The Church in Philadelphia (Part 3)

Some might think pastors like myself are cruel, critical and lacking in compassion when it comes to condemning certain movements that portray themselves as Christian, yet in fact, as you analyze their statement of faith, their doctrine and their view of Scripture, the incarnation, the substitutional death and resurrection of Jesus, their understanding of the Gospel and its application, amongst other matters, will inform you whether they are mainline Christianity or a sect. They need to be exposed because they seduce the people of God seeking to lead them astray into darkness. Their onslaught is subtle, intentional and disastrously evil. They come in all shapes and presentations. Often they use Biblical or Gospel language that camouflages their true intention … yet soon they become exposed because their morals and ethics practiced do not line up with Biblical Christianity. The Lord Jesus says … “I know” … twice in verse 8.

Rev 3:8 I know your deeds … and … I know that you have little strength.

As the Lord Jesus “knows” … “is aware of” … the deeds and needs of the saints at Philadelphia, so He is aware of everything the false teachers do. In the case of this Church, their enemy is well disguised.

3) Jesus knows all about their spiritual, emotional, physical, relational condition.

Rev 3:8 I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

It is important to remember that this Church’s condition … “little strength” is not self-inflicted. It’s not like to person who abuses alcohol and destroys a relationship or the man who goes beyond flirtation and destroys his marriage or the one who knowingly mismanages the finances and struggles to pay bills. These are self-inflicted whilst the environment of suffering at this Church was due to external factors. The wonderful example they set before us is that even though they felt enormous pressure from their enemy, they … have kept my word and have not denied my name. What a lesson for us in the 21 Century to learn! Loyalty … to Jesus! Under the worst pressure they remained true, faithful and loyal. Their genuineness is a wonderful example for you and me to copy. Follow this logic … the one who is a believer and even serving the Lord Jesus in some capacity or the other and pursues adulterous relationships as a married man or woman has already not kept God’s Word and has denied the name of Jesus. You see, before the marriage vows are broken, the salvation vows are broken. It might be pride, it might be self-confidence, it might be spiritual lethargy … but it is sin! Sin leads a person away from Jesus firstly and then away from other commitments. Once the salvation vow had been broken, then all the other vows are easily broken. The point I am making is “not keeping God’s Word and denying His name” is the precursor to adultery, theft, fraud, lies, drunkenness and a host of other sins, perhaps better reflected in the Acts of the Sinful Nature

Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

This is not keeping the Master’s Word and is denying the Name of Jesus. Look what follows …

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God … that is, such a person doing these things might not have been a believer to start with! Yet keeping God’s Word and holding the Name of Jesus high is dressing oneself with the Fruits of the Spirit. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

This is the person who is a true believer. He or she might sin and repent but they don’t live in sin and pretend to be God’s saint! Intentional Christianity is expressed like this

Gal 19:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

(1) Look at what the lover of the soul will do

Rev 3:9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

What an astounding statement Jesus makes here … the synagogues of satan … which is constituted by people who call themselves Jews …the people of God. They are saying that Gentiles cannot come into God’s Kingdom. According to them God’s Kingdom is reserved for Jews alone. Yet, Jesus is implying that a true Jew is a real Christian irrespective of nationality. Why so? Because all Christians, be they Jew or Gentile find their spiritual roots in Abraham and the promise God made to him.

(2) Be fearful if you are one who holds to a Christianity that excludes any ethnicity from the Kingdom of God. God Himself opened the Doors of the Kingdom to all people through His promise to Abraham … “all nations” in Genesis 12 at Pentecost where there were 15 nationalities present in Jerusalem and as He did in the outworking of the Gospel in the Book of Acts! A favorite verse of mine is

Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

The one who self-diagnoses that only a certain ethnic group may enter the Kingdom is playing God and seeking to replace what God says in His Word with something that suits that person’s political ideology.

(3) Those who seek to keep people out of God’s Kingdom will acknowledge that they are liars and will declare that God loves those they reject. Allow me to remind you that there are not two Gospel. There is only one Gospel and that is the Gospel of Scripture. Let me also remind you that there is only one race, not two. Jesus came to save the lost, not a particular group!

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that salvation is available to all. Amen.

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