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Chapter 3 - Philadelphia
Our sixth lesson is the sixth letter to the sixth church, which is the Church of Philadelphia. We shall deal with these sections of the letter.
“And to the angel of the Church of Philadelphia write these things sayeth, ‘He that is holy. He that is true, he that has the key of David. He that openeth and no man shuteth, and shuteth and no man openeth. 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 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. 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 the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God and I will write upon him my new name.’”
Most of us already know that the meaning of the Greek word Philadelphia is brotherly love and that, metaphysically, the Church of Philadelphia would symbolize the center of our human consciousness of love. While there is of course but one love and that one love the only love there really is is the love of God, the Church of Philadelphia does not stand for the perfect realization and perfect expression of divine love, but the Church of Philadelphia in us rather stands for the somewhat limited aspect of that love in us, in our expression, which we refer to usually as human love.
The current way that man realizes and expresses love seems to be quite limited and imperfect in comparison to what it really is and what it could and should be in expression through human beings. This fact accounts for the very brief and most abrupt words of praise given to this church in us by the Christ mind when the letter states merely, “I know thy works.” In other words, we are trying to be more loving but after this abrupt statement, this church in us is given a very quick reassurance from the Christ mind when it immediately follows with these encouraging words, “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.” These words tell us something about our human love nature, which many of us should be glad to hear.
What it refers to or what it implies most emphatically is even though most human beings are not at present accomplishing things through their love natures, which could and should be accomplished. Nevertheless, there is in us a genuine and sincere desire to be more perfectly loving. The desire is definitely there and the Christ mind recognizes this in us. It knows all of us want to be more loving, all of us do have genuine good intentions about giving and receiving love in right ways. All of us would surely much rather be kind than be unkind. Now, we are not perfect in any of this as yet but we want to be and that’s what really counts in the eyes of Spirit. The wonderful Christ mind makes this provision for your and my and every human being’s love nature, Church of Philadelphia.
“Behold, I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it.” What this means is that the spirit of God has established an eternal opportunity, open door, which is placed before your love nature, Church of Philadelphia. “And nothing can take it away from you. No man can shut it.” In other words, wherever you are, whatever you are doing in any time, place, or circumstances, you will always have opportunities open for your love nature to give and receive some kind of love. Never, never fear that you might ever be deprived of love in your life. Never worry that the time might come when you won’t be loved or you won’t have anyone or anything to love. This can never happen. This is the promise of the Christ mind to your Church of Philadelphia. It has decreed that your human love nature has an open door set before it, eternal opportunities to give and receive love and that nothing in the outer, nothing outside of yourself can ever deprive you of opportunities to exercise love.
One of the best exercises I know of to keep an awareness of this divine promise alive in consciousness is through the use of a beautiful Unity affirmation, which has been formulated for a long, long time and has been used by countless Truth students throughout the world. This is the affirmation,
“I am a radiating center of divine love, mighty to attract my good and to radiate good to others. I am a radiating center of divine love, mighty to attract my good and to radiate good to others.”
This is acknowledging the open door set before your Church of Philadelphia by the Christ mind within you.
However, like almost all aspects of human nature at it’s present level of development, there is a fault or weakness in our love natures. This is pointed out for us in the letter and interestingly, it happens to be the very same thing, the very same fault found in our second letter in Revelation, the letter Church of Smyrna. The Church of Smyrna stands for our human prosperity consciousness and the same fault or weakness in it is found in this letter to our human love consciousness. “Behold, I will make of 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.” Again, we find that as was so in the case of the Church of Smyrna, our prosperity thinking, we have the danger of the presence of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes, which pretend to be helping the development of our love consciousness, say they are Jews but are actually damaging it and spoiling it are of the synagogue of Satan.
It does seem a sad fact that although we do value love very highly and consider it probably the greatest and most beautiful of all spiritual qualities, we still have some mistaken beliefs and attitudes regarding its expression especially in its give and take between human beings. Some of these errors have managed to become widely accepted, have gained popular sanction and really cleverly wear their disguises, the disguise of being helpful to our realization of love. We know that error is error no matter how widely accepted or cleverly disguised. In observing some of the errors many of us had regarding our expressions of love, here are a few typical examples of the sort of thing symbolized as those that say they are Jews but are not but are of the synagogue of Satan.
- One of these would be the notion that the only way to give and receive love with another human being is to have it accompanied by strong emotions and exaggerated sentimentality, possessiveness, passion, jealousy, and so forth. In fact, we know that some persons go so far as to regard some of these things as love, which of course, they are not. We should try to remember that true love is not the same as some of the very strong passions and emotions, which may sometimes accompany human love. Always acknowledge love itself to be divine, spiritual, pure, and uplifting. Try to always see love itself as perfect and know that perfect love casteth out all fear while many strong emotions and passions can cause fear.
- Then there is the belief that someone or something can take love away from us, but this cannot be. How can one take away something which is omnipresent?
- Then there is the notion and many people hold this notion although it is not true that love is something which can come to us from outside of us. This is a complete reversal of the truth. It causes all kinds if wrong connections in our thinking and in our life and in our relationships. We must remember that love can only come through us from within. Love can only be experienced by us as we radiate it first as a spiritual quality from within. Then it may be reflected back to us and most often from another person.
- Then there is the belief that I should evaluate the love that is in my life by comparing it with the love which seems to be in other persons lives. The old adage “comparisons are odious” certainly holds true here. Love is an individually precious thing and should never be a means of comparison with other persons lives and loves. Your love is your love because it is the right love for you. So it is with all persons.
- Another one of these love spoilers is the tendency on some of our parts to save our responses of love for only those who give us pleasure. As Jesus so wisely points out on the Sermon on the Mount, If you and I shall love only those who give us pleasure by loving us first, then our love does not grow. Our love remains on the status quo level and we do not grow in love consciousness. Jesus indicates that by exercising love upon those who do not give us personal pleasure, we increase and strengthen our capacity for love and in doing so, we experience the only really worthwhile pleasure there is in life, the pleasure of growth and spiritual unfoldment.
Now comes the promise from the Christ mind to our Church of Philadelphia, our human love nature of the reward to come for those of us who do overcome these errors in our thinking connected with the give and take of human love. In verse 12, we read,
“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 the new Jerusalem, which cometh down from heaven from my God and I will write upon him my new name.”
This beautiful promise refers to a reward in the form of a realization, which is almost beyond the power of ordinary language to describe. It is speaking of a state of true inner peace, poise, and stability. This most satisfying of all possible states is gained only as the result of correctly thinking about and correctly giving and receiving the pure love instead of constantly settling for the unsatisfying imitations of love.
“I will make him a pillar in the temples of my God.” This refers to that state of inner peace, poise, and stability, which comes from correctly thinking about and giving and receiving the pure love. “And he shall go no more out” means to become no longer a creature of moods and whims and one who is prone to fall out of love. “He shall go no more out.” The tendency to constantly fall out of love seems to be one of the most unattractive weaknesses in human nature, one that certainly causes a great deal of heartache in the area of human relationships but this will change. “He shall go no more out but he shall remain always in the true love. I will write upon him the name of my God.” Of course the name of God in each human being is I AM. The name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem. The word Jerusalem means habitation of peace and to have the name of God and the name of the new Jerusalem written on you means that you will have a completely new and full realization, which will enable you to say truly and permanently, “I am the habitation of God’s peace and my heart is the habitation of God’s perfect love.”