Revelation 3 — To the Churches in Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea
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To the Church in Sardis
“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). Such words cut to the bone. I suppose literalists would like to point out this is written to the church in Sardis, but these words convict us all. In a society where being politically correct trumps being right, I wonder if this can be true here today? How many of us are only concerned about our reputation, about appearances? Lord, may we be one of the “few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes” (3:4). Help us to “remember, therefore, what [we] have received and heard; [to] hold it fast, and repent” (3:3).
To those who have ears: “I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life” (3:6).
To the Church in Philadelphia
Here we read great, encouraging words: “I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (3:8). For those who keep the faith, though weak and frail, Jesus Christ has a plan and a promise to honor you!
To those who have ears: “I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never agin will they leave it…I will also write on the my new name” (3:12-13). Those who have studied the names of God have been blessed by the journey (it’s on my list). Here we have a promise that Christ will reveal a new name, when the time comes. Lord, as much as I wish for that day, I want it to wait until more of the world comes to know you, as many people as possible!
To the Church in Laodicea
And the last church, perhaps the most distressing: “because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (3:16). These are the people who don’t need anyone, who are self-made, righteously independent: “you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (3:17). Help us to hear your promise Lord, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock” (3:20).
To those who have ears: “I will give the right to sit with me on my throne” (3:21).
As we read through the seven churches in Revelation, it seems like this are views of a multifaceted diamond. From each angle the view is different, but the same stone, the same work of art. The message is clear, in a way, it’s really quite simple, but it’s still hard for us all to battle through our human condition and present circumstance and succeed. Thank you for your words, Jesus, for your desire to make right the relationship that we need. Thank you for your plans and promises. Help us to keep running the race. Give us strength to support each other in these awful days.