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Introduction to Revelation 3

INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 3

This chapter contains the epistles to the churches at Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, and begins with that to Sardis; in which the sender describes himself by some things taken out of a former description of him; and gives an account of the state of this church; that her works were known by him, which were imperfect; and that she had the name of a living church, but was dead; wherefore she is exhorted to watchfulness and diligence, to remember how she had heard and received the Gospel, and to hold it fast, and repent of her sins: if not, he threatens to come as a thief unawares upon her, Re 3:1-3, but excepts some few persons from this general account, who were not defiled with the corruptions of the majority, and who therefore should be favoured with communion with him, Re 3:4, and then some gracious promises are made to persevering saints, and the epistle is concluded in the usual form, Re 3:5,6. Next follows the epistle to the church at Philadelphia; in which the sender assumes some peculiar titles not before mentioned, taken from his holiness, truth, and power, Re 3:7, signifies his approbation of her works; declares he had set before her an open door, which could not be shut; affirms she had a little strength, and commends her for keeping his word, Re 3:8, and, for her encouragement, promises that some persons, formerly of bad characters, should come and worship before her, and should know what an interest she had in his love; and that since she had kept his word, he would keep her from an hour of temptation, which will be a trying time to all the world, Re 3:9,10, and in consideration of his speedy coming, he exhorts her to hold fast what she had, that she might not lose her honour and glory; and promises the overcomer a fixed place and name in the house of God; and closes the epistle as the rest, Re 3:11-13, and then follows the last epistle of all, which is that to the church at Laodicea; in which the sender describes himself by some characters taken from his truth and faithfulness, and from his eternity, power, and dominion, Re 3:14, represents the members of this church as lukewarm, and very disagreeable to him, Re 3:15,16, and as having a vain opinion of themselves, being ignorant of their real state and case, Re 3:17, wherefore he gives them some wholesome counsel and advice, suitable to their condition, Re 3:18, and whereas there were some among them he loved, he lets them know that his rebukes and chastenings were from love, and with a view to stimulate them to zeal, and bring them to repentance, which became them, Re 3:19, and then he informs them where he was, what he expected from them, and what they might upon a suitable behaviour enjoy with him, Re 3:20, and next promises to the overcomer great honour and glory, such as he had with his Father; and concludes the epistle in his usual manner, Re 3:21,22.

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