MESSAGE TO SARDIS
Our Text: Revelation 3:1-6
As we study these churches in the book of Revelation we should see and learn from the things Our Lord points out as He counsels these members. When He speaks to the church, Christ speaks to the Body of Christ but He also speaks to us individually. It should prick our heart as we see the errors made then and what we know of in our day now. It can readily be seen that we just haven’t been steadfast in God’s word as we should and have allowed Satan in the doors of every church to set up his nonsense. I would like to see the day that angel tosses him into that burning lake of fire. Kick him in the head Jesus!
1.)The lesson of Ephesus is we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the foundation of the Church.
2.)The lesson of Smyrna is that we are going to see Christians persecuted until the Rapture and it is going to get worse. If we do not get up to serve Christ now, we certainly will not serve Him as things get worse.
3.) The lesson of Pergamos is that we just cannot allow the world into the church. A house divided will simply not stand. The Lord said to come out from among them.
4.) The lesson of Thyatira is that we just cannot get so lax as the Body of Christ to allow false teaching into the Church. Our Pastors must preach the entire word of God and the Church must adhere to the exact word of God.
5.) In Sardis we will see the results when we do not do these things! The dead church.
Sardis was a prominent city and obtained its wealth from textile manufacturing, jewelry trade, and the dye industry. Generally speaking, the city was pagan with many individual mystery cults. The temple of Artemis was one of the major points of interest. Five hundred years before John wrote this letter Sardis was one of the richest and most powerful cities in the world. It became ethically complacent and morally degenerate, but to all appearances it had every reason to be proud and boastful.
Sardis was in an ideal location in the plain of the River Hermus Valley. It was the meeting place of several major trade routes. Sardis was guaranteed commercial prosperity. It was built on a 1500 foot high plateau with steep cliffs on three sides and a narrow road leading to the city on the fourth side. This made Sardis virtually impenetrable to attack. Sardis was so blessed the river which flowed through the town carried gold dust. How blessed can you be?
It is no wonder that Sardis became a rich and splendid city. Sardis became the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. Their most famous king was Croesus. His very name is synonymous with wealth. This is where the saying “as rich as Croesus” came from. Despite all of its blessings Sardis had a problem. It became over confident. Life had become too easy. The citizens came to think of their town as unconquerable, no matter who their enemy may be.
*****Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
We already know that the angel of the church is the pastor. The seven stars are the pastors that have been called of God. We must not forget there are some claiming to be called to preach but called themselves. They are not of God.
Salvation comes to those that believe and call on the Lord!
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? [and how shall they hear without a preacher]?
Rom 10:15 [And how shall they preach, except they be sent]? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Rom 10:17 [So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God].
It is Jesus Christ that has the Spirit of God. We have talked about the seven fold characteristics of God’s Spirit from the book of Isaiah:
Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Isa 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
1.) The Spirit of the Lord (Jesus).
2.) The Spirit of “wisdom”.
3.) The Spirit of “understanding”.
4.) The Spirit of “counsel”.
5.) The Spirit of “might”.
6.) The Spirit of “knowledge”.
7.) The Spirit of the “fear of the Lord”.
The “One” that had all these things was and is the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted this church in Sardis to know exactly who sent this message. He wanted this church to know that every church would need the Holy Spirit and all these qualities of Him to survive in what we call the “church age” or the “Time of Grace”.
Christ said that He knew their works but we do not see any good works mentioned! This church did not have the right “Spirit”.
If you were a member of the community where this church was located you would have seen an active church. You would probably have seen a church trying to civilize the whole city, building a big magnificent building and a lot of community activities. Not all of this wrong but there has to be a reason for the work of God. That reason and purpose is laid out in God’s word. You may have seen a big fancy building and all of it growing. We see a lot of these churches in our modern worldly churches of today but saving the lost is not first on their list of things to do.
Now God said the church grew everyday and I believe it still does.
Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. [And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved].
How did this growth come about?
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even as many as the Lord our God shall call].
