23 When they persecute you in one town [that is, pursue you in a manner that would injure you and cause you to suffer because of your belief], flee to another town; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master.

25 It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant or slave like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub [master of the dwelling], how much more will they speak evil of those of His household. [2 Kings 1:2.]

26 So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known.

27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).

29 Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's leave (consent) and notice.

30 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 Therefore, everyone who acknowledges Me before men and confesses Me [out of a state of oneness with Me], I will also acknowledge him before My Father Who is in heaven and confess [that I am abiding in] him.

33 But whoever denies and disowns Me before men, I also will deny and disown him before My Father Who is in heaven.

34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to part asunder a man from his father, and a daughter from her mother, and a newly married wife from her mother-in-law

36 And a man's foes will be they of his own household. [Micah 7:6.]

37 He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me;

38 And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.

39 Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].

40 He who receives and welcomes and accepts you receives and welcomes and accepts Me, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts Me receives and welcomes and accepts Him Who sent Me.

41 He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

42 And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward. AMP

Church attendance is good, but church attendance won't save you. Church membership is good, but church membership won't save you. Giving money to the church is good, but giving won't save you. Activity in the church teaching, serving, leading, witnessing all of this is good, but being active in the church won't save you.

You can only be saved when you repent of your self-reliance and self-will and self-centered pride. You can only be saved when you place your trust in the One who settled it all for you on the cross.

We who have ears to hear, let us hear what the Spirit says to the First Zombie Church of Sardis and to us.

Revelation 3:7-13

Most people know that the name Philadelphia means "brotherly love." English religious and civic leader William Penn founded the historic American city by that name as a place where he and his fellow Quakers could worship in freedom. He took the name for his "city of brotherly love" from an obscure city in Asia Minor. That ancient biblical city is remembered primarily because of a letter that was addressed there during the first century A.D., a letter from the Lord Jesus Christ, the sixth letter of the book of Revelation.

The biblical Philadelphia was located about 28 miles southeast of Sardis. It was the youngest of the seven cities of Revelation, having been founded about 150 B.C. by King Attallus Philadelphus of Pergamum. The name Philadelphus, meaning "lover of a brother," was actually a kind of nickname. King Attallus was noted for the great affection and admiration he had for his brother Eumenes, and the city of Philadelphia was named in his honor.

In A.D. 17, Philadelphia and a number of cities in the region were devastated by a massive earthquake. Philadelphia suffered more than the rest in that it was not only leveled in the initial quake, but it continued to be jolted by serious aftershocks for years afterward. Many were killed and injured in this lengthy "season" of earth tremors.

The Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar helped Philadelphia rebuild after the earthquake. In gratitude to him, the city changed its name to Neocaesarea (meaning "New Caesar"), a name it bore for a number of years. The history of this city and the suffering the Philadelphian people endured during the years of earth tremors are important to understanding the Lord's message to the church in Philadelphia.

The church in Philadelphia is unique among the seven churches in that it is the only church against which the Lord registers no complaint not one. Here is a church that delights the Lord! I suppose each of us wishes his or her church could be like the church in Philadelphia.
As we take a close look at the Lord's message to the believers in Philadelphia, notice the unusual way He addresses this church, as compared with the other six churches of Revelation.

3:7 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
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."

In all the letters except this one, the Lord vividly describes Himself, using symbols from John's first vision of Him in Revelation 1. In this letter, however, Jesus makes no reference to that vision. Instead, He uses other titles to describe Himself. First He tells the Philadelphian believers who He is. He says He is the one who is holy. That means He is morally perfect and His character is without flaw. He also says He is the one who is true. That means He is genuine, objective reality, the one who is behind all that truly exists. That is who Jesus is.

Jesus also tells the Philadelphian believers what He does. He "holds the key of David." This is a reference to an incident in Isaiah 22. In the days of King Hezekiah there was a palace courtier (the modern equivalent would be a chief of staff) named Shebna. He dishonestly used the power of his position to enrich himself. He was, in effect, a scam artist. So the Lord pronounced judgment on Shebna, declaring that he would be sent to die in disgrace in Babylon and that a godly man named Eliakim would take his place. The words of the Lord in Revelation 3:7 are an echo of the prophecy of the Lord upon Eliakim in Isaiah 22:22 "I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."

Isaiah 22

22:1 THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning the Valley of Vision: What do you mean [I wonder] that you have all gone up to the housetops,

2 You who are full of shouting, a tumultuous city, a joyous and exultant city? [O Jerusalem] your slain warriors have not met [a glorious] death with the sword or in battle.

3 All your [military] leaders have fled together; without the bow [which they had thrown away] they have been taken captive and bound by the archers. All of you who were found were bound together [as captives], though they had fled far away.

4 Therefore I [Isaiah] said, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly. Do not hasten and try to comfort me over the destruction of the daughter of my people.

5 For it is a day of discomfiture and of tumult, of treading down, of confusion and perplexity from the Lord God of hosts in the Valley of Vision, a day of breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountains.

6 And [in my vision I saw] Elam take up the quiver, with troops in chariots, infantry, and horsemen; and Kir [with Elam subject to Assyria] uncovered the shield.

7 And it came to pass that your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their station [and set themselves in offensive array at the gate of Jerusalem]. [Fulfilled in 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36:1.]