• By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
  • Posted 02/07/2021
  • Viewed 76

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DNA of Our Church: Epiphany Sermon Series

Humility with Sacrifice


Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj



  • We continue to explore the DNA of our church from messages to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation so that we may understand what kind of Church we should be.
  • Last Sunday, we meditate on the Church in Sardis and its message from God and we learned that our church should be a model church in real and authentic life and ministry and passion to live in truth and purity, not just for the namesake in this world.
  • Today we meditate on the fifth Church in the book Revelation, named the Church at Philadelphia 


Context of the text

  • Philadelphia means brotherly love. This city was one of the youngest of the seven cities and was founded by Attalus II, and his nickname was Philadelphos, as a missionary outpost for Hellenism and the ancient Greek culture. This city was famous for spreading the Greek language, culture, manners and religion to the Asia provinces. Some call it the missionary city of Greeks. It was called Little Athens. The Church at Philadelphia is the only church that has no specific rebuke from the Lord.


1. The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to use all opportunities which God opens with humility and for Gods glory. Revelation. 3:7-8

  • 7 And to the [a]angel of the church in Philadelphia write,These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, [b]and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
  • 7. பிலதெல்பியா சபையின் தூதனுக்கு நீ எழுதவேண்டியது என்னவெனில்: பரிசுத்தமுள்ளவரும், சத்தியமுள்ளவரும், தாவீதின் திறவுகோலை உடையவரும், ஒருவரும் பூட்டக்கூடாதபடிக்குத் திறக்கிறவரும், ஒருவரும் திறக்கக்கூடாதபடிக்குப் பூட்டுகிறவருமாயிருக்கிறவர் சொல்லுகிறதாவது;8. உன் கிரியைகளை அறிந்திருக்கிறேன்; உனக்குக் கொஞ்சம் பெலன் இருந்தும், நீ என் நாமத்தை மறுதலியாமல், என் வசனத்தைக் கைக்கொண்டபடியினாலே, இதோ, திறந்தவாசலை உனக்கு முன்பாக வைத்திருக்கிறேன், அதை ஒருவனும் பூட்டமாட்டான்.
  • Jesus introduced himself as the truth, holy and also keeps of Kingdom in the Davidic line. He also the keeper of power and authority. He who opens, no one shuts and shuts and no one opens. The Lord appreciated the church positively. Jesus said that the church at Philadelphia served God well in difficult circumstances. God had given the church an open door for gospel ministry and so he encouraged them to use the opportunities he provided for them with humility. Once it was a missionary city for Greeks but now Jesus commanded them to be a missionary city for Gospel. Though they were rejected but the local synagogue to worship, God promised that he would open a door for them to worship and do mission. He has the keys. Though they had little strength, it did not imply weakness but not too strong or too big. However, God strengthened them to be strong in keeping his word and in mission.
  • God wants to use the opportunities he has opened for us with humility and dedication. The doors of opportunities for the mission are not opened by wealth, influence, promotional schemes or eloquence of its pulpit, harmonies of its music and songs but God himself only so that all the glory and honour going to God.
  • Col.4:3:3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
  • 4. திருவசனம் செல்லும்படியான வாசலை தேவன் திறந்தருளும்படி எங்களுக்காகவும் வேண்டிக்கொள்ளுங்கள்.
  • Matthew 7:7-8:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
  • 7. கேளுங்கள், அப்பொழுது உங்களுக்குக் கொடுக்கப்படும்; தேடுங்கள், அப்பொழுது கண்டடைவீர்கள்; தட்டுங்கள் அப்பொழுது உங்களுக்குத் திறக்கப்படும்;8. ஏனென்றால், கேட்கிறவன் எவனும் பெற்றுக்கொள்ளுகிறான்; தேடுகிறவன் கண்டடைகிறான்; தட்டுகிறவனுக்குத் திறக்கப்படும்.
  • Biblical Example: Pauls testimony of Opening doors: Acts.14:26-28: 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. 27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
  • 26. அங்கே கப்பல் ஏறி, தாங்கள் நிறைவேற்றின கிரியைக்காக தேவனுடைய கிருபைக்கு ஒப்புவிக்கப்பட்டுப் புறப்பட்டு அந்தியோகியாவுக்கு வந்தார்கள்.
  • 27. அவர்கள் அங்கே சேர்ந்தபொழுது சபையைக் கூடிவரச்செய்து, தேவன் தங்களைக்கொண்டு செய்தவைகளையும், அவர் புறஜாதிகளுக்கு விசுவாசத்தின் கதவைத் திறந்ததையும் அறிவித்து,28. அங்கே சீஷருடனேகூட அநேகநாள் சஞ்சரித்திருந்தார்கள்.
  • Sermon Illustration: A man once came to Spurgeon and asked how he could win others to Jesus. Spurgeon asked him, What are you? What do you do? The man said, I am an engine driver on a train.” “Then,” said Spurgeon, Is the man who shovels coal on your train a Christian?’ “I donknow,” said the man. Go back,” said Spurgeon, and find out and start on him.”



