Page 10 - June 2020 - Truth & Tidings
P. 10

he city of Philadelphia was said to   the needs of the church, particularly in its
              have been built at the instigation of   state of spiritual weakness. He described
        Ttwo brothers, Eumenes and Attalus.   them as having “a little strength,” but
        The name itself means “brotherly love.”   what strength they had was wisely
        The city became a prosperous commercial   applied in seeking to be obedient to His
        center famed for its wine production. It   Word and not denying His Name. Even
        was also known for its Greek culture and   though they lived in a hostile environment
        veneration of Dionysius, the god of wine,   as far as their faith was concerned, the
        whose ritual worship often descended into   doors of opportunity for service were still
        drunkenness and debauchery. The general   open. The report of Paul and Barnabas is
        area was geologically unstable and prone   pertinent, when after their first missionary
        to earthquakes, one of which in A.D. 17   journey they related “all that God had
        was particularly devastating. However,   done with them, and how He had opened
        the hot springs became a favorite site for   the  door  of  faith  unto  the  Gentiles”
        those seeking relief from various ailments.   (Act 14:27).  Later, Paul could write to
        There was a sizable community of Jews in   the Corinthian believers and remind
        the city who were openly opposed to the   them  that  “a  great  door  and  effectual
        Christians and sought to persecute them.   is opened unto me, and there are many
                                              adversaries” (1Co 16:9). When he wrote to
        Christ’s Authority                    the Colossians, he requested their prayer
          He described Himself as the Holy One.   support “that God would open unto us a
        His holy character is unchanging. In every   door of utterance, to speak the mystery of
        age His people can only make progress   Christ” (Col 4:3).
        when they too seek to follow their Lord   The Jewish opposition would certainly
        in this respect and give themselves to   have been included in Paul’s description
        holiness  (1Pe  1:15-16).  His  truth  is  an   of “many adversaries.” Once again  in
        expression  of  the  same,  contrasting   these letters they are described as “the
        sharply with the deceitfulness of the world   synagogue  of  Satan.”  They  were  well
        around. The “key of David” suggests His   organized  and  fanatical,  using  every
        right to rule and His power to open or   underhanded method at their disposal to
        close doors of blessing and opportunity as   hound the followers of Christ and make
        He wills (Isa 22:22). We have already seen   their lives a misery. They had succeeded,
        His prerogative to remove a lampstand   so they thought, in putting an end to
        of testimony should a church not repent   Christ, and in like manner they planned
        (Rev 2:5).                            to obliterate those who were bold enough
                                              to follow Him. These opponents were
        Christ’s Assessment
                                              ¹ All Scripture quotations in this article are from
          The all-seeing gaze of Christ identified   the KJV.

        170 TRUTH kTidings   June  2020
   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15