Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Monday, October 31, 2005

Christ's Comments About the Church at Sardis

"I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 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. 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." (Revelation 3:1b-4 - King James Version)

This church had a good image. People in the community thought that these Christians were fine people. There is no hint of persecution or suffering. Yet their image was false.

They had a show of religion and righteousness. However, the heart of their Christianity was not beating. Their outward appearance had no inward reality.

This church was like the Pharisees that Jesus criticized. Jesus said, “How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine. But inside, they are full of the bones of dead people, and all kinds of unclean things are there. It is the same with you. People look at you and think you are good. But on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil.” (Matthew 23:27,28 - International Children's Bible)

This should make us examine ourselves and our church. We may appear to be godly on the outside, however, God looks at the heart. No matter how good a life you live, it is vain if you do not have a relationship with the Lord. Your heart, your spirit must be clean.

The first step is to obtain forgiveness of sin by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Jesus died on the cross for your sin. He rose from the dead because He is God and death could not hold Him.

You must believe that your sin is so evil that Jesus had to die to remove its stain on your life. He took your place. When a person prays to God and based on Jesus' sacrifice asks for forgiveness, God grants pardon and eternal life.

As born again Christians, we also must watch our hearts. It is possible for us to become cold towards the Lord, and to allow sin to have power in our lives. We can go through the motions of religion without being right with God.

We must keep close to the Lord. We must daily forsake sin. We must concentrate on our relationship with God not tradition and ritual. We must avoid becoming religious zombies with a powerless religion.

We should also examine our church. It may seem good on the outside, but if it is not following God and the New Testament then we should either seek to revive it or leave it. If its spirit is dead, we cannot serve God though it.

Verse two gives the Lord's solution to this church's lack of life. This church was asleep. They needed to wake up and become active again. They still had a little life in them but it was growing weaker and weaker. They were falling far short of what God required of them.

What a sad picture this verse presents! And sadder still, it is a picture that fits many churches today. They have gone asleep. They are busy reliving the past or dreaming about the future, while the present slips away.

Wake up! Revive the fires of outreach and evangelism! Draw upon the power of God's Spirit! Take the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and go out to battle the forces of evil that are winning victory after victory as you sleep on the sidelines! Wake up!

Verse three continues Christ's call to revival. Jesus wanted this church to remember the Gospel. It seems they had forgotten the very basis for the Christian Faith.

They were to remember what they had experienced. They were to remember the past joys, past zeal and past victories. Not in order to live in the past, but to give them a desire to have once again what they had lost.

Jesus was encouraging them to pray like David did, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” (Psalm 51:12a - King James Version)

They were to remember the Gospel and obey it. They had already accepted it and been saved. However, the Gospel by its nature requires that we witness and tell others about Jesus. This was what they had forgotten.

They needed to reach out to those who were lost and confront them with the choice they must make about Jesus Christ. Repentance and renewed evangelistic efforts were needed.

Jesus' warning to this church was historically fitting. The city of Sardis was a mighty fortress. Yet in spite of its strategic position and military power, twice it was conquered by enemy armies.

According to history, both times it was defeated because of the failure of its watchmen to warn of the danger. This church was sound asleep spiritually, they would not even notice the judgment of Christ approaching them until it was upon them.

Verse four offers some hope for this chruch. Within this dying church, there was a handful of people who faithfully served the Lord and had not compromised on their Faith.

Even in the midst of moral decay and dead religion, there are always the few faithful ones. In Israel during the reign of wicked king Ahab, there were seven thousand who had not worshiped the idol Baal. Jesus will reward the faithful few.


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