Verse 13:"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Because this teaching is so crucial and solemn, all those who have ears should hear what Christ says in this and what the Holy Spirit says through this. We should never despise this word, for it is not the word of man. Since there is such a solemn teaching set before us, we should ask God to circumcise our ears so that we may hear. We should also have a circumcised heart to keep this word. The future rapture and glorification all depend on our present conduct. Oh, what a responsibility this is!
FULFILLMENT IN HISTORY
Of course I cannot surmise what the fulfillment of this church will be. In the present age of church degradation, it is an unhealthy act to assume oneself to be a Philadelphian. It is better to commit this into the hand of the One who knows our works. As long as we know that in church history there is such a time of Philadelphia after Sardis, we should pursue to have such a condition for the church. The most important thing for the saints to do is not to remain in Sardis if the Lord so leads them to go on to Philadelphia. If they do not go on, they will enter the stage of Laodicea.
Nevertheless, we can say a few words here. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, about a hundred years ago, God began a work in England. Gradually, this work spread to the whole earth. It led believers to leave everything man-made and to cleave to the Lord’s word and exalt the Lord’s name. The truth concerning the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus was recovered through them. This could have been the fulfillment of Philadelphia. At present, it pleases the Lord to open the eyes of some in China. We do not know what will happen in the future, but we know that it is indispensable to follow the Lord faithfully.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 05: The Christian (3), Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)