Waynesboro Church of the Brethren Newsletter
October 23, 2016
When I was young I always thought Philadelphia was a rather strange name for a city. When I was older it became evident that the city in Pennsylvania was named after the city in the New Testament. Philadelphia was a Greek city in Asia Minor. When John receives the Revelation it's economically depressed. Years before there had been a horrible earthquake that disabled Asia Minor. The cities in the area recovered after a few years but Philadelphia was last in line with the Romans as far as aid for recovery. So decades later, the ramifications from the earthquake could still be felt. The average Philadelphian felt neglected and hopeless. The church in the city was struggling as well. In A.D 96, after years of cooperating with the Jews in the city, the Christians were kicked out of the synagogues. Up until this time the local magistrates let the church meet in the synagogue because the Greeks saw Christianity as a sect of Judaism. Judaism was a protected religion in Rome. For years, the church in Philadelphia survived because of this clause. With the Christians not allowed entrance to the synagogue they no longer would be considered Jewish. In which case they could, and would, be persecuted by the law of Rome. The church faces an uncertain future. The story of the church in Philadelphia is a lesson in dealing with adversity. Jesus is pleased with them. They have not denied His name, even in this storm. It's the church's finest moment. Likewise, it's the same with us. We are seldom grateful when we're going through difficult times but if we lean on God these times can be our finest moments. No doubt the congregation in Philadelphia took comfort in the fact that these hard times wouldn’t last forever. They knew God would win in the end. In our world of comfort and prosperity it's a challenge to think in terms of the next life. But, we should. Jesus encourages the early church to, “hold on to what you have." Even in the eye of the storm, God is with us. - Pastor John
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