1 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.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
If we have the opportunity to peep into the windows of the church at Sardis, it will appear to us to be a church that was alive. Its members were praying, singing, and listening to God’s Word. But the Word of God revealed that she was a big disappointment to the Lord Jesus Christ [v.1].
We read in our scripture text that the church had a reputation of her activities, but she was spiritually dead [v.2]. she was once known to be a faithful, loving servant of Christ – but no more. She had been the sinful city’s conscience – but no more. Much of her concern now was how to keep to her traditional practices than with genuine evangelism and discipleship.
The Lord Jesus Christ found her works or deeds fallen short before God. The church at Sardis performed religious duties not to please God to please men. The church was a man-pleaser rather than a God-pleaser. The church had often started projects for god but had never brought them to completion. The Lord called the church at Sardis to repent, and to a new zeal and a new endeavour to strengthen what little there remained for Him [v.3], for there was a remnant which had not lost its Christian testimony. They had not defiled their garments with worldliness [v.4]. Because they were manifestly true Christians, their names would not be blotted out of the Book of Life [v.5]. And again, the Lord gave a solemn warning against having a religious profession without ever having been born again [v.6].
Identifying a problem is the first step toward solving it. The problem with the church at Sardis was that she was [spiritually] dead. The Lord Jesus exhorted the remnant (the believers) there to fan the flame with a renewed commitment to Him. They were to wake up and shake some life into their brethren. God had lifted them from the mire of sin so they could carry out His perfect Will, performing good works zealously [Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14].
May God bring a thorough spiritual awakening to us who has been graciously and mercifully saved by the blood of Christ.
“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.”
Combined B-P Conference (2019) Devotional by Ps Ong Hock Kee