The Message to Sardis
Book of Revelation Chapter 3 Verses 1-6
Last week we saw the Church at Thyatira. The Church at Thyatira was the Church as it existed during what history calls the “Dark Ages”.
It was the period in history when the Papal Church in Rome gained power and it was the time of the Crusades. The time of the Inquisitions.
No matter what history teaches, God was not in any of those things. It was not the will of God for those things to take place, so that period was the “Dark Ages”. A period when the light of Jesus was not shining very brightly.
In near history it was now time that the Church of England was established, in what we know as the established church or government sponsored church.
It is the 1600 hundreds in America.
It is at the end of that dark period in history when we see that the Age of the Church as the Church of Sardis is seen.
Sardis was the Capitol city of Lydia. In the time of the Emperor Tiberius, Sardis was desolated by an earthquake which affected twelve other important cities. It is said the whole face of this area was changed.
Sardis was a city proud of its riches and the things money can buy, but when the riches failed the city failed and began to die.
This is what God has to do sometimes to get the attention of the Church.
After these times, Sardis became a place of commerce and Sardis began its decline by giving into the enjoyments of luxury and pleasure and indulging in excess of sensual sanctification.
We should ask ourselves if we have ever seen a church that was dead or that was dying?
A church that was completely lifeless?
A church that was satisfied with itself, and had no intention of changing anything that it did or the way it went about the business of the Lord.
A church that was established by good people in the past, but who most of them had now gone on to be with the Lord and now rested upon those things that were fast being forgotten.
Have you ever heard from that Christian who says, “yes I’m saved, my mother and father were saved and I am their child” or “yes, I’m saved, I attend such and such a church”, Or yes I’m saved I am a church member, I attend that great church at Sardis.
It is in this climate that we see the Church of Sardis as spoken by the Lord.
Sardis had a form of Godliness, but was without the power of God!
Sardis had a name to live, but in actuality was dead!
Again the Lord speaks to the Pastor of the church at Sardis.
*****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.
In all these seven messages there is none so depressing as this message to the Church at Sardis.
The truth is, as Jesus Christ lives, then the church is to live and be alive.
Sardis did not have a bad reputation as seen by the public.
In fact to the public, this church seemed to be spiritually sound.
The truth is the world is not our judge! It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is our “Judge”!
As we go through this time of a killing virus, it is still not this wicked world that should decide what information to give to the Christian.
I for one do not trust the world to do right. The Lord says to “come out from the world and be ye separate”.
I can understand reasons to avoid contact but I will not understand as we move forward toward martial law which is illegal in the USA.
We see here again that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who has the “seven spirits of God”.
Seven being the number of completeness, then it is the Lord Jesus Christ who has the complete Spirit of God.
Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Joh 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
It is God’s Son who God’s Spirit descended upon and remained upon Him.
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Joh 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who received so much of the Spirit of God that it cannot be measured because He has all the Spirit of God!
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who shares His Spirit with each of us that love Him!
Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
You see it is not the Church that has the Spirit. It is the Spirit of Jesus that lives within each child of God within the Church, that make it a Church that is alive and not dead.
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.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
The Church is alive only if those inside the Church have given themselves as living sacrifices to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This Pastor at Sardis would have to get on fire for the Lord, if he was to save this church!
The flock of this shepherd had, died!
Without the Holy Spirit in all His fullness, we are not much of a church and are dying!
Water baptism is a command of the Lord, but it does not save.
Repenting is a must, but when we are not serious about following Jesus Christ, it loses its strength.
We must be baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit that is given to Jesus Christ.
Remember the message of John the Baptist.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
This message is still true today!
The Lord Jesus does not commend this church in anything they are doing to spread the Gospel and make disciples, which is the work of every Church!
This is the greatest sin that a church can have!
Not preaching the Gospel. Jesus Christ should be in every sermon!
Not providing the truth of salvation. Salvation comes only by Jesus Christ!
Not making disciples who also proclaim the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Anything else done in any church is secondary to these things!
It was a lifeless church. In fact Jesus Himself, said it was a dead church!
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This church focused on everything but Jesus Christ! Remember they were the pride of a city that was also dying!
This church has no Nicolaitans.
This church has no Balaam.
This church has no Jezebel.
This church had no enemies.
This church had no life when it had the greatest opportunity to witness without repercussion.
Satan has no intertest in a dying church!
So what was the advice of our Savior?
*****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.
The old city of Sardis was located in a perfect place to defend. It was truly an impregnable fortress.
Enemies studied year after year to find any weaknesses in the defense of this city. It just so happened that a lazy watchman was fooling with his helmet one day and it fell to the ground outside the wall of the city.
He climbed down the face of the walls using the crevices in the walls and got his helmet and returned to his position.
That next night his city was overrun by men who climbed those same crevices and the watchmen never saw them, for they were not expecting anyone to do such a thing.
We must understand the enemy is always watching for any weakness!
When Alexander came, he knew the story of the watchman and he too used the same strategy to capture Sardis.
What does Jesus say? Be watchful!
If Jesus says we need to be watchful, then we are not being watchful enough!
To be watchful is to be vigilant.
To be watchful is to be attentive.
To be watchful is to be careful to observe the things going on around us.
