Revelation 3:1-6 (The Dead Church)
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If corruption in a church or Christian is left unchecked, or refuses to acknowledge an apostate condition. Or refuses the discipline or correction of the Lord, and chooses to stay in that apostate condition(s); then eventually that church or Christian will become spiritually dead just like the church of Sardis became.

Jesus Christ reveals to us, that in the last three churches who were wrong in the sight of the Lord, a progression of apostate conditions led to spiritual death, starting from:

The Loveless Church: who was doing the work of the Lord but was forsaking a close, active relationship with the Lord who empowers the work. This is the first step into apostasy towards spiritual death. When a Christian backslides away from communing with God in reading and studying His Holy Bible and prayer faithfully, then compromise will follow.

The Compromising Church: is backsliding further away from God and His standards of righteous living, reaching closer towards spiritual death as the second step. A compromising church will not only backslide from righteous, holy living, but will also start to replace holy Biblical doctrines for false doctrines of demons as well. When a Christian or church body continues down the path of compromise, then the physical body (The temple of the Holy Spirit) will be defiled and the soul will eventually become corrupt.

The Corrupt Church: is walking the broad way towards the final step of spiritual death. Once a Christian chooses to compromise a little in doctrine and a life of holiness and sin against God; little by little that Christians will become corrupt mentally and spiritually. And if sinful behavior is allowed to continue to grow, it will eventually corrupt the church and Christians in that church. Such is the price for tolerance. Because they first allowed compromise into the church. And then they allowed it to continue and fester until that compromise turned into sin. And sin unchecked grew into perversion corrupting the church towards that final destination of destruction.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death

Also, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals to us, when we become cold towards God and don’t do anything for Christ as His servant’s such as: watch and pray, go to church, read and study the Holy Bible and evangelism faithfully; then we will eventually become a dead church.

Such as the case with the church of Sardis, they were not doing anything for the Lord and that is why the Lord Jesus Christ called them dead.

They strayed away from having a close relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They weren’t living according the Apostles doctrines (The New Testament). They weren’t evangelizing the gospel either. They called themselves Christian, though they did not live it out. They did absolutely nothing.

And the first line of the Lord’s business is to directly call their sins out from the start, found in, 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.

Thename that thou livest,” is the name “Christian.” This is what Jesus Christ is referring to here. All because He Himself was raised from the dead and lives forever more. And these who are in Christ is also living’ as the Holy Ghost through the Apostle Paul teaches

Romans 6:3-7 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

What A Living Church Looks Like In Action

Christian (means) ‘Christ-one’ ‘Christ-like.’ A Christian is a person who not only believes and follows Jesus Christ as Lord, but who, by faith, does what the Lord Jesus Christ did, taught and commands.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

There are many things the Lord Jesus Christ did, taught and commands while He was here on this earth. But for time’s sake we will only cover the brief basics.


The Lord not only taught, He also showed love by example. First, to love God and then thy neighbor in this exact order. Because how can we love our neighbors if we don’t know how to love God first, and be loved by God

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Which goes all the way back to what God (The Father of Jesus Christ) commands in the law (Leviticus 19:1-18; 33-37/ Deuteronomy 6:5); which all points to the 10 Commandments.

This is why the Lord Jesus says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Pointing back to the 10 Commandments. The summation of these commandments is love!

You see, the first five Commandments (Exodus 20:3-12) teaches us how to the love God. The last five commandments (Exodus 20:13-17) teach us how to love our neighbor as ourselves. So how can we love our neighbor God’s way if we don’t first love God His way?

All this is emphasized first in the law! All the prophets also ministered this point including Jesus Christ. But it doesn’t stop here, this thread of truth flows throughout the New Testament as the greatest virtue of all

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Our love for God, reflects our love for our neighbors. If you love God much or little, this will reflect how we treat our neighbors. In fact, all that God Most High and Jesus Christ (His only begotten Son) did and continues to do; the root of it all is love!

  • He met the needs of sinners both physically and spiritually out of love (John 3:15-21)
  • He healed the sick; raised the dead; cast out demons out of love
  • He made the blind to see, deaf to hear and the lame to walk both physically and spiritually out of love.

And if we as true born-again Christians have that same kind of love for God and for Jesus Christ, then He promises what He does, we will do likewise.

John 14:12-14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.

Evangelizing The Gospel

Jesus Christ also spoke the truth out of love. And if we love God with all our hearts, mind, strength, body and soul; and we abide in the Lord and His word abides in us (John 15:1-6); living holy, righteous lives that glorifies God according to His standards.

And the love of the Father abides in us (loving our neighbors as we love God), we will successfully accomplish what Jesus Christ our Lord commanded; which is the “great commission!”

