Summary: This is a study of the book of Revelation Chapter by chapter CHAPTER 3 PART 3

Revelation Chapter 3

List some activities in which churches typically engage that prompt unbelievers to take positive notice.

List some activities in which modern churches participate that cause non-Christians to look with scorn upon the gospel.

If you were new to Conway, AR and was looking for a church home, what qualities would draw you to a church? What attributes would cause you to rule out a certain church as a potential home for yourself and your family?

Chapter 3 of Revelation continues the series of Christ’s messages to His churches; here it is the churches of Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.


The geography and position of Sardis were to its advantage. The Pactolus River lay on its eastern side and flowed eventually into the Hermus River. The broad ridge of Mount Tmolus, springing from the central plateau, dominates the Hermus Valley to its north. A series of steep ranges jut out into the plain, offering strongholds. Sardis lies on one of these, with Sardis proper 1,500 feet above the plain. Its position of great importance began in the earliest days of the Lydian kingdom (thirteenth century BC). The lower city spread to the valley floor. The king lived in the great acropolis, which became a place of refuge in time of war.

In 334 BC the city surrendered to Alexander the Great. Following Alexander’s death, Sardis changed hands several times. It was controlled first by Antigonus, then by the Seleucid rulers, and then by Pergamum, which had broken away from the Seleucids. When Antiochus III (231-187 BC) sought to restore the city to his rule, the lower city was burned (216 BC) and the citadel entered (214 BC). After the defeat of Antiochus III by Pergamum and the Romans, Sardis was placed under Pergamum’s jurisdiction until 133 BC Later it became a Roman administrative center. Although it enjoyed considerable wealth during the first three centuries AD, it never again held the prominence of earlier centuries. A great earthquake destroyed the city in AD 17. Emperor Tiberius assisted in its rebuilding.

Christianity took root here before the end of the first century. The New Testament letter by the hand of John to “the angel of the church in Sardis” (Revelation 1:11; Revelation 3:1-6) gives insight into the condition of the church at that time. After the Arab invasion of AD 716, the city declined. Today the small village of Sart preserves its name.

Extensive excavations in recent years have identified many Roman public buildings: a theater, a temple of Artemis, a gymnasium, and an impressive Jewish synagogue.

In summary what does Christ tell the church at Sardis?

Seven Stars (V1) – the pastors of these seven churches

Have you ever seen a church that was dead and dying? A church that was satisfied with itself, with keeping the way they had always been.

Christians must get into the Word and on our faces before God, evaluating our hearts to make sure we are spiritually alive and revived.

What a lifeless and dying church needs is the Spirit of God.

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek Christ for the Spirit of God. John 14:13-16

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek the quickening of the Spirit Romans 8:11

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek the convicting power of the Sprit John 16:7

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek the fruit of the Sprit. Galatians 5: 22-23

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek the guidance of the Spirit. Romans 8:14

· A lifeless and dying church needs to seek true revival. Matthew 3:11

Jesus Christ has the seven stars in His hands; that is, He holds the ministers of the church in His hands. The minister is the one who is responsible for brining about the awakening, He is held in the hand of Christ, He belongs totally to Christ. This means that he….

- Has been chosen by the hand of Christ to do exactly what Christ wants. John 15:16

- Has been placed into the by the hand of Christ. Exodus 3:10

- Has been placed to be aroused himself and to arouse the church Ezekiel 33:6

This church was dying and lifeless. However, Verse 2 says that it was not totally dead

A few living things still remained

How could a church be so active and well attended and have so many ministries and yet be dying?

What does this mean? It means to die spiritually, it means

· To have a form of worship but to deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5)

· To focus upon ritual, ceremony, and worship instead of Jesus Christ.

· To focus upon activities instead of Jesus Christ

· To become formal in worship instead of alive in Christ

· To hold services and activities for social fellowship instead of for spiritual growth and edification

· To lose one’s zeal for witnessing and sharing Christ and for seeing others grow

· To become complacent and lethargic in the study of God’s Word.

· To sit in worship and Bible classes as a matter of form instead of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Remember the church had the services, meetings and ministries that were needed. The church was doing the things that it was supposed to be doing. What was wrong was the sprit of the people. Their spirits were not focusing upon Jesus Christ and His cause. They were…

· Sitting in the services half asleep and allowing their thoughts to wander about instead of hungering for the Word of God.

