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A New Philadelphia


There is something in a name. My name is Mike. Actually, Michael's not my first name; my first name is Jerry. I'm Jerry Michael Breaux. On the first day of school—because of the way my name is spelled—teachers would always call me something like "Jerry Bree-ox." It was embarrassing.

There's something about a name that says something about who you are. Some people's names are funny. Some people are embarrassed by their names. Some people change their names over and over. Take Sean Combs, for example. He changed his name to Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. Then he dropped the "Sean" and the "Combs" and called himself Puff Daddy. Then he went back to Sean P. Diddy Combs. Then he dropped everything and called himself P. Diddy. Now he calls himself Diddy. What's he going to be called next?

Other people are known by just one name—Sting, Bono, Cher, Madonna, Oprah, J.Lo, Prince, Tiger, Colby, Magic, and our President: W.

Some cities are known by nicknames: Boomtown, The Windy City, Sin City, Music City, The Motor City, The Big Apple, and The Big Easy.

In Revelation 3:12, John records Jesus' words to a church in Asia Minor in a city known as Philadelphia. It was a city in a bit of an identity crisis, because it had been named and renamed many times. Philadelphia sat on a geological fault line, so earthquakes and volcanic activity bred constant fear of forced evacuations, unexpected death and devastation, and constant rebuilding. Every time the city had to rebuild, Rome renamed it. Jesus writes incredibly meaningful words to a city living with an ever-changing identity, the anxiety of an ever-shifting earth, and the everyday reality of unrelenting persecution. Imagine being in Philadelphia on the day the pastor ...

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Mike Breaux is teaching pastor of Heartland Community Church in Rockford, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


There is something in a name.

I. Jesus opens doors.

II. Jesus calls us to walk through open doors.

III. Jesus gives strength for the task at hand.

IV. Open doors often lead to persecution.


The great news is, we have a new name, and we're going to live in a new city that cannot be shaken.