"Philadelphia-The Church of the Open Door"

Rev. 3:7-13

INTRO. The city of Philadelphia was located about 28 miles southeast of Sardis. It was located in an area known for its agricultural products, but it was also afflicted by earthquakes which destroyed the city several times. Most recently as about 37 ad.

The city was named for a king of Pergamos, Attalus Philadelphus, who built the city in 140 B. C. His intent in building the city was that the city would serve as a center for the spread of Greek culture in the region.

In A. D. 17, after one of its many earthquakes, because of the heavy damage inflicted, it was granted disaster aid for the purpose of rebuilding by the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

When the Church was started there is unknown, but in spite of Moslem influence and Satan's attacks, in the form of pagan religions, the Christian witness in Philadelphia has been maintained even to the present day.

Our LORD'S message to this Church is quite different from most of the LORD'S other letters that He delivered to the other 6 Churches of Asia Minor. Along with the Church in Smyrna, the Church in Philadelphia was not told to repent-a charge that issued strongly to all others.

Jesus' word to Philadelphia was one of unqualified commendation. Where the LORD'S letter to Laodicea was all condemnation and no praise, this letter to the Church of Philadelphia was all praise and no condemnation.

This letter though brief is full of hope and promise, and its message is just as needed today as it was 1900 years ago. In it there is a word about Christ, the Church, and the Christian. Let's look at the Church in Philadelphia and see how it applies to us today.

(1) The Christ With The Key Of David

Text: Rev. 3:7

*As in the other letters, Christ addresses the Church by one of His

attributes. Here He is the One "That is Holy, that is True, He that hath the

Key of David, He that openeth."

*TO understand the symbol of The Key, we must go back to Isaiah 22:20-

25. Isaiah prophesied that Hezekiah's treasurer, Shebna, would be

replaced by an unknown individual named Eliakim. Let's look at Isaiah


*The key on his shoulder represented his authority in David's government. Just as Eliakim had the authority of physical treasures of David's house, Christ has the authority over the Spiritual treasures of the Davidic covenant.

*Christ is the rightful heir to David's throne. In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said, "I have the keys of death and hell." The important truth for us is: that Christ has all authority in life and death. He opens the door of salvation, because He is "The Door" (John 10:9)

(2) The Church Of The Open Door

Text: Revelation 3:8-10

*Christ not only opens the door of salvation for sinners, but also He opens the door of service for saints. "I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast little strength, and hast kept my word and hast not denied my name." (v. 8)

*Christ may have been alluding to the fact that Philadelphia lay at the entrance to a mountain pass to the inner region of Asia Minor. Thus opportunity lay with the Church to enter the door and evangelize the surrounding area.

*If God opens a door for ministry, we are surely remiss (slack) if we do not


*Christ also issued stern warning to the Jews who were opposing the work

of The Gospel (v. 9). Christ said, "I will make them come and worship

before my feet and to know that I have loved thee." (Philippians 2:5-11)

*The heart of the message to the Philadelphian believers, and to all true

believers is found in v. 10. Found here is one of the most precious

promises in God's Word! Christ promises to keep us from the hour of

temptation which will try all the world.

*Verse 11 is also a beautiful verse of scripture, for it says, "Behold, I come

quickly." Christ's rapture of His Church is soon. It admonishes us to,

"Hold fast that which we have.." (Our Faith). Not because we will be left

behind, but because, "We may lose crowns."

(3) The Christian As A Pillar In The Temple

Text: Revelation 3:12

*Read v. 12. There are 3 prominent symbols found in this letter:

A Key, A Door, and A Pillar. The Key represents Christ's authority; The Door represents the Church's Opportunity; and The Pillar represents the Christian's Security.

*TO understand the symbolism of the Pillar, we must once again go to the

Old Testament. In 1 Kings 7:13-22, pillars were a prominent part of

Solomon's Temple. There were 2 pillars at the door of the Temple. Each

was solid bronze, 35 ft tall and 5 ft thick. They were given names:

Jachin (established) and Boaz (strength). They spoke clearly of firmness

and security.

*Because we believers are promised to be a pillar in the Heavenly Temple,

our salvation is secure! This is promised to the overcomer. Who is an

overcomer? (1 John 5:5)

CLOSING: Will we heed the message to the Church in Philadelphia? Have we entered through the door of salvation? If so, Have we went out the door of service?

The letter closes with the familiar verse, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches” (v. 13).