“Who Is A Philadelphian?”

Fred R. Coulter - November 4, 1995

Now this sermon is a combination of a couple of questions that were given to me by Dwight Blevins and by Robert Pinto. And we covered part of this last week, and so I’ve been thinking on this all week. And I would say that down through the years, fully fifty percent of all the sermons or studies that I bring are a result of a question, or someone bringing it up. And what was brought up, and we covered last week, which I might mention we have a more full in-depth on that in the study, “A Place of Safety.”

But what has happened is this. We find ourselves in the unusual position where there are at least six churches that I know of that have proclaimed themselves to be the Philadelphia church. And almost every one of those who proclaim to be the Philadelphia church exhibit great behavior contrary to loving the brethren. And Philadelphia means, “lover of the brethren.” That’s what it does mean. And then they turn around and state that, because it says to the church of Philadelphia that, “You will be spared from the hour of trial which comes upon the whole world,” therefore, you’re going to go to a place of safety. And if you stay in this particular organization, which calls itself the Philadelphia Church of God, you’re going to go to a place of safety. And even one man proclaimed that its leader was going to lead the church into a place of safety, but he had a slight problem years later. The leader died. And so every one of these interpretations has been wrong. And it has been used improperly to leverage against the brethren, to put fear in them that if they leave a particular organization they are not going to go to a place of safety. And everyone who is not a Philadelphian is a dirty rotten Laodicean, fit for the fire. Is that true?

Let’s ask the question, what is a Philadelphian? Who is a Philadelphian? How can you distinguish a Philadelphian? Let’s go to Revelation 3, please. And let’s pick it up here - what I’m going to do is read it all the way through the seven verses which apply to the church of Philadelphia, and then we’ll go back and we’ll look at a couple of other things. Verse 7, “And to the angel 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 openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 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. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie: behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Rev. 3:7-9).

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience [or, patiently kept My word] 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. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (vs. 10-13). So this is a message to all the churches.

Now the part which Dwight Blevins brought up, which I think is very important, let’s go back and let’s take the last phrase of verse 8. Last phrase of verse 8, “... And hast not denied My name.” Now this is not said of any others. Now we will see there is a similarity at the beginning of Pergamos. But let’s ask the question: if you lose your first love…I’m going to sort of summarize this and understand, assume, that you know these two chapters. If you lose your first love, as does the Ephesians, are you denying the name of God somewhat? Yes. The church at Smyrna did not have a chance to do anything but to just give themselves in living martyrdom. They obviously did not have much time to study. They just stood for the truth, and knew that Christ was Christ. They’re commended because they were faithful unto death.

You come to Pergamos, and you find something here that’s interesting. Revelation 2:13, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” So they held on as long as Antipas was there. Now afterwards they denied His name and denied His faith by doing two very profound and sinful things: allowing the eating of things sacrificed to idols, and having the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Those things deny the name of Christ. And of course, we know the Nicolaitans are those who set up the hierarchical structure of government against the will of God.

Then we come to the church of Thyatira, and they have a problem with Jezebel. And they teach things to seduce the brethren to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. Now in this church they deny the name of God so much that He even says this: verse 22, “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak;...” (vs. 22-24). Now, if you go into the depths of Satan, you are surely denying the name of Christ, are you not? Yes. You’d have to agree with that.

Then when you come to the church at Sardis, you have a church that barely has a name. But it lives, but it’s dead. And He says, “You just strengthen the couple few things that remain and I will confess your name to My Father.” Then you come to the church of the Laodiceans. And you find that they are lukewarm, and poor, and blind, and miserable, and naked, even though they think they are rich and increased with goods. So everyone wants to, when they examine this, proclaim themselves to be Philadelphians. So how do you know who Philadelphian really, really is?

Well, let’s find out. Let’s go back and study this section and add some other scriptures to it so we know exactly who a Philadelphian is. And I think you will be kind of surprised when we come to the end of it. Let’s begin, Revelation 3:7. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia...” Now, a philos is a friend. A phileo, the verb, is to love as a friend. So this is “friendly love of adelphos,” which is, “brother,” or, adelphi, which is “brethren.” The church of brotherly love. “...Write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true,...” Now let’s emphasize a couple of things which are very important. This means, “The one Who is holy,” or, “the Holy one.” He is the one Who is holy.

Now let’s come to 1 Peter 1, and let’s see something very important concerning our behavior, and what we are also to become, because He is holy. This also reflects upon the attitude and the practices of those who are Philadelphians. Let’s pick it up here in 1 Peter 1:13. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [conduct];…” (1 Peter 1:13-15).

