Rev 3:1 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.
Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Rev 3:3 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.
Rev 3:4 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.
Rev 3:5 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.
Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
This is perhaps the saddest letter John ever wrote. Jesus tells them He knows their works and that they “have a name” and live and are dead. Now no other church has a “name”, in fact having a name may be seen as being OF the world. But it is the next statement that is perplexing. That you live and are dead, is an oxymoron. But the Key to it is found in the next sentence. Jesus has not found their works Perfect, before God, and what is remaining, needs strengthening because they are perishing as Body of Believers. Moreover He tells them to remember HOW they received and heard and hold fast to it and repent. How did the Believers receive? They received by the Holy Spirit who had apparently been quieted or quenched or just not paid heed to. Moreover the Apostles teaching was a means to “hear”, so this church has “something else” going on. They were also not “watching” for His return, so comes the warning that was given in the Gospels. Seeing as by this time the other Gospels including perhaps that of the John the Beloved’s were in circulation and the teachings of James Peter and Paul were more widely around, the warnings of Jesus to the servants would have been known to this church.
Mat 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Mat 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mat 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Mat 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
Mat 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Mat 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
You see when Jesus talks about knowing the works and that they are not perfect before God He is alluding to their service to Him. It is a sort of “weighed, weighed, found wanting” deal. But you see this was an attitude that this church’s heart had and it killed them. But there is always mercy given. If they strengthened what remained and watched they might be alright. Also, there is always a remnant. There were those who had not “sullied” themselves but were diligent. These walk in white. The reward, the only reward is to walk in white and not have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. They are also confessed before the Father. Now here is the thing. The lesson of this church is that to live we must be diligent in watching and obedient in our lives to God as His servants.
The Revelation here is simple, Jesus Lord of the Church. These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;.