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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.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
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.
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.
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.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
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;
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.
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.
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.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
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.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
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;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
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:
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.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
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.
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.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
1And vnto the Angel of the Church in Sardis write, These things saith he that hath the seuen Spirits of God, & the seuen starres; I know thy workes, that thou hast a name that thou liuest, and art dead.
2Be watchfull, and strengthen the things which remaine, that are ready to die: for I haue not found thy works perfect before God.
3Remember therefore, how thou hast receiued and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thiefe, and thou shalt not know what houre I will come vpon thee.
4Thou hast a few names euen in Sardis, which haue not defiled their garments, and they shall walke with me in white: for they are worthy.
5Hee that ouercommeth, the same shalbe clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the booke of life, but I will confesse his name before my Father, and before his Angels.
6Hee that hath an eare, let him heare what the Spirit saith vnto the Churches.
7And 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 Dauid, he that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8I know thy workes: behold, I haue set before thee an open doore, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my Name.
9Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Iewes, and are not, but doe lie: behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feete, and to know that I haue loued thee.
10Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keepe thee from the houre of temptation, which shall come vpon all the world, to try them that dwell vpon the earth.
11Beholde, I come quickly, hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crowne.
12Him that ouercommeth, will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he shall goe no more out: and I wil write vpon him the Name of my God, and the name of the Citie of my God, which is new Hierusalem, which commeth downe out of heauen from my God: And I will write vpon him my New name.
13Hee that hath an eare, let him heare what the Spirit saith vnto the Churches.
14And vnto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans, write, These things saith the Amen, the faithfull and true witnesse, the beginning of the creation of God:
15I know thy workes, that thou art neither cold nor hot, I would thou wert cold or hot.
16So then because thou art lukewarme, and neither cold nor hot, I wil spew thee out of my mouth:
17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and haue need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poore, and blinde, and naked.
18I counsell thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest bee rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakednesse doe not appeare, and anoint thine eyes with eye salue, that thou mayest see.
19As many as I loue, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore, and repent.
20Behold, I stand at the doore, and knocke: if any man heare my voyce, and open the doore, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21To him that ouercommeth, will I graunt to sit with mee in my throne, euen as I also ouercame, and am set downe with my Father in his throne.
22Hee that hath an eare, let him heare what the Spirit saith vnto the Churches.
1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis, write this: " 'The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: "I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. 4 However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. 5 " '"The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels. 6 " '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' 7 "To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this: " 'The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open, says this: 8 " '"I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you. 10 Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 11 I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown. 12 " '"The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name. 13 " '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' 14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write this: " 'The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God's creation, says this: 15 "I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, 'I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,' and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 " '"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. 21 I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne. 22 " '"Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'"
v 1. Sardis was a wealthy, wicked city and center of pagan worship about thirty miles southeast of Thyatira on the east-west trade route through the state of Lydia. It was the capitol of that country and had another temple of Artemis. A small remnant of the city exists, but most has been in ruins over 500 years. Most of the members were professing Christians, unregenerate, going through religious motions. Sardis, the sleeping or dead church, is a view of the church from the time of the Reformation, about 1520 -1750 on down to our own day, the rise and corruption of Protestantism. The one with the seven spirits of God is Christ. This church had a reputation for being a live, active church, but this is not a commendation, because He points out that in reality they are spiritually dead. (Like the dead church of England. The persecutions and religious intolerance contributed to the settlement of America.)
v 2. Unlike the first four churches, Sardis had no commendation from God. The genuine believers were discouraged and about to give up because of their ungodly environment. They needed to kindle the spark of life that remained there because they were falling short of what was expected of believers. They needed to be watching for the second coming, a doctrine which had been neglected.
v 3. Ephesus was warned to repent or He would remove their candlestick, 2:5. Pergamos to change their ways or He would fight against them, 2:16. Now Sardis is warned to watch, He would come, not only the Rapture, but to steal away what is most important to them. The power of the Holy Spirit would leave them. Today many churches are “playing church”. Lots of activity without the power of the Spirit and like Samson, they don’t realize the power is gone from them.
v 4. There were a few faithful ones remaining. Accepting that the church at Sardis is typical of the church from the Reformation to the present day, there was a minority such as Martin Luther, Wycliffe, John Calvin, and many other less known faithful ones who have kept pure in a world giving lip service to God.
v 5,6. Those who are truly born again will be clothed in robes of righteousness, and are reassured here that they will never lose their salvation. Only believers names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and none will be blotted out or it. They are eternally secure. Those aborted from conception or till knowingly sin will remain in the book of life. See extended notes on this, Rev, 20:15.
v 7. Philadelphia was 28 miles SE of Sardis in an area noted for agricultural products, and survives today as the city of Alasehir. It was destroyed by earthquakes several times and was named for a king of Pergamum, Attalus Philadelphus, who built it. Philadelphia, was a favored church and represents the true church, beginning with the missionary church of the last century and continuing on to the Rapture. Philadelphia in Greek means “brotherly love”, and there is Christian witness in that city yet today. It is a church remaining faithful in the midst of apostasy and unbelief. It and Smyrna, were the only two churches not to be rebuked. Holy and true-God, Who is called the Holy One of Israel 31 times in the OT, and Christ of the NT are one. Key of David--Christ is anti type of Eliakim who, had that key laid upon his shoulder, and he had access to the king’s wealth, Isa. 22:22. Figuratively it refers to the responsibility of government placed upon the shoulders of Christ. Peter had limited use of the keys of heaven, spiritual wealth. He opened the door to the Gentiles but later tried to partially close it, Gal. 2:11-18. Christ has the keys to both heaven and hell, no one can open or shut the doors but Him.
v 8. God is pleased with it’s works and has set before it an open door of witness and spiritual service that can not be shut by man. It is for any believer who meets these three qualifications: Have a little strength, Keep His word, Do not deny His name. Though they have but little strength, they are not rebuked. Christ can do much when the weak rely upon His strength, Phil. 4:13; believe that every word of the Bible is true, 2 Tim. 3:16; and recognize Christ’s authority over every area of their lives, Contrast Titus 1:16. Their little strength was being revived, and in this period we have revivals by Whitefield, John Wesley, Charles G, Finney and D. L. Moody.
v 9. All unbelievers belong to the collection of those who are of their father the Devil, even the Jewish religious leaders, John 8:44. Judaizers and ritualists will bow and confess the Lord, Rom. 14:11. This will not be in repentance, but for judgment.
v 10. Those who have that blessed hope, the Rapture, waiting upon the patience of Christ to overthrow His enemies, will be kept from the Great Tribulation, just as Noah and Lot were spared from the judgments of their day. The Lord will return while Philadelphia type churches are still functioning. Their watchfulness is not regarding loss of salvation, but to losing reward. Multitudes will be saved during that tribulation, but many of them will be martyred. They, however, are not objects of the wrath of God.
v 11. Though Christ has delayed He will suddenly come. We won’t lose our salvation. but we are to live in readiness, not doing anything that would cause us to lose our crowns. One pertinent crown is for those who love His appearing, 2 Tim. 4:8.
v 12,13. Now we are lively stones,1 Pet. 2:5, but in glory we will be pillars, permanent, continually in God’s presence. As the high priest wore a gold plate over his forehead with the name “Holiness to the Lord”, Ex. 28:36-38, so we as priests will bear His name. Somehow we will have three marks of identification on us: 1. The name of God our Savior; 2. The name of the city of our heavenly citizenship (This is the city Abraham looked for, not the old Jerusalem.); 3. Our own distinctive new name selected by Christ, Rev, 2:17. Again, regardless of the messenger, listen to the Spirit.
v 14. Laodicea was located along a river about about 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 100 miles east of Ephesus near Colosse. Paul wrote to the church at Colosse to exchange letters with Laodicea. It was wealthy and the church members shared in the wealth. It was impressive, but spiritually the poorest of all seven churches. Worldly; success blinded them to spiritual need, and they doubted the absolute authority of God. They got involved in humanistic philosophy, intellectualism, and evolution. Paul warned against this in Col. 2:8-10. Laodicea is a lukewarm church and represents the false church coming out of the Reformation and continuing to the end, the present days. This characterizes many so called evangelical churches today. There is no word of commendation to Laodicea. It and the church at Philadelphia have conditions that run side by side, but Philadelphia represents the church that is genuine and true. Christ not only is the Truth, He proclaims the truth, He is the Amen, the final word. He can be this because He was the creator of all things.
v 15. They were not a cold church who were in opposition to the things of God. They were merely professing a minimal spiritual life. They may not all have been unsaved, but if there were believers, they were indifferent to the vital doctrines of God. Dead orthodoxy is better than the neutral, compromising church with all it’s programs but no firm stand and true witness. Herein is a warning to the remnant Philadelphia church, who may not be constantly on fire, but needs to avoid the lethargy of being lukewarm in doctrine or practice. There are movements today which stress unity and fellowship but are lukewarm on doctrine for the sake of unity.
v 16. Physicians used warm water to cause vomiting, and lukewarm springs near Laodicea were putrid to taste. Any who were saved would experience the reproach, but not the wrath of God. The True Church will be caught away at the Rapture, but the apostate church God will spue into the tribulation period.
v 17. Just as Solomon’s increasing wealth coincided with his decreased Spirituality, this wealthy church does not recognize it’s need. They may have impressive buildings and programs. They may not endorse those who deny the basic doctrines, but neither do they take a stand on them and may themselves deny creation and total inerrancy of the Word.
Wretched - burdened. Their wealth was a burden which kept them from seeing their true condition. Miserable - to be pitied. Poor - nothing laid up for eternity. Blind - no spiritual vision because no spiritual life. they saw only earthly things. Naked - spiritually naked without Christ’s robe of righteousness.
v 18. Christ continues to call them, compare Isa. 55:1. Receive Christ’s salvation and be given that robe of righteousness. Eye salve is for physical blindness, they need spiritual sight Eph. 1:17,18, because the god of this world has blinded their eyes, 2 Cor. 4:34. d
v 19. These compromising people are believers or the Lord would not chasten them. They needed to repent fervently. Persecutions are not mentioned, but some present day persecutions have been by Hitler, Russia, China, Catholics especially in Central and South America, and Moslems against both Jews and Christians.
v 20. Christ does not force the door, the compromising believer must voluntarily repent and open the door. There is nothing here or in adjacent texts about the gospel and is not intended as a text to reach unsaved. God does sometimes honor the use of it though, because the unsaved person must have an openness to Christ’s call. Such a call to those in a lukewarm church who have shut Christ out of their lives is to be ready for Christ’s return and to sup with Him, Rev. 19:9.
v 21-22. As joint heirs we can sit with Him in his throne. In each church their is a message to overcomers. An overcomer is anyone who has been born again and has overcome from the standpoint of guilt and condemnation. However we can be “more than conquerors”, Rom. 8:37, and receive rewards for exercising overcoming faith.
What a promise to those who were about to be spewed out of His mouth. The Promises: 1 Ephesus, tree of life; 2 Smyrna, deliverance from second death; 3 New name to Pergamos; 4 To Thyatira, the morning star; 5 To Sardis, white raiment; 6. To Philadelphia the New Jerusalem 7 To Laodicea, sharing of the throne.
There are no churches on earth during the great tribulation, so the Church is not mentioned again from 4:1 to Rev. 22:6, when John is reminded to send this entire book to all the churches.