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Truth Matters / Dr. Cheryl Davis
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August 26, 2021 6:20 am


Truth Matters / Dr. Cheryl Davis

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Today on Truth Matters with Dr. Cheryl Davis, she surveys the church in Philadelphia, the church Jesus said would escape the coming tribulation. Now here's Dr. Davis with the sixth church in our series, The Church of Brotherly Love. Hello, I'm Dr. Cheryl Davis with Truth Matters, and we are continuing our survey of the letters to the seven churches where today we'll get into Philadelphia. We're in the next to the last church of the seven churches. Last week we discussed the church of Sardis, and much like the city of Sardis, they were unaware of their spiritual condition, living under a false sense of security. I asked you a key question last time about your own spiritual condition. If our church's lampstand depended on you and you alone, how bright would your light be for the church?

How did that work out for you last week or last time? I'm looking at where you are and doing a self-examination, which I think all of us need to do that from time to time. But we are moving on from Sardis to Philadelphia. Today we get a glimpse of the model church, the church that God is pleased with. Let's get into the chapter of chapter three, verses seven through 13. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write, These things says he who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens.

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. Indeed, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie. Indeed, I will make them come and worship before your feet and to know that I have loved you because you have kept my command to persevere. I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth.

Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold fast what you have that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God.

And I will write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. Immediately off the bat, this letter is very different from the letter to the church at Sardis. The destination of this letter, as we've done every time, you see the angel of the church in Philadelphia. Just to briefly give you some history about the city of Philadelphia.

The word Philadelphia is identical to the city that we know with the same name. It means brotherly love. The noun or adjective form of this word is mentioned really seven times in the New Testament.

It is normally translated as kindly affectionate or brotherly love. We find these words in Romans chapter 12, verse 10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love and honor giving preference to one another. And first Thessalonians four nine. But concerning brotherly love, have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. Hebrews thirteen one.

Let brotherly love continue. First Peter one twenty two. Since you have purified your souls and obeying the truth through the spirit and sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. First Peter three and eight. Finally, all of you be of one mind having compassion for one another. Love as brothers be tender hearted, be courteous. Second Peter one seven.

To godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. The city of Philadelphia was founded in one forty B.C. by Philadelphus, the king of Pergamos. It is situated at a corner where three regions come together. Lida, Lydia and Phragia. It was founded to be a gateway for the spread of Hellenism, which is the Greek language and customs into the surrounding regions.

Philadelphia was the gateway or the key to the central part of Asia Minor. As each time there's a destination of the letter, there's a designation of the Lord. In verse seven, he says, These things says he who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one shuts and shuts that no one opens. There are three characteristics here of the Lord that we see in his designation. The first is holy.

The second is true. The third is having the key of David. The first is being holy. He establishes himself early on as the holy God qualified to call the Christians of Philadelphia to a life of faith in him. Because he is holy, he can call us to be holy.

And we see that in 1 Peter 1 and 15. Be holy, for I am holy. Also, he is true. It's a reference to his genuineness or reality. He is the real thing, the essence of deity. He is true and holy. This is the perfect combination of doctrine and pure living. He also has the key of David.

He who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens. The key of David we find in Revelation chapter 1. Christ has the keys of Hades and death. Here he has the key of David. The key of David is found in Revelation 3 and Isaiah 22 too.

A key indicates control or authority. One having the key of David would give one control of David's domain, Jerusalem, the city of David and the kingdom of Israel. I'm going to read Isaiah 22 22. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder, so he shall open and no one shall shut and he shall shut and no one shall open. The prophet is telling the palace secretary Shechna that he will be replaced by Eliakim, for God will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David.

The one who holds the keys has the authority. Thus, the key of David implies control of David's domain. This was promised to the Messiah in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. In the Old Testament, we turn to Isaiah chapter 9 verse 7. Thus says the Lord God, it shall not stand nor shall it come to pass. In chapter 9 verse 7, of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end upon the throne of David and over his kingdom to order it and establish it with judgment and justice. From that time forward, even forever and the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. So this is saying that upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, his his reign will go on forever, which will be fulfilled through the Messiah.

In Luke chapter 1 verse 32, he will be great and he will be called the son of the highest and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David. The fact that Jesus holds the key shows that he is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, which we find the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel chapter 7 verses 12 through 16, and the ruler of the New Jerusalem and the Lord of the kingdom of heaven. Christ has the key to truth and holiness as well as the key to opportunity and service for a church surrounded by idolatry and wickedness. When he opens the door to truth and ministry, no one can shut it. And each time, you know, the Lord offers a diagnosis of the church.

