“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Today we will examine two more of the churches mentioned in Revelation. The first church is Sardis. Sardis was an active commercial city and very wealthy. Like several of the churches we have already looked at, Sardis had a mixed membership. In the other churches, the faulty members were a minority. At Sardis, they predominated. “Yet you have a few in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.” This church had a reputation for being “alive,” but Jesus said, “You are dead.” In his commentary on Revelation, Leon Morris writes, “This church may have pleased men, but it did not please God. The cause may well have been its lack of aggressive and positive Christianity. Content with mediocrity, lacking both the enthusiasm to entertain heresy and the depth of conviction which provokes intolerance, it was too innocuous to be worth persecuting.” This church had become complacent and was just going through the motions. I believe this describes many churches today!
The charge to this church is, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.” A common theme throughout these seven messages is repentance. This involves recognizing you have moved away from God and then adjusting your course back toward Him. There is still hope for this church.
The next church is Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia was called “the gateway to the East.” This city was wealthy because of its strategic location. It was the center of worship of the god Dionysos, but also contained temples to many other Gods. Jesus commends this church for its deeds. He also recognizes that despite its small size this church remained true to the Word of God. Today so much emphasis is put on the “size” of a church when instead, we should focus on the quality and character of a church. On the surface, this church appeared small and insignificant. History tells us that it was this church that sent out missionaries to carry the Gospel to India. This church “endured patiently” and was told it would be rewarded for its faithfulness in the end.
Questions to Ponder
Have you become complacent in your walk with Christ? Are you just going through the motions? Have you settled for mediocrity in your walk with Christ? Is Satan ignoring you because you are “dead” in your Christian walk? Are you remaining true to the Word of God despite the threat of being canceled by our culture? Do you see yourself as insignificant? How is God using you to impact the world today?
- Adore the Lord for being holy, righteous, and pure.
- Repent of any complacency, with God’s Word, personal relationship with Him, sharing Christ with others, etc.
- Pray: “Wake me/us up, Lord! Help us to remember what we have received and heard. Help us to obey and live it out.”
- Pray for revival in your personal walk and as a church.
- Pray for all the small churches in the region who have remained true to the Word of God. Pray they will be encouraged in their obedience to the Lord.
Thank You, Lord, for Your loving conviction. Thank You for Your faithful forgiveness and provision. Oh God, I ask that You would help us to yield to You, to walk humbly but confidently in the power of Your great love. Help us, Your church, to remember who You are, to walk in the footsteps of faith, and to be mature and fully assured of all of Your will. I ask that we would remain true to Your Word, oh God, in every area of our life. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.