Here in chapter 3 Jesus continues to speak to the churches of Asia…in chapter 2 he spoke to 4 of the 7 churches.
Judgment is coming on the Roman Empire as a result of Rome’s ungodliness, wickedness, and persecution of God’s people.
But before that judgment comes Christ has some things to say to His people.
So, let’s look at what Christ says to these remaining three churches…and hopefully we individually as well as collectively will learn these valuable lessons.
Now, look what Christ says to this church at Sardis. He says:
‘I know your deeds…
He says: “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive…”
But look at the reality. He says; “…you have a name that you are alive…but you are dead.”
Why does He tell them that they are dead? Well, look at verse 2:
2’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.
These brethren were great starters but they were lousy finishers.
I t may be that this church took a stand and said, “We are going to be a light to our community…and we are going to preach Christ to all here in Sardis…and we are going to make sure that everyone in town comes in contact with some one from the church.
And it wasn’t like they had all these problems and tribulations to stop them.
Look at verse 3 ‘Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, (no warning) and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.
But now notice verse 4 ‘But you have a few (not many…a few who are not dead. These are the unknown heroes.)
He says, ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white;
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. 5’He who overcomes shall 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. 6’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
I believe that what He says to the church here in Sardis is a warning to all of us to be as actively involved in the work of the church as we can be so that what we set out to do for the Lord does not turn out to be a dismal…embarrassing failure.
Now, verse 7. He now speaks to the church at Philadelphia. Look at verse 7:
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David (notice the three terms…this once again implies His deity and notice He is “holy, true, and king. This means He is absolute in purity, dependability, and sovereignty.)
He says: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens(His decrees are irreversible), says this: 8’I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut…”
He says: Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power(may be a reference to them being few in numbers, or low in economic abilities, or low in social status…no political sway).
He says: Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have little power and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
9’Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not but lie(not everyone is who they say they are),
–behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
Look what He says: 10’Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. (When this testing comes He is going to “test” people to see where they stand…and He is going to test some of these Christians to see if they remain faithful.)
11’I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. (There are no condemnations here for this congregation but still, they could lose their crown if they do not “hold fast.”)
12’He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Now, the church at Laodicea…starting in verse 14. “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
16’So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17’Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,”
17’Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,”and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
19’Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline;
Sometimes parents think they can’t discipline their kids because they love them too much.
19’Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. 20’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
21’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”
If we want to be a church that is pleasing to our Lord then we must be a church that is: