Sermon #07                           Christ’s Warnings To The Churches


            Title:                           Christ’s Letter to

the Church at Philadelphia

            Text:               Revelation 3:7-13

            Readings:       Office: Lindsay Campbell Auditorium: Mark Henson

            Subject:          Encouragements to Perseverance

            Date:               Tuesday Evenings - June 8 & 15, 1999

            Tape #             V-31a & V-33a



Revelation 3:7-13  "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (8) I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (9) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."


            I am going to do something tonight that is a little unusual for me. I am going to bring a message in two parts. The title of my message this morning and again next Tuesday will be, Christ’s Letter to the Church at Philadelphia. My text will be Revelation 3:7-13.


            In the first part of this message, I want to expound the three attributes of our Savior that are found in verse 7. Then, tonight, I want to show you the three motives for perseverance given in verses 8 - 13. Let’s read Revelation 3:7-13 together.


            I want to begin my message with a statement found in Luke 16:15. “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” I wonder if we will ever learn that fact. Those things which men value most, esteem highly, and to which they attach the greatest honor God despises. And that which men ridicule, belittle, and despise God honors. The wisdom of this world, the pride of this world, the moral righteousness of this world, the honor of this world, and the religion of this world God almighty holds in utter contempt. We see this fact throughout the Scriptures. And we see it plainly in Christ’s letters to the churches.


The Church at Sardis was great in name and reputation. Men approved of her and honored her. But Christ looked at that church and said, “Thou art dead.” The Church at Laodicea was rich and increased with goods. It appeared that she lacked nothing. But that church was so nauseating to the Son of God that he was ready to spew it out of his mouth. He said, “Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” You see, God looks on the heart. He is not in the least degree impressed by those things that impress and deceive men. “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God!”


            The Church at Philadelphia was not like the ones in Sardis and Laodicea. C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “The Philadelphia church was not great, but it was good; it was not powerful, but it was faithful.”


The Lord Jesus commended this church for its faithfulness. Men might have looked at the little church in Philadelphia as they do the many like it today with contempt. It did not meet in an elaborately decorated, impressive building. So far as I have been able to discover, there were no men in this church of great political, economic, or academic power and influence. But it was a church known for its faithfulness.


Faithfulness honors God and is honored of God. And faithfulness, like slothfulness, has a way of rubbing off on others. Hence, we read of faithful men and women in the Church at Philadelphia for many centuries. The pastors of this church were influential (not in the world, but in the kingdom of God) consistently for eight hundred years. We read in church history of their influence from the first through the eighth centuries.


Note: Only God himself knows what influence our faithfulness, or lack of faithfulness will have upon the generations to come.


            The Lord Jesus found nothing in this church to rebuke, or even to correct. He gave no word of reproof to the saints at Philadelphia. That is a remarkable testimony to these people whose names are known only in heaven. To this congregation, the Son of God spoke nothing but words of praise and encouragement.


Note: Certainly, we must not honor the flesh and become flatterers of men. But those who think that serious Christianity forbids complimentary words for a job well done, and that expressions of gratitude and appreciation are out of place in the kingdom of God, need to read this epistle. Here the Son of God himself applauds the faithfulness of his people! I suspect that it will be all right for us to do the same.


            In Revelation 3:7-13, the Lord Jesus Christ holds the Church at Philadelphia before us as an example of what every believer and every local church ought to be. I hope that when we have carefully read and heard the message of Christ in this letter, we will each have this prayer on our hearts, Lord, make me faithful.


Proposition: If I could summarize the message of this letter in one sentence, it would be this: God honors faithfulness!


Divisions:                 As we look at this letter to the pastor of the Church at Philadelphia, I want to call your attention to four things contained in it.


     1.            A Divine Person (v. 7)

     2.            A Divine Praise (v. 8)

     3.            A Divine Protection (vv. 9-11)

     4.            A Divine Promise (vv. 12-13)


I.     In verse seven, our Lord Jesus describes himself as A DIVINE PERSON.


            This letter was dictated to John by One who is himself God. And this God is our Savior. “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the keys of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Here are three divine attributes, or characteristics, of our Lord Jesus Christ.


A. Christ is holy.


            He is the holy God. “Holy and reverend is his name” (Ps. 111:9). He is the Holy One of Israel. Being God, he is “glorious in holiness “ (Ex. 15:11), in every way equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But, specifically, this text has reference to Christ’s holiness as the God-man, our Savior. It is not our Savior’s divine, essential holiness that comforts and encourages his people. That terrifies any man who has any sense of it.


