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Lessons From Sardis

The Calling: Lessons From Sardis

Tested By Fire Conference – Day 2 Session 3

 

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In preparing the assembly of believers for the coming trials and tribulations leading to the Day of the Lord, Jesus addressed 7 assemblies encouraging and admonishing them in truth and to strengthen them for the coming difficulty. Here Jesus’ message to Sardis is discussed to glean what lessons we can learn from our Messiah in order to be strengthened to stand through trial.

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NOTES

The content of this teaching’s notes are below with partial formatting. If you would like to see the notes with complete formatting,

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Lessons From Sardis

SOME BACKGROUND ON SARDIS ITSELF

SOME BACKGROUND ON SARDIS ITSELF

A. Before getting into the content of the message itself let’s briefly talk about some background concerning the city of Sardis.

1. Location: Sardis was a major city of Asia Minor (a Roman province) located in what is known today as Sart in Turkey’s Manisa Province. It used to be the capitol city of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. Their geography and topography gave them great military advantage as a series of mountains that surrounded the city served as mighty strongholds. Sardis itself lay 1500 feet above the plain, and had a very important place since the beginning of the Lydian kingdom around the 13th century B.C.

2. Socio-economic situation: Because of its key geographical position Sardis became a center for culture, commerce and religion. It had one of the biggest temples ever found by archaeologists devoted to the worship of Artemis, as well as other temples for other deities. In other words, like in most cities of Asia Minor idolatry was a big deal in Sardis.

One of the most significant buildings in it was actually a very impressive Jewish synagogue, as evidence of its prominent Jewish population and its relevance concerning the Diaspora (the dispersion of Jews throughout the gentile world). This could imply that many of the church members were of Jewish descent. One commentary says:

“Sardis is conceivably the place of Jewish exile, namely Sepharad, mentioned in Obadiah 20. This designation eventually was assigned to Jews from Spain, who were called Sephardic Jews. The importance of the occurrence of the term suggests that Jews from the Diaspora were living in this city early in the history of Sardis.”1

In regards to its economics, like Laodicea, Sardis was a very wealthy city. In fact, money was invented there! Under the rulership of King Croesus (c. 560–547/6 B.C.) its wealth became famous as gold and silver coinage came into use. By the time of the apostles Sardis was not anymore the prominent city that it used to be. However, its citizens still had a certain pride based on the city’s past reputation. This is a relevant fact in relation to the church’s situation as it seems that a similar attitude was affecting them.

3. Why is this important? Because churches don’t exist in a vacuum. We are “not of the world” (Jn. 17:14) yet we “are in the world” (Jn. 17:11). Whatever the situation in our societies, it could drastically affect our perception, reception and response to the gospel. It seems that the church in Sardis was very much influenced by the socio-economic situation at their location. Some people say that self-confidence as well as self-indulgence characterized this church.

To put it in terms of our own situation, how much of the things in our societies could be influencing the way in which we relate to the gospel? Could it be that the wealth, glamour, military prowess, politics, relativism, immorality, etc., in our cities are factors related to the present condition of our churches? I think they absolutely are. Therefore, it’s so important for us to open our hearts to the correction of the Spirit through the tender yet sharp rebuke, warning and encouragement of Jesus. After all we are citizens of another Kingdom.

 

B. Let’s hear now the message to Sardis with this in mind and with trembling and the fear of the Lord.

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.’ (ESV Rev 3:1-6)

TO THE MESSSENGER OF THE CHURCH OF SARDIS WRITE

TO THE MESSENGER OF THE CHURCH OF SARDIS WRITE

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: […] (ESV Rev 3:1a)

A. The prophetic oracle is directly addressed to the messenger of the church. The Greek word “aggelos” is commonly transliterated as “angel”. However the actual meaning is “messenger.” In the Bible the same word is used of both human and angelic messengers. Because of this there has been some debate as to the identity of these messengers. Some think they were actual angelic beings. Yet I believe it’s very clear that they were human messengers with the responsibility of faithfully receiving and communicating the oracle to each congregation.