2. The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to keep the good works they do before the Lord in the midst of sacrifices and hope for reward from the Lord. Revelation. 3:9-13

  • 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept [c]My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 [d]Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
  • 9. இதோ, யூதரல்லாதிருந்தும் தங்களை யூதரென்று பொய் சொல்லுகிறவர்களாகிய சாத்தானுடைய கூட்டத்தாரில் சிலரை உனக்குக் கொடுப்பேன்; இதோ, அவர்கள் உன் பாதங்களுக்கு முன்பாக வந்து பணிந்து, நான் உன்மேல் அன்பாயிருக்கிறதை அறிந்துகொள்ளும்படி செய்வேன்.10. என் பொறுமையைக்குறித்துச் சொல்லிய வசனத்தை நீ காத்துக்கொண்டபடியினால், பூமியில் குடியிருக்கிறவர்களைச் சோதிக்கும்படியாகப் பூச்சக்கரத்தின்மே லெங்கும் வரப்போகிற சோதனைக்காலத்திற்குத் தப்பும்படி நானும் உன்னைக் காப்பேன்.11. இதோ, சீக்கிரமாய் வருகிறேன்; ஒருவனும் உன் கிரீடத்தை எடுத்துக்கொள்ளாதபடிக்கு உனக்குள்ளதைப் பற்றிக்கொண்டிரு.12. ஜெயங்கொள்ளுகிறவனெவனோ அவனை என் தேவனுடைய ஆலயத்திலே தூணாக்குவேன், அதினின்று அவன் ஒருக்காலும் நீங்குவதில்லை; என் தேவனுடைய நாமத்தையும் என் தேவனால் பரலோகத்திலிருந்திறங்கிவருகிற புதிய எருசலேமாகிய என் தேவனுடைய நகரத்தின் நாமத்தையும், என் புதிய நாமத்தையும் அவன்மேல் எழுதுவேன்.13. ஆவியானவர் சபைகளுக்குச் சொல்லுகிறதைக் காதுள்ளவன் கேட்கக்கடவன் என்றெழுது.
  • God also appreciated for their sacrifices to defend their faith from the oppression of the Jews who had no faith in God and also who were in the synagogues to persecute them. So God promised them to bring their enemies down so that they might see the power of God in the faithful church. God had already told through the prophets that Gentiles also would honour the Lord (Isaiah.45:14). However, they did not recognize it. God promised that he would protect from the hour of the trail coming on the whole world and he encouraged them to persevere. Matthew 24:21. 
  • What the Lord wanted us to do is to keep the good work until he comes back and we will be rewarded with the royal authority with Jesus. He would make us the pillars in the temple of God and give us his name, the name of his city, heavenly Jerusalem and a new name. God wants us to keep going in our life and ministry faithfully and sacrificially until he comes back.
  • Galatians 6:9:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
  • 9. நன்மைசெய்கிறதில் சோர்ந்துபோகாமல் இருப்போமாக; நாம் தளர்ந்துபோகாதிருந்தால் ஏற்றகாலத்தில் அறுப்போம்
  • Hebrew 11:6:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
  • 6. விசுவாசமில்லாமல் தேவனுக்குப் பிரியமாயிருப்பது கூடாதகாரியம்; ஏனென்றால், தேவனிடத்தில் சேருகிறவன் அவர் உண்டென்றும், அவர் தம்மைத் தேடுகிறவர்களுக்குப் பலன் அளிக்கிறவரென்றும் விசுவாசிக்கவேண்டும்.
  • Bible example:  Abraham. Genesis.15:1:After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
  • 1. இந்தக் காரியங்கள் நடந்தபின்பு, கர்த்தருடைய வார்த்தை ஆபிராமுக்குத் தரிசனத்திலே உண்டாகி, அவர்: ஆபிராமே, நீ பயப்படாதே; நான் உனக்குக் கேடகமும், உனக்கு மகா பெரிய பலனுமாயிருக்கிறேன் என்றார்.
  • Sermon illustration: When Andrew Bonar made his first and only visit America, they gave him a farewell meeting in New York. Several men eulogized him, and one man in closing said, "Think of the 'crown of righteousness,' which is laid up for Andrew Bonar, 'which the Lord, the righteous judge,' shall give him in that day." Dear old Andrew Bonar walked to the front of the platform and held up his hands toward Heaven and completed Paul's saying to Timothy: "and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."



God has called us to be his church with His DNA. Through the message to the Church in Philadelphia, in Revelations 3:7-13, Jesus speaks to us to be the church of humility and sacrifice. 

  • The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to use all opportunities which God opens with humility and for Gods glory. Revelation. 3:7-8
  • The DNA of the Church is to be a model church to keep the good works they do before the Lord in the midst of sacrifices and hope for reward from the Lord. Revelation. 3:9-13


Questions for Discussion

  •  What would a church of "brotherly love" look like to you? How does it make you feel to know that Jesus has a special provision in His heart for our church? 
  • How do you find hope in the fact that even though your strength is depleted and no options may be visible to you, you are still in the hands of God?
  • What has Jesus given to your church in the way of opportunities and the empowerment to pursue them? What have you done to take advantage of them? How does taking the open door He gives you to bring you joy and pleasure? How does this encourage you to pursue your gifts and opportunities to please Him? How have you and our church lost out on good opportunities to please Him and serve?
  •  What can you do to understand what Christ has done for you so you can fully do your best to be faithful, even in times of pressure, waiting, and uncertainty? How can you prevent suffering and past experiences from ruling you? How can deepening your walk with Christ help you understand that you can do it, He will help you to persevere?



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