Revelation Chapter 3
Sardis (1517-1750)

·        1  And to 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 thou art dead.

The seven spirits of God refers to the sevenfold nature of the Holy Spirit (ch 1:4).  The seven stars are
the seven an-gels of the seven churches (ch. 1:20).  Jesus holds them in His hand.  The destiny of the
church is in his hands.  

Jesus knew their works and their works were decreasing.  This church had a reputation, but it was
reputation alone.  They were known as a 'church alive', but they were spiritu-ally dead.  They had
become a church going through the motions - operating the religious treadmill. (Ichabod)

As we have determined, the seven churches probably rep-resent seven church ages through history.  
Church histori-ans agree that the Sardis era began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the
church door in Wittenburg, Germany.  This began the Reformation.  

The Protestant revolution began in Germany in 1517, when theologian Martin Luther published his 95
theses challenging the theory and practice of indulgences. Papal authorities ordered Luther to submit to
church authority and threatened him with excommunication. Luther rejected the papacy and denounced
the pope as the Antichrist. He re-fused to recant and was declared an outlaw.

Sadly, the Reformation stalled out quickly and didn't change much in the condition of the church.  
Complacency set in and the church lived off its past reputation.

"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.

"Wake up and stay awake."  Certain aspects of their faith and practice were still alive, but they needed
to be more serious about their worship, study, and ministry.  He was calling on them to overhaul their
relationship with God.  It is not enough for a church to hold right doctrines or go through a ritual or form
of worship.  The church back up its talk with its walk.  Devotion to God and works must ac-company
doctrine and words.  

·        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.

Jesus wanted the church to recognize their backslidden condition and return to his teachings.  Notice
that he does not want them to be caught unawares.

History shows that on 2 separate occasions, when enemy armies had surrounded Sardis, her careless
guards fell asleep.  Each time the opposing army slipped and cap-tured the embarrassed city.  Jesus  
uses this fact to  apply to spiritual applications.  Notice what 1 Thess says con-cerning the endtimes:

1 Thessalonians 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.
5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an
helmet, the hope of salvation.
9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

He repeats here what is said in the text of verse 3, "I will come like a thief".  Think about this - People are
constantly quoting the scriptures about "not knowing the day or the hour", and Jesus coming "like a thief
in the night", and act-ing as if there is no use looking at the teachings about the endtimes because it is
all a mystery and we cannot know anything until it happens.  The Thessalonian passage ac-tually
appears to say the opposite.  The children of dark-ness (the world) cannot know because they are in
dark-ness.  But the children of light are given enough informa-tion that they can discern the times and
know approxi-mately when  some of these events will occur, or at least know them when they do occur.  
There are many signs to indicate where we are going.  We cannot know the day or the hour of His
coming.  Only the Father knows that.  "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should over-
take you as a thief."

That sounds like we are supposed to know when it is near, though we cannot know the exact day or
hour.  We are supposed to pay attention.  We are not supposed to be taken unawares.  Verse two says,
"Be thou watchful…".  Verse three says, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou
shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."  

Jesus prophesied that the generation alive when Israel be-comes a nation will live to see the fulfillment
of all the prophecies of the last days.  

Mt 24:32  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet ten-der, and putteth forth leaves,
ye know that summer is nigh:
Mt 24:33  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Mt
24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The fig tree always represents the nation of Israel.

How long is a generation?  Some say 40 years.  Others, figuring Biblical genealogies, say about 51.4
years.

In the Old Testament, certain events were predicted with specific times noted.

Daniel 9 - 4 specific time frames were mentioned.
 70 years captivity
 69 weeks or years
 62 weeks or years        
7 years
Dan 7.25
 3 1/2 years
 42 months - 3 1/2 years
3 1/2 biblical years of 360 days.

Once the Antichrist enters and profanes the Temple in Je-rusalem, we can easily predict when
Armageddon will be-gin.  Several events are specific and predictable.

Don't sleep through your spiritual life and be caught un-awares.  Be watchful.

Ro 13:11  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our
salvation nearer than when we believed.

We can have a fine group of singers, great instrumenta-tion, lively worship, and still sing while our minds
wander and our hearts drift far from God.

·         4-5  But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their gar-ments: and they shall walk
with me in white; for they are worthy. 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.

There were still a few faithful in Sardis, as there always will be.  Jesus knows who they are.  He made
three promises to the faithful:
1.        He promised that these would walk with him in robes of white, because they had sincerely
accepted Jesus as their Savior and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, had lived holy lives.  

2.        He also promised not to blot their names from the book of life.  

Re 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and
another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which
were written in the books, according to their works.  
  20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Re 21:10  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high moun-tain, and shewed me that great
city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,  
  21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defi-leth, neither whatsoever worketh
abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Some suggest there may be a difference between the book of life and the Lamb's book of life.  Probably
not!

3.         Finally, Jesus promised to acknowledge the names of the saved before God and his angels.  

·        6  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

We must overcome, hold fast, and live holy lives.  When we hear God's Word, we receive life, light, and
truth; we learn God's commandments, judgments, and promises; we get to know his heart, mind, and will;
we find comfort, peace, and strength.  It does no good to spend your life in church without hearing and
changing.

3 R's -Remember, Repent, and be Righteous
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