Today we will finish the series on the seven churches of Revelation. Revelation 2-3 are seven letters of Jesus sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (Turkey). We have seen thus far how each church has its own challenges; each letter is addressed in context to whatever was going on in the church and even in the city where the church was located. Today we will look at the church in Laodicea.
Today we will look at the church in Philadelphia, one of the seven churches to which Jesus sent messages through the apostle John.
Philadelphia is known as “Alashehir (city of god, exalted city). It was believed to be founded by Attalus Philadephus, so called because of his love and loyalty to his older sibling. This city was very syncretistic, from Anatolian and Hellenistic practices. Its patron deity was Dionysus, god of wine. This city was almost destroyed in 17AD by an earthquake that devastated Sardis and nearby cities. The population of the city was small due to the constant earthquakes; this caused people to move outside the city. Philadelphia became a missionary center for spreading the Greek language and customs into eastern parts of Lydia and Phrygia.
Some believe disciples of Paul planted this church there.
We have been looking at the seven churches in Revelation; seven churches to whom Jesus sent seven letters through the apostle John. We have looked at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira and today we will look at Christ’s message to Sardis.
Sardis was a very wealthy city in Turkey. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia in the 7 century BC. It was known for its crafts and artistry. This was the first city where silver and gold coins were made. Sardis became an important Persian city after it was conquered by Cyrus the Great in 6th BC. By the first century Sardis passed into the hands of the Romans. Sardis was conquered twice due to its lack of watchfulness.
We have been going through a series on the seven churches in Revelation. Revelation 2-3 are letters of Jesus to seven particular churches in Asia Minor (Turkey). Jesus told the apostle John to write on a scroll what he saw and send the message to those seven churches. We have covered thus far, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum; today we will look at the church in Thyatira.
Thyatira is mentioned in Acts 16:11-15 While Paul visited the city of Philippi there was a woman there named Lydia from the city of Thyatira.
Revelation 2 and 3 are letters from Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor. We have already looked at the church in Ephesus and Smyrna, today we’ll look at the church in Pergamum or (Pergamos) Pergamum was one of the most prominent cities of Asia, located in the western part of Asia-Minor, about 45 miles north of Smyrna and about 20 miles from the Aegean Sea. Pergamum was very wealthy, the center of emperor worship with many temples devoted to idolatry. Here was the magnificent temple of Esculapius, a pagan god whose idol was in the form of a serpent. Greco-Roman god of medicine. (Bible.org:studies on Revelation)
Read text. Rev.2:12-17
Title of Christ. Him who has the sharp, double-edge sword. Rev.1:16 (John’s vision of Jesus) The word of God is described by the author of Hebrews as a double-edged sword. Hebr.4:12 (For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Jesus is the one portrayed by John here and also in Rev.19:12 (Jesus strikes the nations with the sword that comes from his mouth). This is judgment.
Last week we started a sermon series on the seven churches of Revelation. A lot of times when people read this book, they don’t realize it contains seven letters by Jesus sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Each of these seven churches was unique, each had its own struggles and issues to deal with. For instance, the church in Ephesus Jesus commanded to repent since they had forsaken their first love. The church was not as loving as it used to be. The church we’ll look at today is Smyrna.
The book of Revelation is a fascinating book, it’s the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to the readers. (Rev.1:3). Within this book we find seven letters written to seven churches in the province of Asia Minor. Why these seven? We don’t know, but the messages we find in these letters is relevant to the churches today. The church is to represent Christ in this world, but sometimes churches go through many issues and may be distracted from their main mission as Christ’s agent in the world. Through the messages Jesus sent to these churches you get to learn what God expects of his church in this world. What does Jesus expect of his church today? We find answer to this question in our study of the seven churches of Revelation.