Thoughts on Revelation (5)
The first six verses of chapter three are addressed to the church in Sardis. It is the fifth in our study of the letters to the seven churches to which John writes. The letter is short but not so sweet. Jesus says, “I know your reputation as a live and active church, but you are dead.: (3:1 TLB) This is a classic example of the fact that the Lord Jesus is the only One who truly knows all about us. Apparently the church in Sardis was doing works that caused quite a stir and caused people to think they were alive, but Jesus saw those works as being dead. The idea of dead works is also addressed by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. He tells them first and foremost that all work must be built on the foundation of Christ. When working to build the kingdom there must be total dependence upon the Spirit and not human wisdom. This truth is seen even more clearly in the Old Testament. In the days of Zechariah the prophet the Jewish people were attempting to rebuild the temple and regain some degree of national strength. To the leaders came this strong word from God’s prophet-… “This is the word of the Lord…not by might or power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)
Now back to the church in Sardis. Jesus encourages them to strengthen what they do have, to be watchful and to repent of their dead works. If they will do so He promises them hope and an eternal future.
As He says to all the churches- “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” You see, there is a call not only to the church, but also each individual within the church. To each one of us there is a call to strengthen our faith, to be more watchful for Christ’s return, and to repent when and where it is needed.