            Illustrations:            Moses (Heb. 12:21)

                                                Manoah (Jud. 13:22)

                                                Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-6)


It is our Redeemer’s representative, mediatoral, vicarious holiness that gives us comfort and encourages us to trust him.


1.   Our Savior was himself “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners” while he lived as a man in this world (Heb. 7:26).


            He had no sin, no original sin and no actual sin. Though he was made to be sin for us by divine imputation when he died as our Substitute, Christ had no sin of his own. He knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). As our Representative and Substitute, the Son of God lived in this world as a man in perfect holiness.


2.   This mediatoral holiness, this representative righteousness of Christ as our Mediator is the basis of our acceptance with God (Rom. 5:19).


Romans 5:19  "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."


            Be sure you understand this. It will help you. The blood of Christ washed away our sins. His sacrifice paid our debt and satisfied the law and justice of God that demanded death. His death removed our guilt before God. But the righteousness of Christ is just as necessary for our salvation as his blood. His righteousness (his complete obedience to God as a man), being imputed to us, just as our sins were imputed to him, gives us merit with God. Therefore he is called, Jehovah-tsidkenu, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 23:6).


Christ is our righteousness, our holiness, and our sanctification. He is that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). He is that exceeding, perfect righteousness, without which we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20). Christ, who is holy, and who is our holiness, is our Sanctification. His holiness was...


·        Imputed to us in Justification.

·        Imparted to us in Regeneration.


We have no holiness of our own. We have no ability to produce holiness, or do anything that is truly holy. All the holiness we have is what we get from Christ.


John Gill put it this way: “Christ is the Cause and Author of holiness to his people. We are sanctified in him. We have our sanctification from him. And we are sanctified by him.”


Those who talk about sanctification by degrees, or sanctification being accomplished by the works of a man, simply do not understand the doctrine of sanctification, or for that matter the totality of grace in salvation. Christ is our Sanctification!


·        I Corinthians 1:30

·        Hebrews 10:10-14

·        Christ is holy.


B.  Next we read that Christ is true.


            He is truly God and truly man. Our Lord Jesus Christ is true and faithful in all mediatoral offices and covenant engagements. He is true to God the Father and true to his people. In fact, Jesus Christ is Truth itself. Apart from him there is no truth.

·        John 14:6


1.      Christ is the Truth of which all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament were just pictures.


2.      Christ is the Truth of God, the embodiment of Truth, the Sum and Substance of all gospel truth.


3.      As the embodiment of Truth, Christ is the Revelation of the invisible God. He is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks.


John 1:1-3  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."


John 1:14-16  "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (16) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."


John 1:18  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."



C.  And the Lord Jesus Christ is the sovereign King.


            He describes himself as “he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth and no man openeth.”


With those words our blessed Savior describes his sovereign power and absolute authority over all things as the Son of David, the Messiah, the King. He who is the Christ of God is Lord over all things. This dominion is not something that Christ shall have some day. It is his right now! Our crucified, risen, exalted Savior is now sitting as King upon the throne of David, which is the throne of God.

Isaiah 22:22 Matthew 28:18 John 17:2 Acts 2:34-36 Hebrews 1:3 Revelation 5:5


Isaiah 22:22  "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."


Matthew 28:18  "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."


John 17:2  "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."


Acts 2:34-36  "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, (35) Until I make thy foes thy footstool. (36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."


Hebrews 1:3  "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"


Revelation 5:5  "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."


            Here is one example of his absolute sovereignty: He opens, and no man shuts. He shuts, and no man opens.


1.      Christ opens the Scriptures to his elect, giving us the light and knowledge of gospel truth by the power of his Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13). But he shuts the Scriptures to others, giving them blindness and hardness of heart (John 12:39-40).


2.      Christ opens a door of utterance for the gospel in one place, and shuts it in another, according to his own sovereign will (Acts 16:6-10).


3.      Christ opens the door for his sheep and leads them in the way of life everlasting (John 10:3,9). And he shuts the door against those who will not obey his voice (Luke 13:23-30).


·        We worship “Him that is holy.”

·        We trust “Him that is true.”

·        We bow before Him that is sovereign.

·        Our Divine Savior is the Holy, True, Sovereign Son of God.


II. Secondly, when our Savior speaks to the Church at Philadelphia, as I said before, there is no word of reproof, warning, or correction, but only A DIVINE PRAISE (v. 8).


Revelation 3:8  "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."


