1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis, write: These things says the One having the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have the name that you live, and are dead. 2 Be watching, and establish the things left, which are about to die. For I have not found your works being fulfilled before God. 3 Then remember how you received and heard, and keep, and repent. If, then, you do not watch, I will come upon you like a thief and you will not at all know what hour I come upon you. 4 You also have a few names in Sardis which did not defile their robes, and they shall walk with Me in white because they are worthy. 5 The one overcoming, this one shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not at all blot his name out of the Book of Life; and I will acknowledge his name before My Father, and before His angels. 6 The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The Message to Sardis
(To the Angel and the Church)
- Spirit – The One having the seven spirits of God and the seven angels
- Accomplishments – Have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their robes
- Failure – a) You do not live up to your name. You have a name to live, but you are dead b) Defiled your robe c) Not watchful d) Work is not being fulfilled before God
- Commandment –a) Be watching b) Establish the things left which are about to die c) Remember how you have received and heard d) Keep e) Repent!
- Reward for Overcoming – a) Clothed in white garments b) Not blot your name out of the Book of Life c) Acknowledge your name before God and his Angels
- Judgment for Failure – Blotted out (perish). Christ will come upon you like a thief.
The Angel at the church at Sardis had the seven spirits of God and the seven angels, which made the church and Angel very powerful. Sardis was one of the most important cities of Asia Minor. It was a fortress but it had a major weakness. The city never watched out for the enemy. It became complacent and lethargic and this caused the city to be constantly destroyed and captured by the enemy. In 190 BC, Sardis, like Thyatira, became a part of Per’gamos.
Sardis was noted for its fruits and wool, and for it’s temple of the goddess Cybele, whose worship resembled that of Diana of Ephesus. Its wealth was partly due to the gold which was found in the sand of the river Pactolus, and it was here that gold and silver coins were first struck.
Complacency caused Sardis to never live up to its true potential, and Jesus finds these similarities in the church at Sardis. Jesus said “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shall not watch, I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I shall come on thee.”
What Jesus says to this church is a prime example of his parable of the fig tree in Luke 13: 6-9. “He spake also this parable:
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon and found none. Then he said unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none: cut it down: why cumbereth it to the ground? And he answering said unto him, let it alone this year also till I shall dig about it and dung it. And if it bare fruit, well, and if not, after that thou shall cut it down.
Sardis failed to watch out for those other idol practices. It had begun to slip into the church through the church’s complacency. Jesus tells the overcomer that if the he does not repent and overcome, he will blot him out, and if he overcomes, he will confess his name before God and before the Angels. To be blotted out is to perish. The angel in this church had the seven spirits of God and was a part of the bridal party, Jesus also says “he that overcometh shall be clothed in white rainment”, and that there are a few names in Sardis that have not defiled their garments, they will walk with him in white because they are worthy. Those remained faithful to God. Jesus finds Sardis to be an unfaithful church, just like Thyatira and Per’gamos. In 190 BC Sardis became a part of Per’gamos.
God will not accept anyone who is unfaithful to him. Repentance requires a change of heart, not just empty words. This is where God will judge us all. It is not enough to just say I repent, and not mean it. If we have a change of heart, then we will make a conscious effort to not continue in the sin for which we are repenting. God will know the difference. We have to make sure that we remain watchful. Jesus said that Sardis should strengthen those that remain that are ready to die. If the overcomer fails in this, he will be blotted out of the book of life. Jesus said I have not found your works perfect before God. He expects us not to be lazy servants.
Summary: We need to hear what the spirit is saying to the churches. God will search the reins of our hearts. He expects his churches to bear fruit. When we least expect it, He will show up and we need to be like the 5 wise virgins, working with oil in our lamps and watching out for his sheep.
Actions Needed to Overcome At Sardis:
- Stop being lazy.
- Keep the evil out.
- Take care of the sick and elderly.
- Use the Lord’s money wisely.
- Be faithful.
- Live up to your true potential.
- Do the best you can.
- What was the church at Sardis instructed to do?
- What is the reward for overcoming at Sardis?
- Which Spirit is speaking to the church at Sardis?
- List the good things about the church at Sardis.
- List the bad things about the church at Sardis?
- What did the church at Sardis do wrong?
- What will God do to those at Sardis who do not overcome?
- What did the city of Sardis produce?
- What natural treasures were found in Sardis?
- What 2 churches did Sardis become a part of?