B. In Scripture (only considering NT examples), humans are identified as “aggelos” on several occasions:

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? […] 10 “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER (Gr. aggelos) AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’ (NASB Mat 11:7-10)

Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” […] 24 When the messengers (Gr. aggelos) of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (NASB Lk 7:19-24)

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers (Gr. aggelos) on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. (NASB Lk 9:51-52)

[…] and ye have known that through infirmity of the flesh I did proclaim good news to you at the first, 14  and my trial that [is] in my flesh ye did not despise nor reject, but as a messenger (Gr. aggelos) of God ye did receive me — as Christ Jesus […] (YLT Gal. 4:13-14)

In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers (Gr. aggelos, see Joshua 2) and sent them out by another way? (NASB Jam 2:25)

C. Moreover, the phrase “to the messenger of the church”, evokes other phrases in the Bible that are very prophetic in nature, and that should inform us on its meaning and implications.

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.” (ESV Hag 1:13)

The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by the hand of his messenger. Lay it, I pray you, to heart. (LXX-Brenton Mal 1:1)

For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. (NASB Mal 2:7)

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant (covenantal implications of the prophetic message), in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (NASB Mal 3:1)

D. We could speculate that these messengers were prophetic envoys commissioned by the Lord through John, much like Baruch, Jeremiah’s servant.

Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD which He had spoken to him. 5 Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, “I am restricted (just like John was at Patmos); I cannot go into the house of the LORD. 6 “So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD’S house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities. (NASB Jer 36:4-6)

E. Whoever these messengers were, we can surely affirm that they had a very serious responsibility before the Lord and toward the congregations. As we hear to the message entrusted to each of them we must respond with the same sobriety.

F. But before we continue let me address a very important issue. Why should we care about hearing to, and applying a message that was given to a church in Asia Minor that doesn’t even exist anymore? I will give three main reasons for why I strongly believe that we must care:

1. Because “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction.”

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (ESV Rom 15:4)

2. Because the apostles themselves ordained that letters written to specific churches had to be read in other churches.

When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. (NASB Col 4:16)

3. Because of the “continual” nature of such prophetic witness. In other words, the truth and standard that those churches received through the oracles was the same one that they had to communicate to other churches as disciples kept multiplying throughout the world.

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed. (ESV Rom 6:17)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (ESV Rev 3:6)

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (NASB Rev 22:18-19)

THUS SAYS YAHWEH (THE LORD)

THUS SAYS YAHWEH (THE LORD)

He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: (NASB Rev 3:1b)

A. Who is the One addressing the church in Sardis and what is the nature of His pronouncement? As we shall see, this phrase is packed with meaning, especially in light of His background in the Law and the prophets (i.e. the Old Testament). Here’s a note from the NET Bible:

“Grk “These things says [the One] …” The expression τάδε λέγει (tade legei) occurs eight times in the NT, seven of which are in Rev 2–3. “The pronoun is used to add solemnity to the prophetic utterance that follows.… In classical drama, it was used to introduce a new actor to the scene (Smyth, Greek Grammar, 307 [§1241]). But the τάδε λέγει formula in the NT derives from the OT, where it was used to introduce a prophetic utterance (BAGD, s.v. ὅδε, 1)” (ExSyn 328). Thus, the translation “this is the solemn pronouncement of” for τάδε λέγει is very much in keeping with the OT connotations of this expression.

The expression This is the solemn pronouncement of reflects an OT idiom. The LXX has the same Greek phrase (τάδε λέγει, tade legei) about 350 times, with nearly 320 of them having “the Lord” (Heb יהוה, Yahweh) as subject.

That the author of Revelation would use such an expression seven times with the risen Christ as the speaker may well imply something of Christ’s sovereignty and deity. Cf. also Acts 21:11 in which the Holy Spirit is the speaker of this expression.” 1

B. Zechariah 8:2 is just one of the many examples of this phrase in the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament)2. In fact, in Zechariah 8 alone the phrase (Τάδε λέγει) appears nine times (8:2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 14, 20, 23)!

