Philadelphia – The Church of Little Strength

 What Jesus Has to Say to Churches That Love His Word

Revelation 3:7-13                        


I.         Introduction (John 17:1-6)


A.      God so loved the world (Jn 3:16)

B.       Jesus loved His disciples - Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25)

C.       Out of the seven churches recorded in revelation chapters 2 and 3, most are a mess, and get a sound rebuke, but two are bang-on! Smyrna and Philadelphia

D.      Philadelphia is a church that has a little strength, and that little strength was all because as a church, they all held firmly to God’s word!


II.       Message – Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13) – The Church of Little Strength


A.      The Abilities of Jesus (Rev 3:7)


1.        Look at all the characteristics of Jesus, and remember that these are His abilities – this is what He is able to do in your life


a.       He can make us holy, clean, pure – purged is the Bible word

b.       He can make us real/true – By getting close to Jesus through His word, you will become more real, and more true!!!

c.       He can open ANY door, AND He can CLOSE any door


2.        Look at what the Lord does best – He opens and shuts


a.       He opens


1)       Hearts – like Lydia

2)       Heaven – it’s not Peter or Mary who you meet at the pearly gates

3)       Minds – God can open a mind if it will just yield

4)       Mouths to preach – like with Moses


b.       He closes


1)       Pubs; Porn shops

2)       The door on opportunities to get saved if a person continually rejects Christ’s salvation


B.       The Works of the Church (Rev 3:8) – talking about those Christian already!


1.        They are accomplished using a little strength – at least they were trying! Most churches, and individual Christians don’t even TRY and do something for their Lord!


a.       God loves little things


1)       Remember Gideon? God called him a “mighty man of valour!”

2)       Remember the woman with only a little flour and a little oil? (1Kg 17:10-13) – it wasn’t to the wealthy and stocked up

3)       Remember Saul? (1Sam 15:17) – God loves it when we see ourselves as “little”

4)       Remember King Solomon? (1Kg 3:7) – started off right

5)       Remember the little army? (1Kg 20:27)


b.       The principal is so powerful – we are talking about humility – smallness, even weakness (Ps 37:16; Pr 15:16,17; 16:8)

c.       You don’t have to have a LOT of strength, or ability

d.       You just need a little, that you USE A LOT!

e.       What to use your “little strength” on:


1)       Loving the brethren – Philadelphia

2)       Doing well, doing right

3)       Staying pure – requires you to swim upstream sometimes!

4)       Doing what God says to do – His will for your life

5)       Believing God – when everything else tells you it’s impossible

6)       Staying faithful as a Christian - consistent


2.        They Kept God’s Wordthis was they key!


a.       THAT is what makes for real unity! Most people try and keep the peace, or keep their composure – a Christian KEEPS the Bible – the word of God!


1)       One Book – didn’t correct it, mess with it, argue with it – just: Loved it, studied it, prayed it, sung it, taught it, preached it

2)       One Boss – The Lord Jesus Christ – no pope, priest, prince

3)       One Bet – that everything will turn out just as the Bible says

4)       One Body


a)       The local, NT visible group of Christians who get together every Sunday, and every time possible

b)       Not a bunch of “name only” christians


b.       This is where real Christians stand out in the crowd - KEEPING


1)       They OBEY the Book – if it says it, we do it – what’s wrong with that? THAT is what being a Christian is!!!

2)       They PRESENT the Book


a)       Not just present our lives – as much as they need to measure up to the Bible – people get saved by seeing Jesus

b)       Give the WHOLE Book (Acts 20:20,21,25-27)

c)       I know that God knew what He was doing when He wrote it

d)       THAT Book is the only thing that can change any nation


3)       They PRESERVE the Book – nobody is going to change that Book for ME – I stand by it, and will preach it without worry


a)       To a lot of Christians today, God LOST the Bible


(i)       It is the CHURCH we need to look to

(ii)     It is SCIENCE that will help us solve problems

(iii)    It is the GOVERNMENT that God works through


b)       Notice 2Co 2:17 we are just supposed to deliver the message


c.       Oh to be a church where all of us are known both in heaven, and everywhere as KEEPING God’s word


3.        They Never Denied Jesus’ Name - called “owing up to” Jesus - being true


a.       So many people don’t care WHAT you believe, as long as you are not public about it!

b.       to our Saviour and Lord

c.       To deny Jesus’ name means:


1)       To try and HIDE publicly that you belong to Him

2)       To act like you are NOT a believer in Jesus


a)       Maybe at work

b)       Or at school

c)       Or among family and friends – they ought to know

d)       EX: Don Gore marrying his wife and for 2 yrs nobody knew


3)       To deny that name in worship


a)       The push today is to worship only a nameless “god”

b)       We worship JESUS – at that NAME, every knee shall bow!


d.       This church never looked back! Sold out;  Heaven-bound


C.       The Enemies of the Church (Rev 3:9) – two enemies: False Religion and false churches


1.        Plenty of people trying to take the place of Jews

2.        People claiming to be the people of God – the Jews

3.        Jews ARE the people of God, but not saved unless born again

4.        Satan is against the Christian church – sets up his own churches

5.        But the Lord will defeat them


a.       They will kneel while you stand with Christ

b.       They will know Jesus loved His church – the church that so loved


1)       His word

2)       His presence

3)       His work in their lives! No matter how rough!


6.        So, stay faithful to the Lord! Leeds to the next point!


D.      The Needs of the Church (Rev 3:10-12)


1.        To be kept from temptation – by being prayed for, and staying busy


a.       Jesus is able to KEEP you from even being tempted

b.       Satan is working over-time, and Christians are not immune

c.       But we can skim over the top, not knowing the depths of sin

d.       We just need to want it – bad enough we can taste it


2.        To never be satisfied – you probably have little strength


a.       Grow in your faith – through study of this Book

b.       Grow in your praying

c.       Grow strong in your battles – all for the Lord


3.        To hold fast some things


a.       Your Bible

b.       Your time with God in prayer

c.       This church

d.       Your family

e.       Our spiritual goals


1)       Winning lost folks

2)       Sending our missionaries

3)       Raising Godly families


4.        Overcome the temptation to give up


E.       The Rewards of this Church (3:12)


1.        An eternal monument of God’s greatness – a pillar – not a statue

2.        A name that you lived (CF Rev 3:1)


a.       God’s name - Jehovah

b.       Jerusalem’s name - peace

c.       Jesus’ new name – wonderful, whatever it will be!


F.       The Reminder to ALL churches (3:13) This letter was not to just one church – it was for all churches, for all times! Even in a church in Blarney, in 2002


III.     Conclusion - This is a church that Jesus is really proud of


A.      This is one of the few churches that Jesus does not rebuke, and tell to repent

B.       The only difference between this church and Ephesus is that


1.        Ephesus had a lot of strength, but little love

2.        Philadelphia had little strength, but a lot of love


C.       This church is a truly great Church


1.        Had a Great Saviour

2.        Had some Great Efforts

3.        Had some Bad Enemies

4.        Had some Great Needs

5.        Had some Great rewards

6.        Heeded a Great reminder – that all this was from Jesus


D.      The Lord Jesus looks down, and desires for every church to be more like Philadelphia – but it takes US making a choice