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Revelation Chapter 3
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.
A Pretend Church
As we have seen, the seven spirits of God refers to the sevenfold nature of the Holy Spirit. The seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches. Jesus is the one who possesses and gives the fullness of the Holy Spirit, but his authority is greater than that. He controls these angels. This is an awsome amount of power. It means the destiny of the Church is in his hands.
Jesus knew the works of these churches. Sardis is not like Thyatira. In Thyatira the last works were greater than the first, but in Sardis their works were decreasing. Jesus said Sardis had a reputation of being alive, but it was actually dead. It had become a church in name only, a pretend church, one that was just going through the motions.
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.
Time For A Spiritual Overhaul
Jesus told the church in Sardis to, "Wake up, and stay awake." He told them that there were certain aspects of their faith and practice that were still alive, but they needed to be more serious about their worship, sutdy, and Ministry. He was calling on them to overhaul their relationship with God. The steps that they had already taken were good, but they had not yet reached God's standards. It is not enough for a church to hold right doctrinesor go through a ritual or form of worship. For a church to have a valid relationship with God, it must back up its doctrines and words with devotion and works. When the apostly John received Revelation, it was not for his own personal knowledge. He was told to write it down for others. When a church receives a great revelation from God, it needs to put that revelation into practice. If it doesn't it will die out. This is where the Sardis church failed.
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.
Jesus wanted his followers to recall their better days; to reflect on what they had received and heard. They had received forgiveness of their sins, salvation, eternal life, and future rewards in heaven. They had heard the preaching of the true Word of God with its clear and correct teaching. Jesus wanted his followers to recognize that they had backslid and needed to return to his teachings.
History shows that on two separate occasions, when enemy armies had surrounded Sardis, her careless guards fell asleep. Each thime the opposing army slipped in and captured the embarrassed city. Jesus seems to be using this example to teach this church a great truth. If we do not return to worshiping, believing, and living the way we once did, we will not recognize the prophetic signs of his coming. The Rapture will catch them asleep, causing them to miss it. This is an important point
Those who have a good knowlede of Bible prophecy will bot be caught by surprise when the Rapture occurs, but those who do not understand Bible prophecy will be surprised.
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.
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.
Two Different Books Of Life
Jesus knew all his people in this church by name. Not many people in Sardis wee faithful, but he could identify the ones who were. He said they wee the ones who had refused to defile their garments, the ones who refused to be dirtied or influenced by the sins of those around them. He promised that they would walk with him in robes of white. Why? Because they had sincerely accepted Jesus as their Savior and , by the power of the Holy Spirit, lived holy lives.
Jesus promised never to blot out their names from the Book of Life. Many people confuse the Book of Life with the Lambs Book of Life, but they are completely different. The Book of Life is a list of all who are born once; every person who ever lived. The Lamb's Book of Life is a list of all who are born twice; in other words, all who truly accept Jesus. It is possible to have one's name blotted out of the Book of Life for sinning against God, for denying Jesus and for taking away from the words in Revelation. But many believe it is impossible for a saved person's name to be blotted out of the Lamb's book of Life.
Jesus also promised to acknowledge the names of the saved before God and his holy angels. Wouldn't it be great to hear your name called out in heaven? Jesus said, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven, But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 10:32,33
1.) They would walk with him in robes of white
2.) He would never blot out their names from the Book of Life.
3.) He would acknowledge the names of the saved before God and his holy angels.
Rev. 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Hear With Your Ears
It is no accident that Jesus keeps talking about hearing. We cannot begin to understand how important this is. It is the Bible that teaches us to remember, repent and be righteous. To live our lives with gloification, justification, and sanctification. We must overcome, hold fast, and live holy lives. The great truths that sparked the Reformation started with people hearing what the Bible had to say. From the Bible they learned about the total depravity of man, justification by faith, and the authority of the Bible. When we hear the Word, we receive life, light, and truth; we learn God's commandments, judgments, and promises; we get to know his heart, mind, and will; and we find comfort, peace and strength.