            Imagine that! The Son of God himself bends over from his lofty throne to speak a word of praise to a band of faithful believers on the earth! I sure would like to be in that crowd. Wouldn’t you?


            Certainly, he is here giving us an example to follow. We are usually quick to point out one another’s faults and failures. But love is always quick to forgive and quick to praise. A little praise is a great means of encouragement. I know people who seem to think that kindness is blasphemy. But if the Son of God speaks an encouraging word of praise to his church, surely we will be safe in giving a little praise to one another.


      Illustrations:      *  A child gets five “A’s” and one “D”.

   We see the “D”!

* Your son washes your car and misses one

                                       spot. You see the one spot of dirt!


            What was there about these Philadelphian believers which the Son of God saw fit to commend and praise? The matter of commendation and praise was their works, works of faith, love, and patience.


A.  The Lord God had set before this church an open door, which no man could shut.


            He does not tell us what this open door was, but generally this language is used to describe a door of utterance for the preaching of the gospel (2 Cor. 2:12).


2 Corinthians 2:12  "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,"


Apparently, the Lord gave these men and women and opportunity to serve him in the furtherance of the gospel; and they seized the opportunity he gave them. They faithfully performed the work God put into their hands. They did not talk about what they wanted to do, what they had done, what they used to do, or what they would do if they had more money and people. They simply did what they could for the glory of Christ and the furtherance of the gospel. It may be that their labor was insignificant in the eyes of men. But Christ looked upon it as an honorable thing. Nothing done for Christ is insignificant!


Illustration:             Mark 14:6-8


Mark 14:6-8  "And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."


1.    The one thing God requires of his people is faithfulness (I Cor. 4:2).


1 Corinthians 4:1-2  "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."


2.    The one thing God honors in his people is faithfulness (Matt. 25:23; Luke 19:17).


Matthew 25:23  "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."


Luke 19:17  "And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities."


3.    When the Lord Jesus Christ opens a door for us, as we faithfully follow him, no man can shut the door, and he will not shut it.


B. The faithfulness of these saints at Philadelphia was especially commendable because they had very little with which to work. -- “For thou hast a little strength.”


            This is not to be taken as a word of reproach, but as a word of praise. They had been faithful in their service to Christ, even though they had little strength. Many of the Lord’s churches are like this Church at Philadelphia: they have “a little strength,” but only a little.


1.    They had little numerical strength.


            The Church at Philadelphia was a small church. Therefore they had very little strength for taking on any great work. But their lack of numbers did not deter them. They just rallied together and did what they could. And Christ commends them for it. God thinks more of quality than of quantity. He has much greater regard for obedience than for tally sheets and numbers. Denominations, denominational representatives, religious businessmen, and politician preachers take polls and count noses. “The Lord looketh on the heart!”


2.    Because they were small in number, like most small churches, this church had little monetary strength.


            When money was required, they could do very little. This was, for the most part, a band of poor people. There were no men of means among them. But they were precious to Christ, who counts sincerity of greater value than all the gold in the world.


3.    And, again like most small churches, this assembly had very little strength in the area of talents and gifts.


            At Corinth, the church had talents and gifts running out of its ears. They had an abundance of teachers, miracle workers, and wealth. But very little was done. They were rich in ability, but poor in grace. Not this church. No one here seems to have had any great talent or ability. But the people were full of grace. Grace made them faithful. Much was done for the glory of Christ, the souls of men, and the furtherance of the gospel. They had “a little strength,” but used every ounce for Christ!


            “Thou hast a little strength.” That was, perhaps, their misfortune, but not their fault. Therefore they were not blamed for it. The Lord does not blame us for having little strength, but for having little faith, little love, little devotion, little zeal, and little consecration. If our strength is little, let us pray for grace, that our little strength may be used entirely for Christ.


C.  The saints at Philadelphia were faithful and persevering in the midst of great opposition.


            The Lord Jesus gave them this word of praise and encouragement: “Thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” These men and women simply could not be driven away from the word of the gospel. They could not be persuaded to forsake the gospel. They would not allow anything to come between them and Christ. They had a little strength; but with all the strength they had they kept God’s Word and held fast to Christ.


1.    What is the word which they kept?


            We do not have to guess. It was the word of the gospel. Our Lord says, “Thou hast kept the word of my patience” (v.10). That is the gospel of Christ and him crucified, in which his patient sufferings as our Substitute are set forth (I Pet. 2:21-24).


1 Peter 2:21-24  "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."


Note: The sinner’s only hope before God is the gospel of substitutionary redemption (II Cor. 5:21). This is the word we must hold fast.