So if the Philadelphians are looking to Christ, Who is holy, then you’re going to find that their behavior is also going to be based on the holiness of God. Now it says here in verse 16, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Now then, what makes us holy? That means sanctified. What makes us holy is the Holy Spirit of God. That is what makes us holy. Also, we have a holy, or, a heavenly calling, don’t we?

Now let’s go to Hebrews 3 for just a minute. And we’re going to see that one of the things that a Philadelphian will be doing is always looking to Christ. That’s of the key paramount importance, as we’re going to see. Now let’s pick it up here, Hebrews 3:1. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,...” Now we’re also partakers of the heavenly gift, are we not? Just hold your place and turn the page over to Hebrews 6:4. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy [Spirit] Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,...” (Heb. 6:4-5).

Now we’re going to talk about the word of God in just a little bit. But you see how “the heavenly calling”, “partakers of the Holy Spirit”; now notice what he says back here in Hebrews 3:1 again. “…Partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;…” So they will always be looking to that.

Now let’s go to 1 Corinthians 3, and let’s see something else. What is a Philadelphian going to be doing? Looking to Christ. What are they going to be adding on to, or building upon? We’re going to see it is Christ. And we’re going to see how this ties in together with some of the aspects there in Revelation 3, in relationship to the Philadelphians. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 11. “ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” So the Philadelphian is always going to be looking to Christ, is going to be building on Christ, and we’re going to see, will have Christ in them. 1 Corinthians 3:12 now, “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones,…” Now what is the final temple of God going to be built out of? Spirit. Gold and silver and precious stone. You go back and read Revelation 21 and 22.

Now then, there are those who are building wood, hay, and stubble. And that looks very nice on the outside, but it’s not very good when it comes fire time. Now verse 13. But, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire;...” And we’re seeing that’s exactly what is happening right now. And the apostle Peter said, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is coming upon you, as any strange thing” (1 Peter 4:12, paraphrased). They’re going to happen. We’re going to go through it. We’ve all kind of gone through our own trial by fire, but we can all be trusting in the word of God. That’s not the first, and that’s not the last.

“...And the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide [or, remain] which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:...” And we have the warning there to the Philadelphians, “Be careful that no one take your crown.” “...But he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth [is dwelling] in you?” (1 Cor. 3:13-16). And the temple of God is emphasized there in the section concerning the Philadelphian.

Now let’s go to Romans 12, just a couple pages over here. Let’s turn back a little bit. Romans 12, and we will see something else which is going to be one of the identifying signs of a Philadelphian. And we’re going to find in the final analysis a Philadelphian is undoubtedly not going to go around saying, “Behold, I am a Philadelphian.” So you can almost be guaranteed anyone who says that is not. Almost a sure guarantee. Now Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world:...” And that’s one thing that the Philadelphians are not. They are not conformed to this world. And yet we know that one of the problems within the church has been trying to seek conformity to the world in the way of accreditation and other things. “...But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,…” And we’ll see how that is going to be renewed. “…That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). So there again, here we have the holiness involved, we have the word, we have the truth, we have endurance.

Now let’s go to Ephesians 1. So Christ emphasizes that He is holy, because He wants us also to be holy. Ephesians 1, let’s pick it up here in verse 4. “ According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:…” And that’s exactly what the Philadelphians are, are they not? Is there one thing to blame that they are accosted for, or corrected for? No, not one thing. There are only two churches of the seven that are given in Revelation 2 and 3 that are not corrected for something, and that’s Smyrna, which is martyred, and Philadelphia, which is spared. Very interesting combination isn’t it? “...That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:…” And we are going to see that love is going to play a very important part in understanding who a Philadelphian is.

Now let’s look at the situation concerning where Jesus said He was the true one. And let’s keep in mind as we turn here now, let’s go to the gospel of John, John 14. And as we’re turning there let’s keep in mind something that’s very important. As we learned in the series in the epistles of John, no lie can come from the truth. We also know that it’s impossible for God to lie. When Jesus speaks it is always the truth, whether it be one word or whether it be many words. So He says here in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life:...” No truth concerning salvation can come from any other but Jesus Christ. Now that should tell you some of the problems that have cropped up. And many of those who still say that they are Philadelphians are not when you begin examining that. Then He also says here, “...No man cometh [can come] unto the Father, but by Me.” The Father is the one Who has to do it.

Now let’s go to John 17. And thank you for bringing that up. John 17:17, “Sanctify...” which means, “make them holy.” So this refers back to holy. “Sanctify them through Thy truth:...” So wherever you find holy, or holiness, you’re going to have truth, you’re going to have truthfulness. “...Thy word is [the] truth,” as it should read. Now continuing on, verse 18, “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself,...” that is, take back His holiness that He had given up, “...that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;…” So a Philadelphian is also going to be doing what? Teaching Christ - Who is true, preaching the word - which is true, and always looking to Christ. Now notice verse 21. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:17-21). And of course, being the bride of Christ, we’re going to be one with Christ, are we not? Certainly we are.

