5-1. The Details of the Church in Sardis

 

7stars-s copy   To the Church in Sardis ================================================================

3:1 The introduction shows the image of Jesus who has the seven spirits and the seven stars of God. The end times symbolize the consolidated spirituality of the Holy Spirit and, by making all situations viewed in the identical perspective of Jesus, mark the special occasion in which our spiritual vision is opened by the work of the seven spirits that emanate a strong light, which is seven times greater, over the whole world (Rev 1:4-6/Rev 4:5).

 

Here, the seven spirits and the seven stars are, along with the seven horns described in Revelation 5:6, form the combination of “777”, which is a very crucial, symbolic number.

When we look at the Church in Sardis, the first church described in Chapter 3, it looks fine on the outside but, on the inside, it is a church in which most believers are spiritually dying due to the temptations of those who have left the truth and those who live with a name but are spiritually dead.

 In other words, it maintains decent structure and form on the outside but the essence of faith has been damaged and the unlawful expediency, favor-seeking and materialism have become the norm, neglecting the law of Christ (Gal 6:2) and become a spiritually lawless realm.

 Here, the meaning of the spiritual death of a believer is the extinction of the Holy Spirit. Even if we were once a believer, we are now so far away from the right path and God’s will so God takes away the Holy Spirit, we would eventually face the spiritual death because the Holy Spirit in us would cease to exist.

 The Bible says that, even in the end times, there would be those who act irreverently and lustfully and leave God’s path to belittle and scoff at his great plan. Such people are those who do not unite in love, which is the will of God, make separations within themselves, and are sensual, having no spirit.

<Jude 1:16-19>

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

<Jn 12:43>

43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Those who have a name that they live under but are dead only pursue undeserving popularity or fame with a presumptuous name (Rev 13:1), gather people with religious and ritualistic adeptness, falsely spread the notion that mammonistic favor-seeking religion and outward prejudices are examples of a religious success, and often deceive them, preventing believers, in whom a sufficient amount of Christ must be reached (Eph 4:13), from bearing much fruit due to worrying about this world and seeking profits and materials as well as complacent pleasure.

 Therefore, we must at once stop all exaggerating outward appearances used only to show off to others but instead realize that effort based on truth is the only way to reach salvation. Upon removing all prejudices and biases stemmed from arrogance and authority, we must be an example as the kingdom and the priests of God with reverence to the words of the true God in our lives that possess such energy and activeness to emanate passion for the essence, rather than pretense and affectation (Ac 20:33-35).

<Outwardly Pretense and Prejudices That Must be Thrown Away Immediately>

1 Supremacy based on materials (Mammonism) (1Ti 6:10/Mt 6:4)

2 Supremacy based on physical attractiveness (Lookism)

(1Pe 3:3/1 Sa 16:7/Col 3:25/Jas 2:1-4)

3 Supremacy based on lineage (1Co 1:26/Rev 13:1/2 Co 6:4-10)

4 Supremacy based on authority (Jer 5:30-31/1 Ki 21:5-16)

5 Supremacy based on outward appearances (Mt 23:25-28)

6 Supremacy based on buildings (Lk 21:5-6/Ac 7:47-50/Ac 17:24-25)

7 Supremacy based on advertising (Mt 23:5-7/Mt 6:1-18)

3:2 Thus, he warns us that it is time to awaken our dying souls and strengthen what is left of our will towards the Lord. He also tells us that the church in Sardis is a church without good deeds before God and cannot bear any fruit as it has fallen into a complacent pleasure and spiritual ignorance.
3:3 Also, he firmly warns us that if we do not obey the words we have heard and repent and always stay awake with the full armor of God on, the wrath of Jesus would come on any given day and time without notice (Rev 16:15).

 

The Whole Armor of God <Eph 6:14-20>

1) Have your loins girt about with truth,

2) Have on the breastplate of righteousness,

3) Shoe your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace,

4) Take the shield of faith,

5) Take the helmet of salvation,

6) And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

7) Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Holy Spirit.

Watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as Iought to speak.

3:4 However, although the church in Sardis is a secularized church filled with those who are spiritually dead because of their bad deeds, a few believers who have not been influenced by their surroundings and wear the fine linen of righteous deeds (Rev 19:8), made clean and white by the blood of atonement of Christ (Rev 7:14), are suitable to be with Jesus (Isa 61:10), having the righteousness to keep their clothes from becoming dirty (Eze 14:13-14).

 

Therefore, like Joseph who was the only one awake through all trials and tribulations, the sons and daughters of the light walk with Jesus (Ge 39:2-3/Ge 39:23/Ge 5:24) and become the people who persevere and conquer the deception of the dark. For this, they must be cautious of the existence of those who hide the truth with false information and attempt to catch with nets and use their brothers and sisters wrongfully for their own benefits.

 Like Judas Iscariot, Satan often deceives people that are close to one another so, in the times of Revelation when no peace is pursued with Satan’s force (Rev 6:4), even parents and siblings may separate themselves and become enemies once they become followers of Satan; therefore, we must all be careful for such situations not to arise.

Especially within an organization like the church in Sardis in which the righteousness of deeds before God cannot be found, the believers must deeply grasp that there exists a net of Satan (Ps 31:4/Ps 35:7-8) and must always stay awake without being swept away. We must firmly keep the mystery of faith and become a part of God’s network, a net interwoven with the grace and love of Jesus, more passionately (Ps 140:5/Ps 141:9-10/Pr 4:14-19).

When Jesus came to the earth for the first time as the son of man, Peter, James and John were all workers using fishing nets, but in the end times, the networkers of God with the use of the Internet are urgently needed.

3:5 Also, he tells us that those who overcome Satan would receive the white robe symbolizing salvation (Isa 61:10) and their names would not be marred and bleared in the book of life, which is the record of the people who have been acknowledged by Jesus and who are saved. He lets us know that, through Jesus’ blessings of writing their names in the book of life (Rev 20:12-15), they become specially owned by God (Da 12:1/Lk 10:20). 

 

Therefore, for the life of a believer who wishes to reach eternal life, being written in the book of life is the greatest joy and honor as well as the symbol of grace for which we must give thanksgiving forever.

The completion of the ultimate salvation described in Revelation lies in not only being written in the book of life but also putting on the robe washed by the blood of the Lamb, steadfastly holding onto the crown, walking towards the tree of life and having the name written in the book forever (2 Pe 1:10/Ps 69:28/2 Co 13:5).

3:6 Verse 6 is repeating, emphasis on listening intently to the prophecies of Jesus and the word of the Holy Spirit spoken to the churches.“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

 

(Rev 2:7) (Rev 2:11) (Rev 2:17) (Rev 2:29) (Rev 3:6) (Rev 3:13) (Rev 3:22)


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