Summary: Revelation 3:1-6 shows us the distinction between a faith devoid of works, and a daily, living, dynamic relationship with Christ,
Once again, approximately 34 million Canadians have lost an hour of sleep in the service of the grand national experiment called Daylight saving time. First introduced to Canada 100 years ago as a way to save coal, the project is now an annual eight-month ritual tolerated purely due to the belief that it’s good for us. Research has shown however that it makes us less productive, has a detrimental effect on moods, it increases accidents at work and more fatal road crashes. In a 2001 paper in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, researchers analyzed 21 years of U.S. collision data and found a 10-per cent-increase in fatal crashes around the “fall back” change. Researchers chalked this up to “behavioural responses to forced circadian changes.” Basically, scientists theorized that people are staying out extra late on the night before the clock change, resulting in highways full of extra-tired drivers. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/daylight-saving-time-starts-sunday-march-11-why-this-monstrous-burden-continues In essence, drivers in a zombie like state.
Of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, Sardis was among the lowest in spiritual fervor. It was the Church of the Living Dead. Its accommodation to its religious environment shielded the church from persecution, for hardly anyone took notice. Its inoffensive lifestyle yielded religious peace with the world but resulted in spiritual death in the sight of God. Apart from a few faithful members who kept the fire of the gospel burning, the church itself was gradually dying, like a fire that lacks fuel and air. Yet among the smoldering ashes were a few glowing embers (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 20: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Book of Revelation. New Testament Commentary (149). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).
In letter to Sardis, Christ shows that the Christian never moves or advances beyond the need for forgiveness and, in fact, the vigilance that this letter demands is precisely that vigilance of remembering that every Christian man or woman must live a life of daily relationship and of daily forgiveness and of daily joy. Repentance must be a present reality. It is not a transaction that we are able occasionally to acknowledge as we would the illustrious victories and achievements of our ancestors. Our salvation is a daily, living, dynamic relationship (Palmer, E. F., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). Vol. 35: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 35 : 1, 2 & 3 John / Revelation. The Preacher's Commentary series (140). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.).
In seeing the distinction between a faith devoid of works, and a daily, living, dynamic relationship with Christ, Revelation 3:1-6 shows the: 1) The Church, City & Correspondent (Revelation 3:1a, 2) The Concern & Command (Revelation 3:1b-3), and 3) The Commendation & Counsel (Revelation 3:4-6).
To avoid become a Church of the Living Dead we need to understand:
1) The Church, City & Correspondent: (Revelation 3:1a)
Revelation 3:1a [3:1] "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. ("'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead). (ESV)
Though the details are not recorded in Scripture, the church at Sardis was probably founded as an outreach of Paul’s ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19:10). From the description given of the church, it appears that its members, with the exception of a small remnant, were almost entirely secularized. Though occupying a correct position in respect of creed and worship—having the name of life, therefore—the faith of the church was a dead faith, and its life of that worldly ..( Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures : Revelation (125). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) Once a church has a good reputation in the public eye, it is possible to mechanically continue in the same activities but lose the original motivation that made it great. The incentive to good works can shift from a desire to serve and please God to simply a desire to maintain the good public face that the church has come to enjoy (Gregg, S. (1997). Revelation, four views : A parallel commentary (Re 3:1–6). Nashville, Tenn.: T. Nelson Publishers.).
City Slide: In the sixth century B.C., the City of Sardis was one of the most powerful cities of the ancient world. Yet by the Roman period it had declined to the point that Ramsay could describe it as “a relic of the period of barbaric warfare, which lived rather on its ancient prestige than on its suitability to present conditions.” It was located some fifty miles east of Ephesus on a northern spur of Mt. Tmolus overlooking the broad and fertile plain of the Hermus. The acropolis, with its nearly perpendicular rock walls rising 1,500 feet above the lower valley (on all but the south side), was essentially inaccessible and provided a natural citadel. As Sardis grew, it became necessary to develop a lower city to the north and west of the acropolis on the banks of the Pactolus, a southern tributary of the Hermus. Roman gymnasium Slide: Shown here are the impressive restored remains of the entrance to the Roman gymnasium complex at Sardis. Activities related to the imperial cult may have been held here (Duvall, J. S. (2014). Revelation. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 66). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.).