And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David…
The Philadelphian church was not great, but it was good; not powerful, but faithful. The Philadelphian saints, like the limpet, which has but little strength, stuck firmly to the rock, and they are commended for it. They had little strength, but they kept God's word, and they did not deny His name.
I. A WORD OF PRAISE. I do not think that we should be Be slow in praising one another. There is a general theory abroad that it is quite right to point out to a brother all his imperfections, for it will be a salutary medicine to him, and prevent his being too happy in this vale of tears. Is it supposed that we shall cheer him on to do better by always finding fault with him? What had these Philadelphian believers done that they should be praised? "Thou hast kept My word, and thou hast not denied My name." What does this mean?
1. Does it not mean, first, that they had received the word of God; for ii they had not heard it and held it they could not have kept it. It was theirs; they read it and searched it and made it their own. It is no small privilege so to be taught o! the Holy Ghost as to have a taste for the gospel, a deep attachment to the truths of the covenant.
2. Next, we may be sure that they loved the word of God. They had an intense delight in it. They appreciated it. They stored it up as bees store away honey, and they were as ready to defend it as bees are to guard their stores. They meditated upon it; they sought to understand it. More, however, is meant than simply loving the word, though that is no small thing.
3. It means that they believed it, believed it most thoroughly, and so kept it. I am afraid that there are great truths in God's word which we do not intelligently believe, but take for granted.
4. Furthermore, in addition to the inner possession and the hearty belief of the truth, we must be ready to adhere to it at all times. That, perhaps, is the central thought here — "Thou hast kept My word."
5. No doubt, also, it was intended in this sense — that they had obeyed the word of God.
II. A WORD OF PROSPECT. "You have been faithful, therefore I will use you. You have been steadfast, therefore I will employ you." For a considerable period of human life, it may be, God does not give to all of us a field of usefulness. There are some to whom He early opens the gate of usefulness, because He sees in them A spirit that will bear the temptation of success; but in many other cases it is questionable whether they could bear promotion, and therefore the Lord permits them to be tried in different ways until He sees that they are found faithful, and then He puts them into His service, and gives them an opportunity of bearing witness for Him. You have been a receiver yourself until now, and that is well and good; but, now that you have become filled, overflow to others, and let them receive of your joy. "How do I know that they will accept it?" say you. I know it from this fact — that, as a general rule, the man that keeps God's word has an open door before him. Gird up your loins and enter it. Rush to the front. Victory lies before you. God means to use you. The hour needs its man quite as much as the man needs the hour. The Lord help you to keep His word, and then to go in for public testimony.
III. A WORD OF PROMISE. Those who keep God's word shall themselves be kept from temptation. The Lord returns into His servants' bosoms that which they render to Him: He gives keeping for keeping. This is the Lord's way of delivering those who keep His word: He shuts them away from the temptation that comes upon others. He seems to say, "Dear child, since you will not go beyond my written word, you shall not be tempted to go beyond it. I will cause the enemies of truth to leave you alone. You shall be offensive to them, or they to you, and you shall soon part company." Or perhaps the text may mean that ii the temptation shall come you shall be preserved from it. The deliberately formed conviction that the word of God is the standard of our faith, and the unwavering habit of referring everything to it, may not deliver us from every error, but they will save us from that which is the nurse of every error — that is, the habit of trusting to our own understanding, or relying upon the understandings of our fellow-men. I value more a solid confidence in the word of God than even the knowledge that comes out o! it; for that faith is a saving habit, a sanctifying habit, in every way a strengthening and confirming and preserving habit.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;
WEB: "To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things: