Sardis the capitol of the country Lydia was located fifty miles east of Smyrna and thirty miles southeast of Thyatira. It was also located on the main trade caravan route. Much of the wealth for this city came from textiles, dyes and jewelry. Found near each other are the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and a Christian Church.
Revelation 3:1 – 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.”
CHRIST THE POSSESSOR OF THE SPIRIT: This is the first of two letters that have no commendation. Instead it goes straight into a rebuke. Here Christ is in possession of the seven spirits of God, the same which were shown before the throne of God in the first chapter of Revelation. This is a reference to the sevenfold character of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah 11:2-5. He also holds the seven stars which are the angels of the seven churches. This is to show Sardis that He has the power to judge them in righteousness.
Revelation 3:2-3 – “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. 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.”
Even though most were seen as dead to Christ, there were those that still has a spark of the life of Christ within them. His admonishment in these verses is to cause them to awaken from their decline unto death like the rest of those about them. Wealth and luxuries were all about them. The world was pleasing to look upon and so they felt contentment and peace. This wealth allowed them to live a life where the actions of faith were seen and heard, but the fruits they bore were dead and rotten.
It is also amazing how the hand of God works. For though this letter was written to the church of Sardis in the mid 90s A.D. God had planted His message to this church hundreds of years before. First in 549 B.C. when Cyrus the king of Persia conquered the city and again in 214 B.C. when Antiochus the Great conquered Sardis in the exact same way. It was at night and it was where the guards were not looking.
For the church as a whole this reflects the point in history between the time of the first discovery of the Americas (or rediscovery, however you wish to view that), till the time of the landing of the Puritans at Plymouth Rock. Within this time events like the later part of the inquisition were still in practice as well as the formation of the Church of England. Both of which were dead, but from them rose the Quakers and the Puritans.
Revelation 3:4-6 – “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”
Here is a critical part of the Bible. Something many do not wish to hear or accept. For to do so would mean that they have to change their lives. That they need to awaken for the slumber unto to death.
The sentence is setup for what is to follow within these three verses. “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis,” is directly set to work with “and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.”
The other setup is “people who have not soiled their garments, and they walk in white,” which connects to “the one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments.”
Why is this important? To the first point. The way the sentence is worded at the beginning “yet you still have,” this implies that at one time their names were in the book of life. They had been saved, they had been known, they had been seen by God. So to the next point. They had white garments and they then soiled them and fell into death as a result.
John 15:1-2 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
2 Peter 2: 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
So per the Bible the man-made doctrine of “once saved always saved” is just that man-made, a lie, a falsehood. Designed to put those not willing to hear to sleep unto death in the eyes of God. As was stated earlier to the church of Sardis we are to stay ever vigilant by learning the word of God, but staying true to the teachings of the Bible and not allowing in those things that are called sins, or allowing the luxuries of a soft and pampered life overwhelm us and send us into a sleep we will never awaken from.