sardes s’est endormie sur le tas. Laodicée fut séduite et rendue aveugle d’espérer en Dieu en conséquence de leurs richesses mais Philadelphie avec sa moindre force n’a pas cédé car ils savaient que la victoire était assurée. Tu dois discerner ce qui te retient sur la piste, quand même tu t’affaiblis et deviens incertain. De même, sois vigilant à tout ce qui peut te décourager. La victoire est assurée et ton nom ne sera point effacé du livre de vie si tu choisis de rester fidèle jusqu’à la fin.
Point essentiel : « Je viens bientôt. Retiens ce que tu as, afin que personne ne prenne ta couronne » (v. 11).
Axe de prière : Garde-moi, Seigneur, pendant que je me tiens sur la piste afin que je puisse finir de façon affermie.