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Revelation 3:1-6
A message to the angel of the church in Sardis!
By Brother Mike (4-30-19; 45 minutes)
   

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 .


INTRODUCTION   

In this study, we look at the message unto the angel of the church in Sardis. In this message, Christ first says, These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars. I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. Now, what does Christ mean that He has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars? And, how can the church of Sardis have a name that they are alive, but be dead? The answers to these questions and more we will find in this study. 

Next, Christ further says to the angel of the church in Sardis, Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. In this verse, what does it mean to be watchful and to strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die? And, what does Christ mean that He has not found their works perfect before God? The answers to these questions and more we will find in this study. 

Then, Christ says to the church in Sardis, 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. Here, why do you suppose that Christ commands them to remember how they have received and heard? And, what does it mean that if they do not watch, Christ will come on them as a thief? The answers to these questions and more we will find in this study. 

Now, Christ further says to the church in Sardis, 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. In this verse, what does it mean that there are a few names who have not defiled their garments, and that they shall walk with Christ in white? And, why are these few said to be worthy? The answers to these questions and more we will find in this study.  

And, finally, Christ says, He that overcomes, 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. Who, here, are the ones that overcome, and why is it said that these ones will be clothed in white raiment? Furthermore, why is it said of them that Christ will not blot out their names out of the Book of Life, but will confess their names before the Father and His angels? The answers to these questions and more we will find in this study.  

Now, may our Lord Jesus Christ bless this study unto all who have an ear to hear as we look to answer these questions, amen!  


Revelation 3:1
:   

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

In this verse, we first read, And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write. As in the case of the previous four churches already studied, the angel of the church in Sardis is the body of Christ, which are the elect of the church in Sardis so that when the apostle John was commanded to write to the angel of the church in Sardis, he was commanded to write to the elect of the church in Sardis. And, since the church in Sardis was a type or picture of many of the churches that would arise during the 1955 years of the Church Age from 33 AD to May 21, 1988, when John wrote to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, he was also, and probably without knowing it, writing to the angels (the elect) of many of the churches that would arise during the Church Age. 

But, now, Christ says to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars. These things, of course, refer to the things about to be said, but what are the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars that Christ has? Since the number 7 symbolizes the complete perfection of whatever is in view (see Bible Number 7 ), the seven Spirits of God symbolize the complete perfection of the Spirits of God, which can only be the Holy Spirit as only He is the completely perfect in every way Spirit of God, for He is God who is infinitely perfect by nature (see God is a Trinity ). Furthermore, the seven stars symbolize the complete perfection or totality of stars (see Bible Number 7 ), but what do the stars symbolize? We read back in Revelation, Chapter One,  

Re 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches

Thus, we learn that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And, since we had learned some time ago that the angels of the seven churches are the elect of the seven churches, the seven stars must be the elect. We can also come to this same conclusion from what we read in Genesis 15. There we read,  

Ge 15:5 And he brought him [Abraham] forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be

Here, Abram is told that his seed shall be as the stars of heaven in number. And, we are told who Abram's true seed is in Galatians 3 where we read, 

Ga 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ

Thus, we see that the true seed of Abraham is Christ, and, thus, it is He who shall be made as the stars of heaven in number. Yet, not only is Christ the true seed of Abraham, but so also are those who are of Christ, for we read in Galatians 3,  

Ga 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise

Hence, those that be Christ's (the elect) are Abraham's seed, and, thus, it is they (the elect) who are described as being like the stars of heaven. We see, then, once again that the stars of heaven are representative of the elect, and our understanding of the seven stars in Revelation 3:1 as being the totality of the elect is confirmed. So, when our verse says, These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, we are being told that it is Christ who has the Holy Spirit of God, and the totality of the elect both of which had been used in the evangelism of the world.

But, next, our verse states, I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. That is, this church carried the name of Christ or Christian as if they were spiritually alive, but they were spiritually dead. It was like so many of the churches at the fulfillment or end of the Church Age on May 21, 1988: they all claimed to be Christian, and, so, spiritually alive, but so many of them were spiritually dead as they were led astray by false Christs and false teachings. Many of them had excellent social programs, a magnificent worship center; you name it, and they often had it. Outwardly everything looked like they were very much alive, but, unfortunately, they were spiritually dead. They worshipped false Christs and followed false teachings without even knowing it, for God began to feed them a strong delusion that they would believe a lie because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2Thes. 2:10-11 and listen to 2Thessalonians 2:1-11 - The Man of Sin ).  


