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Feb 24, 2019

The Little Church That Could

Passage: Revelation 3:7

Preacher: Bob Putnam

Series: Churches of Revelation

Keywords: doors, endurance, god, love, name, satan, strength, trial, weakness


This message looks at the Church of Philadelphia in Rev. 3. It is so easy to "lose your first love" in today's world. This message may help you get HIM back!


The Little Church that Could

The Church of Philadelphia, Revelation 3

Pastor Bob Putnam

February 24, 2019


Philadelphia was the sixth of the seven churches in Revelations to receive a message from Jesus Christ; through John’s visions. And undoubtedly the members of that church faced similar influences and pressures as did other Christians at that time. Yet the nature of Christ’s message to this church doesn’t include any correction. It only offered encouragement and promise.

There are going to be 4 points that we’ll discus, but first something always sticks out to me as I read, pray, and meditate on the truth of God’s word. Here that would be verse 7 chapter 3: who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one can open. ………………………………..a lot of you even though I came to Spokane kicking and screaming from CDA God had opened an unbelievable door here in downtown Spokane for me. Still for me that happened with a very painful door being shut in at RLM. God was dismantling an amazing ministry team the pain of that door shutting ………………………………Share…………………………………….

LET’S PRAY!!!!!!!!

As for Philadelphia it was located in modern day Turkey, on the Cogamus River about 150 miles east of Smyrna and 25 miles southeast of Sardis, Philadelphia was founded later than many other cites of Asia Minor. Sometime after 189 B.C. it was established on one of the highways leading to the interior of the region.

Philadelphia means as most of us know “brotherly love”. Its name was given to it, in honor of Attalus II because of his loyalty to his older brother Eumenes II, king of Lydia. Still another name was Decapolis because it was one of the ten cities on the plain. A third name was given during the first century A.D. Noe-kaisaria; it appears on the coins struck during that period. During the region of Vespasian; it was called Flavia. Its modern name Allah-shehir means “the city of God, and finally it bore the title of Little Athens, because of the magnificence of the temples and other buildings that adorned it.

Philadelphia quickly became an important and wealthy trade center, for as the coastal cities declined, it grew in power, and retained its importance even until late Byzantine times.

Now for the Little Church that could, that grew, never taking its eyes off the Truth of God.

If you have your Bibles lets open now to Revelation 3:7 and begin by reading the letter to the Church

First though: In all the others letters to the church’s we’ve been through, our Lord through John’s vision uses symbols at the beginning of each letter to describe Himself.

In this letter however to the church Philadelphia, Jesus use’s other titles to describe Himself. He tells them plainly who He is, and what He does. Who He is, is “The Holy One”, and “The True One”. === “Morally Perfect”. His character is without flaw, or blemish, He is genuine Reality. What He does, He is “The True One, the one behind all that really exists.

Let’s read, 3:7-13

Now let’s unpack the letter!!!!!!

VERSE 7: The message to Philadelphia begins with an announcement from Christ that “He has the key of David” and that what He opens “no one will shut” and what “He shuts no one will open”. Rev 3:7

This statement is similar to Isaiah 22:20-22 where Eliakim is given the key of the house of David: “so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one will open.” Eliakim had the authority to control who had access to David’s house. As Christ in Rev. is the only one who has the authority to open the doors to Heaven.

Christ statement that he had “the key of David reveals two points:

First, as prophesied in Luke 1:32-33 Christ had received “the throne of his father David. 32-He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33- And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Second, Christ had the authority to open and close doors for the benefit of the congregation at Philadelphia. When Christ opened or closed these doors no one could reverse these actions.

The door that no one can shut sees, in this context as I touched on earlier, would be the entrance to Heaven and “the New Jerusalem” Also as several New Testament passages show that “an open door refers to the opportunity to share/ preach the Gospel of Christ. One example is Acts 14:27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

More examples of Christ opening doors would be 1 Corinth 16:9, 2 Corinth 2:12, and Colossians 4:3

VERSE 8: In addition of telling the Church that He had opened the door for them to preach the Gospel, Christ also commended them for their spiritual strength in faithfully obeying His commands. They had not “denied” Christ’s name through disobedience. As Christians they faithfully observed all of Christ’s instructions and followed His example of worship instead of accepting human changes while still claiming to be Christians.

We to have the same encouragement; In 1 peter 2:21. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. Then again in 1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked……………..share………………..

VERSE 9: The synagogue of Satan, Jesus says He will make “those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not.” Worship before the feet of the members of the Church and recognize that Christ has loved them. While it is clear that Jesus is making “those of the synagogue Satan” understand that He loves and respects the members of the church of Philadelphia, it is not clear who those people are of the synagogue if Satan.

This thought of people falsely claiming to be Jews is similar to Christ words to Smyrna. I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. The meaning of people falsely claiming to be Jews brings the same meaning to people claiming to be Christians.

It’s not how we look on the outside, but our heart condition, where are we storing up our treasures? Have we replaced Christ with a pretty Christian lifestyle? And left Christ in a box on the mantel.

The point behind Christ’s action towards those labeled the synagogue of Satan is to show them and others and us, whom He loves and respects.

As we’ve been learning while we go through the churches, the Church of God is founded by Jesus and the apostles faced much persecution.

This persecution came from the Roman government, Jews, who practiced Judaism and from people who claimed to be following Christ, but weren’t.

VERSE 10: The hour of trial:  

I will keep you from the hour of trial

Hold fast to what you have, so no one may seize your crown

I will make you a pillar……”a prominent place of service in Christ Kingdom

I will write on him/you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God.

Share my thoughts on this reading.

I leave you with this:

Revelation 21:2-4


2nd Corinth. 6:16-18