Sardis was a wealthy center of commerce in Asia Minor at that time. The first gold and silver coins were said to have been minted in Sardis.
Who is addressing the church? “…him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars…” (vs. 2)
Their Deeds/works: “you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (vs. 1)
- May be the biggest church in town, big name, wealthy, busy with concerts and events, famous pastors, apostles, bishops, etc.
- A church that everyone in town was seeing as great, except the Lord. No one could observe their deadness from the outside.
- A church/person that has good reputation but is dead spiritually.
- A church/person that has pushed out the Holy Spirit; members are not interested in serving God; position and glamor are the orders of the day; etc.
- Though they are many in the church but they are just doing religion, they are not saved (Matt. 13:24-30)
- A dead or dying church is still able to pay bills and have good edifice, produce good music & shows on Sundays, have large attendance, but not have people who are growing deeper in the word of the Lord, getting strong in faith or being filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s more like a social club – having no spiritual life. The people are wealthy and do not see the need for seeking Jesus deeply.
Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (NKJV)
“‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” (vs. 4)
These are the few who are not living in spiritual defilement and understand that the road is narrow to the kingdom of God – they are walking worthy. (Rev. 19:8)
- Lord, count among the few whose garment will be clean before you, walking worthy.
Their Offenses: “… for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” (vs. 2b)
This means that this church does not measure up to the standard. They are not fulfilling God’s purpose; things are not being done for the glory of God.
- Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the LORD said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, …” (NKJV)
- Lord, please help make our work complete in your sight
God’s Judgement: “Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (vs. 3b)
- Lord, we cannot afford your wrath. Wake us up to repentance now, please
The Way Out: “‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.” (vs. 2-3a); “‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (vs. 6)
“Wake up” means we should start paying attention to the requirements of the kingdom of God; start looking for what you can do in the kingdom of God; start joining a praying team to lift up the people in your church, family and community; start shunning the works of the flesh that are distracting you.
- 2 Peter 3:9 states that, “The Lord is… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (NKJV)
- John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (NKJV)
- Lord, open our minds to recognize the things that remain and teach us how to strengthen them – so that they don’t die.
- Awaken our minds to remember what we have learned of you and return to them as Christians and as a church.
Promises for the repentant: “‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (vs. 5)
Self-Examination: Are born again? You must be born again.