Live in Abundant Life
Jesus’ outline of Revelation: - Revelation 1:19.
What was seen: Jesus Glorified - Revelation 1:9-20.
What is: the Seven Churches - Revelation 2-3.
What will be: Jesus’ judgement in the seven seals, trumpets and bowls. Revelation 4-22.
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
The modern village of Sart, Turkey -
The city was occupied from 1400 BC and was abandoned in the 15th century after being destroyed in 1402 by the Mongol general Timur. (R. L. Drouhard, “Sardis,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016)..
The city at the time of Revelation was part of the Roman province of Asia.
The local worship -
Diana/Artemis/Cybele was the preferred Greek god that was worshiped. she is the one who rules over fertility in general, in particular the fertility of women, animals and crops. (G. Mussies, “Artemis,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 92.)
The Imperial Cult, i.e. emperor worship, was also prevalent.
Jewish influence was prominent in that they were excused from the worship of idols and the Imperial Cult.
Melito was a prominent bishop of Sardis in the second century. He is remembered for his Homily on the Passion and for the letter he preserved from Antoninus Pius forbidding the league of Asia from continuing the persecution of Christians (A.D. 161). (Arnold, Clinton E. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation. Zondervan, 2002.)
The conclusion is, this is a hostile place for Christians to worship.
These are Jesus’ words to us.
He has seven spirits of God
The seven spirits of God are the Holy Spirit. The seven spirits of God indicates the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The number seven refers to the seven-fold character of the Holy Spirit (Ronald Trail, An Exegetical Summary of Revelation 1–11, 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2008), 84.) If you want further discussion on this you can listen to the study on the Seven Spirits of God on June 7, 2023.
The Spirit of God gives life.
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
He has the seven stars - the angels of the seven churches. Revelation 1:20.
He brings his message. Hear him!
Jesus knows them - they have a name, a reputation, Greek root “onoma,” but they are dead. They are hypocrites; acting alive, but are dead. They are Christians in name only.
They lack a personal relationship with Jesus through the Spirit. They are religious.
2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Wake up! Greek root - “genomai”. Come Alive!
Genesis 1 LXX. - being
John 1:3. - made
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Hear Jesus, COME ALIVE and act.
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Strengthen what remains.
How do we strengthen what remains?
We, by faith, reaffirm our relationship, our source of life.
Our work/growth has not matured before God.
We are all on a journey with Jesus. It is a process.
What is my attitude in the process?
Alive or dead? Engaged or Disengaged? Submissive or Rebellious? Content or Discontent?
3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
What you received -
The Gospel preached to them. Romans 10:5-17.
1 John 1:1-3.
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
What you heard -
The word of Jesus.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Keep it - Observe it - Act on it - Believe it
Repent - turn away from deadness. COME ALIVE! Pursue Jesus now.
No alertness, no response to Me, the Author of life.
I will come as a thief against you, for you are not mine.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-6.
2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
Who are we?
Alert Children of Light.
4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
They still have a few names “onoma”.
Jesus has come full circle, using the same word as in verse one.
Their name is a result of relationship with Jesus.
They have not soiled their garments, i.e became like the world, but present themselves to God in Christ’s work.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
White garments and worthiness all come through relationship with Jesus. Our Abundant Life!
5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
The one who conquers.
We are more than conquers in God’s love.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
White Garments - the sign of Christ’s work changing us.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
We will study the names in the book of life on Wednesday, August the 9th.
We will study Jesus confessing us before the Father and his angels on Wednesday, August 9th.
6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Hear Jesus’ words spoken by the Spirit.
Live in the abundant life he has freely given you.