The Letter to the Church in Philadelphia in a Nutshell:
Jesus the Holy One who opens that which no one can close says to the church in Philadelphia that He knows their works. He knows that although they have limited strength they have kept His word and He has opened a door for them which no one can close. He knows they kept the command to endure and will He keep them from the hour of testing. He will write on them God’s name, the name of New Jerusalem, and His name.
As always there is a lot here. First off this is not Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. You have probably heard Philadelphia called the city of brotherly love and that is not so much a nickname but the meaning of the name. It is a two-part name that combines philos and adelphos. Philos means love, dearly loved, or friendship while adelphos means a brother or friend. Put them together and you get brotherly love or to love a brother. The church Jesus was speaking to was an ancient city but the meaning of the name is the same. The question we should be asking is what does this have to do with us and with the letter itself, and I think it has a lot to do with us and the letter.
Jesus tells the church that He knows they have little strength but that they have kept His word and not denied His name. So we should ask what was His word? Jesus spoke a lot of words but they usually had something to do with loving your neighbor, loving God, and going out to preach the Gospel. It would seem then that the church of brotherly love was doing just that even though they were weak and tired. They believed the best way to love your brother is to tell them about Jesus. That is a sure sign of love if you ask me.
If we love the world we tell them about Jesus because Jesus is the expression of the Father’s love. Remember John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Hebrews 1:3 helps by telling us that Jesus is the exact representation of His (God) being. So if we claim to love those who do not know Jesus then we tell them about Him because we believe He is love, and He has a better plan for their life then they do.
But what about when you are weak and tired? I know I get weak and tired sometimes. I know sometimes I barely feel like I can push on and just don’t feel like telling people. That happens, and it is not a good time. However, when I get like that I think back to Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. When asked by the disciples if He had already eaten something He told them He had food they did not know about. The food He spoke about was sharing God’s love and goodness with people. I know for me when I get focused on the thing Jesus told me to do I can go and go like the energizer bunny because I have tapped into something real and powerful.
So today I just have a little encouragement for you. If you are tired and feel like you cannot reach anyone just keep pushing. You are touching people and you might not even know it. You are making a difference just don’t give up. Jesus said He would place an open door and no one can close what God opens. If you are tired and don’t know Jesus but want to, then just ask Him to show you who He is. I am confident He will.
Just a thought,