Today we are looking at what Jesus said to the Churches in Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
1/. This is how Jesus describes Himself
These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
These are the words of Him who is Holy and True, who holds the key of David. What He opens no-one can shut and what He shuts no-one can open.
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
2/. Encouragement from Jesus
You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
I know your deeds, see I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars – I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trail that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown.
3/. Discipline from Jesus
I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard, obey it and repent.
I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing’. But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich and white clothes to wear so that you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes so that you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
4/. Consequences if unwilling to repent
If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
5/. Promises for those who overcome to the end
He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will never block out his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before my Father and His angels.
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
To him who overcomes I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne.
Jesus disciplines us in love as a good Father. Let us be open to the Holy Spirit to encourage us but also to show us anything He desires to correct in our lives which will ultimately be to our benefit and to the benefit of the Church. Let us be earnest to ‘repent and live’. Let us also encourage one another to press on to the high calling that He has for each one of us. What a privilege and honour that He has called us to be part of His body represented here on earth!
In describing the early church Acts 2 v 42-47 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as they had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”.