Being a Philadelphian
By:  Wray Zehrung

In the Book of Revelation there are seven church eras mentioned each with a specific message to it. The two most prominent at the end time will be the Philadelphian and the Laodicean.

“To the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.”  (Revelation 3:7)

“Unto the messenger of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; …  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”  (Revelation 3:14-15)

Just the mere mention of these two, brings a flood of thoughts pertaining to the attitudes associated with each of these designations.

The Laodicean will be the largest and most prevalent church group at the time of the Great Tribulation.  They will be the one that God says He will vomit out of His mouth and are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — in need of rebuke, chastening, zeal and repentance.

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  (Revelation 3:16-19).

The message to the Philadelphian on the other hand contains no chastisement like the other six churches received.  In addition to that God says that He will save them from the impending trial that is to come upon the whole earth.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  (Revelation 3:10).

Naturally, everyone wants to be a Philadelphian!  They all say and believe that they are a Philadelphian, but just saying and believing it does not make it so!  Remember now that one of the end time attributes would be blindness – there will be church brethren that cannot see themselves for what they truly are.

How then do we know that we are the Philadelphian that we want to be?  Asking this question and truly evaluating ourselves against the attributes of a Laodicean are a good start, but we need to take it much further than that.  We need the works and fruit that Christ is looking for in us.

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”  (Revelation 3:8; see also Matthew 7:16-21).

Jesus Christ expects us to be doing not just hearing, saying and believing – there are works to go along with our faith (James 1:22; 2:20).

Christ has given us the opportunity to do these works with the gifts and talents that we have been given (1Corinthians 12:1-31).  We need to value the little strength that we have been given; keep God’s Word, conscientiously in letter and deed not denying Christ; persevering until the end.

In the end time, the times that we are living now, the love (‘agape’: spiritual love that comes from God) of the brethren will diminish, but the one who continues to show this love towards others will be saved.

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  (Matthew 24:12-13).

The word “Philadelphian” means brotherly love – so it should come as no surprise that this is a hallmark of the true church in the end time.  If we are to be counted among those that are a part of this attitude and era, then there is no doubt about the way that we are to be acting now.

By:  Wray Zehrung

Sermon:  "Being a Philadelphian"