“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants - things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” Revelation 1:1
Things to remember as we study: • Revelation is a book of signs and symbols. It is the Bible’s “picture book” in that the message is found in the visions. • Revelation was written to help Christians in the First Century who were suffering for their faith.
The City of Sardis • 30 miles SE of Thyatira • five important roads converged in Sardis, making it one of the great trade centers of Asia Minor • first coins were minted in Sardis • nothing known about the establishment of the church
The Church Mirrored the City • The city enjoyed a strategic location. • Gave the citizens an overconfident sense of security. • The church does not appear to be burdened with the enforcement of emperor worship. • Sardis was notorious for its pleasures and love for luxury.
Letters to the Seven Churches Follow a Pattern • Identification • Commendation • Complaint • Counsel • Promise
Identification • “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (v. 1). • The seven Spirits are the Holy Spirit (1:4). • This figure represents the omniscience (all-knowing power) of Christ as well as His control over the churches.
Complaint • “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (v. 1). • They had a reputation for being a great and living church, but they were really dead.
Complaint • “…for I have not found your works perfect before God” (v. 2). • perfect - “to complete, to carry through to the end.” • They had given up. They needed to finish what they had started.
Counsel • “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die” (v. 2). • Christians are to watch (Matt. 24:42-44; 1 Pet. 5:8). • Now was the time to act! • If they were to survive as a church, they had to strengthen their faith and love and come back to life.
Counsel • “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (v. 3). • They needed to get back to doing what they did at the first. • The city fell twice because of neglect and overconfidence. So would the church.
Commendation • “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments” (v. 4). • There was a small remnant of faithful Christians in this church. • They had not soiled their lives by involvement in the sinful world around them.
Promise • “they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments” (vs. 3-4). • White represents both purity and victory. • We are pure in the blood of Christ and share in His victory over sin and death.
Promise • “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (v. 5). • Our names can be removed from the Book of Life! • Jesus will confess us before His Father in Heaven if we will confess Him before men (Matt. 10:32-33).
SardisRevelation 3:1-6 • A church’s reputation may not be its true character (2 Cor. 13:5). • A church that abandons its distinction in order to blend in with the religious landscape will die without completing its works. • Judgment will be on an individual basis. • Christians are to “watch!” • Is my name found in the Book of Life?