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Philadelphia is the church that did not seem to have done anything wrong.  Certainly they were not called to repentance by the Lord nor threatened with Him coming to fight them with the sword of His mouth.  They had no Balaamites, Nicolaitans or Jezebelians in their midst to speak of, and indeed, the Lord had opened a door for them and had promised to keep them out of the hour of trial… and He reminded them, “I am coming soon,” but yet… they needed a letter from the Lord.

So what innovation does the Philadelphian church require so that they would be a church that needs no letter from Jesus?

The faults of the previous five are more obvious – loss of first love, powerlessness, Balaamites, Nicolaitans, Jezebelians and so on – but Philadelphia… why did they need a letter from the Lord?  On the surface of it, there was no fault with them – they had deeds; they had kept the word and not denied His Name; they had kept the command to endure patiently – but yet… what is the problem?  Where had they disbelieved or departed from the commands of Jesus?  What had they neglected and where was the poisoned yeast in their bread, that is, in their teachings and practices? 

The clue to each church’s problem lays in the Lord’s first greeting to them.  To Ephesus the Lord said, These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands…” which was to show them He knew and was in control of all things… being amongst them He knew their loss of first love.  To Smyrna, “These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again,” a reminder of His miraculous existence (power) that overcomes even death, which they were lacking.  To Pergamum, “These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword,” which was the prelude to His anger with their tolerance of the Balaamite’s and Nicolaitans’ teachings, and it revealed His mood… His anger.  Likewise when He said to Thyatira, “These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze,” that set the tone for His anger with Jezebel within their midst.  And to Sardis, “These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits [the sevenfold Spirit] of God and the seven stars,” a reminder to them that they were lacking spiritually with a reputation of being alive, but were dead… spiritually dead.

So the clue to what Philadelphia was amiss in lays in the first line.  Jesus used it to tell them and show them where they were in error and how He felt about them.

To Philadelphia He said, “These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.  What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open,” a reminder of His separation to God, the truth of His word and the authority.  Jesus said to the eleven when they finally did go to the mountain in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go, “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me.  Therefore go…”  Jesus had to remind Philadelphia of His absolute authority… His “All authority in Heaven and on Earth” type of authority that He has, and as an example of that authority, He said, “What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open,” and He reminded them of what He had done for them, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut,” and open door through which they could go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in [into] the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

It was their failure to fully take up the authority Jesus has in telling them to go and make disciples of the nations… now, see the word.  It was not “Make disciples in all the nations,” which would mean discipling individuals in each nation without changing their national character, but it was making disciples of all nations changing their very character by baptising (that is, immersing and filling them) in and into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit so that the nations themselves would change their very character, just as an individual who believes and is baptised is changed, so that nation would be changed.

Just as individuals who are discipled no longer think, say and do things the way they used to, but now think, say and do as a child or son of God would.  For example… whereas before the new birth a person might see a doctor first if he was ill, now he would heal first and so negate the need of a doctor.  Whereas they might have raised eight months worth of wages to feed the 5000, now they would seek to multiply their food first… and so on.  That is, they have changed.  Likewise, the nations were meant to have been baptised and discipled as individuals were so that their way of trading, their contributions, their laws and so on would change… so changed that indeed they would be no longer a nation under God, but a nation in God.  So changed that these nations would have become as much a nation of God as Israel was… and that through Christ Jesus.  Discipled and baptised so that they are not only a nation of God in law and constitution, but also in power.  So that like Israel who waged wars that displayed God’s miraculous power when they obeyed, these nations would also display God’s miraculous power in times of need… as a nation.  They would be nations that could multiply their food when famine strikes their neighbours, and who could defend their borders by ending a war before it starts, like Elisha did when he blinded the Aramean army and took them to Jerusalem for lunch.  A nation that if they were threatened unrighteously, their enemies would feel the wrath of God, so that nations would end up discipling other nations as well.