Matthew 26:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I Am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

But the church of Sardis apparently lacks the love for God and neighbors because they were doing nothing. That’s why Jesus Christ calls them out saying, “thou art dead.” In short, majority of the people in the church Sardis were “Christians” in name only.

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.”

The remedy Jesus Christ personally prescribes for this specific apostate condition is Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain” as the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples constantly throughout His ministry…even today.

Being Always Watchful And Ready

Because this is part of being ready before hand when Jesus Christ appears in the clouds with power and great glory, to send His angels to gather His elect, called the “rapture” (Matthew 24:29-31)!

We don’t know the day or hour when that will occur, but we should know the signs! And know what time it is always. This is what it means to be ready! This is what it means to “be watchful!” Being watchful is always associated with being ready for that day

Mark 13:32-37 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

For the Son of Man is as a Man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave authority to His servants, and to every man His work, and commanded the porter to watch.

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

“Strengthen the things which remain,” means to teach and encourage those remnants that are still ready. And according to Jesus Christ, there was a remnant in this church that prepared themselves and kept watch to the end of their life (as if Jesus Christ was returning at any moment, then), while the majority did not.

Just like the parable of the ten virgins Jesus Christ also warned about (Matthew 25:1-13). The Lord is still warning, and this is where the church age is at today; few are ready while many have fallen away or are squandering time on themselves.

The lack of being watchful and ready; the lack of enduring sound Holy Biblical doctrine; backsliding and continually sinning are the signs of the “great apostasy” today that was prophesied by the Holy Ghost through the Apostle Paul in,

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,

It is high time that the church body of Christ as a whole know the signs of the rapture of the church age that the Holy Bible teaches. That even Jesus Christ had also taught (Matthew 24:3-15/Matthew 24:29-35/Revelation 6:1-13). Because in reality, this is the heart of the Lord:

  • Be watchful and prayerful to the end
  • Strengthen your faith and walk in the Lord
  • Encourage one another
  • Pray for one another

1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:11 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, Who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

To Always Be Prayerful

Another revelation about being “watchful,” is closely associated with being prayerful. In fact, Jesus Christ instructs His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane when His disciples could not stay awake, the night He was betrayed by Judas, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).”

He’s teaching here the reason why people fall for diverse temptations and sins is because they don’t pray. This is a major part of being on our guard and staying alert, coupled with the knowledge of the truth of the Holy Bible and fellowship with the Holy Ghost.

As Christians, the reason why we pray, read and study the Holy Bible. Having fellowship with God and going to church faithfully, is to be strengthened, encouraged and refreshed in the Spirit of Christ and of the Holy Ghost. And this is what Jesus Christ instructs us to do in Verse 2.

This is what a living church is and does, because the opposite is also true, those who do not these things are a dead church spiritually! Dead to Christ! Dead to the Spirit of God and dead towards the truth! And dead to the works and call of God!

And so, the only remedy, the only cure if you will, is to repent! To recognize the state of this specific apostasy that you’re in, change your mind, confess this apostate condition to Christ and stop what you are doing that is contrary to the truth, contrary to Christ and of the Holy Spirit! And change course towards the Lord Jesus Christ and live again.

Seek God’s face (relationship), read and study the Holy Bible, go back to church (the right church that the Lord and the Holy Spirit will lead you to) faithfully with all you heart, praising God sincerely. The Lord will breathe life back into your soul through the breath of the Holy Ghost, and you will become alive spiritually again.

(As God had asked Ezekiel, “can these bones live?” The Lord answers here with an emphatic Yes! Only if you repent, and turn back to God through the Lord Jesus Christ)

Evangelizing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, blessed and having favor with God again. Watching and praying, praying and preaching while being ready for the day of the rapture that will come so suddenly as a thief (Matthew 24:29-25:46). Because that day is coming quickly as the Lord preached (Revelation 22:12-16) regardless whether you are ready or not.

This concurs with what Jesus Christ says next in, 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.

The Lord is pointing out two things here:

  1. This church is not ignorant about the truth. For they have received, by this point of time, much of the New Testament, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast. And the Bishops in the past of Sardis most likely ministered to be watchful and ready. Teaching how we should walk in holiness and righteousness with godly fear; redeeming the time
  1. Jesus Christ promises He will come as a thief in what we call the rapture of the church age, and that we do not know when it will happen, but when we least expect Him, He will come; ready or not. And Verse 3 serves as a warning to all who are sin to get ready before He appears. Because those who are in sin and don’t repent and be watchful (meaning to already be ready by the time He appears) … then, “I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

This is why we must be ready! Because we don’t know the day or hour when He will come as a thief and send His angels to gather His elect. He is only going to take with Him those who are watchful and ready. A glorious church without spot, wrinkle of any such thing. Holy and without blemish.

