In Revelation 3:7-13 Jesus, through John, addresses the church in Philadelphia. The believers in Philadelphia have stayed faithful even through difficult times. They have “little power” yet have “kept God’s word” through it all. Their faithfulness has made it possible for the Gospel to continue in their area. Even though their church is small and not influential, their faithfulness is to be admired.
Ultimately, everyone will know that Jesus is Lord, as truth is not determined by what is popular, but what is actually true. Regardless of the number of people that recognize Christ as Lord, that doesn’t change the fact that He is. This is a welcome encouragement to the believers in Philadelphia, and to us today.
No one can take away the grace and mercy that God offers through Christ, and those who receive the life that Christ offers will dwell forever in God’s Kingdom. And hardships in life aren’t a sign that God has rejected you.
In fact, experiencing difficulty is the norm in our current life, not the exception. Suffering does not mean you lack faith. We see in 2 Corinthians 4:14-18 that suffering is to be expected. It is through our suffering that God can actually use us in more powerful ways.
Which means things like social status, economic status, and the amount of our influence, are not determining factors of who God will use. Like the church in Philadelphia, we see that the size of our faith determines the quality of our impact. Our trust and faithfulness to Christ is what He uses more than anything else.
Look at what Paul says in Romans 5:3-5
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Paul reminds us that even though we are facing "tribulations" our Hope is our strength because of the Holy Spirit who lives with us. He is enabling us to grow during the period and to remain faithful to God just as the church at Philadelphia had been faithful in the midst of difficult times.
Anchored in Hope,
Pastor Phillip Johnson