Philadelphia was seventy-five miles southeast of Sardis. It was the second largest city in Lydia. It was built upon several hills in a famous wine-growing district. Its coins bore the head of Bacchus and the figure of a Baccante (priestess of Bacchus). The population of the city included Jews, Christians of Jewish origin, and converts from heathenism. The city suffered frequent earthquakes, yet its duration was the longest of the seven cities of Revelation. In fact the city still exists under the Turkish name of Alasehir, or City of God.
The mintage of the coins suggests the deity of the city to be Bacchus. Now Bacchus is the same as Ninus or Nimrod, He is the 'lamented one', though most of us think of him in terms of revelry and drunkenness.
What illumination this brings to our minds. Here is a coin with the god on one side and the priestess or prophetess on the other. Now flip a coin. Does it matter which way it comes down? No sir, it is still the same coin. That is the Romish religion of Jesus and Mary.
But we are not thinking of Rome only. No, there is not only the great harlot. Certainly not; for she, by her fornications has become a mother. Her daughters now are coins of the same mintage. There on one side of the coin they have drawn up a worship of Jesus and on the other side they have their priestess or prophetess also and she writes her creeds and dogmas and tenets and sells them to the people for salvation insisting that she and she alone has the true light.
How remarkable is the fact that this age is characterized by the coin. For the mother and daughters are all buying their way to heaven. Money and not blood is the purchase price. Money and not Spirit is the power that moves them ahead. The god of this world (mammon) hath blinded their eyes.
But their dealings in death will end soon, for this is the age that the Spirit cries, "Behold I come quickly." Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
The Philadelphia Church Age lasted from 1750 to about 1906. This age, due to the meaning of the name of the city, has been called The Age of Brotherly Love, as Philadelphia means, "love of brethren".
The messenger to this age was without doubt John Wesley. John Wesley was born at Epworth, June 17, 1703 and was one of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His father was a chaplain in the Church of England; but it is more than likely that the religious turn of John's mind was based more upon his mother's exemplary life than upon his father's theology. John was a brilliant scholar. It was while he was at Orford that he and Charles became part of a group who were spiritually exercised to worship on the basis of experientially living the life rather than making doctrine their standard. They drew up a spiritual guide of works, such as giving to the poor, visiting the sick and the imprisoned. For this they were called Methodists, and other derisive titles. Now John was sufficiently imbued by his vision of the need of religion for the peoples of the world that he went to America (Georgia) as a missionary amongst the Indians. On his way there he found that many of the ship's passengers were Moravians. He was deeply impressed by their meekness, peace, and courage in all circumstances. His labors in Georgia in spite of self denials and hard work was a failure. He returned to England crying, "I went to America to convert the Indians but oh! who shall convert me?"
Back in London he again met the Moravians. It was Peter Boehler who showed him the way of salvation. He was truly born again much to the dismay and evident anger of his brother, Charles, who could not understand how such a spiritual man as John should say he was not formerly right with God. It was, however, not long after that Charles, too, was saved by grace.
Wesley now began to preach the Gospel in those pulpits in London to which he formerly had access; but soon they turned him out. It was at this time that his old friend, George Whitefield, stood him in good stead for be invited John to come and help him preach in the fields where thousands were listening to the Word. Wesley at first was incredulous that he should preach in the open instead of a building, but when he saw the throngs and saw the working of the Gospel in the power of the Spirit he turned wholeheartedly to such preaching.
The work soon took on such proportions that he began sending out numerous laymen to preach the Word. This seemed like a parallel to Pentecost where the Spirit raised up men with power to preach and teach the Word almost overnight.
There was violent opposition to his work but God was with him. The workings of the Spirit were mightily manifested and often such a spirit of conviction took hold of the people as to take away their strength and they would fall to the ground crying in great distress over their sins.
Wesley was a remarkably strong man. He says of himself that he could not remember to have felt lowness of spirits for even a quarter hour since he was born. He slept no more than six hours a day; arose in time to start preaching at five practically every day of his ministry; preached up to four times on a single day so that in a year he would average over 800 sermons.
He travelled multiple thousands of miles as did his circuit riders who carried the Gospel near and far. In fact Wesley traveled 4500 miles per year by horse. He was a believer in the power of God and he prayed for the sick with great faith and wonderful results. Many of his meetings saw the manifestation of Spiritual gifts.
Wesley was not in favor of organization. His associates did have a "United Society" who were, "a company of men having the form, and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the Word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their salvation." The only condition of those entering was they should be of those, "who had a desire to flee from the wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins." As time went on they worked out a strict set of rules to be used in self discipline for the good of their souls. Wesley recognized that after his death the movement could be organized and the Spirit of God leave them to dead form. He once remarked that he did not fear that the name of Methodist would leave the earth but that the Spirit might take His flight.
During his lifetime he could have acquired vast wealth; but he did not. His favourite saying on the subject of money was, "Get all you can, save all you can, and give all you can." How strange it would be for Wesley to come back and see the denomination that bears the name of Methodist today. They are rich - vastly rich. But the life and power of John Wesley is missing.
It should also be mentioned that Wesley never did desire to build a work upon a denominational or sectarian basis. Though he was an Arminian in his beliefs, he did not want to separate himself from brethren on the grounds of doctrine. He was a good candidate for James: He based his eternal life on faith and works, or the living of the life, rather than simply accepting a creed or a doctrinal statement.
John Wesley died at the age of 88 having served God as few men would dare to even think they might.
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He That is holy, He That is true, He That hath the key of David, He That openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth and no man openeth;Return To The Top Of This Page
I know thy works: Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My Word, and hast not denied My Name.
Behold, I will make them of the Synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the Name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new Name.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."