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, [Save yourselves from this untoward generation].
Act 2:41 [Then they that gladly received his word were baptized]: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
God said to come out from among them!
2Co 6:17 Wherefore [come out from among them, and be ye separate], saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
What we do not see in Sardis is any persecution. Not any mention of false religion that we know was there. Not any mention of any thing much. In other words this whole city was one big happy family they tolerated each other. This all sounds so well and good but we know Satan hates Christians and Satan hates the church.
God warns us:
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
We know that to be Born Again comes from faith in the word of God and the work of His Holy Spirit but listen to what else Peter wrote:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, [not of corruptible seed], but of incorruptible, [by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever].
Not only do we see that it is the word of God that is incorruptible and [we see that there is some corruptible seed that is sown].
There was corruptible seed being sown in Sardis!
God tells us about this in one of His parables:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 [But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way].
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
We can see that there was some corruptible seed sown in this church at Sardis. Why because the church had fallen asleep. This church had been dying for a long time and even at this time of Christ, this church was dead.
This church had not worshiped in Spirit and Truth as was commanded:
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
There was little if any truth left in this church! While the church had fallen asleep the enemy had come in to sow the corruptible seed.
We can be sure this church had some works because Christ Jesus said He knew them. It is evident the community surrounding this church saw things going on at this church but they did not see any Evangelism. They did not see any mission work. They did not see any church outreach at all.
They probably did see bazaars, socials, picnics, fundraisers and other such things involving this social club calling itself a church.
*****Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Jesus says: Wake up Church! You cannot be watchful and still be asleep. The Greek word “gregoreuo” is used here and it simply means to keep awake. Be vigilant. Remember what Peter said. (Be sober, Be vigilant). Christ knows all His children and there were a few hanging on here at this church. They were still doing a few things right. Keep in mind Christ speaks to His church. This pastor was to preach to everyone in the congregation. They both were to get this message because even these few things that remained were ready to die.
The Bible says:
Rom 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; [even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness].
Rom 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Rom 6:21 [What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death].
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Rom 6:23 [For the wages of sin is death]; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This church was dying because of sin!
The Greek word “sterizo” is used for strengthen in this verse. It means to turn towards the things of God and establish them in order to stop this death and destruction. Like the Greek word “histemi” it means to establish the things of God. Like the Greek word “stereos” it means to make the things of God solid, stable, and steadfast.
When the Lord Jesus Christ uses this word perfect, He does not mean in sinless perfection but He means Spiritually developed and Spiritually matured in Godliness.
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Chapter 5 in the book of Matthew gives us some guidelines of what is expected of each and every Christian. Though these words were written to the Jews we can still use them to guide us in our daily living for Christ. It is easy to see that this church in Sardis was not following these guidelines. This gives us a picture of what was lacking in Sardis.
The Bible says:
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
I have said before we that sit in the pews in the House of God no matter where we are located have an obligation to our Savior. He bought us and He owns us surely we can serve Him.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We can know that this church in Sardis came up short in this also and most all of us do.
There were many in this church at Sardis that were just going through the motions. They had never accepted Christ as Savior nor as Lord. They just imagined they were saved by the works they were doing. Christ said their works were not perfect, He didn’t say they were not working. It appears that all walks of life in Sardis were traveling the same path to destruction.
The Bible says:
1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
*****Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
We must not forget, all the Apostles except John had been martyred at this time. The time of the Apostles was coming to a close. The age of the church had begun, so most all the church probably still had what we call charter members. There would be some in this church that had been there from the beginning. They had heard the word of truth at one time and some had been gloriously saved.
Christ tells them to recollect the teaching they had first heard. Recollect the Doctrine of the Apostles, the Doctrine of Christ.