Now let’s go to 1 John 3 and see how this is emphasized and made even clearer, and how this applies to those who are Philadelphians indeed. 1 John 3, and this is all a part of patiently keeping the word of God. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 19. This is something that we all should know. This one thing we should know: “And hereby...” That is, in this way, in this method. Let’s go back to verse 18 for just a minute. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” So there again, that comes right back to what a Philadelphian would be doing. In deed and in truth. And if you’re loving one another, is that not love of the brethren? Yes it is.

Now verse 19, “And hereby we know...” That is, by having this kind of love, “...that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.” And that’s something that we need to understand. We assure our hearts because it talks about the Philadelphian has a little bit of strength. Not going to make it on his own - knows that; understands that. “For if our heart condemn us,...” which happens when we sin, or we have sin that we need to get rid of, our heart condemns us. It does. And we feel miserable and rotten and down. But always remember this: “...God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God” (vs. 19-21). And this is where we need to come. When we unburden our sins, when we turn them over to God, then we have confidence because it’s been blotted out and covered with the blood of Christ through the grace of God. Then we have confidence toward God. And what happens when that occurs? When that really occurs? And this will occur many times in our lives. We have more confidence in Christ. And that’s what we need to have. More confidence and faith in Christ.

Now when we have this confidence, let’s notice here, verse 22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” And a Philadelphian will be doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. Obviously they are, because He does not correct them for anything. And there’s a difference between just keeping commandments and doing the things that are pleasing to God. There’s even a way to keep the commandments of God, which you can keep in the letter, but are not pleasing to God. To do those things that are pleasing to God goes above and beyond just commandment-keeping. It goes with the whole attitude, as we will see as we’re going along here.

“And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” There it is right there. If you’re going to be a Philadelphian you’re going to love one another, as He commanded. Now we’ll look at that a little bit later. And that’s a pretty powerful commandment. “And he [the one who] that keepeth His commandments dwelleth [is dwelling] in Him [that is, Christ], and He [Christ] in him [the one who is keeping His commandments]. And hereby we know...” And a Philadelphian will know. They’re not going to run around and brag about it. “...We know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given [to] us” (vs. 23-24). And abiding means living and remaining in.

So Jesus Christ is the Holy one. He is the true one. He is the one Who is going to lead us. Now let’s go back to Revelation 3 and look at this again. So you might keep your place there, because we’ll be going back and forth to Revelation 3. And let’s look at this again. Let’s see what else He says. Verse 7, “…These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David,...” Now what is the Key of David? Now we’ll answer a little bit of that here today, but not much. We have two study papers - not study papers, but two sermons that I gave on “Key of David, #1,” and “Key of David, #2.” And Key of David is not - is not - what He gave to the church when He spoke to Peter and said, “Unto you I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” That is giving the understanding of the plan of God. Plus also, He is transferring the law-giving, because there would be a lawgiver until Shiloh came. When Christ came He was Shiloh. Now we look to the church and Christ and His word for the law-giving. Do we not? Yes.

Did not Jesus bring the law spiritually in Matthew 5, 6, and 7? Yes. We do not look to a Jewish leader as a lawgiver. That was fulfilled in Christ. So it’s not that. The key of David, I’ll just summarize this, is really the attitude and the heart and mind that David had in being tender-hearted toward God and being willing and instant to repent. As you’ll find in Psalm 51.

Now let’s come to the section concerning “open”. “...He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;...” (Rev. 3:7). Let’s look at something concerning this just a little bit differently than we’ve looked at before.

Let’s go to Psalm 118. Now we may also cover some of the scriptures which show that “opening” may be opening a door to preach the Gospel, but that may or may not be the application here, as we’ll understand it. Here’s something that really is profound when you understand this. Psalm 118:19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness:...” Not just an opportunity to preach, necessarily. “Open the gates of righteousness.” And we will see what else that He is opening. “...I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: this gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise Thee: for Thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.” Now notice verse 22, how this blends right in with Christ. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” It blends in again right into Christ. So if He’s going to open the gate of righteousness, or the gates of righteousness as it were, Christ is the one Who is doing this. “This is the LORD’s doing, [and] it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:19-24). So let’s have the gates of righteousness open to us.