Revelation 3:2

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God .   

Here, Christ first commands the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis to Be watchful. This means that they were to diligently study the Word of God with prayer, and everywhere that they were not conforming to the teachings of Christ, they were to seek the forgiveness of Christ and repent that they might be pleasing to the Lord in every respect.  

And, not only were they to be watchful, but they were commanded to strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die. That is, they were commanded to strengthen those works being done that were in accord with the Word of God. They were not to let them expire or die, but they were to do whatever was necessary to keep them alive. For instance, if their evangelism program had become almost nonexistent, they were to do what is necessary to keep it going. Likewise, if their corporate prayer time was being diminished, they were to increase it back to full strength. Or, if time for the preaching and teaching of the Word of God was being lessened, they were to increase it back to the time it deserved. Yes, whatever things were about to expire or die due to neglect, and which things were in obedience to God's Word, they were to strengthen so that they would not die.

And, why were they to be watchful and strengthen the things which remained, that were ready to die? Well, Christ says to us, for I have not found your works perfect before God, which sentence is better understood when we realize that the word translated therein as perfect is better translated as complete. Thus, the reason that the elect of the church were commanded to be watchful, and to strengthen the things which remained, was because Christ had not found [their] works complete before God. In other words, the works that they had begun were not yet finished. They must work to strengthen their works so that what they had begun would not die.  

Now, our verse does not only have application to the elect of the church in Sardis during the 1st century AD, but, since the church of Sardis was a type or picture of how many of the churches would be at the end or fulfillment of the Church Age on May 21, 1988, it is also a message to us who were in the Church leading up to that time. Indeed, at that time, we were commanded to be watchful, and strengthen the things which remained, that were ready to die because Christ had not yet found our works to be complete. So, we, the elect, did our best to get the church to be watchful and strengthen those things that were ready to die, but most would not watch, and did not strengthen their works. Therefore, the church fell to having a name that they were alive, but they were spiritually dead.  


Revelation 3:3
:  

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

In this verse, Christ first states, Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard, and, immediately, we ask the question, why does Christ her say, Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard instead of saying, Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard? It seems that it would make more sense if He said, Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard instead of saying, Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard. That is, the idea of how something came about is quite different than what came about. When our verse says, Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard, it is focusing on in what way they had received and heard. And, when we consider in what way the elect of the church in Sardis must have received and heard the teachings of Holy Writ, we are reminded of 1Corinthinians 2 where we read,

4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power :
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God

Hence, when Christ commands the elect in Sardis to Remember, therefore, how [they] have received and heard, it was a reminder to them to remember how the Bible teachings had come to them not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. And, it is this remembrance of how the teachings of Christ had once come to them that is meant to jog their memories as to what was the truth that they should now be following. So, it was the experiencing of the power of God when they had once heard the Word of God preached to them that they were now to remember the truth.   

Then, once they had remembered the truth which they had received and heard through a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, we read that they were commanded to hold fast, and repent. That is, they were to hold firm what teachings came to them in power and turn back to them in obedience before those things completely died from their midst. So, for example, if corporate prayer was diminishing in their midst, they were to repent and bring it back to life. If the preaching of the Word was diminishing from their midst, they were to repent and strengthen that ministry perhaps by freeing up those so gifted from other tasks so that they could devote themselves more fully to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. If, for example, their outreach with the gospel to the community was about to die at that time, they were to repent and put back a priority on getting out the gospel. Whatever it was that they knew to be the truth as they remembered how they had heard and received, they were to repent and see to it that those things were being strengthened before those things died. 

Now, in bringing an end to our verse, Christ says to the church in Sardis, 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. That is, if they would not watch by continuing to study the Word of God, that was likely first received from an apostle, and repent where they needed to do so, Christ would come upon them in judgment, and they would not know when that would be. Yet, if they did watch to remain faithful to the Word, this infers that they could know when Christ would come in judgment. As we read in 1Thessalonians 5,

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you .
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape .
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief

In other words, those who are truly saved could know when Christ would come in judgment, which we now know to have begun on May 21, 1988 when judgment first came against all the churches, and then on May 21, 2011 when judgment came against the entire world by the removal of eternal salvation from their midst (see Biblical Timeline ). 

