Thursday, February 4, 2010

#Revelation 3: #Christ Praises And Rebukes The #Church

2. The things which are (3:1-6) 
     E. Letter to Sardis 

Like the letter to the Ephesians, Christ here introduces Himself as the one who has the seven stars. Some think the term "seven Spirits" refers to the Holy Spirit, seven showing the perfection of God. Whether "stars" refers to the pastor of the church, or some angelic messenger, it shows Christ's ability to affect the outcome of the church. 

Sardis had a reputation for being alive, but Christ warns them they are dead. He exhorts them to wake up, repent, and strengthen the things which remain. If they did not, He would come upon them like a thief, and they would die in their testimony as a church. 

Nevertheless, the Lord found a few People who had not "soiled their garments". To these, and all true believers, Christ promises white dress (symbolic of God's righteousness), that their name will remain in the book of life, and that He will confess their names before the Father. 

There seems to be a relation between the promise Christ gives, and the problem the church faces. Whereas they were in danger of dying as a church, Christ promised a permanent place in the book of life. Whereas there was the danger of soiling their clothes through disobedience, He promised garments of white. 

It is not necessary to understand the promise to keep believer's names in the book of life as an implication that it can be removed. Romans 8, and other passages confirm that God does not remove believer's names from the book of life. 

F. Letter to Philadelphia (3:7-13) 

To the Philadelphians, Christ is the one who is holy, true, and who has the ability to open and close the door of opportunity. 

Christ makes no complaint to this church. Rather, He commends them for their little strength, doctrinal purity, and loyalty in such a difficult place. He exhorts them to hold fast what they have, and promises a crown of life, deliverance from the "hour of temptation" (which will try the whole earth), and a permanent place in the presence of God. 

Since believers will be delivered from the very "hour" in which tribulation will occur, this seems to show that believers will not be on earth during the tribulation. Otherwise, how could they be delivered from even the very hour in which the testing occurs? 

G. Letter to Laodicea (3:14-22) 

As the "Amen" (so be it), Faithful witness, and Beginning of the Creation of God, Christ qualifies Himself to rebuke this church. 

We find no praise for Laodicea. Rather, because He loves them, Christ reproves and disciplines the church. The Laodiceans became luke-warm in their "self sufficiency". Their trust in money blinded them to their true condition of spiritual poverty. Christ instructs this church to come to Him for real wealth, garments of righteousness, and ability to see the truth. The Lord then promises fellowship with those who answer His knock at the door, and a place at His throne for all believers. 

We often hear Revelation 3:20 used in offers of salvation. There may be some parallels, but Christ seems to be offering restoration of fellowship to self-sufficient believers rather than salvation to the lost.

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The Gospel

Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).


The grand purpose of creation is to bring glory and pleasure to God in Christ (Eph. 1:1-10; Rev. 4:11). The gospel of Christ's death and resurrection for our sins, achieves this goal by magnifying God's grace and mercy towards undeserving sinners. The purpose of faithguard, is to glorify God, by defending and confirming the gospel of Jesus Christ.