· Holding and attending the activities for the cake of fellowship and because it was the thing to do.

We at NHBC can NOT just meet just to meet! It’s all about HIM!! Lets give Jesus ALL the praise and credit.


A person needs to be awakening, to arouse him or herself, to stir their minds and thoughts, to become alert and alive to the Word of God. The dead or asleep person needs to rethink

Why they and they church were on earth?

What their calling was?

Why they are meeting together as a church?

Why they were claiming the name of Christ and doing works and carrying on ministries in the name of Christ?

The believer is to become a watcher, to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

The believer is to always watch and make sure they are alive spiritually.


Not all the service and activities are wrong and unneeded in the church.

The church had been led by Christ to start the ministries in earlier days when the church was alive.

The believers desperately needed to arouse themselves and take hold of these ministries and put new life into them.

Christ gives counsel “Give immediate attention to these things. Watch, arouse yourselves. Strengthen these ministries now”

What are some ministries that you feel need to be strengthened (please put on sheet of paper and turn them in)


Believers of a dead, lifeless church are warned to do 4 things

1. The must remember how the received and heard the gospel: That is, they must remember how it gripped their lives with a dynamic spirit of devotion, readiness, love, alertness, energy, hunger, thirst, life, service, witnessing, ministry.

2. They must arouse & awaken and hold fast to the original spirit that gripped their lives.

3. They must repent. If you or another believer has lost their fervor and become lethargic that person has done wrong and sinned against Christ.

4. They must know that the judgment of Christ will fall upon them if they refuse to repent. (I Cor. 3: 13:15)

Verses 4-6 The Promise.

There is the promise to the overcomers.

The faithful & pure believer “walks with Christ in white” which means

- They walk day by day in the presence of Christ & has the presence of Christ looking after & taking care of them – keeping them pure (white)

- They walk day-by-day and moment-by-moment in open confession before Christ.

- They walk in victory and purity with Christ forever & ever.

There are 2 promises for the overcomers

1. The overcomers will be clothed in white. This is a garment of righteousness & purity.

2. The overcomers will be acknowledged by Christ before God

Book of Life v/s Lambs Book of Life

Book of Life – like a birth record, this book God has

Lambs Book of Life – book that keeps track of who has been born again – Jesus keeps this book.


Like all churches, the one in PHILADELPHIA had its imperfections. Yet the Lord commended its members for their faithfulness and loyalty. In spite of their fleshly struggles, the Christians at Philadelphia were faithful and obedient, serving and worshiping the Lord. They provide a good model of a loyal church

City in western Asia Minor. It was one of the seven Asian cities to which the author of the book of Revelation addressed letters, mentioned in 1:11 and 3:7-13.

This city was founded about 140 BC by Attalus II of the city of Pergamum. Attalus II was also known as “Philadelphus”; the name of the city was derived from this royal nickname. He intended that it would serve as a center for the spread of Greek culture throughout the region, especially to the people of Phrygia. Situated on a fertile plain, it was rich with vineyards and wine production. An earthquake heavily damaged Asian Philadelphia in the year AD 17. For the purpose of rebuilding, it was granted disaster aid by the Roman emperor Tiberius.

When John wrote from Patmos near the end of the first century, the churches of western Asia were undergoing persecution. The church in Philadelphia was one of them. This church was enduring the persecution faithfully, and the letter to it (Revelation 3:7-13) contains no words of reproach or warning. Instead, Jesus gave them encouragement and precious promises.

Some years later, the Christian bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch also wrote a letter to the church in Philadelphia. He expressed appreciation for his recent visit with them, and encouraged them in Christian unity.

In summary what does Christ tell the church at Philadelphia?

Q- The church at Philadelphia was faithful to Christ’s teachings. Why does Christ value faithfulness in them and in us?

Q- In what ways was Christ protecting the church at Philadelphia?

Q- Christ promised rewards to this church, are there rewards from God for our perseverance today?


Jesus Christ is holy. The word holy is a description of God Himself. Jesus Christ is claiming to have the very same nature as God the Father. Remember that holiness means to be set apart & different from all other beings.

Jesus Christ alone is the key of David, the key that “opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.”

What is the key of David?

