Wednesday Bible Study

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Rev Chap 3:1


Series: Revelations

Category: Wednesday Bible Study

Passage: Revelation 3:1

Speaker: Dr. Wayne Barrett

Letter to the Church in Sardis Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Christ’s Attributes v 1 — who has the seven spirits of God An emphasis upon the definitive role of the Holy Spirit within those who belong to Christ and in the work of His church Believers are constantly to be filled and guided by the Holy Spirit, being sanctified by Him unto the image of Christ. The Christian life is spiritual in nature, emanating from Christ; it is not merely an ethical or belief system. The Holy Spirit also administers the church. He distributes a gift or gifts to each believer for the building of the church unto the glory of Christ.

“I know your works…” Jesus makes it clear that He is thoroughly familiar with all that the Christians in Sardis have done and are doing. Nothing is lost on Him.

“You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” A devastating and arresting judgment. It gives all of us sober pause, especially if we consider that Christians in our [congregation, town, state, county, fill-in-the-blank] have a reputation for being alive—and we are proud of that reputation! The “reputation for being alive” is about living—it has little to do with the nature of a service of worship—except—that it would pertain to corporate worship that appears to be greatly emphasized and sincere (through liturgy, emotion, or in other ways) but which is not matched by devoted living to Christ.

Christ’s Admonition v 2 – Wake up… More lit. “Be watching!...” Be vigilant… …and strengthen what is about to die.
The call to be “watching” often appears in Scripture: watchmen on the wall; parable of the wise and foolish virgins; “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”; etc. Applications are different, but the theme is the same: We are accountable to our Master. And in service to Him, we are to be active and alert to see anything that would threaten our service or would threaten those people and matters over which He has given us responsibility. The Christian life is not to be lived in a lazy or clueless way—we are accountable to Christ.

“strengthen what remains…” An indication that there had been great neglect—whether personal or corporate—or both. Some things may have been lost and cannot be regained. But the place to start in response to Christ is in those areas where there is still life remaining—again, whether in one’s personal life or in the life of the congregation. This is a different thing than seeking to “run away” and “start over” as a solution to a neglected spiritual life.

“for I have not found your works complete…” Can anyone doubt that Christ calls us to specific things? And the reminder is that in our personal living and our corporate service, we are serving One who has bought us with a price and who is in complete authority. Our call is to honor Christ and to please Him with nothing competing for His place of Lordship in our living.

“Remember, then, what you have received and heard…” A call back to the proclamation of the gospel—the message of which will never change A call to remember all that had been done for them by God—including what others had done on their behalf in obedience to God “Keep it” – treasure it, protect it, honor it, be faithful to it

“and repent” There can be two kinds of repentance—repentance from sinful actions and also repentance from sinful inactions—sinful laziness, self-centeredness, complacency “repent” means to “do a 180”—emotion, even sorrow, is not repentance, although emotion may accompany repentance

Christ’s Warning “If you will not wake up…” More lit. “If you should not watch…” or “if you shall not watch…” Not a matter only of “waking up” but of continued vigilance in Christ’s service “I will come like a thief” –the judgment of Christ, the consequences of our actions and our inactions, the closing of doors for opportunity—will come “like a thief” when one does not expect it. Then, it is too late to repent.

Christ’s Affirmation v 4 – “But you have a few names in Sardis…”
“names” [onoma] also can be “character,” “reputation”—from the same word that is used in v 1. “have not soiled their garments”—soiled with sinful, selfish living, dishonoring Christ “they will walk with me…” Jesus personalizing His promise of eternal life, as He often does “because they are worthy” Jesus does not say they are perfect, but Jesus knows those who are truly His

Christ’s Promises v 5 – The one who conquers… who conquers the world and lives for Christ will be “clothed in white garments”—made clean and sinless by Christ Himself and I will “no not ever” blot his name out of the book of life –Gk double negative for emphasis

“I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” Can there be a more astonishing promise or beautiful hope for Christian, that Jesus Himself will vouch for him? Jesus Himself will call his name before the Father and before the angels of God. And without this affirmation of Christ, no person can be saved. Eternity and all of creation are under the Lordship of Christ.

v 6 – He who has an ear, let him hear