The Church of Philadelphia: Love is all You Need

Hello Friends,

How are you doing? When I was attending school, a question that was often asked by my teachers was, “How is it with your soul?” This question deserved more than an “okay,” or “I’m fine,” or even “I’m good.” This question provoked us students to really think about how we are doing–what we are going through. Some of you may be tired. Some of you may be restless. Some of you may be energetic. Some of you may be lost, confused, or even worried. Some of you may just need a hug and be told that you are loved. So, how are you doing?

I ask this question, as we begin our time together, because Jesus knows how we really feel and he knows that his love can solve all of our problems, but we just have to let him know that we want to feel and be loved. There is a church, from back in the day, that harnessed the love of Christ so much that they overcame all that the world threw their way. They remained strong because of Jesus’ love. They remained faithful because of Jesus’ love. They remained committed because of Jesus’ love. And they remained who God needed them to be because of Jesus’ love. This Church is found in the city of Philadelphia in Asia Minor. But before we travel to that church, let us revisit the Church of Sardis.

Jesus informs the church, which is you and me and many others, that if it wants to be spiritually alive both inwardly and outwardly, it needs to do four things: wake up spiritually, strengthen what remains, remember what you were taught, and obey and repent. First, Jesus needs us to wake up and to live out our faith in ways that reflects the messages and mission of him. Second, Jesus needs us to strengthen what remains. Every day, we need to strengthen our love for Christ, our faith in Christ, our belief of Christ, and our trust in Christ. Third, Jesus needs us to remember. Jesus needs us to remember him: all that he has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us. Jesus needs us to remember him. And fourth, Jesus needs us to obey and repent. Jesus needs us to obey his teachings and to ask for forgiveness when we do something wrong.

The Church of Sardis was not perfect, but Jesus was willing to help them become perfect. Jesus is doing the same thing with you; and he has given you instructions to follow. When we wake up, have strength, remember, and obey and repent, we find ourselves on the road that leads to Jesus Christ and to his love. This love is all we need and it is exactly what the Church of Philadelphia provides for us.

Biblically, the word love appears at least once in sixty of the sixty-six books of the Bible: it does not appear in 2 Kings, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Haggai, or in the book of Acts. Furthermore, we are called to “love our masters,” to “love our neighbors,” to “love our enemies,” to “love ourselves,” to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul,” and to remember that the Lord’s love is steadfast and “endures forever.” Additionally, we are called to live out and practice the following definition of love as shared by the Apostle Paul, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends….” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

What I like about this church is that in this love Jesus gives us several promises that remind us of how important we are. Jesus promises the following: I know your deeds; I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut; I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name; I have loved you; I will keep you from the hour of trial; and I am coming soon. With this love, Jesus promises to be there for us, to help us, to support us, to be kind to us, to care for us, to never leave us, and to be patient, truthful, to have hope in us, and to always love us. We need this love in our life if we want to be who God needs us to be. We need this love to climb mountains. We need this love to be able to really tell Jesus how we feel. All we need is love….All we need is the love of Jesus in our life.

Proverbs 3:3-4 asserts, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Let the love of Christ shine in and through us today. Love is all you need to do great things! Let Jesus love you so that his promises for you will come true in your life. Love is all you need to change the world. So, how is it with your soul? Do you feel loved today?

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!


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