Let Us Hear — Philadelphia (Revelation 3.7-13)

Theme: The Philadelphian church had a little strength, but an open door opportunity from Christ. We are to walk in the strength and through the doors Christ gives to us. We will not regret it.

7a “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:


  • Cultural outpost (as opposed to military outpost).
  • History of earthquakes.

Commission (7b-8a)

7b ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8a “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.

The key of David: a quotation from Isaiah 22:22, where God promised Shebna would be replaced by Eliakim as steward of the king’s palace. The steward had the key to every room in the palace.

Jesus has won the key and introduced the kingdom. He opens and shuts doors; and they remain that way.

Imagine various believers, churches, and people groups as rooms in His kingdom. Jesus has the master key to those rooms.

Open door: They had a missionary opportunity Jesus had opened up for them.

  • Philadelphia: cultural missionaries — their mission was to spread Greek culture and language throughout that region.
  • Philadelphian church: gospel missionaries.

What open doors has Christ given to you?

Prayer — Colossians 4:3 (ESV)—3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison…

Commendation (8b)

8b I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

But little power: The little strength of the church of Philadelphia! Jesus praised their small strength. They were reliant upon God.

Paul’s example: 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 (ESV)—9b Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Kept my word and have not denied my name: To disobey His word is to deny His name, so to keep His word is to stand for His name.

Protection (9)

9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.

Synagogue of Satan / Jews / but lie: They persecuted Sardis (2:9). Not every Jew would be seen this way (i.e. Paul, Jesus, John). But this synagogue congregation persecuted the church, which Jesus hated.

False religion has always been an enemy of the gospel. The gospel seems to be in the crosshairs of every religion of the world.

I will make them come and bow down / learn: This speaks of a day when the truth is acknowledged by all.

It might make us think of Isaiah 45:23b (ESV)—23b ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ (also Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10).

But it is before the church they would bow.

Quoted from Isaiah 60:14 (ESV)—14 The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Blessing (10-11)

10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

The hour of trial that is coming on the whole world: This faithful church is kept from the coming hour of trial experienced by the whole world.

The day of the Lord: 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (ESV)—2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

Isaiah spoke of: Isaiah 2:12 (ESV) — 12 For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;

Ezekiel spoke of: Ezekiel 30:3 (ESV) — 3 For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. Obadiah, Zephaniah,

Peter outlines this: 2 Peter 3:10 (ESV) — 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Specific marks of the Day Of The Lord (some of them):

  • An Elijah-like forerunner — Malachi 4:5 (ESV) — 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
  • A world-wide rebellion — 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (ESV) — 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first…
  • A character we refer to as the Antichrist — 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 (ESV) — 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
  • Dramatic signs in heaven — Joel 2:30–31 (ESV) — 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
  • In short: a day of wrath and judgment. All nations are involved. Israel is especially involved.

I will keep you: The faithful, true church will be brought out of it.

11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

I am coming soon: coming quickly.

Hold fast what you have: 1 Open door. 2 Little strength. 3 Faithfulness to Christ.

Promise (12-13)

12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

I will make him a pillar in the temple: There were actual pillars in the temple. Bronze, 30’ tall, 20’ round (Jeremiah 52:21-33). One named after Boaz (Solomon’s great-great grandfather). Another named after Jachin (1st high priest in Solomon’s temple).

This speaks of a permanent place in heaven.

Never shall he go out: No earthquake evacuations, no uncertainty.

Name / my God / city of my God / my own new name: They had renamed themselves to gain the favor of rulers before, but they had never had a ruler rename them to demonstrate His favor for them.


13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Will you take His name?