Revelation 3:1-6

To the Church in Sardis

1 “To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But 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.
4 Yet 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.
5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Revelation 3:1-6 Meaning and Commentary

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.

Revelation 3:1-6 In-Context

1 “To the angelof the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spiritsof God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But 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.
4 Yet 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.
5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

Cross References 15

  • 1. Revelation 1:11
  • 2. S Revelation 1:4
  • 3. S Revelation 1:16
  • 4. S Revelation 2:2
  • 5. 1 Timothy 5:6
  • 6. S Revelation 2:5
  • 7. S Luke 12:39; 2 Peter 3:10
  • 8. Luke 12:39
  • 9. Jude 23
  • 10. ver 5,18; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9,13,14; Revelation 19:14
  • 11. S John 16:33
  • 12. S ver 4
  • 13. S Revelation 20:12
  • 14. Matthew 10:32
  • 15. S Revelation 2:7

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "messenger" ; also in verses 7 and 14
  • [b]. That is, the sevenfold Spirit
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