To be watchful is to be cautious.
We must not be lazy Christians we must be alert Christians!
There are some very important things we need to be doing for the Lord every day and we need to be careful to do them!
Above all we must stay focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ!
We must stay focused on the “Gospel” the Good News” of Jesus Christ.
We stay diligent in observing all the Word of God, rightly divided!
Our Lord is alive, and we must become alive to serve the Lord!
We should consider all the things that have been happening in our world just in the last couple of years, especially in the past few months.
What did Jesus teach us?
Mar 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
Mar 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Mar 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Mar 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Mar 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Mar 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
Mar 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Mar 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Mar 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
Mar 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
What remains for us to do is get back to the basics of the Church?
Spread the Gospel and make disciples!
There is no greater work for us to do today except we must add “to watch”!
There were none of the works of the Church at Sardis that were perfect. None!
When we perfect the basic duties of the Church, then we can do some other things in the communities.
Another thing that we must do perfectly, is when we gather together, then “to worship” is the number one thing we are to do.
We worship our Heavenly Father, by the work of His Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit!
And Jesus adds “Remember” the truth of the Scriptures as delivered in the “Apostles Doctrine” and especially the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”!
*****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.
Remember means we must learn from that “or else” preaching.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We need to remember the “Gospel”!
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
We must remember that by the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins and be restored in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, Our Creator.
We must remember this free gift of God brings with it eternal life, but only by the Lord Jesus Christ!
We must accept the truth of the “Gospel”
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.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
We cannot listen to the lies of this world!
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.
Once we know these things as the truth, then we must repent from our old life.
This church had done wrong! They had forgotten Jesus Christ the foundation of the Church! They had forgotten the truth of the Gospel!
They had done so wrong, that they were not being a living church, they were in a dyeing church, in fact almost a dead church.
They had a must do! They must repent!
You see this pastor had to preach this message to this church and they had to listen and act upon the Word of God!
Every church needs to be reminded of these things constantly so they can remain alive!
They had lost their fervor in their relationship with the Lord and what this church needed to know is, that the Lord will leave a dyeing church alone so that it can die unless they repent!
Every preacher must preach with sound doctrine.
2Ti 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Every congregation must hold fast to the truth.
1Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
1Ti 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
1Ti 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1Ti 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Or then will come the “or else”.
Notice Jesus says He will come as a thief. Not as a robber, not as a bandit, which means the secrecy of the thief, not in violence. In fact if this church did not watch, it would never know that Jesus had removed His candlestick.
It is a very sad thing that if Jesus Christ came during a church service, many a church like this one at Sardis, would not even realize that the “Rapture” had taken place.
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
This Pastor needed to realize that there were still a few true believers in His church, and if he could not cause his flock to repent, he still had to feed those who remained true, with the truth.
*****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.
Why are names important? Because there is a book in Heaven called the Lamb’s Book of Life.
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.
If your name is not written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you will not enter into God’s New Heaven!
The Lord Jesus wanted this pastor to know that it was because of him that there were only a few names written down in this Book of Life.
The Lord will hold each pastor responsible for his message in every church! No pastor can save but it is his job to lead other men, women and children to the Lord!
These who know the Lord will also have some responsibility!
Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Again we must be “over comers”!
*****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.
There were some in this church at Sardis who had remained faithful to the Lord during all the things that were happening in this wicked city.
They had remained faithful even though their pastor was not faithful to the Word of God and his message had become worldly.
They remained Christ centered and were not centered on the things of this church.
This is our answer today, we must remain Christ centered!
There are many churches like this one in Sardis that remain today, where the Pastor has given in to the world.
As individual Christians, we must understand that no matter what our church is doing, we must remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ!
They had to separate themselves from most all the other church members!
Three promises are made to these who took their stand upon the Lord, the Solid Rock.
It pleases the Lord for us to remain focused on Him even if those around us do not!
We must remain faithful to the Lord’s plan for His Church. It is His Church! The true Church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ because we as believers were bought by the precious blood of Christ Jesus.
1) The true Christian will be clothed in white!
White is the color of righteousness.
White is the color of purity.
White is the color of perfection.
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It is important for us to remember all the things that Jesus Christ has done for us, because the world cannot do any of these things!
2) Every over comer will have their name written down in the “Lamb’s Book of Life”
This is a book that God keeps.
This is the Book that will be opened on “judgment” day!
The names written in the Book of Life and remain there, are those who will never die!
Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Rev_20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
3) Every believer will be presented to our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ will confess that he knows every believer and He will personally confess that each and every believer are the real thing and worthy to be allowed into God’s New Heaven!
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
And what does the Holy Ghost say?
*****Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
It is the Holy Spirit that has given us the Bible, the complete Word of God. God’s Word will never change!
2Ti_3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We can be sure that we have the truth of God!
We can also be sure we know the truth of this world!
There are not any lost books of the Bible!
There will never be another new book added to the Bible!
We cannot hear the Word of God unless we are present in a Bible believing church!
We should also be present in Sunday School.
We should also be present at all other times when the church gathers to teach the Word of God.
We must then apply the Word of God to our daily lives!
Without making a personal application of the Word of God, we will soon wear that look of death!