Now, returning to our verse, Christ said to the elect in the church of Sardis, 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. Since the church of Sardis was a type or picture of many of the churches that would come to be at the fulfillment or end of the Church Age, this is a message to the elect of those churches as well, which included many of us. Christ said that if we do not watch, that He would come upon us in judgment, and that we would not know the time. Yet, we did watch, so that we did learn when Christ came upon all the churches, which, as I said, was on May 21, 1988 when no one in the churches could any longer be eternally saved, for Christ removed Himself from all the churches to be replaced by the counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, Satan who spiritually destroyed the churches with false gospels and teachings (listen to 2Thes. 2:1-11 - The Man of Sin ), and, as a result, the elect were commanded to depart out from all the churches (see Why leave all churches? ). But, most in the churches did not watch, so Christ did come upon them in judgment as a thief to steel and destroy, and they did not know when it was. In fact, to this day, the churches still do not acknowledge that judgment came upon them on May 21, 1988, and this is in fulfillment of what Christ said, namely that they would not know when He would come upon them because they did not watch. Indeed, they have been snared in a trap that insures their death, and they still don't even know it. 


Revelation 3:4
:  

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

Here, we first learn that there are a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments. So, although virtually all the people in the church of Sardis were unsaved, and, thus, spiritually dead, there were a few people who were saved, and, thus, spiritually alive. These, we are told, had not defiled or polluted their garments. And, since, in the Bible, a person's garment is a covering for their nakedness or sins, in that there were a few people in Sardis who had not defiled or polluted their garments means that there were a few in Sardis who had not defiled or polluted their covering for sins. And, since, their covering for sins is the Lord Jesus Christ who had paid for all their sins, we are being told that they had not defiled or polluted Jesus Christ, which is just another way of saying that they had not sinned against Christ. So, in that there were a few names even in Sardis which had not defiled their garments means that there were a few in Sardis who had not sinned against the Lord Jesus Christ. And, of course, the reason they had not sinned was not because they were already made perfect in themselves without sin, but, because the perfect righteousness of Christ was accounted to them with all their sins having been paid for by Christ, resulting in their sins not being held against them, but the righteousness of Christ working through them unto holiness.  

Now, we are told that these who had not sinned against Christ shall walk with him in white, for they are worthy. Since the color white in the Bible is commonly known to symbolize holiness or purity, when Christ says, and they shall walk with me in white, He is saying that they will walk with me in holiness or purity. And, why will they walk with Him in holiness or purity? We read, for they are worthy. Now, does this mean that they were worthy in themselves? Absolutely not! But it means they were worthy in Christ Jesus, for His works of righteousness had been accounted to them and worked through them so that it could be said of them that they are worthy.  


Revelation 3:5
:    

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 .   

In this verse, we are first told that He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And, who is he that overcomes? We read in 1John 5,   

1Jo 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith

Thus, the one who overcomes is the one who is born of God. And, the one who is born of God is the one that has been born again or born from above by the Spirit, which is a gift of God granted to a remnant who were elected unto eternal salvation from the foundation of the world. As we read in Titus 3:5,  

Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit .   

And, we read in Ephesians 2, 

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God :
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast

And, finally, we read, 

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love .  

Now, as we continue, we are told that the one who overcomes, which, as we said, is the one who is born of God, will be clothed in white raiment. As we already mentioned, the color white symbolizes holiness or purity, and raiment, which can be translated as garments, represents that which covers the nakedness, or we could say, the sins of the elect. Therefore, to be clothed in white raiment or garments is to be clothed in a holy covering for sins, which can only be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who paid for our sins and covers us with His garments of salvation and righteousness. As we read in Isaiah 61,   

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels .  

But, not only will the one who overcomes; that is, the one who is born of God, born again, or born from above, be clothed in white raiment; that is, be clothed in holy raiment, which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, but Christ says of him, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. The Book of Life is that book from a creation standpoint which lists everyone that was ever created. Everyone in this book who is not also in the Lamb's Book of Life, which is that book from a redemptive standpoint that lists everyone predestined to eternal life, is blotted out from the Book of Life. So, everyone who is not found in the Lamb's Book of Life from a redemptive standpoint is blotted out from the Book of Life from a creation standpoint as if they never existed because, in the end, they are guaranteed to lose their lives, for they were not granted eternal life. So, in our verse, when Christ says, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, this means that he will not perish because his name is not only written in the Book of Life from a creation standpoint, but also in the Lamb's Book of Life from a redemptive standpoint, which means he has been granted eternal life.   