Let’s come here, Psalm 119:10, just across the page. Here’s part of the key of David, and here’s how we seek this then. Notice verse 10, “With my whole heart have I sought Thee:...” Now will not a Philadelphian be wholehearted toward God in seeking? Yes. “...O let me not wander from Thy commandments.” And what did Jesus say? “You have kept the word of My patience.” “Thy word have I hid in mine heart,...” Yes, written in the heart and in the mind. Sanctified with the word of God, “...that I might not sin against Thee. Blessed art Thou, O LORD: teach me Thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy word” (Psa. 119:10-16).

Notice how all of this follows along with what it’s told of a Philadelphian. Verse 17 now, “Deal bountifully with Thy servant, that I may live, and keep Thy word.” To practice it. “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” (vs. 17-18). Or, “…out of Your word.” See, so God is the one Who has to do the opening, is the opening that is given by the key of David, which Christ holds. He did not give those to Peter. He said, “I have the key of David.” He said to Peter and the disciples, “Behold, I give you the keys of the kingdom...” Different altogether. So He’s opening something. Opening our eyes to see, “That I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.” That’s really something, isn’t it?

Now let’s come to Isaiah 26, and let’s see more about this “opening” and what it may do, and what it should be doing. Isaiah 26, and let’s pick it up here in verse 1. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city;...” What is going to be one of the names given to those of Philadelphia? “The name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem,” correct? “...We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.” My! Does that not fit the Philadelphians right to a tee? Absolutely. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:…” (Isa. 26:1-4). So He opens the gates for us.

Let’s go to Psalm 40. I think this is a very good psalm, which helps us understand about the opening of the mind and the heart. I think we can safely conclude that one thing that Christ will do is open your heart and open your mind to understand His word, and understand His love. Those who are true Philadelphians will receive that blessing. Other people may not see it, or know it, or understand it. And those who receive it are not going to be bragging, because they know that they have nothing that they haven’t received.

Alright, here’s Psalm 40. This is a wonderful psalm. This is really tremendous, because it talks about David and his problems, and blends in and out between Christ and David, and the feelings of Christ and David, and so forth. Verse 1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psa. 40:1-4). That’s why the truth and holiness is emphasized. What has happened to some of the churches of God? They have listened to lies and incorporated them, correct? Yes. Some of the very ones that profess they’re Philadelphians.

“Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened:...” (vs. 5-6). So here it is, part of it is opening the eyes, opening the gates of righteousness, opening your eyes, opening your ears. All of that is part of the opening. And do not all of those things have to do with conversion, and growing in grace and knowledge, and staying close to God? Absolutely. Yes they do.

“...Burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will,...” Will not a Philadelphian delight to do the will of God? Sure he would. “...Yea, Thy law is within my heart.” Written there. You live by it. “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation:...” And this is of Christ, “...lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not Thou Thy tender mercies from me, O LORD:...” (vs. 6-11). Now, does God give tender mercies to the Philadelphian? Yes He does.

“...Let Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth continually preserve me.” That has got to be one of the aspects of being a Philadelphian. “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me” (vs. 11-13). So when there is sin and difficulty they turn to God. What happens when you turn to God when you have sin and difficulty? They’re wiped out. They are blotted out. You look to God for strength. Here’s someone who has innumerable difficulties because he has a little strength. This also is talking about Christ, because He’s carrying the sins of the whole world. Think of that too.

Now let’s come down here to verse 16. “Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.” Rather than, “How great I am, and look what I’ve done.” “But I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying [do not be delaying], O my God” (vs. 16-17). So that’s something, isn’t it? That’s pretty profound.

Here. Let’s go to Isaiah 50. Let’s pick it up here in verse 5. “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Now this is speaking of Christ. But remember the Philadelphia church is the one that Christ loves. We’ll see. “…To know that I have loved you.” Then it talks about what Christ did. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isa. 50:5-7). And that’s what we need to - the only way that you can faithfully follow God’s word is, when you come to it, is just set your mind and your face like a flint. That doesn’t mean to be hard-headed or hard-hearted to people, but that means the mental, spiritual tenacity that nothing is going to move you. And that’s what a Philadelphian will do.

Ok, let’s continue on. Let’s go to Luke 24. And while we’re turning there, I want to thank you for bringing up about seeking, and knocking, and opening, because Christ said that in Matthew 7. Let’s go to Luke 24 and let’s see what else is open unto us so we can understand. God is the one Who has to do this opening. I think this is far, far more important in opening, that He has the key of David that opens. Luke 24, the very last chapter in the book of Luke. Let’s pick it up here in verse 44. Now some of these scriptures we have gone over time and time again. But then again, we need to grow in grace and knowledge and understanding with them. “And He said unto them, These are the words [notice, ‘words’] which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,...” (Luke 24:44-45). That, brethren, I believe, is the opening that it’s talking about there in Revelation 3 concerning the key of David that opens, and no man shuts. Can anyone shut the understanding in your mind? No. No. Cannot. Now they can close the door of preaching, can’t they? Yes they can. Now just put in your notes there, 1 Corinthians 16:9-10, about a door for preaching. It does say that. But we’ll put that in the proper perspective.