2.    How did these Philadelphian believers keep the word of the gospel?


·        They believed it (I John 5:6-13).


1 John 5:6-13  "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."


·        They loved it (I John 5:3).


1 John 5:3  "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."


·        They obeyed it (Rom. 16:26).


Romans 16:26  "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"


·        They defended it (Jude 3; Phil. 1:7, 17).


Jude 1:3  "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."


Philippians 1:7  "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace."


Philippians 1:17  "But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel."


            These people were weak, few in number, and a people of worldly insignificance; but they were ready at all times and against all odds to hold to and defend the truth of God. Most men are like spiders, (who spin their webs out of their own bowels). They spin their theology out of their own feelings, their own wisdom, or their own experiences. These Philadelphian saints took nothing to be truth but the truth of God revealed in Sacred Scripture. And, with regard to the truth of God, they valiantly refused to budge an inch. They had no regard for modern thought and the wisdom of infidels. They walked in the old paths of everlasting truth (Jer. 6:16).


Jeremiah 6:16  "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”"


Note: May God give us grace, in these days of Arminian, free will, works religion, while nearly the whole religious world teaches and embraces that which the apostle Paul calls “will worship,” to hold fast the gospel of his free and sovereign grace in Christ.


2 Timothy 1:9-13  "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."


     a.                  Either God is totally, absolutely, universally sovereign, or he is not God ((Ps. 135:6).


     b.                 Either man is totally depraved, guilty, and helpless, or he needs no Savior (Rom. 5:12; 3:9-19).


     c.                 Either God chose and determined to save his people in eternal, unconditional election, before the world began, or he has no people to save (Eph. 1:3-6; II Thess. 2:13). Note: Salvation has to begin with someone’s will, either yours or God’s.


     d.                 Either Christ effectually redeemed God’s elect by his death on the cross, or he failed in his work and there is no such thing as blood atonement and substitutionary redemption (Matt. 1:21; Gal. 4:4-6).


     e.                 Either God the Holy Spirit regenerates and calls dead sinners to life and faith in Christ by effectual, irresistible power and grace, or man is saved by his own will, his own effort, and his own work. There is no in between ground (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:1-10).


     f.                  Either all God’s elect will persevere unto the end, or none of them will (John 10:27-30).


            These truths we will live by; and if need be, God helping us, these truths we will die by. But we will not, we cannot give them up.


This is more than doctrine to me. This is the very fabric of my salvation. To deny these things would be to deny my only hope before God and to blaspheme his name, whom I most desire to honor. To deny these doctrines of the gospel is to deny Christ who taught them. Those who embrace these gospel truths are our brethren. Those who are enemies to these truths are the enemies of our God; and that makes them our enemies (Ps. 139:19-22; II Chron. 19:2).


2 Chronicles 19:2  "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD."


Psalms 139:19-22  "Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies."


3.    Do you keep the word of the gospel? -- Do I?


            Perhaps we have no great talents, perhaps we have little strength, maybe we have little influence over other people, and we may always be numbered among a small group of people who are looked upon by the world as narrow-minded fanatics, but I am here to tell you that the salvation of our souls depends upon our persevering adherence to the truth of the gospel.


Colossians 1:22-23  "In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."


            The saints in the Church at Philadelphia were commended and praised by Christ because they kept and denied not the word of his grace and truth in the gospel. Blessed is that man, blessed is that woman who cannot be induced by Satan to forsake the gospel for any reason.


III. Inasmuch as they were faithful to him, our Lord assured the saints at Philadelphia that he would be faithful to them and declared that he would keep them with A DIVINE PROTECTION (vv. 9-11).


Revelation 3:9-11  "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."


            Those who keep God’s Word shall be kept by God. Those who hold fast the truth of God shall be held in truth by the grace of God. Those who persevere in faith shall be preserved by grace.


A.  Our Lord will always separate the wheat from the chaff and the precious from the vile (v. 9).


Revelation 3:9  "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."


            The Jews, who are Abraham’s physical seed, claimed to be God’s people exclusively; and many to this day regard them as the people of God’s choice. But in this ninth verse our Lord calls those who yet worship according to the customs of Judaism and the law of Moses, “the synagogue of Satan.”


1.   It is not Abraham’s physical seed, but his spiritual seed who are the people of God, the Israel of God, for whom the promises and the covenant were made. The Church of God is the Israel of God.


