The first-century church in Philadelphia caught the attention of Jesus in a good way. While speaking to several other congregations, the Lord found it necessary to address Philadelphia’s particular situation and their overall outlook on life. This was one of the few assemblies that Jesus didn’t condemn, but instead, He commended them.
Jesus was rather fond of their “patient endurance” in those strange and difficult times of the Roman persecution (Revelation 3:10). This word “endurance” is found 32 times throughout the New Testament, with the highest density found in John’s Revelation (7x) and the second highest rate (6x) in Paul’s words to the Roman church. Very briefly, here’s what we can learn about enduring times of opposition from the letter of Revelation:
• Endurance is something that can be shared (Revelation 1:9)
• Endurance is something that Jesus notices (Revelation 2:2)
• Endurance is something that can help your faith be more… well… faithful (Revelation 2:3)
• Endurance is something that opens doors of opportunity to minister (Revelation 2:19)
• Endurance is something that will ultimately lead us to victory over this earth (Revelation 3:10)
• Endurance is something that helps our understanding of true life (Revelation 13:10)
• Endurance is something that Jesus expects from His people (Revelation 14:12)
The church in Philadelphia was seemingly great at this practice of perseverance. In verse 10, Jesus notes, “because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” In reflecting on this verse, Warren Wilcox noted, “Keep God’s word and you shall be kept by God’s power.” Endurance is a significant blessing to the faithful Christian who lives in a harsh and cruel world. We abandon our spiritual blessings if we neglect the power and development of perseverance.