He who has an ear, let him hear.... Hearing is of the utmost importance. It does us no good to spend years in church without change or without hearing. We should give carful consideration to what Jesus is saying. It would be a great tragedy to think we are saved only to discover that we had made a mistake. We would never eat from the tree of life, receive the crown of life, rule over nations, dwell in the presence of God, or share in Christ's throne. It your church is almost dead, if it seems like rigor mortis has set in, Jesus says, "Strengthen the things which remain."
The Bible's 3R's are
1.) Remember (Revelation 2:5, 3:3; John 15:20; Jude 1:17).
2.) Repent (Luke 13:3;Acts 2:38, 26:20).
3.) Be Righteous (I Timothy 6:11,12).
Rev. 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
The One True God
Holy and true are attributes of God. He has the nature of deity. When put together, this means Jesus is the true God. He is not a false god like today's popular New Age gods such as Ishtar, Mother Earth, Gaia, Diana, and Sophia. He is the only real God.
Who holds the key of David takes us back to the Old Testament. There was a priest named Eliakim who held the office of Key-holder in King David's palace. His office gave him full authority to act on behalf of the king. If he unlocked a palace door, it reained unlocked. If he locked a palace door, it remained locked, Just like Eliakim, Jesus is the ultimate Key-holder.
The Church Needs To Know
1.) Jesus is the Holy and true God.
2.) Jesus is the Key-Holder.
Rev. 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
God Plus One Is A Majority
The church in Philadelphia was more like what the Churh should bbe than any of the other Chruches. It was a working, evengelistic, Bible-beliving church.
Jesus is the one who opens and closes doors. We are totally dependent upon him. We cannot evangelize or expect God to send revival without Jesus. Satan cannot stop revival if Jesus is on our side. Jesus told this small church in Philadelphia, I know that you have little strength. All they needed was him behind them. God plus one faithful Church member is a majority.
Rev. 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
The Synagogue Of Satan
There were those who wanted the church in Philadelphia to deny the name of Jesus. These citezens of Philadelphia refused to believe in Jesus or the gospel. They worshiped at a synagogue and said they were jews, but Jesus called them imposters. He called their place of worship the synagogue of Satan.
Jesus assured the Philadelphia church that these pretenders would pay for their misdeeds. He said they would be forced to bow down and worship at their feet acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of this church.
People are not always what they claim to be. Jesus told a group of Jews who said God was their Father, You belong to your father the devil (John 8:44). Even the Apostle Paus said Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel (Romans 9:6). Many people fail to live up to their spiritual claims. That was true of the Jews in Philadelphia, and it is still true of the Church today. Not everyone who claims to be a child of God truly is.
Rev. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
An Hour Of Trial
The church was following God's commandments in two wasy;
1.) It was working in the name of Jesus.
2.) it was patiently waiting for his return.
Because of this, Jesus promised to keep these believers out of the hour of trial that would come in the future to test everyone. He will not permit this church or any who follow in their footrsteps to go through the Tribulation Period. It will be a time of literal hell on earth, replete wit famine, natural disasters, epidemic sickness, war, and murder.
Rev. 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Twinkling Of An Eye
Some think Jesus was telling the Philadelphia church he would come soon. That is not the case. He was telling them that when he comes back, it will happen bery fast. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, sowill be the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:27). Both the rapture and the Second Coming will take place in the twinkling of and eye.
Hold on to what you have - do not abandon your doctrines and deeds, keep believing the Bible, keep evangelizing, and keep sending out missionaries to tell the world about Jesus. So that no one will take your crown - let no one else have your reward. God's work will still be accomplished.
Rev. 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev. 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
A New Jerusalem
Jesus' promises for those who overcome:
1.) I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God - Jesus will make his followers strong, durable and stable in the house of GOD
2.) Never again will he leave it - Jesus will make his followers secure. They will desire to stay forever, and no one will move them.
3.) I will write on him - Jesus will write three things upon the forheads of his followers:
a.) the Seal (name) of God it designate them as a child of God;
b.) the name of his eternal home which is New Jerusalem.
c.) and a new name of Jesus signifying their presonal relationship to the Lord of lords and King of kings. Those who overcome will belong to God. They will be citizens of the New Jerusalem and will have a special reationship with Jesus.
Once again, the entire Church is asked to pay attention to these things. The faithful will escape the terrible judgments, but the unfaithful will not unless they repent of their sins and fix there relationship with God.
Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
The Great Amen
The Laodicea church period is the last period of the Church Age and the last letter to the Church before the Rapture. We are living in the Laodicea church period today.
Jesus is the Amen, the Truth, and the one we can trust. There is no greater person to believe in, no greater one to lean on.
Jesus is the faithful and true witness, the one who faithfully serves God. His deeds and words accuarately testify to God.
Jesus is the ruler of God's creation, the one who is the source of all things. Some people theorize that the universe began as an explosion that took place billions of years ago. Some think we came into beig through evolution. But Jeasus says he created all things.
If you search the entire Bible, examine every leader of ebery religion, and scour every period of history, you will find that Jesus is the only perfect and truly righteous man who ever lived.
Rev. 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Hot, Cold, Or Lukewarm?
Church members in Laodicea were neither cold not hot, but luke-warm. Any church of church member can find itself in one of these three states: cold, lukewarm, or hot. Cold signifies formal or without spiritual life, luke-warm means indifferent or straddling the fence, and hot expresses passionate or zealous.
The church in Laodicea had become complacent. Its people were not being persecuted, but were comfortable, prospering, and self-satisfied. They were doing nothing to evangelize, grow, or glorify Jesus.
According to Jesus, this is the worst state of all. It would be easier to judge a cold or dead church and easier to bless a hot or spiritual church. But what do you do with an indifferent church that claims Christ's name? Jesus wished they would be hot or cold, but since they were neither, he would spit them out of his mouth.
Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
All The Money In The World Won't Save Your Soul
This church did not have a realistic view of itself. It saw itself in one light, but Jesus saw it in another. It prided itself in its bank accounts, buildings, and members of high standing. It said we have money and material things, so why do we nee anything else. Obviously, they had lost sight of Jesus and what it means to be in his Kingdom.
It is not enough to build showy sanctuaries, great gymnasiums, and paved parking lots. Worldly treasure is not God's measuring stick. The church in Laodicea thought they were high on the social register, but Jesus said they were wretched. They thought they were happy, but Jesus said they were miserable. They thought they wererech, but Jesus said they were poor.
It is unfortunate, but many chhurches today are making the same mistake. They do not recognize the writing on the wall. Unfortunately, they will never know the fullness of Jesus if they don't wake up. God did not spare the Jews when they abandoned him, so he will not spare churches that do the same.
Rev. 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Mined gold is placed into a red-hot furnace not to destroy it, but to purify it. The ore is melted, the impurities are drawn out, and the residue is left pure gold. We are put into God's furnace of testing not to destroy our faith, but to refine it. Trials humble us, our sins are drawn out (through repentance),"(refer to) Salvation"
and the residue is left an improved Christian.
If we really want to be rich, we must buy from Jesus, with a spiritual currency, a faith that grows stronger with every test. Without thisspiritual currency, we ar paupers. We came into this world with nothing, and apart from a faith in Jesus, we will leave this world with nothing.
This church was naked and had no covering for their sins. He told them they should put on spiritual garments - white clothes-the righteousness of Christ. The finest earthly clothes cannot hide the tiniest sin from God's eyes. When we stand before the judgement throne, the only thing that will hide our spiritual nakedness is the righteousness of Jesus.
Jesus said this church is blind and has no spiritual discernment. He desired that they seek him for the salve to cure their spiritual blindness. To Nicodemus he said, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). The Apostle Paul said, the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (Corinthians 2:14).
Rev. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Open Your Heart
The Lord will not allow anyone he loves to escape discepline. Even the harshest discipline is a sign of his love. It is done for two reasons:
1:) to cause people to be honest about their sins
2:) to bring them to repentance.
Jesus could have demanded that the church in Laodicea come to his door. He could have required them to knock, beg, cr, and plead for salvation, but instead, he was the one who knocked, begged and pleaded. He gave them their own free will to accept or reject him. He did not force them to open the door.
Here lies the final promise to the overcomer: Just as Jesus overcame Satan by his life of obedience to God and his ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and just as he now sits in an exalted position on his Father's throne, the overcomer will sit on the throne of Jesus and reign with him. And for a seventh and last time, all are invited to hear what the Holy sirit has to say to the churches.