Thus says the LORD (Hb. yehôvâh or Yahweh) of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her. (NASB Zech 8:2)

C. The clear implication is that the One addressing the congregation in Sardis is not only the Messiah of Israel but the God of Israel, Yahweh of hosts incarnate in the Person of Jesus son of Joseph, the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. Not only that, but the phrase also carries all of the weight of the true prophetic witness in the Law and the prophets.

D. Jesus “has3 the seven Spirits of God” and “the seven stars”:

1. The seven Spirits of God – many commentators agree that this is a reference to Isaiah 11 which describes a descendant of Jesse, David’s father, anointed with the Spirit (i.e. the Messiah), and functioning in the Spirit’s seven-fold activity. As related to Sardis specifically, we shall see that the passage was very appealing to their situation since externally speaking they were considered of “reputation” yet Jesus didn’t judge them “according to appearance” nor reproved them “according to report” (reputation) but by the Spirit of the Lord who reveals the hearts (1 Chron. 28:9).

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a blossom shall come up from his root (the Messiah): 2 and the Spirit of God shall rest upon him, the (1) spirit of wisdom and (2) understanding, the (3) spirit of counsel and (4) strength, the (5) spirit of knowledge and (6) godliness shall fill him; 3 the (7) spirit of the fear of God. He (the Messiah) shall not judge according to appearance, nor reprove according to report: 4 but he shall judge the cause of the lowly, and shall reprove the lowly of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the word of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he destroy the ungodly one. (LXX-Brenton Isa 11:1-4)

[…] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. (NASB Eph 1:17)

[…] that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. (NASB Eph 3:16)

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding […] (NASB Col 1:9)

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus (referencing the gift of the Spirit), 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end (by the Spirit), blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NASB 1Co 1:4-8)

And He (the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world (by the fear of the Lord) concerning sin and righteousness and judgment […] (NASB Jn 16:8)

2. The seven stars – Revelation 1:20 says that the seven stars are the seven messengers themselves. These messengers are in Jesus’ hand. They belong to Him, they are sent by Him, and they are accountable before Him, as are those to whom they are sent. This also evokes some Old Testament connotations:

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone, 25 Causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness, 26 Confirming the word of His servant And performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’ And I will raise up her ruins again. (NASB Isa 44:24-26)

The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place, 16 but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy. (NASB 2Chr 36:15-16)

REBUKE, CALLING, AND WARNING

REBUKE, CALLING, AND WARNING

‘I know (see) your works. You have the reputation (name) 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. (ESV Rev 3:1c-3)

A. After introducing Himself, Jesus now presents His case by rebuking, calling and warning the saints in Sardis. He sees their deeds (see Rev. 5:6 for a reference of the seven spirits as the seven eyes of the Lamb). He evaluates by the Spirit (Isa. 11) with impartial judgment and gives His verdict: They are known by men as ones who are “alive” but to God they were “dead.”

B. At the Day of the Lord we will be judged according to our works in relation to the motivation of our hearts (see Rom. 2:3-16). That’s why each one of the seven congregations was evaluated according to their works (see Rev. 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 3:1, 8, 15). Genuine faith in God, and love for Him and one another always express themselves through “good works.” It is in relation to this that the saints at Sardis were “dead.”

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (NASB Jam 2:14-26)

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (NASB 1Jn 3:14-18)

The works of the righteous produce life; but the fruits of the ungodly produce sins. (LXX-Brenton Pro 10:16) 1

C. After addressing their precarious condition Jesus soberly calls them to “wake up” (or become and keep being watchful) so as to “strengthen (Gr. sterizo) what remains and is about to die.” But what is it that remains and must be strengthened through watchfulness before it dies? I think this is talking about their faith and love expressing itself through works, since they were not “complete” before God. Their hearts needed to be strengthened in “every good work” so as to be “without blame in holiness before our God” “at the coming of our Lord Jesus.”

[…] and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another (good works implied, see 1 John 3:18), and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He may establish (Gr. sterizo) your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (NASB 1Ths 3:12-13)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen (Gr. sterizo) your hearts in every good work and word. (NASB 2Ths 2:16-17)

D. Their watchfulness or staying awake would be in relation to remembering what they had received originally through the proclamation of the gospel and actually “keep it” or obey it with a repentant heart.

