To the church in Sardis
“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 block 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.“ Revelation 3:1-6
What characteristics of Christ do we see in these passages?
He holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. He also knows their deeds and their reputation.
What is Jesus’ commendation?
Jesus knows their deeds and that they have a reputation for being alive, but they are dead. Yikes.
To me, this sounds more like a complaint. Looking alive yet dead doesn’t sound like a positive attribute.
Jesus tells them to wake up! They are to strengthen what remains and is about to die. Jesus found their deeds unfinished in the sight of God.
Next, he tells them to remember what they have received and heard, to hold fast, and repent. That is the correction.
Remember what you heard and received. Hold fast to it. Repent of your sin.
What happens if they fail to respond?
If they don’t wake up and repent, he will come like a thief in an hour unknown.
Is anyone in the church of Sardis doing the right thing in Jesus’ eyes?
There are some people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. And Jesus says that they will walk with him dressed in white for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white.
Jesus also promises that he will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life but will acknowledge that name before his Father and His angels. That sounds great to me! That sounds like a great conclusion to me.
What are my takeaways from the church at Sardis?
Even though I look like I have it all together, I still have my struggles.
There are times we can get too comfortable in how life used to be. Maybe it was glorious and easier back then. Now it’s hard. We’re tired. We’ve aged and don’t have the same energy for Christ that we once enjoyed. The days of being “on fire for God” are now merely a leftover smoke plume that goes where the east wind takes it eventually out of sight.
The church at Sardis had significant fame as a royal city at one time, but now it was nothing. The citizens were living off past fame. Their loyalty to Christ was in the past. Let us not get so lazy that our loyalty to Christ fades. We are living in unprecedented times, my friends. Now is not the time to get lazy with the gospel and everything the Lord has for us to do.
Jesus told them to wake up! Many in the church today are sleeping. We need to wake up to the reality around us and admit to our laziness in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Do we wonder how we got here? Take a good look around. We used to look alive, but now we look dead, with no energy and no desire to share the gospel, the good news of the truth of Jesus Christ.
Has God changed? No.
Has his word become useless in 2023? On the contrary, it’s more applicable than ever before. We as a country need to repent. And that repentance starts with each of us individually.
The other day I was reminded of this Scripture from the book of Matthew, chapter 3, verse 7. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” That verse got me last week. But it’s true. Why do we do that?
Lastly, as Jesus says to the church at Sardis, not everyone is dead. There are folks doing the works of the Lord, and the Lord sees them too. Their reward will be great in heaven.
As the Apostle Paul says, let’s not grow weary of running the race set before us. Christ has not asked us to do something he himself was not willing to do.
Have a great day, my friend.