Well, finally in our verse, we find that the one who overcomes; that is, the one who is born of God, will not only be clothed in white raiment, namely Jesus Christ, and will not have his name blotted out from the Book of Life; that is, he will not perish, but has eternal life, but, we read, [Christ] will confess his name before [His] Father, and before his [Father's] angels. Thus, those who have overcome; that is, those who have been born of God or eternally saved, will Christ confess before His Father, and before His Father's angels. 

Let's consider what it means that Christ will confess those who are eternally saved before His Father, and before his Father's angels. We read in 1John 2, 

1Jo 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous .  

Here, we learn that Jesus is an advocate with the Father if any believer sin. Thus, we see that Christ functions like a lawyer for us in protection from our sins. He confesses before His Father those who are eternally saved to protect them from their sins, and, therefore, from death, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). He confesses to the Father and to his angels that He has paid for our sins so that our sins can no longer be held against us. This is what it means that Christ will confess those who are eternally saved before His Father: it means that He will confess to the Father and the Father's angels that He has paid for our sins, and that His righteousness has been accounted to us so that before the Father and his angels we are pure and holy and can, thus, have fellowship with them. Otherwise, we could have no fellowship with them as there is no fellowship between darkness and light, sin and righteousness. But, now, we have fellowship both with the Son, and with the Father and with his Holy angels, for Christ has done it all through His death and resurrection on our behalf.


Revelation 3:6
:  

6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches

As we have learned in previous studies, this is simply a command for the elect to hear what the Spirit says unto the churches because only they have the spiritual ears to be able to hear what the Spirit says. That is, only they have been so gifted to comprehend spiritual things from the Word of God. To everyone else these things are foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1Cor. 1:18).  


CONCLUSION   

In this message to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, Christ first said, These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars. I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. In this verse, we learned that the seven Spirits of God represent the perfect Spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit, and the seven stars represent the totality of stars, which are the totality of the elect. Therefore, in that Christ has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, means that He has the Holy Spirit and the totality of the elect. And, when Christ said, I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead, this meant that, outwardly, they carried the name of Christ or Christian as if they were spiritually alive in Christ, but, inwardly, they were spiritually dead instead, for almost everyone in the church were unsaved, which resulted in the church as a whole not standing true to the Word of God that they had once received. Therefore, the church had become spiritually dead!  

Now, Christ next said to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. This meant that they were look to the Word of God which they had once received with a mind to be obedient to everything in it. Those works in the church which were faithful to the Word of God, they were to strengthen before they completely died, for Christ had not found their works perfect (complete) before God.  

Then, Christ said to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, 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. Here, we found that they were commanded to remember how they had received and heard the Word of God when it first came to them in a demonstration of the Spirit and power for the purpose of jogging their memories as to what they had received and heard so that they could then hold firm to the truth and repent from that which was in error. And, if they would not so watch, Christ would come upon them in judgment to steel and destroy the truth from them like a thief, and they would not know when this would be. This is what happened to the churches at the fulfillment or end of the Church Age on May 21, 1988. Because many of them would not watch to be faithful to the Word of God, Christ came to them in judgment beginning on May 21, 1988 to destroy and steel the truth from them so that Satan, the counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist, the Man of Sin could bring in his false teachings and gospels, and completely take over the churches by September 7, 1994.    

Now, Christ further said to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, 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. In this verse, we learned that there were just a few people in the church in Sardis who had not sinned against the Lord. This, we found, does not mean that they were entirely without sin, and, so, already perfect, but it means that these few people had been saved by Jesus Christ so that all their sins had been paid for and covered by Him. Their sins, therefore, could no longer be held against them, and God could look upon them as if they were perfect or sinless already, and say, they shall walk with me in white; that is, they will walk with me in purity or holiness without sin, for they are worthy. They, of course, are not worthy in themselves, but they are worthy because their sins have been paid for by Christ, and His righteousness has been accounted to them, and works through them. So, why could it be said that they were worthy? Because of Christ Jesus our Lord! 

And, finally, Christ said to the angel (the elect) of the church in Sardis, He that overcomes, 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. Here, we learned that the one who overcomes is the one who has been born of God, and such a one will be clothed in white or holy raiment because all their sins have been paid for, and the righteousness of Christ has been accounted to them and works through them, making them holy and pure. Furthermore, Christ will not blot out such a one's name out of the book of life as such a one will not perish, but has eternal life, and he or she's name will be confessed before the Father, and His angels, because such a one has come into good standing and fellowship both with the Father and His angels.  


Now, may the LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace .

1:16-20
2:1-7
2:8-11
2:12-17 
2:18-22 
2:23-29 
3:1-6       

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