1. And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things sait h he that hath the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead.
2 Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have found no works of thine perfected before my God.
The one who is awake stands fast and helps others do the same. He cannot simply think of himself- he must think of others. But the Christians of Sardis are not awake- they are asleep. They must wake up before it is too late!
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear; and keep it, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
They had better wake up or they will lose all.
4 But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and 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 to the churches.
Yet again we see that even in the deadest Church there are people whose love for Jesus is pure and who are led by that purity of heart to serve Jesus every day.
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 none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth:
8 I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name.
9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they 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.
Jesus has become effective in their lives and has issued in action. They might not be in the most important city but they are faithful. The gift given them in result of this faithfulness is an open door of fruitful mission activity.
10 Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
When Jesus comes those who have remained faithful will not have to endure the shame and punishment coming upon the disobedient.
11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.
12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
Jesus comes quickly and his community, his Church, should stand fast in his word until then. This is what they are called to do. His promise to such people is a fellowship that will never end.
14. And to the angel of the church in Laodicea 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 because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
The church holds its faith in Jesus lightly. It is a low priority for them for they are indifferent to it and to Him. If this attitude continues, their fellowship with Jesus will be irreparably damaged.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou able and poor and blind and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.
Jesus does not praise them for their attitude; he chides them and urges them to repent. How different this is from modern theologians and preachers who are unwilling to offer substantive advice and instead have adopted the psychiatric methods of the world. They thereby do the church and the Lord a disservice.
19 As many as I love, I reprove 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 He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
Their whole religious life is a sham; they must repent. If they do not they certainly cannot expect to share table fellowship with Jesus when He comes in his kingdom. The judgment of Jesus against sin in the church is just as potent as it is against those outside of the church. The church cannot rest on its laurels; it must be faithful always.
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