Now let’s look at it this way. Let’s look at the shut door. Let’s look at the closed door, because He says, “I open and no man shuts, and shut and no man opens.” So let’s look at that. Let’s go to Matthew 13. Let’s pick it up here in verse 11. “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know [which has to be given] the mysteries [that is, the secrets] of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:...” And isn’t that what happens with a Philadelphian? Yes. “...But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matt. 13:11-13). So if Christ closes the door on someone’s understanding…have we been seeing that that may be happening to some? Have you been having trouble trying to open that door? Christ is the only one that can open it, you see.

“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart [has grown gross] is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed;...” So it’s something they do. “...Lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” And so much so that He says in verse 17, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (vs. 14-17). And yes, we can add, yes, yea, we have all the Scriptures today, do we not? And isn’t that the most important thing we need to be about understanding? Seeking that God will open our understanding to it? Grant us that… grant us the faithfulness, and truth, and righteousness, and holiness, and His Spirit to do it? That is the greatest thing we need to be seeking for, brethren.

Part 2

Now let’s go to Luke 13:23. And there comes a time when the door is closed. And Christ is the one Who closes the door. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate:...” That’s difficult. That’s hard. “...For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door,...” Now there comes a time when God shuts the door. “...And ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are, [where you’re from]: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.” Or if we could put the parlance today, “I’ve been in the church of God for 40 years!” “But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity” Luke 13:23-27).

Now let’s understand something that is as true today as it was back then. Let’s go to Ezekiel 3 please. Let’s pick it up here in verse 17. “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth,...” And we’re going to hear the word of God, are we not? Talks about word and truth. “...And give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezek. 3:17-18). So that’s all part of what we need to do too, brethren.

“Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man,...” There comes a time to witness, there comes a time to warn. There comes a time to say, “You cannot mock God and get away with it. While you are alive, pay attention and seek God.” Now maybe you even have to do that for some of the people you know. You have to judge that. There comes a time when it has to be. “Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul” (vs. 19-21). So there’s a whole part of it. So before the door gets closed on some of these people they need to know, lest they come in to Luke 13:27, that they are workers of iniquity. You see, while there is life there’s still hope. Let’s hope they will listen.

Now let’s go to Revelation 3 again, and let’s look at something else. And maybe this will help answer part of the paradox that we see happening. Now of the Laodiceans, and all their problems and so forth ... and years ago Ed Davis said, which there may be a good measure of truth to it, he said, “What if we were all Laodiceans all along, and what we are going through is repentance?” Now you have to entertain that thought as possibly true. When you consider everything around us, and the society we live, and our church background, it’s a possibility. There’s nothing wrong with a repenting Laodicean. Absolutely nothing. God says, “I’m rebuking you because I love you.” So let’s not exclude that either.

He says here in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:...” Now if you’re standing at a door and knocking, what has happened? The door is shut. Isn’t that correct? Yes. They have shut Christ out. But the Philadelphian does not do that. They yield to God. “...If any man hear My voice, and open the door,...” So that has to be done by the individual who shut the door on Christ. “...I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:19-20). That’s a pretty profound statement when you look at all of that.

Now let’s look at the door. Let’s understand a couple of other things concerning the door. I think we’ll find this very interesting as we’re going along. Now first of all, let’s go to John 10. And here again we’re talking about the door in a little bit different way than we’ve covered already. We’ve talked about the gates of righteousness, but here we’re talking about the door of salvation, that Christ is the one Who opens. John 10:1, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Now today we’re able to see them a little more clearly. The spots of the leopard have turned out to be the stripes of a hyena, as it were, or the spots of a hyena. “But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” That is Christ. “To him the porter openeth;...” (John 10:1-3).

That’s interesting. The porter. Let’s stop here for just a minute and let’s add just a couple of things concerning the door and the porter. Let’s first of all go back to 1 Chronicles 9:21. There was actually a porter for the door at the temple. Let’s go back there. 1 Chronicles 9:21, it says, “And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Now how important is the door of the tabernacle of the congregation? Let’s go to Deuteronomy 31. Let’s see how important that was. Deuteronomy 31, and let’s pick it up here in verse 14. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle” (Deut. 31:14-15).

