In Jesus’ letter to the church of Philadelphia there is one thing [that is] missing that makes it notable; there is no criticism of the church. Does that mean this church (which still endures to this very day) was perfect? Certainly not, but when we read the praise that our Lord has for her, we might better understand what the writer of Proverbs 10:12 meant when he penned…‘love covers all sins.’
Jesus also makes mention that He possesses the ‘Key of David.’ I find that fascinating, because Jesus had earlier said in Revelation 1:18 that He also possessed the ‘keys of Hades and Death.’ What is with all the keys?
The first thing we need to remember (particularly as it pertains to hell and death) is that Jesus is not the one throws us in hell, locks the door, and then tosses away the key. To the contrary, Jesus is the only One who possesses the key to unlock the door to hell and release us from certain bondage. If you or I wind-up in hell, it is only because we have refused to ask Jesus to unlock the door.
The ‘Key of David’ was previously spoken of in Isaiah 22. In that time a fellow named Shebna had access a key to the treasury (representative of this key) and he royally abused his authority, spending excessive amounts of wealth on chariots and a hewn grave for himself. Needless to say, the key was taken away from Shebna and Isaiah records this incredible prophesy that wonderfully coordinates with our opening Bible passage (generally) and Jesus Christ (specifically).
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. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. ’They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. In that day, ’ says the Lord of hosts, ’the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the Lord has spoken.’ Isaiah 22:22-25
Three Things to Latch Onto
The church at (or of) Philadelphia is still active to this day, therefore, in these words from Jesus there is an application for us–there are three things that church was doing (and is currently doing), that we need to align ourselves with.
First we notice that Jesus reminds us that we have ‘a little’ strength. It implies a few things in combination. The strength we have is from above, we do not need a lot to accomplish that which He desires, and that those huge, miraculous events of years gone by have in fact ‘gone by’. Does that mean there are no miracles today? Do not be ridiculous, of course there are, but just not to the magnitude and frequency of years past.
Second, this church is a church that keeps God’s Word–this church opens its Bible together, reads God’s Word together, believes the Bible in its entirety, and desires to be obedient to it. If that is not your church, then get out (you are likely in one of the previous churches that Jesus addressed earlier).
The third attribute goes with the second in one regard; for this church does not deny His name. In other words, this church recognizes Christ’s deity and singular purpose. This is a church that stands upon the Rock and will not falter.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:13