So far we have barely been able to restore discipleship to individuals, much less discipleship to a nation.  And for all their claims, not one single ‘Christian’ nation has displayed the traits of discipleship throughout history, for not one nation that has ever called themselves ‘Christian’ has been able to do what Jesus has been doing as a nation.  Indeed, ‘Christian’ nations have fought as many wars against other ‘Christian’ nations as they have in attacking, slaughtering and enslaving the very pagans they were supposed to preach the Gospel to.  How do you preach to those you have already killed?

A nation discipled and baptised with the power of the Holy Spirit to testify at a national level is one that is able to send emissaries to their neighbours to heal their sick, to cleanse their lepers, to multiply their food and to cleanse their waters so that the Good News may be given as a gift.  Such a nation would be able to do unto other nations what God has done for them because being a nation discipled, they would have the power of the Holy Spirit at a national level.  Their king would be one chosen by God, for God through God, and their government a government not by the people, for the people, of the people under God, but a government chosen by God, of God, for God under the people whose office holders are both apostles and kings, prophets and lords, governors and pastors… equally able and equipped to preach and testify with power as they administer and serve the people of their nation.  Has anyone ever seen such a ‘Christian’ nation?  The answer is… no!

A nation that starts no wars, but stops all wars… not with military power even if it has a military, but with the miraculous power of God.  Not a nation that prays for God to fight on their behalf and give them the victory, but a nation that answers God’s prayers and fights on God’s behalf and gives God the victory.  A nation that can send their emissaries into their neighbours’ lands and bless their people with free food, water and healing whilst neutralising the forces of any dictator to set them free to have their own nation again.  Liberation with the power of the Holy Spirit who liberates and leaves… not occupies and subjugates… liberates to leave behind them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the choice for the newly liberated nation to be discipled and baptised as well, without the need of swords or cannons.  Liberators who have no lust for gold or women, and who are not looters or rapists who would sully the Name of Jesus by building cathedrals with stolen gold mined by slaves.

No such nation has ever existed since Jesus gave this command, “…make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

If Israel had obeyed and stayed true to their course, the kingdom of Israel itself would have been such a nation of God… making disciples of nations for God under the Old Covenant… destroying and wiping out nations only as God decreed, like the Canaanites because they were breeding the descendants of Nephilims amongst them by interbreeding with demons, and leaving those who did not to live and trade and learn to be a nation of God as well.  But they failed.

Had the eleven gone to Galilee and spent the 40 days and nights on the mountain as Jesus first commanded, then they would have come down that mountain not as ‘Christians’, but as the first citizens of the Kingdom of God on Earth… to disciple and baptise the nations they were sent to to raise up for God the New Covenant nations of God.  Nations that are witnesses of Jesus Christ that can testify for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and not just by calling themselves Christians.

The historical ‘Christian’ nations are the result of the Good News of Christ preached without the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit with conversions taking place to create the Christian religion.  Yes, souls were saved, people repented and lived as Christians, even died and were persecuted as Christians and went to Heaven… but as to what Jesus wanted to happen when He said, “…make disciples of all nations…” that never happened.  England did not come to the rescue of France and the rest of Europe when the plague hit to heal their sick cousins, but England warred against France and Spain, and vice versa.  Russia never sent disciples who could multiply food to the Irish when they had their famine… then Germany did not sent disciples to Russia in their famine either.  Name any ‘Christian’ nation and you will find the best they have sent has been humanitarian aid… not divine aid.  Food was sent, but not people who can change guns to sticks, gunpowder to sawdust and raise the dead to life, instead of adding to the number of the dead.

And if by now you say, “But this is impossible, nothing like this ever took place, this is a fantasy,” you are right and correct, for it is impossible with man, but not with God.  It has never taken place because we who were entrusted with bringing this about never listened, never believed and never obeyed enough to have succeeded.  But as for such a nation to exist to be a fantasy, that is where you are wrong.  Fantastic, yes.  Fantasy, no. 

