Revelation Chapter 3

  • The first three churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos no longer exist

  • The last four: Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea still exist at Christ's coming

SARDIS: Some facts

  1. Sardis-Reformation Age 1517 to 1820: "but doubtless embraces the entire history of Protestantism to the end of the gospel dispensation" or "a dead church" Separation and return to the rule of Christ; many great names, but also deadness, and lethargy (Protestant centuries).
  2. Probably begins with Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door of the chapel at Wittenburg
  3. Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire, and one of the oldest cities in the empire
  4. 60 miles inland in Turkey (Asia Minor)
  5. Well protected, high walls (1,500 feet high) even today, even a natural fortification with sheer cliffs, one path in, "impossible to conquer", like Masada
  6. Relative safety and security, allowing one to put their guard down
  7. It is considered one of the greatest cities of the ancient world.
  8. Located on the banks of the Pactolus River, where gold was discovered, it was well watered by that river, surrounded by lush plains
  9. Sardis was inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century.
  10. A ton of wealth, they even had a gymnasium with a bathouse!
  11. Had a large, wealthy Jewish community
  12. Had one of the largest synagogues in the world discovered here, largest outside of Palestine
  13. They made fine textiles and carpets with their looms which were discovered ("Center of the carpet industry")
  14. The ancient Lydians "panned for gold", literally by placing sheepskins in the water which collected the gold dust particles.
  15. They also made jewelry with the goldand sold it to become a wealthy city; being Noted as a very wealthy city
  16. Coins were first minted here in Sardis
  17. Ruled by the Persians, by Alexander (c.340 BC), by Antiochus the Great, Creosus the Prince of Sardis
  18. Creosus the Prince of Sardis considered "the wealthiest man in the world" and "Everything he touched turned to gold" (Midas touch)
  19. Cyrus was outnumbered 2:1, but he followed Creosus to the city, put a seige against it and waited him out
  20. Tiberius finally ruled it and tried to rebuild it in the Roman Empire, which made it a very important city in the Roman Empire. Having spent money on it, some think they paid him back by putting in idols and temples to the pagan gods and goddesses of Rome
  21. It was destroyed by an earthquake, but is still there in ruins
  22. Temples of Diana the goddess of the moon (or Cybil), Apollo the sun god, Artemis, etc.
  23. The Roman Road Paul walked on is there and being restored, as is the gymnasium and synagogue being restored today
  24. It was a very wealthy Jewish/Christian city, like Beverly Hills today, or Manhattan


In 547 B.C., Cyrus laid seige to the city for fourteen days, and took it from Creosus in the Battle of Thymbra. It was then added to the Archaemenid Empire. The Ionians and other Asiatic Greeks then later had a revolt against Cyrus, which was finally put down by Cyrus's elite leader General "Harpagus the Mede" in 542 B.C.


(Revelation 3:1 )
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
  • Protestantism is a church sect that is dead spiritually, steeped in formalism, ritualism
  • This does not even start out with nice words of encouragement
  • Only other church to get this as an opening is Laodicea
  • Physically alive....spiritually dead.
  • To say that a church both lives and is dead is a condemnation of the highest order
  • This rebuke shows that works for the sake of works is meaningless, faithless, evil, dead
  • Throughout all of the seven church ages listed, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is over the churches
  • The number seven means perfection, and He is perfectly LORD over all of them in every way.


(Revelation 2:2 ) EPHESUS
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

(Revelation 2:9 ) SMYRNA
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

(Revelation 2:13 ) PERGAMOS
I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

(Revelation 2:19 ) THYATIRA
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

(Revelation 3:1 ) SARDIS
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

(Revelation 3:8 ) PHILADELPHIA
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

(Revelation 3:15 ) LAODICEA
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

(Revelation 3:2 )
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

  • Be watchful:
    • Creosus was very worried about the growing Persian kingdom and power
    • He went and offered gifts to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi
    • An oracle told him that if he went to war and attacked the Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, then "a great empire would be fall and be destroyed."
    • Based on this"revelation" of the Oracle at Delphi, Creosus attacked Cyrus
    • Creosus was repelled by Cyrus and retreated back to Sardis
    • Cyrus retaliated after following him back and Cyrus and his army then set up a siege.
    • Creosus failed to realize that it would be HIS empire that would fall!
    • Cyrus the Persian then followed him back, offered a reward for the capture of Sardis
    • Cyrus's army was greatly outnumbered
    • A member of Cyrus's army saw a guard take off shi helmet to wipe hois brow, accidentally knocking the helmet to the ground and down a slope to the bottom
    • The guard went down through a crevice to get his helmet and this soldier observed it
    • The soldier figured that the city could be entered through this crevice and then went in with some other soldiers at night, while everyone slept and took it quietly
    • Cyrus did not take Croesus' life, but made him his advisor
    • Sardis became the headquarters for Persian empire in western Asia Minor.
    • The Persians built the famed Royal Roman Road, a 1,600-mile-long commercial highway from Sardis to Babylon.

(Revelation 3:3 )
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

  • Mind and heart to remember, ears to hear and hands to hold, feet to repent and turn around-top to bottom
  • Those asleep will be caught by surprise when the Rapture hits
(1 Peter 5:8 )
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

(Revelation 3:4 )
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

  • As in all of the churches, there are the remnant who are saved
  • There is a difference between not defiling a garment and defiling it and having to clean it
(Revelation 3:5 )
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
  • John's raiment was camel's hair
  • Jesus said not to worry about raiment in this life-the new ones will be nicer anyways
  • You also cannot blot out a name from the Book of Life that is not already in there
  • It is not universal salvation, but God's desire that all be saved
  • Not all will be saved though; most will reject salvation

(2 Peter 3:9 )
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

(Revelation 3:6 )
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  • This call, once again, goes out again to all Christians everywhere today
  • We are to learn from all of these churches


(Revelation 3:7-8 )
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
  • The Revived Church, the Reformation, The Great Awakening, The Great Revival, The Enlightenment
  • Philadelphia is inland 150 miles, considered "heathen, barbarian, Greek territory", in Lydia, Anatoly area of Turkey
  • Wine country. Originally Bacchus was worshipped there, at the temple of Bacchus.
  • A.D. 17 destroyed it and Sardis, et al. Tiberius spent a million dollars in today's money rebuilding them all
  • Amphitheatre there where Christians were killed by Turks, a pillar is still there, destroyed by Turks to hide the slaughter
  • Also an Acropolis, theatre
  • Missionary church, faithful church
  • The remains of a Byzantine church there, so it was from the first century to 1,200 A.D., Christianized area
  • Now typical Turkish town, and is subject to earthquakes, why people left, coupled with persecution, slaughter
  • This is a quote of Isaiah 22:22
  • This is one of the two churches which Jesus does not openly rebuke, and this one
  • This key is to rule, government and authority officially over all men
  • Jesus is the rightful Heir and Ruler to the Throne of David, by succession
  • The true church has "little strength", as opposed to the Faith Movement with "POWER!"
  • This is just how it is today, and not a condemnation
  • Today, in Arabic, it is calleed "The City of God"
(Isaiah 22:22 )
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

(Daniel 7:14 )
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

(Revelation 1:18 )
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

(Isaiah 9:6 )
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

(Job 12:14 )
Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.


  • Noah into the ark
  • Heaven from having rain
  • Sarah's, Rachel's and Hannah's wombs
  • Hearts and eyes (Isaiah 44:18)
  • Entire cities (Jeremiah 13:19)
  • Jeremiah's prayers (Lamentations 3:8)
  • The gates of His temple (Ezekiel 44:2)
  • The mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22)
  • The door to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Matthew 25)
(Revelation 3:9 )
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

  • This is the church of Smyrna then, and today the "Replacement Theologians"
  • They are also called the "Kingdom Now" people and dealt with in "The Road to Holocaust" by Hal Lindsey
  • The Holocaust started 100 years earlier with........."Replacement Theology"
  • Jews are "rejected of God because they rejected and killed Christ"
  • Romans 9-11 has be be read, with the rest of Scripture, rightly divided, not privately interpreted
  • It does not say they will worship the Church of Philadelphia, but "at their feet", worshipping Jesus Christ
(Revelation 2:9 ) SMYRNA
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

(Revelation 3:10 )
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

  • The Bible is called "the Word of God's patience" here, because the Bible is the Word of God, this book is part of the Word of God, shown and dictated to John, included in the canon of Scripture, ending with what ends God's patience with man and the enemy after 6,000 years.
  • God has waited about 6,000 years now to complete this which was begun in the Garden-perfect fellowship with an perfect mankind
  • We are not of the world, just in it, so this time of tribulation is for the inhabitants of the world
  • This is judgment day, which is not for the believers. Jesus was already judged for us in our place, so we are not under His Wrath.

(Ephesians 2:3-9 )
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(1 John 2:15-16 )
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

(Revelation 3:11 )
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

  • This cannot be to the individually saved member of the body of Christ
  • This cannot be the crown of life, since the unsaved do not have it and the saved have it can cannot lose it, so no man can take it from us
  • This is a reward crown of some sort, for being faithful (hold fast which thou hast), fast meaning tight, hard, glued to
(Revelation 22:6 )
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

(Revelation 22:7 )
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

(Revelation 22:12 )
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

(John 10:28-29 )
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

(James 1:12 )
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

(Revelation 3:12 )
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
  • Him that overcometh is the believer in Christ, the church, about to enter Heaven
(Revelation 3:13 )
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  • Again, this is for us today and all believers throughout Church history


(Revelation 3:14 )
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

  • The creation of God here is not the physical creation, since Jesus Christ is not a created being
  • This is the spiritual re-creation of Christians snatched from death to life


(2 Corinthians 5:17 )
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


(John 1:3 )
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

(Ephesians 3:9 )
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

(Colossians 1:16 )
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

(Revelation 1:5 )
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,


(1 Corinthians 15:20 )
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

(1 Corinthians 15:23 )
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

(Colossians 1:18 )
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

(Revelation 1:5 )
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

(Revelation 3:15 )
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

  • Lukewarm Christians are in and seemingly of the world, indistinguishable
  • They are always ineffectual, not savory
  • This is the current state of Christianity worldwide today, with very few exceptions
(Matthew 5:13 )
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

(Revelation 3:16 )
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

  • Being lukewarm means one foot in, one foot out
  • Being lukewarm means being double-minded
  • Being lukewarm means not working for the LORD, but for the flesh and the world and the enemy
  • There is no neutral territory with God
(James 1:8 )
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

(James 4:8 )
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

(Joshua 24:15 )
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

(Revelation 3:17 )
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
  • James again deals with this issue in the churches
  • Spiritual blindness makes us poor.
(James 1:10 )
But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

(James 5:1-6 )
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

(Revelation 3:18 )
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

  • True riches are from Christ, not the world's riches
  • His clothing is His blood, from Genesis 3 to the end
  • Sin causes shame in nakedness, and we are naked without Christ
(Revelation 3:19 )
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
  • Like any parent, what is best for us
  • What is best for us often is painful, like rebukes and chastening
  • One way to know we are loved is this very discipline
  • Discipline is not punishment, since we are not judged for sin
(Deuteronomy 8:5 )
Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

(Proverbs 13:24 )
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

(Hebrews 12:6-7 )
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

(Revelation 3:20 )
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

  • God is a gentleman
  • Knocking a door does not mean the person on the other side will open it
  • This verse shows God is outside the Laodicean church, not in the sanctuary
  • Why is the door shut?
  • Is this the natural position of a man's heart to God?
(Revelation 3:21 )
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

  • This is one of the hardest things to overcome, the dead, apostate church
    • It is like gravity pulling us down
    • We cannot resuscitate ourselves
    • It is sinful to stay in that condition, closed to Christ
    • The majority of the rest inside are against you
    • The reward is to reign with Christ, since He overcame sin for us
(Revelation 3:22 )
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  • Repeated again, for the last time-ever now in all of history, to the last church
Revelation Chapter 4