Which concurs again in His teachings to His disciples while He was here on earth right before His crucifixion, Luke 21:25-36 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of Heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

In this, are many signs of the rapture of the church age Jesus Christ reveals. For the believer and follower of Christ who is always watchful and ready, there will be signs, because these are they who study the Scriptures and know what to look for (remnant).

And then to those who do not believe nor follow Christ as Lord. Or has rejected the “rapture doctrine.” or is spiritually asleep; who are not watchful or ready… there will be no signs at all. Instead, things will suddenly happen when they least expected (Matthew 24:29-42). Because these are they who did not know what to look for (majority).

Holiness Unto The LORD

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.

Since The Lord sees all things this church body is doing, (going back to His first statement, “I know thy works,”), He also sees those few who have kept themselves from being defiled by, the world, the flesh (sins) and by the devil.

Refusing to bow down to fictitious deities; being sanctified unto God Most through Jesus Christ. They also kept their attitudes pure; their love for one another holy and kept their walk with God Biblical and blameless.

According to the Lord Jesus Christ, these are they who are worthy to walk with the Lord in white, for these are they who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior personally. Who has a real salvation experience, and are not only hearers of the word of God but doers also; just like Enoch had walked with God (Genesis 5:21-24)

Matthew 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.

And this kind of sanctification is the absolute will of God especially in the New Covenant, according to, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

Furthermore, notice also, Jesus Christ mentioned in this church, that there were only a few who lived according to the Holy Bible; “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments.” All because people chose to live that kind of devoted life in Christ, totally sold out to God or not.

The Holy Bible does teach all Christians need to live an obedient holy, sanctified life unto God by faith after they get saved, in order to be and stay in His perfect will (Romans 6).

It’s a deliberate choice all Christians have to make daily or not. And as Jesus Christ just revealed here, only they that do choose to live a holy life unto God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-3) are the ones who are worthy to walk with Christ in white, as He says, “they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.”

Devoted to live to love God, to glorify Him as God! Worshiping God by a holiness life style that anyone can choose to live and that’s what it all boils down to.

Unfortunately, only a few in the church of Sardis ever chose to love God His way. Determined to live the true Christian life in Jesus Christ. And that also translates in this church age today (Ephesians 5:27)…only a few? And according to Jesus Christ this few are only worthy to walk with Him in white for all eternity.

This also concurs elsewhere in the Lord’s teaching, or should I say prophesy really, in, Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

And the church of Sardis and the Lord’s teachings spell out warning for all Christians in this church age today. Because many have a living name “Christian” and are actually spiritually dead because of continued sinning!

Many are self-deceived and dead to Christ and alive to sin, the world, the carnal, sensual flesh. And the ultimate summation of it all is that people really do live unto the devil and are dead unto God just like the church of Sardis!

And few are real Christians because they are truly dead to sin and alive unto Jesus Christ according to the Holy Biblical standards of God Most High! And this is the heart of the Lord’s message of Revelation 3:1-6 to all Christians:

Only those who truly believe with all thy heart, repents from sinning, following Jesus Christ as Lord. Born again by the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit), living continually by faith this holy Biblical life style that pleases God (Romans 8) are the only one’s worthy to walk with Jesus Christ in all eternity in the paradise of God, clothed in white garments of salvation!

And that’s what the Lord is really revealing here to us all today, not just for the church of Sardis of yesterday. This is why the Holy Bible teaches adamantly, when after we received salvation in Jesus Christ, we are to go on to maturity/the biblical meaning of the word “perfection” (Matthew 5:48; Matthew 19:21; John 17:23; 2 Corinthians 7:12; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 6:1).

Which is pointing to living the holiness life in Jesus Christ our Lord as His children. For if we chose to live according to the flesh, we will miss Heaven as it is written,

Romans 8:6-14 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 Corinthians 6:15-20 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith He, shall be one flesh.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You see, in every instruction from the Lord Jesus Christ, He gives us a choice to do what He instructs and live! Or chose not to heed and do what He instructs and die spiritually. It’s all our choice! He also outlines the consequences for choosing not to do what He instructs. And that is ultimately losing salvation!

And this concurs with the Lord’s next point in 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.

Again, this promise is only to those who overcomes this apostate condition of being spiritually dead to Christ for the rest of our days in the Lord. To live according to the Holy Biblical standards of God. But if those who choose not to repent and overcome, then the opposite of this promise will also occur as a consequence:

  • you will not be clothed in white (garment of salvation)
  • your name will be blot out of the Book of Life (lose of salvation)
  • your name will not be confessed to God (forgotten as the wicked Eccless. 8:10/9:5)

Yes, Jesus Christ is pointing out that you can lose your salvation right here using the church of Sardis as His perfect example what not to be. But instead, He encourages us to be that few who finds eternal life God’s way.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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