So here he tells Philadelphia they have an open door. And oftentimes there are doors that are mentioned throughout the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 16, 8 through 9. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a great and effective door has opened to me and there are many adversaries. So this is Paul talking about his personal plans, but there is a great and effective door that has been opened, but there are many adversaries for him.

If you turn to 2 Corinthians 2 and 12. Furthermore, when I come to Troas to preach Christ's gospel and a door was opened to me by the Lord. Here, a door was opened for Paul to come and he knew that. He mentions another door in Colossians in chapter 4 verse 3. Meanwhile, praying also for us that God would open to us a door for the word to speak the mystery of Christ for which I am also in chains. An open door in scripture is an opportunity for ministry that God sets before us.

Philadelphia the city was a gateway to the central part of Asia Minor for the Greek influence. An open door for the church was an opportunity for the gospel. And we all know that when the Lord opens those doors, they are divine and they are appointed for such a certain time.

And for Philadelphia, they were positionally in the right place to influence those for the gospel. Here he says, next, after talking about the open door, he says, for you have little strength. You have little strength. And really this may appear like a backhanded comment if you're telling someone, oh, you have little strength. But no, he is saying that they only have a little strength.

Their strength will have to come from another source. And if we read 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9, and he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness. If the Lord is the one opening the door, then he will provide the strength to walk through it. Whenever we have more strength or think we have more strength than we actually do, we tend to be self-sufficient and rely on our own selves and not needing God.

The time that the Lord can work the best is when we have little strength, whenever we need to depend on him. Also, he told the church at Philadelphia that they had kept the word of God. They believed the word of God and remained faithful to it. And also they had not denied the Lord.

There was much controversy toward the end of the apostolic age about the deity of Christ, but they stood strong in their beliefs about who he was and why he came. Really, when we read about Philadelphia, these are characteristics of growing congregations. They have an identification of open doors for ministry. They have a dependence upon the Lord for strength. They are committed to the word and they submit themselves to the Lordship of Christ.

Philadelphia was a thriving church. In the declaration of Christ to the church, he promises to humiliate their enemies. He talks about the synagogue of Satan, and these same people were mentioned in the letter to the church at Smyrna. Just as the Lord humbled Paul and caused him to join those who worshiped the one he was against, he was going to do the same thing to the church at Philadelphia's enemies.

He promised to keep them from the hour of trial, and really this has great prophetic significance. They, the church in history, represented by the Philadelphia church, will be kept from even experiencing the tribulation coming upon the earth. This is the remnant that God is coming back for in the rapture. This is a proof of the pre-tribulation rapture. We believe because this remnant that is faithful, that God promises to keep them from the hour of trial, this shows that the church is going to leave before the tribulation. The church is found 19 times in chapters 1 through 3 in Revelation, but from Revelation chapter 4 to chapter 19, there's no more mention of the church.

Why? Because they are in heaven with the Lord. They are not on earth while it is being judged. He promises to come quickly, so he tells them to hold on to their faith so that no one can take their crown awaiting them. If you were going to look for a model church, I would say the model church is Philadelphia. They are labeled as the faithful church. They had open doors for ministry. They wholly relied on the Lord.

They did not deny him, and they were faithful to his word. So if you're doing a self-examination of even your own church, look at these characteristics. I had a conversation with a friend who was actually setting up a church to say, you know, this is the model in which we should model ourselves by in organizing a church and being that remnant that the Lord is coming after, that it will look like the church at Philadelphia.

I pray that your church as well as you would strive to be this example, and you'll see as you bring yourself to life and as you depend on the Lord, these doors will open so that you can expand your sphere of influence and evangelize your community so much more effectively. Until next time, I'm Dr. Cheryl Davis with Truth Matters. Dr. Davis concludes the Seven Churches of Asia series next week as The Truth Train takes our study to the seventh and final church of Revelation, the church of Laodicea, the church with a lukewarm faith. Truth Matters with Dr. Cheryl Davis is a division of The Truth Project, a conservative Christian ministry committed to the teaching of sound biblical doctrine and Christian theology. Learn more about The Truth Project and Truth Matters with Dr. Cheryl Davis by visiting our website at or contact us by email at CherylDavis at or connect with us on Facebook. You can also write Dr. Davis and the Truth Team at P.O. Box 159, St. Paul's, North Carolina, 28384. We would like to hear from you. Until next week, please remember the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our Lord shall endure forever.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 04:18:05 / 2023-09-13 04:23:44 / 6

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