Revelation 3:1-6 – The Church in Sardis

by | Updated August 2nd, 2021

Sardis was located 50 miles East of Smyrna and 30 miles Southeast of Thyatira. It was a commercial trade route running East and West through Lydia and was the capital city of the Lydian kingdom.

Unlike the other churches, Sardis and Laodicea there is no commendation given by our Lord but only rebuke and warning. The church continued until the fourth century but was never prominent. Today only the small village of Sart exists amid the ancient ruins.

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Revelation 3:1-6

“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. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 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. 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. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

The Description of Jesus

“These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars” (Revelation 3:1). This is nearly the same description as the church in Ephesus only here “in His right hand” is omitted. This is significant in that there is nothing to commend them for and the pastor is not said to be in His right hand. It appears because of the Pastor’s and church’s negligence they were no longer in the place of Jesus’ care and protection. He still has them but something is out of character. Their protection is gone.

“The seven Spirits of God” does not mean there were literally seven Spirits but it refers to the complete working of the Spirit of God in the life of Jesus. We also see this referenced later on in Revelation. Isaiah prophesied of this saying, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2).

The Warning

“I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 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” (Revelation 3:1-3).

The Remnant

“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” (Revelation 3:4). The Lord always has a remnant who have not defiled themselves. This church was no different. Historically, this church foreshadowed and was a picture of the Protestant Reformation period. It was born out of the seeds of corruption. Great masses of Christendom was dead though it had a name that it lived. The Reformation is usually considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517.

Protestant Reformation, the religious revolution that took place in the Western church in the 16th century. During these years only a small remnant took its stand for true Biblical revelation and trusted Christ alone for salvation. Characteristics of this church remarkably parallel. Its greatest leaders undoubtedly were Martin Luther and John Calvin. Having far-reaching political, economic, and social effects, the Reformation became the basis for the founding of Protestantism.

The Promise

“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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:5-6).

  1. Overcoming victory. This is repeated to each of the seven churches. All truly born-again believers are over comers. That’s our destiny. We’re promised overcoming victory in this life and the life to come. We must simply hold fast until He comes. One of Martin Luther’s major themes and focuses was “The Just Shall Live by Faith” (Romans 1:17). Faith in Jesus produces victory.

    No matter what you may be going through or what you’re facing God’s plan for you is overcoming victory. Keep trusting and obeying and don’t ever quit or give up. The devil knows that the only way he can win is by getting you to give up. If you refuse to quit you will overcome. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER QUIT!

    2 Corinthians 2:14 – “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.”

    1 John 4:4 – “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

    1 John 5:4-5 – “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

    Romans 8:37 – “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

  2. Clothed in white raiment. White raiment is always symbolic of the righteousness of the saints. Our robes have been washed by the blood of the lamb. All the filth of this sinful world and the flesh has been cleansed, washed away, and made clean by Jesus’ shed blood on Golgotha’s hill for us. As the old hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

    Isaiah 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 His righteousness.”

    Romans 3:22-26– “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

    Romans 5:9-11– “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

    1 John 1:7– “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (and keeps on cleansing) us from all sin.”

  3. I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. All who have placed their faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross have had their names written in the book of life. All who haven’t placed their trust in Jesus and Him alone are not written in the book of life. Some believe that everyone’s name is written in the book of life but if they reject what Jesus did for them then their name is blotted out of the book. Whatever you believe, if your faith is in Jesus alone and what He did for you, your name is in the book of life and it will not be blotted out. You are secure in Him!

    Revelation 20:11-15 – “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

  4. Jesus will confess our name before the Father. How glorious is that? Jesus will stand before the Father and confess our name before Him. Our confession of Jesus secures Jesus’ confession of us before the Father. Our belief in Him is imputed unto us His righteousness and with our mouth confession is made unto salvation. Confession is imperative! It seals our salvation! Because we were not ashamed of Him, He will not be ashamed of us.

    Romans 10:8-10 – “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

    Matthew 10:32-33 – “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.”

    Mark 8:38 – “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

A Call to Attentiveness

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:6). This is repeated to each of the seven churches. Therefore, we must re-emphasize it where the Holy Spirit does. It’s incumbent on us to listen up and give heed to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. This was true of this church, all the seven churches, the church throughout the ages, and churches today. We must have an attentive ear and also obey all the Holy Spirit says.

Hebrews 3:7-8 – “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts.”

Matthew 25:29 – “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

John 7:17 – “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.”

John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”


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