In other words, this door of the tabernacle, then, and when the porter opens, that’s giving you direct entrance into God the Father. That’s what it’s doing in a sense. Now we know that when the children of Israel were led out of Egypt there was a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire, day and night. We know when the tabernacle was set up that the cloud entered into the tabernacle and filled the tabernacle with the presence of God. We know when the temple was dedicated the cloud came from God and filled the tabernacle, or the temple rather, showing that God was there. He entered into the temple. Now connect that with the Philadelphians, and being part of the spiritual temple of God forever.

Now let’s come back to John 10. So here is a door of salvation, and a door that Jesus Christ alone functions through. Verse 3, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” They’re following Christ. That’s what a Philadelphian will always do. “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” Now notice the next verse. This is what has happened today. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him:...” Now what do you do when you flee? You separate yourself, do you not? You run away from, do you not? Correct. “...For they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:3-5). Or we can say today, “We know not the sound of these printed things that we’re hearing that are so awful and damnable.” We don’t follow them.

Now let’s pick it up here in verse 7. “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,...” So here is the door of salvation, the gates of righteousness. “...And shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (vs. 7-10). And is not the Philadelphian, through the love of God and love of the brethren, having an abundant life, though he’s not filled with physical goods? Yes. You could have, just as Jesus said, “What good does it do you out to gain the whole world,” every physical thing that’s in the world, “and lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36, paraphrased). No good at all whatsoever.

Verse 11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.” What has happened because of hirelings within the church? The sheep have been scattered, right? Christ will re-gather them. Trust in Him, He will do it. “The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep” (vs. 11-15). Then He talks about bringing others into the fold too. So that’s a pretty profound thing concerning the sheep, is it?

Now let’s go back here to Revelation 3 again. And let’s continue on. So we have the door. It’s opening and shutting, and so forth. Verse 8, “I know thy works:...” So there are going to be works. And He says, “...Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:...” and so forth. “Know your works.” What is the greatest, greatest work that you can do? What is the greatest work that Jesus said you can do? People came and said, “Lord, what can we do that we work the works of God?” What is the greatest works? “To believe on Him Who has sent Him.” To believe on Jesus Christ. Why? Because when you truly believe down to the very depths of your being, you act upon that belief, do you not? Yes. That’s why that is the greatest work. Then you can do other things after you do that. That’s what’s important. Now here, John 5:17, Jesus said, “...My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” And they couldn’t understand that. He healed on the Sabbath. That was a good work.

Now since we’re in the book of John, let’s go to chapter 17 again. And I think it’s amazing how many of these references we find in the book of John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and the one who loved Jesus. Jesus had a work and He’s going to finish it. Right? Yes. He did finish that. Let’s pick it up here in verse 4. “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” Now we have a work also that we are to do. And we find that in I Thessalonians. Let’s go there.

I Thessalonians 1, let’s pick it up here in verse 2. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith,...” Now notice how this fits in with the Philadelphian. He says, “I know your works.” What are the works of a Philadelphian going to be? “...Your work of faith, and [the] labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;…” (1 Thes. 1:2-3). So all of those things are all tied in with how a Philadelphian should be conducting his or her life.

Let’s see something else concerning that. Let’s go to Philippians 2, just a few pages back. And if there’s any one epistle of Paul that parallels the Philadelphian church, it is the book of Philippians. Let’s see why. Let’s pick it up here, Philippians 2:1. And this is something that’s so very important for us to understand and to do here. And this is one of my favorite scriptures also. I have quite a few that are favorite, but this is one of them here. You’ll hear me cross-reference this quite a few times. But you know, since love is the greatest, I don’t think we can talk about it too much, can we? No. Especially living in the world that we’re living in.

Verse 1, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels [that means deep inner most compassions] and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, they ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” And this is what a Philadelphian will be striving for. Notice verse 3. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;...” So wherever you’ve got all kinds of little compartmental judgments and little Lord Fauntleroy’s running around in their little offices and their vain glory, they are not Philadelphians, you see? Cannot be. “...But in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Because you love the brethren. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:...” (Phil. 2:1-5). So we’re striving for the mind of Christ, having these things written in our hearts and in our minds.

Now let’s come all the way down here to verse 12. Here’s what a Philadelphian is always going to be doing. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Always, continually working out the salvation. Growing in grace. Growing in knowledge. Thinking on God. Loving His way. Loving the truth. Loving Christ. Loving the Father, you see. “For it is God which worketh in you...” Letting the inner workings of God in you, you see, “...both to will...” That is, to give you the desire. “...And to do of His good pleasure” (vs. 12-13).

Now if you’ve come to sort of a roadblock in your life, and there’s something which is just holding you back, strive for this right here. Ask God to remove that. Ask God to give you the will, to give you the desire. He will do it. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,...” (vs. 14-16). So we again tie in with the word of God there.

