The Church in Philadelphia|The Loving Church
The letter to the Church in Philadelphia is a church is refreshing! It begins the same as others with praise for what the church has done correctly. In Chapter 3:8, Jesus begins, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” And in verse 10, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”
Unlike the other letters, this one has no mention of anything they have done wrong. This is considered the Loving Church. Jesus encourages them to hang on, he is coming soon. Their reward will be written on them, the name of God.
This is obviously the church we should all aspire to be. This church is characterized by faithfulness and brotherly love. It reminds us of all of the kindness and beauty that we can find in the church. They simply preached the Bible. The church age described here is what spawned the missionary movement. Jesus opened a door that would not be closed. We’re talking about the church age from 1750-the tribulation.
The Church in Laodicea|The Apathetic Church
Chapter 3:14-22 talks about the letter to the last church, The Church in Laodicea. Of this church, Jesus says their deeds are neither cold nor hot. They are just lukewarm and he is about to spit them out of his mouth. Notice, here there is no praise of what they are doing that is good. In their minds, they have everything that they need, so they don’t need anything from Jesus.
Jesus tells us that he will discipline those he loves. He encourages us to repent. “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” v20
So, this seems to me a church that just goes through the motions. Maybe they attend church out of duty, because it’s the thing to do. But, to Jesus, that makes them lukewarm. That’s not how we want to be! This is a call to take a look at themselves and realize that they do need Jesus.
This finishes up the letters to the churches and next post, we’ll be looking at Chapter 4. Join be again for our first look at the throne in heaven!