There is an event in the OT that tells us King Hezekiah; he had a faithful servant who was named Eliakim. This servant was the personal secretary to the King; He was put in complete charge of the king’s affairs. No one could gain entrance into the king’s presence without coming though Eliakim. This servant alone determined who entered the king’s court. God spoke to Isaiah the prophet one day and said the following words

“ And the key if the house of David will I lay upon his [Eliakim’s] shoulder; so he shall open and none shall shut, and none shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

The key of David is the symbol of authority. Jesus Christ alone opens and shuts the door into God’s Court and presence. He alone determines who lives in heaven with God the Father. He alone grants entrance into the presence of God. The door into heaven is opened and closed by Him and Him alone. No other person or being has that authority. Jesus alone holds the key to open and shut the door to life eternal.


The church used the open door of evangelism and, missions to reach people for Christ. The church was strategically located.

· It was a border town that touched the borders of 3 other towns: Lydia, Mysia, and Phrygia. Imagine the evangelistic and mission opportunities by being surrounded with 3 other towns.

· It lay on the imperial road of Rome, one of the major roads that passed from the coast & stretched right on to the east into Asia minor (modern day Turkey) Just think of the multitudes of people who passed through and visited, stayed and conducted business in the city: sales persons, Military people, tourists, people visiting families & friends

Is our church strategically located? What are some of mission opportunities right here?


Note one other significant fact; the church had only a little strength. This is in regards to the size of the church it was small in numbers and in recourses.

Note Christ commends the church for their missionary work because they had taken advantage of the opportunity.


LAODICEA (I will be preaching on Sunday May 16, 2004 PM SERVICE)

The church at Laodicea represents all the apostate churches that have existed throughout history. It is the last and worst of the 7 churches addressed in Revelation. Laodicea has the grim distinction of being the only one of the 7 for whom Christ has no positive word of commendation. Due to the drastic nature of the situation at Laodicea, this is also the most threatening of the 7 letters.

Laodicea was the largest of three cities in the broad valley area on the borders of Phrygia, in what is now Turkey. Significantly, the western entrance to the city was called the Ephesian Gate. The traveler left the city on the east by the Syrian Gate, for the great road ran to Antioch, where other roads branched to the Euphrates Valley, to Damascus, and to the northeast, where the desert trade routes ran toward the mountains, the Gobi, and the remote lands of the East.

Laodicea was not a natural fortress. Although its fortifications might have presented a challenge to invaders, Laodicea had a serious weakness. The water supply came principally through a vulnerable aqueduct from springs six miles to the north. Fragments of the aqueduct can be seen today. A place with its water so exposed could scarcely stand a siege, for the enemy army only needed to block the aqueduct in order to keep water from going into the city.

Under the Roman Empire, the city grew in commercial importance. Cicero traveled that way in 51 BC on his way to the provincial governorship of Cilicia. Historical records show that he cashed drafts there, revealing that Laodicea had outgrown neighboring Colosse and was already a place of financial importance and wealth. One product of the city was glossy black wool from a strain of longhaired black sheep bred for the trade (common until the 19th century). The wool was the basis of a textile industry centered in both Colosse and Laodicea.

Laodicea had a medical school. The names of its physicians appear on coins as early as the principate of Augustus. It was probably the medical school of Laodicea that developed the Phrygian eye powder, famous in the ancient world. It is a fair guess that this was the dried mud of the Hierapolis thermal springs, which could be mixed with water to form a poultice, an effective remedy for inflammation.

It can be readily seen how these features of the city provided the pattern for the scornful imagery in Revelation 3:17-18: “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see” (NLT). The black garments exported all over the Mediterranean world, the famous eye ointment, and the city’s wealth form a basis for the writer’s stinging reproaches.

In summary what does Christ tell the church at Laodicea?

NLT – Revelation Chapter 3

"Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: "I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive-but you are dead.

2 Now wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is at the point of death. Your deeds are far from right in the sight of God.

3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly and turn to me again. Unless you do, I will come upon you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

4 "Yet even in Sardis there are some who have not soiled their garments with evil deeds. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

5 All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

6 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

7 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He is the one who has the key of David. He opens doors, and no one can shut them; he shuts doors, and no one can open them.

8 "I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can shut. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.

9 Look! I will force those who belong to Satan-those liars who say they are Jews but are not-to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.

10 "Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.

11 Look, I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.

12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write my God’s name on them, and they will be citizens in the city of my God-the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And they will have my new name inscribed upon them.

13 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

14 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen-the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation:

15 "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other!

16 But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!

17 You say, ’I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

18 I advise you to buy gold from me-gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.

19 I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.

21 I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

22 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches