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 Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 24) (verses 1 - 4)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 24) (verses 1 - 4)   Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:45 pm

Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 24) (verses 1 - 4)

We come to the church of Sardis in our study. This church prophetically represents the Reformation Period between AD 1500 and AD 1700. This is the Protestant Reformation. The climatic prophetic clause in this passage is within the first verse, which is “have a reputation...but you are dead.” To be honest, I still have a lot to study and learn about this and the next period, but I’ll give you what I have. Jesus prophetically tracks the church throughout church history through his statements to the churches that exited during John’s day. Revelation 3:1 reads as follows:

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deed; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

The word “reputation” here means “name.” This church had made a name for itself. It looks like a holy, viable church, but the true Doctor gave His prognosis and diagnosed this church as dead. We already know what the 7 stars are because Revelation 1:20 says that the 7 stars are the angels of the 7 churches. The seven spirits represents the Holy Spirit who is the life, teacher, and power of the churches by whom God fellowships with us through. Basically the first sentence is saying that the churches belong to Jesus.

During the Reformation Period, Martin Luther shook up the churches with his 95 thesis. He attempted to bring doctrine back to the churches. A quote straight from Wiki, which says Martin Luther: “began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel. The attacks widened to cover many of the doctrines and devotional Catholic practices.” Martin Luther was noted for his quote of Paul in his Theses, where he added, “The just will live by faith.” His movement came to a standstill not long after it began. State churches took over Roman churches. What was great about this movement was that the gospel of salvation by faith, not by works was preached and declared. Not much was preached about Jesus’ Second Coming and eschatology, however. The church during this time had incomplete deeds, or as Jesus puts it, they were dead. Also instrumental in the Reformation Period were Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and the Puritan Movement. Apologetically, I admit that I haven’t studied too much about this period, but I am pointing the reader to study this if interested and see for his or herself that Jesus’ prophetic message of the church in this day is accurate as depicted in our history books. I do know that the church in Sardis accurately depicts the church era of the Reformation Period. The church as a whole seemed spiritually sound, but their works were scarce. Way later on I'll come back and fill in the blanks here, Lord willing.

Verse 2, Jesus says, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.” Jesus/ God always gives ample time and warning for one or for a church to repent. Verse 3, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent.” The church during this time rejected Martin Luther and the reformers. That is why the church split into so many denominations and the Catholic Church continued to stand. They received and heard, but they refused to obey and repent. Jesus continues, “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.” This is not a reference to the Rapture. Jesus is not threatening that if they do not repent He will bring the Rapture earlier. This is a personal warning to this particular church and church age that Jesus will come with judgment at a time that they are not expecting. I can prove this. Later in verse 10, Jesus will tell the next church that they will escape the time of the Tribulation. So He is certainly not saying to the church of Sardis that they could make that time come sooner if the next church will be escaping the time of wrath to come. Keep in mind; these warnings apply to all churches, just not to the degree of who Jesus is personally addressing. If any church does not receive, hear, and obey the truth, Jesus will come at a time to them personally that they do not expect.

Verse 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.” God calls the whole. But if the whole does not respond, He searches for individuals. We (the true church of Jesus) are one body, so God wants us to come to him as one. But God always has His eyes on the few who do not follow the crowd (even when the crowd happens to be God’s people gone bad). We are to be wise enough to stand as individuals with truth and reject the crowd that refuses to obey, and God will give us white robes and will call us “worthy.” That is an amazing and paradoxical thought. But we would all know at that time that our worthiness is not from ourselves, but because Jesus imputed to us His righteousness.
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Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 24) (verses 1 - 4)
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