For what Israel failed to do and for what the church has failed to do, the Kingdom of the Son will do… as He returns with His elect to raise up His throne in Jerusalem and set up His kingdom, whose emissaries will go forth for one millennium and make disciples of all nations to show mankind what can be done… when man listens and obeys God.

That then is the hidden poison of Philadelphia, invisible but deadly, killing millions upon millions because they did not take up the full authority of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and did not go through that open door, which Jesus had placed before them.  For all their deeds, patient endurance and faithfulness, they were only able to save themselves from the hour of trial.

Had they taken the words of Jesus as holy and true and honoured His authority and went through the door opened that no one can shut, they would have saved not only themselves, but also those who live on the Earth through the hour of trial.  Their deeds were good, but not good enough… not enough because though we are commanded to endure patiently, we should endure not as ones who need to be kept from the hour of trial… but we should endure as ones who participate in the hour of trial.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit the best any church can hope for is that they have held onto the words and the Name enough to be rescued from “…the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the Earth.”

But for those who can be entrusted with the full power of the Holy Spirit, they will be kept for the hour of trial and will be the ones used to test those who live on the Earth.  That is the shortcoming of Philadelphia… a seemingly innocuous error that has translated into the death of millions if not billions because they did not take up the fullness of the Lord’s authority and step through the door He had opened.  Jesus opened the door for us to “…make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” and if we had walked through that open door, the door out of the darkness of death into the light of life as He did, and realised He does hold the keys of death and Hades, then this world would have had nations in its history that walked amongst the other nations as Jesus walked amongst men.  Nations that could do what He has been doing and even greater things because they believed and were baptised as one nation in God… nations whose governments were appointed by God, through God, for God to serve the people instead of the despots who connived and slaughtered their way to power, or the favour seekers whose eloquent promises secured for them the cast lot of the people to satisfy their own ambitions.

The time for what should have been is passed.  God has waited two millenniums and the waiting is over.  Where Israel failed and where the church has failed, the Kingdom of the Son will complete and finish… so that no man may take the glory, but God alone.  So those who have persevered and held onto the Lord’s word and not denied His Name, but have not gone through the opened door, will be kept from the hour of trial that is upon us to test all who live upon the Earth to see if they are sons of God or sons of Satan.  To see if they are accusers of God who have not in mind the things of God but of men, or if they are worshippers of God whose souls and hearts yearn for the courts of the Lord.

What is left for us who have listened and obeyed, who have gone through the opened door and tried to make disciples of nations so that they might be baptised… what is left is the inglorious task of being used as one and ones who will test those who live upon the Earth… witnesses of Jesus Christ holding out God’s eternal Gospel with power to testify, and having testified, then power also to test.  Witnesses who have power to heal the sick, multiply the food and change water to good wine until the grace is over, alongside witnesses who then have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the Earth with every kind of plague as often as they want until the Lord arrives on clouds of glory.

What is the name of this hidden poison that left Philadelphia in a state that seemed good, but yet not good enough to not receive a letter from the Lord… this invisible poison that is responsible for the death of millions?  Timidity is its name, for they were too timid to take up the full authority of the Lord and go through that opened door and step out from the darkness of the tomb where death had power into the light of the life and boldly declare, “I who live and believe will never die because Jesus said so.”

Timidity that stopped them from going into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in and into the Name of God the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… because Jesus said they could.

Spit this poison out of your mouths now, and from this day when asked by enquirers why do you think, say and do such things, reply boldly and without hesitation, “Because Jesus said so.”

Why should they have believed the women and gone to Galilee?  Because the women said so?  No.  Because the angels said so?  No… but because Jesus said so before He was crucified.  Because Jesus said so is the antidote to timidity.  As our brother Paul wrote:  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  So then a spirit of timidity is unclean and not from God… and when one is timid, how can then one say he has a spirit of power, love and self discipline?

Have nothing to do with timidity, turn away from it… for it is the secret poison that killed millions.  Be bold and declare, “Jesus said…” to all who have ears to hear.

Now let us repent of our timidity and drive out this unclean spirit.  Amen.

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