Revelation Study 6) Philadelphia – Faithful Church (Chapter 3.7-13) word doc available here
The church in Philadelphia is the only church to receive no rebuke from Jesus – and yet to all appearances they were the weakest church among the seven. Jesus’ words to his churches repeatedly hammer home the importance he places on faithfulness – about all other values. The challenge comes to us over and over again; do we love what he loves, hate what he hates? – do we share his values?
- Would you rather be part of a small, unknown, struggling church or a large, well recognised, active church? If we didn’t have Jesus’ analysis, how attractive would Sardis and Philadelphia be to us, honestly?
- What are the characteristics of a faithful church? What does it mean to be faithful in our beliefs, desires, ambitions, suffering, commitments, service, actions, finances & relationships? Do you think we are more tempted to be unfaithful in our theology or practice?
- What is the difference between tradition and faithfulness? How do we remain faithful to Jesus and his words, without becoming out of touch? How do we combine such faithfulness with our desire to be relevant to an “image over substance “society? What are some of the areas where we can be creative?
- How does Jesus’ message for this church challenge our perceptions about a successful church? Are numerical growth and spiritual growth connected, or not? Which one is our primary concern for CBC? How should this express itself in our ministry priorities?
- Where has God provided us with an Open Door? What is our confidence as we walk through it? How does v7 encourage us to preserve in hard times?
- How does our external environment compare with that in 1st century Philadelphia? Is it harder to be faithful in times of comfort than in times of persecution? Why or why not?
- Do you think our affluence and materialism saps our willingness to be socially ostracised for the sake of the gospel? What would a truly faithful believer, family, church look like in our day?
While it’s true that spiritual apathy breeds in calm waters, God can and does visit his children with times of refreshment and blessing in every age. May God grant that we would know this reviving touch in our day and in our church, come Lord Jesus, come.