Paul wrote to the Galatians:
Gal 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
These words would hold true to this church at Sardis. There is a song that goes “Roll back the curtain of memory now and then”. If we are saved we cannot lose that salvation but it doesn’t hurt to look back at that dirty, nasty, sinful life we all once had and know that a return to that life would be foolish. Jesus Christ holds on to our salvation. We could not save ourselves nor can we keep ourselves saved. It is the intercessory power of the Lord Jesus Christ that keeps us saved, So He is not saying to hold onto our salvation but He is saying to hold onto the teaching of faith in His saving power and His commands to further the Gospel to this lost world. If the light of the church of Sardis had just a flicker left and it did at this time, then Christ said to burn brighter in His name. To repent is the change your mind and this change should be for the truth. It is God’s word that has all truth.
Rom 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
Rom 3:4 [God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar]; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Christ said “wake up church” you have been asleep to long now. But If You Will Not Wake Up!
Jesus Christ did not say He was a thief but that He would come as a thief!
What is a thief? One who secretly, unlawfully and feloniously takes the goods or personal property of another. The thief takes the property of another privately; the robber by open force.
When Christ comes as a thief He is saying that that thief would not warn you when he would come to steal your things. Jesus Christ says “I will come to get my church, those that believe on Me, and I will not warn you of the hour, day, or the season”.
What’s so sad about this is with the choice of the words used here, Jesus says some of you will not even be aware that I have come though you sit on the pews of this church.
There will be many that will miss the day of the rapture and will return to their place of worship not even realizing the church is in Heaven. They will do business as usual and burn in Hell.
The Bible says:
1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Of those that miss the rapture:
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
If you miss the rapture of the church you will not miss the time of the Antichrist nor the tribulation period, that is unless you are already in Hell.
*****Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
What’s in a name? When we are born our name is written into the book of the living.
Psa 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
Luk 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Php 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
When the flesh dies that name is removed from that book. But the Born Again child of God, since that person never really dies their name will remain in that book. Now we know that as soon as the child of God accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior that they are also written into the Lamb’s Book of Life. So there are at least two records of the ones who will have eternal life. You name has to be in both books! There is also a book of the works done since you were saved but that book is for rewards and not for salvation.
This verse says that even in Sardis, the dead church there were those that had accepted the Lord Jesus as God. To the rest, they will hear these words at the judgment seat and there will be no record of their names. A person needs to accept the truth of the Gospel before their physical death because no matter what some religions teach there is no way to get your name into the Lamb’s Book of Life after physical death. There is no praying that can change that and “it certainly would not be something that could be bought”.
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(even in Sardis)
Even in a place that has all religion and evil under one roof like Sardis, God’s truth, God’s word will still reach a few of the lost! The world is trying it’s best now to place all religion under one roof, saying that all religion are based on the same thing and Jesus Christ is not the only way to Heaven.
I have to base my salvation on God’s word! That’s why it’s called faith! God’s word still has this teaching.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Christ fulfilled too many prophecies for me to say He is a liar. I’ll just stay with Christ.
(walk in white)
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that “white” stands for purity.
Psa 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
To know a bit more what that means study the transfiguration of our Lord.
Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
You know most all brides dress in “white”!
The Bride of Christ will be in “white”!
(they are worthy)
Worthy means: Deserving; such as merits; having worth or excellence; equivalent; with of, before the thing deserved.
The word “worthy” is used 54 times in the New Testament.
The Church will not see the tribulation period because God will take us on home through His Son but only through His blood can you be found worthy!
Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, [that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man].
The Church will stand before Christ at His Judgment Seat!
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2Co 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before [the judgment seat of Christ]; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
2Co 5:11 [Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord], we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
That terror of the Lord is the tribulation period!
*****Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
To overcome is to gain the superiority; to be victorious.
We have victory in Jesus!
1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Zec 3:4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
Raiment is Clothing in general; vestments; vesture; garments.
(Book of Life)
Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Rev 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
Rev 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Rev 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: [but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life].
(Confess His name before The Father and His angels)
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Luk 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
Luk 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
This verse by mentioning The Father speaks also of the Holy Trinity:
The Holy Ghost
Notice those are “His” angels.
*****Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The Holy Spirit says open up your ears, clean the wax out, and Hear What He is Saying!