·        Romans 2:28-29

·        Romans 11:25-26

·        Philippians 3:3

·        Abraham is the father of all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 4:1, 16, 22-25; Gal. 3:6-7).

·        Judaism is an apostate religion.


2.   There are many who, like the Jews, claim to be God’s people who are not. They say they are Jews (Christians, Children of God), but they lie.


            Listen to this preacher. I am telling you the truth. All who hope for acceptance with God because of a decision they made for Jesus, because of their baptism, their church membership, their good works, their taking the sacraments, their experiences, or their personal holiness are hypocrites. They may be called a church. They may think they are the house of God. But our Lord here identifies all such as “the synagogue of Satan.”


Note: God’s elect, the true people of God are circumcised in their hearts by the Spirit of God, not in their flesh (Col. 2:10-14). We worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ alone, and have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).


3.    In the end the despised people of God shall be exalted over their enemies. Our Lord will make our enemies to bow before our feet and know that he loved us, chose us, redeemed us, called us, and saved us by his grace.


Matthew 25:31-34  "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"


Matthew 25:41  "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"


B.  As long as we live in this world, Christ will keep his own in the hour of temptation (v. 10).


Revelation 3:10  "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."


·        John 10:27-30

·        John 17:11-15

·        I Corinthians 10:13


1.    Christ will preserve all his own from apostasy.


            Though heresies come and abound, God’s elect shall not be deceived. The ever-increasing acceptance of freewillism, legalism, works religion, and sheer ritualism will not affect the saints of God.

·        I Corinthians 11:19

·        II Thessalonians 2:7-13

·        I John 2:19-20


2.    The Lord Jesus Christ will graciously preserve his elect in the midst of their trials.


Isaiah 43:1-5  "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;"


3.    The Son of God will preserve all his elect in the way of faith, grace, and obedience unto life everlasting.


Psalms 37:23-24  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."


Jeremiah 32:38-40  "And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."


God’s elect cannot and shall not perish. Not even one! We are kept by the power of his grace in the hands of an omnipotent Savior.


C.  It is our Lord’s promise of preservation that inspires us to perseverance (v. 11).


Revelation 3:11  "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."


            Notice that it is upon the basis of his promise to preserve us from temptation that our Redeemer admonishes us to persevere. Contrary to popular religious opinion, the promise of absolute, unconditional grace does not promote licentiousness, but devotion and godliness. In fact, that is the very basis of godliness and the motive for it.


Titus 3:4-8  "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."


These two things are facts so plainly revealed in Holy Scripture that they simply cannot be denied:


     1.            All God’s elect shall be preserved unto eternal glory.

     2.            But only those who persevere in faith, who go on in the way of grace and righteousness, and who hold fast the gospel unto the end shall be saved (Matt. 10:22; Col. 1:22-23; Heb. 3:6, 14; 10:26, 38, 39).


IV. In verse 12, our Lord Jesus Christ gives A DIVINE PROMISE to all who hold fast and persevere in the faith of the gospel.


Revelation 3:12  "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."


            Those who persevere in the faith shall conquer all their enemies in the end and be gloriously triumphant in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39).


Romans 8:35-39  "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


The Son of God says, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.”


·        A pillar is a permanent structure in a permanent place. So Christ is here promising us a place of permanent, eternal residence in heaven itself!


·        And while we live here below, while we go on persevering in the faith, holding fast the gospel, clinging to him as our only hope and our only Savior, he gives us assurance of our interest in him. This is what he says, “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my new name.”


·        In a word, our Savior is saying, I will make you to know that you belong to me. I will make it evident that you belong to God, to the New Jerusalem, and to me, and that all the blessings and privileges of the sons of God are yours forever!


            Let me show you what his new name is, his acquired name, which he promises to write upon his people. This is the name that he gives us: Jehovah-tsidkenu, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Cf Jer. 23:6 & 33:16).


Jeremiah 23:6  "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."


Jeremiah 33:16  "In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness."




1.      My brothers and sisters, our Savior has set before each of us personally and before us collectively as a local church an open door which no man can shut. God means to use us. Let us give ourselves whole-heartedly to our Master (Rom. 12:1-3).


Romans 12:1-3  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."


2.    I urge you, hold fast the hope of the gospel. Let nothing and no one either drive you from it or entice you to forsake it (I Cor 15:1-3).


1 Corinthians 5:1-3  "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,"


3.    Our Savior will hold us in his grace. Let us therefore cling to him.


My only hope, my only plea

Is that Christ lived and died for me!


            “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”                                                                                    AMEN