Summary: A very easy-to-understand teaching on Revelation 3.
I remember when I was in grade school, I really thought that going to school was a waste of time. I knew the teachers were well educated, but I also thought that, as we lived and grew older, nobody would ever need all the information they were trying to teach us.
A good friend of mine agreed with me. He even went so far as to say that everything we will ever need to know will come from experience, not from being taught in school.
Of course, as I became an adult, I quickly became aware of how wrong I was in my thinking! There is an old saying that says we can never be aware of anything we have not been taught. How true that is. And that applies to the Word of God, too. For us to get to Heaven, we must know what God expects from us. To know what God expects from us, we must know the Word of God. And to know the Word of God, somebody who already knows it needs to teach it to us.
That is the premise that I use when writing these sermons; I have been taught certain things and it is my desire and duty to try and teach them to you so we will all have an adequate understanding of what God wants from us and for us.
In Chapter 2, John wrote to these churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira. Here in Chapter 3, he continues writing the churches, beginning with the church of Sardis.
“To the angel of the church of Sardis, write, “The One who has the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars say – ‘I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead.’
John says the One who has the 7-fold nature of the Holy Spirit is the author of this letter. As we discussed last week, those spirits can be found in ISAIAH 11:2. They are: The spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord and delight in the fear of the Lord.
Some versions say, “you have a name” while others say, “you have a reputation.” Both of these words come from the word “onoma” which is used in the original Greek text. It literally means “denomination”. What John is telling the church of Sardis is that they are doing what many churches do today; concentrating on their religion rather than on their relationship, and in so doing, they are spiritually dead.
“Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God. Remember therefore, what you have received and heard; keep it and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I come against you.”
Sardis was built on a high cliff and on a rock base. It was supposed to be a city that was invincible. However, in 549, while going about their daily lives and being totally oblivious to any threat, they were taken over by Cyrus and his army.
Jesus is telling them now that they need to be alert and to refocus on what remains. He is talking about the Word of God that they had received and had originally relied upon. He is telling them to get back to basics – repent and start really working for the Lord. And then He says that if they do not repent, He will come against them.
“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not defiled their clothes, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels. Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”
But Jesus said there are a few left who are righteously focused and He said they will walk with Him in white, or purity because they have deserved to. He equates this to how those who live for Him and do not give in will be with Him in eternity. And then He ends with the same message as He has given to all the churches; PAY ATTENTION AND GET BACK TO MY WORD!
“To the angel of the church of Philadelphia write, ‘The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look – I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.”