june 17th - revelation 3:7-13
the key to philly
The church in Philadelphia was one of two to receive no rebuke. Of the seven cities, Philly was the least prosperous. The town hosted many religious festivals throughout the year. The area was subject to earthquakes. Also unique to this letter is that the identifying characteristics of Jesus do not appear in chapter one as they do in the other six letters. Instead this letter draws from imagery featured in Isaiah 22:15-25. Compare the strength of a peg to a pillar.
With this background you are now prepared to handle the following questions.
Small Group Questions
1. v8 speaks of an open door. To what do you think this refers?
2. Read Romans 2:28-29. According to Paul, who is a true Jew? Many claim to be Christian. What marks a true believer?
3. Read v10. Given that eleven from Philadelphia ended as martyrs what does Jesus mean when he promises to keep them from the coming trial (testing)?
4. Some Christians read v10 as a reference to an End Times, pre-Tribulation rapture of the church. If so, why give the message to the church in Philadelphia? Some consider the Great Commission of Matthew 28 an assignment only for those gathered to Jesus at his ascension? Famously quoted, does Jeremiah 29:11-13 apply to those in Babylonian captivity or to anyone reading the line? Is there anyone who shouldn’t appropriate the promise that God has plans to prosper them?
5. Application: Pick a member from your group by drawing names from a hat or drawing straws. Cover this person in papier-mache. Make sure to include at least one breathing hole. Carry them to the church and prop them in the worship center as a pillar. After one week liberate them and ask them to describe their experience as a pillar in the house of God.
“Your life as a Christian should make non-believers question their disbelief in God.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer