HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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The Book of Revelation
To the Church in Sardis - Revelation 3:1-6
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. [KJV] Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This message is from the One who has the Seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know all you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead".
The city of Sardis was located inland on a high plateau above the Hermos valley. Three sides were straight up; accessible only from the south and it was very steep. It was known for its carpet and its wealth. Coins were first minted here. Jesus presents Himself to this church as “He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” The “seven spirits of God” is another name for the Holy Spirit. The seven stars are the pastors of the churches (Rev. 2:1). The problem in the Sardis church was not heresy, but spiritual death. In spite of its reputation for being active, Sardis was full of sin. Its deeds were evil. Jesus has NO words of praise for this church that looked good on the outside but was rotten on the inside (Mt.23:27). Hypocrisy (those who profess to be Christians but do NOT possess Christ, Mt.7:21-23) and great deadness in their souls was their sin. Only a handful were loyal (Mt.7:13-14). You don't have to look far today to see this kind of church.
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. [KJV] Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is at the point of death. Your deeds are far from right in the sight of God.
“Wake up!” A warning! Churches today, like Sardis, have drifted FAR away from their faith and their love and loyalty of Christ. The Rapture could take place any day! We must be alert and ready! Whenever we stop watching, we lose ground. Works are hollow and empty; prayers are not filled up with holy desires. When the Spirit is quenched, we drift away from 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. [KJV] Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold tight to it and turn to me again, Jesus tells them. If you don't, I will come upon you suddenly, just like an unexpected thief.
Sardis was urged to obey the Christian Truth they had heard when they first believed in Christ, to get back to the basics of the faith. We MUST grow in our knowledge of the Lord, and deepen our understanding through careful study. Jesus will always be God’s Son, and His sacrifice for our sins is permanent. Nothing should ever contradict these Biblical truths. When we seek to revive our souls, we must compare what we profess, with the manner of our lifestyle. Do they agree, or are we hypocrites?
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. [KJV] "Yet even in Sardis there are some who have not soiled their garments with wicked ways. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The total nation of Israel was NEVER true to God -- only a few, a remnant (Lu.12:32). This is still true today, both among the Jews and the Gentiles! Only a FEW remain faithful to Him and love His Word, and stand by it and Him! Are you one of the "few"?
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. [KJV] All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and His angels that they are mine.
Jesus makes honorable mention of the faithful remnant in Sardis, and He makes a wonderful Promise to them (and to us). He that overcometh(1 Jn.5:4-5) shall be clothed in white raiment, and He will NOT blot his name out of the ‘book of life’. The ‘Book of Life’ symbolizes all those who belong to Jesus (God’s children). If your name is NOT in this book, you will NOT enter Heaven (Rev.20:15). Jesus does not leave this church without some encouragement.
Rev. 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. [KJV] Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
“Wake up, and LISTEN!” The Spirit speaks through God’s Word, and our hearts (conviction of wrongdoings).
To the Church in Philadelphia - Revelation 3:7-13
Rev. 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; [KJV] Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the One who is holy and true. He is the One who has the key of David. When He opens a door, no one can shut it; and if He shuts a door, no one can open it.
Philadelphia was founded by the people of Pergamum. Philadelphia’s residents kept barbarians out of the region and brought in Greek culture and language. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 17, and aftershocks kept the people so worried that most of them lived outside the city limits.
Jesus presents Himself to this church as “He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.” In each message to these churches, Jesus always draws something from the vision of Himself as the glorified Christ (chap.1). Here He reminds them that He is holy; at His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, now and forever more! He is also true (Jn.14:6). And He indeed holds the ‘key of David’ (symbolizing authority and power, Lu.1:32-33). If Jesus opens the door of eternal life to you, NO man can shut it; and if He shuts it (because of YOUR rejection of Him), NO man can open it! Judgment is sure and certain. . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_coming.htm
Rev. 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. [KJV] I know all that you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can shut. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my Word and did not deny me.
Jesus has 7 words of praise for the church of Philadelphia:
- (1) Their ‘works’. We are NOT saved by works (Ep.2:8-9), but once we are saved, we should produce works (fruit) for Him (Jam.2:17-18). “Faith alone saves; but faith that saves is not alone.” Saving faith produces good works — if it doesn’t — you’d better ask yourself “Why not?”
- (2) They have an open door, and no one can shut it. This ‘door’ is a door to peace and joy that only God can give. This ‘door’ is also a door to witness and proclaim God’s Word which they were doing.
- (3) A little strength means they were a small humble group, but they had the Holy Spirit.
- (4) Kept His Word. They believed it to be the inspired Word of God, and stuck by it.
- (5) Didn’t deny His Name. The deity of Christ was NOT denied in this church. Today Christ is blatantly denied by seminaries and the pulpit. This Philadelphia church remained true to Him.
Rev. 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. [KJV] I will force those who belong to Satan, those liars who say they are Jews but are not, to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
The “synagogue of Satan” is Jews AND Gentiles who support the cause of Satan. They claim (profess) to be Christians, but in their hearts, they are not!
- (6) Jesus states that He will make the enemies of the church know that He loves this church.
Rev. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. [KJV] Because you have obeyed my command to persevere (hang in there), I will protect you from the great time of testingthat will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.
- (7) Some believe this means there will be a future time of the Great Tribulation from which true believers will be spared. Others say this means that the church will go through a time of tribulation but God will keep them strong through it all. Still others believe this refers to times of great distress in general. No matter what it means, we should be patiently obeying God no matter what we face. Christ promises preserving grace in the most trying times, as the reward of past faithfulness. Those who faithfully stand by Jesus, He in turn, will stand by them in ALL circumstances.
Rev. 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. [KJV] I shall come quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.
Quickly doesn’t mean soon, but rather gives the idea of suddenness. The Philadelphians are commended for their effort to obey and are encouraged to hold tightly to whatever strength they have. You may be a new believer and feel that your faith and spiritual strength are little. Use what you have, and live for Christ as you stand firm in your faith, and God will commend you for all that you do. “Crown” is symbolic of victory and reward true believers will receive.
Rev. 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. [KJV] All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. Jesus will write God's name on them, and they will be citizens in the city of my God the New Jerusalem that comes down from Heaven from my God. And they will have my new Name inscribed upon them.
New Jerusalem is the future dwelling place of God’s children (Rev. 21:2). We will have a new citizenship in God’s future Kingdom. Everything will be new, pure, and secure. “He shall go no more out” means that our home in Heaven is eternally secure. There is NO danger of our being removed. Since there is no temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:22), being that the Lord God and the Lamb (Jesus) are the Temple therein, I think it is possible that all believers (overcomers 1 Jn.4:4-5), are symbols of pillars (support).
We (believers) will have written upon us:
- (1) the Name of God
- (2) the name of New Jerusalem
- (3) and the Name of Jesus. He states here that it will be His NEW Name that is written, possibly the same Name that is on the stone (Rev.2:17). These Names written upon us are like our passport, as citizens of Heaven. We will be able to come and go as we please.
Rev. 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.[KJV] Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Jesus has NO word of condemnation for this church of Philadelphia. He ends His message the same as the others “Listen to me.” We are the church of today. Are we listening to the messages to these seven churches?
This church represents the revived church that stands by God and God’s Word. This is NOT one particular denomination or local church; they are scattered throughout the world.
To the Church in Laodicea - Revelation 3:14-22
Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; [KJV] Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the One who is the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the One who made God's Creation. (Heb.1:1-2).:
Laodicea means ‘the rights of the people’. If ever there was a time when people were clamoring for “their rights”, it’s today! People have taken over the church. Jesus is no longer the ‘Head’. Councils, conventions, denominations, etc. now run the church, not our Lord. Laodicea was the wealthiest, and was the worst of the seven churches. It was known for its banking industry, manufacture of wool, clothing industry and a medical school that produced eye salve. Citizens worshiped Zeus (Jupiter).Here our Lord Jesus presents Himself “The Amen” This is the only place in the Bible that “Amen” is a proper name (that of our Lord). Amen means truly or surely, or may it be so. “The faithful and true witness” Jesus will reveal and tell ALL! Today it is difficult to hear the ‘truth’. We certainly do NOT get it from the T.V. or media or our government, and MANY of our ‘churches’ are NOT preaching the Truth of God’s Word. All those ‘liberal’ churches have absolutely NO message of Truth for those in attendance. “The beginning of the Creation of God.” Christ Jesus IS the Creator (Heb.1:1-2).
Rev. 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [KJV] I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other!
When Jesus said “I know thy works” to the other six churches, He meant ‘good’ works! He was praising them! But our precious Lord had NO words of praise for this church. Everything about this church He condemns. Even their ‘works’ were evil. “That thou art neither cold or hot.” A COLD church is one that denies all true doctrines of faith. It actually opposes the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ. It is ‘liberalism’. A HOT church is one that is on fire for our Lord, with real love, fervor and passion like the Ephesian Church. Laodicea was neither cold or hot — but lukewarm. The people KNEW what Jesus meant by this because this city had a problem with its water supply. An aqueduct was built to bring water to the city from the mountains. But by the time the water reached the city, it was neither hot nor cool — but sickenly lukewarm. The church had become as nauseating as that tepid water. Many of today’s churches try to maintain a ‘middle of the road’ position. They won’t take a firm stand for Jesus, yet they do not want to be called ‘liberals’ either. This is “hypocrisy’. 2 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.[KJV] What Jesus is telling this church is “You make me sick to my stomach! You SAY you are Christians, you SAY you love me, but you LIE!” Which one are you? Cold, hot or lukewarm?
Rev. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. [KJV] Since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!
A severe punishment is threatened. If we do not love Jesus and stand by Him in ardent and persevering faith, He will cast us away from Him! We should NOT give a false opinion of Christianity. Others may conclude it could afford no real satisfaction, otherwise its professors would take more heart in it. Causes of indifference and inconsistency in Christianity is pride, greed and self-delusion. You are either FOR Jesus, or you are AGAINST Jesus. Which are you? You CANNOT sit on the fence! And IF you are not for Him, you are against Him!
Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: [KJV] You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' You don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Laodicea and Sardis were the richest churches around. They believed the almighty dollar was the answer to life’s problems. Sound familiar? Some believers falsely assume that numerous material possessions are a sign of God’s blessing. But what the Laodiceans could see and buy had become more valuable to them than what is unseen and eternal (Mat.6:19-21). Wealth, luxury, and ease can make people feel confident, satisfied, and complacent. But no matter how many possessions you have or how much money you make, you have NOTHING if you don’t have a relationship with Christ. Instead of centering your life primarily on comfort and luxury, find your true riches in Christ (Ep. 3:8; Phil.3:8; Jam.2:5; Mt.19:23; Mk.4:19; 1 Tim.6:7, 9, 19).
Jesus Condemns Seven things about the Laodiceans:
1. Evil works (Rev. 3:15)
2. Neither cold nor hot (Rev. 3:15)
3. Lukewarm and nauseating (Rev. 3:16)
4. Proud and self-satisfied (Rev. 3:17)
5. Ignorant of their true state (Rev. 3:17)
6. Blind, in ears, mind and eyes. Spiritual darkness (Rev.3:17; Rom2:19; 2 Pet.1:9; Mat.15:14).
7. Naked, unclothed, defenseless (Rev.3:17; 16:15; 17:16).
Rev. 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. [KJV] I advise you to buy gold from me gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.
Christ told the Laodiceans to buy their gold from Him (spiritual treasures). The city was proud of its cloth and dyeing industries—but Christ told them to purchase white clothes from Him (His righteousness). Laodicea prided itself on its precious eye salve that healed many eye problems—but Christ told them to get medicine from Him to heal their eyes so they could see the truth (John 9:39). Christ tells them that true value was not in material possessions, but in a right relationship with God. Their earthly possessions and achievements were worthless compared with the everlasting future of Christ’s kingdom.
Rev. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. [KJV] I am the One who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference.
God’s purpose in chastisement is NOT to punish, but to bring people back to Him. If you are lukewarm in your devotion to God, He may chasten you to help you out of your uncaring attitude, but He uses only loving discipline in doing so. To avoid God’s discipline, draw near to Him again through repentance, service, worship, and studying His Word.
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [KJV] I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If you hear me knocking and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.
Christ knocked at the door of their hearts, but they were too busy enjoying worldly pleasures that they didn’t notice that He was trying to enter. The pleasures of this world can be dangerous. Our temporary pleasure and satisfaction blinds us to God’s offer of eternal satisfaction. Christ, by His Word and Spirit, comes to the door of the hearts of sinners. Those who open to Him shall enjoy His eternal Presence. Have you opened your heart’s door to Jesus?
Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [KJV] I will invite everyone who overcomes to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
ALL who “overcome” receive victory (Mt.19:28-31; Rev.2:26; 21:7) WHO “overcomes”? He that believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Jn.5:4-5).
Rev. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. [KJV] Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.
Take heed to what Jesus says to the churches, for it is meant for us all! Only the Holy Spirit can help you understand God’s Word, and make it real to you. If you belong to Christ, OBEY Him! If you don’t know Jesus, turn to Him NOW! Which letter has the greatest bearing on your spiritual condition at this time? How will you respond?
This concludes the “Things which are.”
Chapters 4-22 covers future events.
Don’t cheat your soul! There are many in Hell (Hades), who once thought they were well on their way to Heaven.
Book of Revelation
Ch.1. . Ch.2 . . Ch.3 . . Ch.4 . . Ch.5. . Ch.6 . . Ch.7 . . Ch.8 . . Ch.9 . . Ch.10 . . Ch.11 . . Ch.12 . . Ch.13 . . Ch.14 . . Ch.15 . . Ch.16 . . Ch.`17 . . Ch.18 . . Ch.19 . . Ch.20 . . Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Special Comments