There is enormous talk about brotherly love and the “Philadelphian Christian” in the assemblies. It is important to have a good understanding of the subject of love and the meaning of Philadelphian love as we examine ourselves before Passover.
Regardless of all the hair splitting over the meaning of words like Agape Love, if we seek to be godly we should let God’s Word define love for us and then live by that definition. God defines godly love as keeping the commandments of God the Father.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Anyone who claims to be in Christ must live just as Christ lived and lives.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him [Christ] ought himself also so to walk [live], even as he walked [lived and lives].
Jesus Christ lived as an example which we should follow, and taught his people to live by every Word of God.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Deuteronomy 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
True Philadelphian love is to love God enough to seek to please God by doing what God says. The Philadelphian pillar is the person who lives by every Word of God out of a passionate love for God and the Truth, and love for other humans is based on the foundation of our love for godliness.
The epistles to the Thessalonians were recorded and preserved for God’s faithful pillars, who stand unshakable on every Word of God; and encourages them in their patient enduring while giving them key prophetic information.
While the epistles of Paul are addressed to individual congregations; they are likewise preserved as Holy Scripture and recorded for instruction of all those who are called by God.
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as Colossians was meant as an encouragement to godliness for the Colossians and the latter day Laodiceans, this epistle is especially for the faithful in Thessaloniki and for the faithful pillars throughout history and in these later days.
The Thessalonians were full of faith and the works of faith, and diligent to patiently live by every Word of God, so are the pillars of these last days and of all ages. We are to patiently endure, growing in godliness and overcoming all sin, and in so doing we shall be saved at the resurrection to spirit.
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls [attain eternal life].
Colossians was written specifically to Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22) and the epistles to the Thessalonians were (and are) a direct encouragement and instruction for the pillars, called the Philadelphian Ekklesia in Revelation 3.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election [calling] of God.
This letter is addressed to the Thessalonians who are presented as faithful pillars of light.
These messages contain no correction at all, only instructions and encouragement for God’s pillars. These folks in Thessalonica had a true Philadelphian attitude of love for and of living by every Word of God; which we would do well to emulate.
1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
The pillars are called out in much affliction and endure very much for God’s way, yet they remain solidly grounded on the sound doctrine of the whole Word of God. They follow every Word of God with joy, and through their zeal for all things of God, are full of the Holy Spirit of TRUTH.
1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
Paul reminds them that they received the Word through much affliction; meaning that they suffered much for the sake of their love, zeal and faith toward God.
The pillars know that they were sinners and they know that they are weak, and that they are saved by the mercy and power of God. Therefore they stand upon and rely upon their Mighty Deliverer, cleaving to him and continually relying upon their Mighty One; diligently living by every Word of God and never turning aside to follow idols of men or their own imaginations.
They endure adversity and receive and embrace the truth of God with great joy.
Where has that great joy in discovering and understanding the things of God gone in the Laodicean church of today? Has it not been buried in a misguided zeal for false tradition and idols of men, instead of a Philadelphian love of the TRUTH?
The pillars are a Shining Light of example for their Laodicean brethren who reject them for a time; but will later remember that shining example and likewise turn to the Eternal!
1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
Today the spiritual Ekklesia has fallen far away from a godly zeal and Philadelphian love for TRUTH and an enthusiastic zeal for all of God’s Word, into a blind unquestioning faith in idols of men; above our first love and faith in our espoused Husband and his Father.
How did this happen?
We have been deceived by thinking that “Philadelphia” means brotherly love [love for men] while forgetting that the proper foundation of brotherly love is a mutual love for God the Father.
All those who love God the Father and live by every Word of God will be bound together by their mutual love of God and will love one another on that common foundation. That is the definition of a Philadelphian pillar!
True Philadelphian love is to love God with all our beings, and if we truly love God we will seek to please him and we will do what God says. Our love of God and our living by every Word of God then becomes the foundation for loving mankind.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 22: 38 This is the first and great commandment. 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
If God is left out of the equation by paying lip service to God but having no love to live by every Word of God the Father, our love other people becomes idolatry because it exalts love for people above love for God.
Yet today, there are still a few faithful like these Thessalonians, and the scattered Philadelphian pillars are a Shining example of passionate zeal for the truth of God.
1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
Others will one day point to the example of the faithfulness and zeal of the patiently enduring pillars; and how we turned from idolizing men to serve the Omnipotent God.
1:9 For they themselves [others tell us of your example] shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 1:10 And to wait [to wait patiently for the deliverance of the coming Christ] for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The Thessalonians and the faithful pillars of today have received the Word of Truth with joy, and have cleaved to the Word of the Eternal God through the strength of his Spirit; which is given to those who love and live by every Word of God.
Who will be chosen to be a part of the Bride in the resurrection to spirit? Those who are full of love for God, all godliness and for living by every Word of God!
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life [eternal life], and may enter in through the gates into the city [the city of New Jerusalem on the new earth].
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
For more on Philadelphian love see this article.
Calling ones self a Philadelphian Christian and then engaging in egregious idolatry of a man or men, is self-deception and a great lie!