Now let’s go back to Revelation 3 again. There’s quite a bit in here, isn’t there? It’s amazing, if you just take the time to really look at things, and analyze them with the mind of Christ and with the Spirit of God and the words of God, to see what is here for us. The next thing we have, “...For thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word,...” (vs. 8). That’s pretty profound. The little strength. We know that God is our strength. We know that He is the one Who gives it to us, you see. Little strength means little power. We get our power from God.

Ephesians 6:10. Let’s turn there. Back to the book of the Ephesians 6:10. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord,...” You don’t have to worry about having the power in doing it yourself. You be strong in the Lord. You say, “God help me! Inspire me. Lift me.” Christ can do that. He will. “...And in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” And there are many out there. Now it also talks a little bit later about the synagogue of Satan, so we’ll just mention that right here, verse 12. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:10-12). I just suggest, watch the evening news. You’ll understand that.

Now let’s go to 1 Corinthians 1, and let’s understand that we also understand about our calling. 1 Corinthians 1, and let’s pick it up here in verse 23. “But we preach Christ crucified,...” Isn’t that something? A dead God. God died for you. Greeks - the Jews couldn’t understand that. Stumbling block to them. They wanted Christ to take over and rule and reign as king now. “Get rid of the Romans. Get rid of all this. Save us now!” No. He died first. “...And unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God,...” Never forget that. Since we have a little power we rely on the power of God. “...And the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:23-25). So that’s why God chose the foolishness of the cross. That’s why He chose what people would disdain and look upon as not worthy.

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty,...” And that means those of strength or power. “...Not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;...” And we’re going to see that happen, brethren. What do you think the world is going to do when God says to the world, “Behold, My family.” “Well, God, why didn’t you call me? You know, I had all of these degrees, and I was...Why?” No. Not many wise. He’s chosen the weak things. “You have a little strength.”

“...Of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things...” That’s why we’re nothing. “...And [the] things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are [nothing] not, to [that He might] bring to naught [nothing] things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” We glory in God. “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:...” All of those tie in with what we’re talking about with a Philadelphian. “…That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (vs. 26-31). Tremendous verses, brethren. Tremendous verses. We might add in your notes, put this scripture down please: 2 Timothy 1:7, that God has given us the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Now let’s come back to Revelation 3 again. And let’s see what else that they have done. And this becomes very important. This becomes very, very important. “...[You] hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name” (vs. 8). We’ve already covered about not denying His name. “You have kept My word.” Let’s look at some of the scriptures concerning that, keeping His word. Let’s go to Mark 8:34. “And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38). So they’re going to be steadfast, keeping God’s word.

Now let’s go to the gospel of John, John 15. After He says that He is the true vine and we are the branches, verse 3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you.” And that means to live and dwell. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine;...” That is, live and dwell in the vine, “...no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He [the one who] that abideth [or is living] in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:3-6). And that’s also going to happen.

Notice verse 7. “If ye abide in Me,...” This is how you can faithfully keep His word. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you,...” And that’s present tense, living and dwelling in you, “...Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” So the way you keep His word is by having it living and dwelling within you.

Now 1 Thessalonians 2, and let’s pick it up here in verse 11. “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thes. 2:11-13). So the word of God is going to be living, dwelling, working, functioning, inspiring. Now when you understand that Christ is called the Word of God, and Christ is in us, then you understand how a Philadelphian is a Philadelphian.

Now let’s go back to Revelation 3 again, and let’s look at just a couple of other things here, please. This is pretty profound. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan,...” (vs. 9). Now let me just briefly describe what I believe the synagogue of Satan is. Satan is worshiped as God in this synagogue. This synagogue includes many layers of many different people and many different organizations who rule and control the world; because Satan said to Jesus that if Jesus would worship him, he would give Him the power of all the nations. Now, this includes a vast number of people in this particular situation. And of course, the further you get from the top the less you really know, but you’re still used of it and part of it.

Now what makes it different with the Philadelphians is, is that they do not try and solve this problem politically. That’s where most people make their mistakes. You cannot solve it politically. And the time comes that God is going to let Satan have his big end-time affair, and you aren’t going to stop it. As a matter of fact, you will be fighting God if you try and stop it politically. Now notice what He does. “...Which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet,...” What does this say that we’re going to be, then? It says we’re going to be as God. It is that not correct? Because the only one you’re to worship is God. Now notice, “...And to know that I have loved thee” (vs. 9). Now we’re getting down into the point as to who a true Philadelphian really is.