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish (through the gospel) each one with tears. (NASB Act 20:29-31)

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. (NASB 1Co 11:23-26)

E. Maintaining our hearts focused with real faith on the Cross, the resurrection and the coming Kingdom to be established at the Day of the Lord (i.e. the gospel) requires great perseverance. It takes watchfulness!

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (NASB Mat 26:41)

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (NASB 1Co 16:13)

F. The consequence for not watching unto remembering and keeping is that He “will come like a thief” and we “will not know at what hour” He “will come.”

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. (NASB Mat 24:42-43)

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (NASB 1Ths 5:4-8)

Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame. (NASB Rev 16:15)

ENCOURAGEMENT BY PROMISING REWARD

ENCOURAGEMENT BY PROMISING REWARD

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. (ESV Rev 3:4-5)

A. Jesus now recognizes “a few names (believers) in Sardis” that have remained loyal to Him and have “not soiled their garments” with the world. The phrase a “few names” appeals to the fact that their names are actually still written in “the book of life.”

Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (NASB Phil 4:3)

B. Therefore they will be “considered worthy to attain to that age (the age to come) and the resurrection from the dead.” Being considered worthy or not is a massive issue before the Lord.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life (in this age) will lose it (in the age to come), and he who has lost his life for My sake (in this age) will find it (in the age to come). (NASB Mat 10:37-39)

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage (for they will marry the Lamb); 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (NASB Lk 20:34-36)

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling (calling/destiny in the age to come), and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power (in the resurrection from the dead), 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (NASB 2Ths 1:3-12)

C. Finally, Jesus encourages these saints to overcome by promising three glorious rewards:

1. White garments – royal-priestly garments that give believers the honor of walking with Jesus without shame (in contrast to Adam/Eve in Gen. 3), as a pure and spotless bride.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (NASB Eph 5:25-27)

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (NASB Rev 3:18)

Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame. (NASB Rev 16:15)

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts (their works of faith) of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (NASB Rev 19:7-9)

2. Not blotting their names from the book of life – this reality makes clear that Sardis’ problem was not just concerning their spiritual condition in this age but their eternal destiny in the age to come. On the negative side it meant being thrown into the lake of fire outside of the New Jerusalem if they would not repent. On the positive side this meant inheriting eternal life and having access into the New Jerusalem if they would repent.

May they be blotted out of the book of life And may they not be recorded with the righteous. (NASB Psa 69:28)

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (NASB Rev 20:15)

[…] and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it (the New Jerusalem, see whole chapter), but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (NASB Rev 21:27)

3. Confess1 their names before the Father and His angels – this is a covenantal confession from Jesus the Messiah that attests (affirms) before the Father and His divine-governmental council (the angels) to our own covenantal confession of faith and allegiance to Him even unto death.

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (NASB Mat 10:32-33)

And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. (NASB Lk 12:8-9)

The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him (Jesus) to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. (NASB Jn 9:18-22)

Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (NASB Jn 12:42-43)

But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (NASB Rom 10:8-10)

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NASB 1Tim 6:12)

That is why Jesus, in order to sanctify the people by his own blood, also suffered outside the city gate. 13 Therefore go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured. 14 For here we have no permanent city but are looking for the one that is coming. 15 Therefore, through him let us always bring God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess his name (Jesus’). (ISV Heb 13:12-15)

APPLICATION

APPLICATION: LET’S HEAR AND OBEY WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS TO THE CHURCHES

He who has an ear (faith), let him hear (obey) what the Spirit says to the churches. (ESV Rev 3:6)

The message to Sardis has direct bearings on us since the Spirit’s witness was sent to “the churches.” We must open the ear of faith and repentance as we respond to the Lord with all our hearts. The hour is urgent, the Day is at hand! May the Lord find us watching in that Day!

 

Henry Bruno Henry Bruno (24 Posts)

Henry is a husband, father and missionary. Henry and his wife Aneliz were born and raised in Puerto Rico. Their passion is to see a faithful witness of the Gospel among Jews and Gentiles, in this last hour.


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