Let’s go to Jeremiah 31:3. Now this is talking about Israel, but this is applied to spiritual Israel. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with and everlasting love:...” That’s the kind of love that Christ has. Do we have that kind of love back to Him? An everlasting love. “...Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. [And] again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel:...” (Jer. 31:3-4). And that is the church.

Let’s go to John 14. We’ll finish here in the gospel of John. John 14. Now I suppose if we went back and looked at all the scriptures we’ve got out of John, we’d be thinking that there’s a connection also between Philadelphians and the gospel of John, and the epistles of John, and you’d be quite correct. Let’s come here, John 14:15. This is quite a profound section here. And this is why it’s included in the Passover ceremony, because this is part of our covenant agreement with Christ that we renew at the Passover. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” And this means, “If you love Me, keep the commandments, namely, Mine.” And what does it say concerning the Philadelphian? “You have patiently kept the word, My word.” Then He says He will send the Holy Spirit.

Now let’s come down here to verse 21. And the Holy Spirit is, what? The spirit of truth, and is a Comforter. “He [the one who] that hath My commandments, and keepeth [is keeping] them, he it is that loveth [is loving] Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” We are going to see, brethren, that the only way a Philadelphian can be a Philadelphian is if they are loving God first with all their heart, all their mind, all their soul, and all their being. Then they can love the brethren. Because, see, then you don’t have any axe to grind.

Let’s come down here to verse 23. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words:...” “Patiently have kept My word,” correct? Yes. “...And My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and [We will] make Our abode with him. He that [the one who is loving] loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me” (vs. 23-24). Those are pretty powerful words. Anyone want to argue with God?

Let’s come to chapter 15. Let’s pick it up here in verse 9. And this tells us concerning who a Philadelphian is. “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you:...” An everlasting love, coming from the Father, exactly as the Father has loved Him. “...Continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love;...” That is, remain and live in My love, “...even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” And that is, under every circumstance. “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” And there is the true Philadelphian attitude right there. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” A phileos: friends. “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:9-14).

Now let’s go to 1 John 4. And let’s understand about the love, the brotherly love, the love of God, and how it can only come from God. And we’re going to see that true Philadelphians will be loving God with all their heart and mind and soul and being, and loving the brethren as themselves, just as Christ has said. Now let’s pick it up here, 1 John 4:16. “And we have known and believed...” “Known” means to know, experience, and understand; “believe” means to let it sink deep within your being. “...The love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” That’s what’s important. Now if this is missing in our lives, draw close to God. Let Him give it. I think the thing that helped me begin to understand this more than anything else was when I came to the conclusion and understood that I didn’t have any of the love of God whatsoever in me, let alone love anybody else.

Notice, “Herein is our love made perfect,...” It needs to be perfected, to be grown in, to develop, “...that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” That’s how Christ views us. That is His gift. That is His love. There’s no fear in love. And yet how many churches were run by fear? How many that called themselves Philadelphians said, “If you don’t stay in this church, you’re going into tribulation!” And everybody’s fearful, and little children have nightmares. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth [is casting] out fear:...” It is a process, you see. “...Because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us” (vs. 17-19). And never, ever, ever forget that. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son....”

Now notice verse 20. And here’s where we need to start. And this is where I started. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:...” Put any name in there you want. Having problems at home with your wife. Having problems at home with your children. Having problems on the job with the people you work with. “...For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen?” A profound verse to work on your whole life, brethren. “And this commandment have we from Him,...” And this identifies a Philadelphian: “...That he who loveth God love his brother also” (vs. 20-21). There it is right there. It’s not by declaration. It’s not by organization. It’s by loving God, and loving the brethren in the Spirit of God.

Now continue, chapter 5:1, it goes right on. “Whosoever believeth [is believing] that Jesus is the Christ is born [begotten] of God…” as it should read; “…and every one that loveth [is loving] Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” There again, the brotherly love that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God,...” See? Must love God first. “...And keep His commandments.” So it’s a profound and deep, and spiritual, and an emotional experience also. And it will be. And when you come to understand and let the love of God flood into your heart, and into your mind, and your soul, and your being, it’s going to be an overwhelming experience that will be a great turning point in conversion in your life. And so you can experience that, brethren. God says that it will. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:1-3).

Now one last point concerning a Philadelphian who loves the brethren. Let’s go to Matthew 25. The Philadelphian will not know that he really is. Because he will see himself as he is before God. Now, verse 37, “Then shall...” After He says, verse 34, “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (vs. 34-40).

Now let’s take this and apply this, not only physically, but spiritually. And let’s see if we can apply this to those who are naked, and hungry, and starving spiritually to help them and feed them. And so brethren, that’s what a true Philadelphian is. And before God, there’s no bragging, there’s no boasting, and you probably don’t even know that you are.

 

BOOKS