"I know your deeds, you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead." Revelation 3:1b
In the book of Revelation, seven churches are addressed by Jesus. Jesus lovingly gives warnings to the churches that need to return back to him. In the Church in Sardis, he addresses them by identifying that they have a reputation for being alive, but are dead. This is very disturbing considering that Sardis is one of the lampstands in the body of Christ and it clearly shows that we need to make our calling sure.
Sardis during this time was known for its wealth. It was the trade center for textile, dyeing and jewelry. It was surrounded by mountains as like a fortress. The people were comfortable because of their wealth and felt protected because of their location. They were enjoying life. The money brought them comfort and this led to complacency. They had a church that seemed to be alive in doing the things of God, but there was no real relationship with God. Outwardly they appeared spiritually alive and active. They had a reputation for success, but Jesus saw the absence of the inner reality of himself in the hearts of the people. He saw religion, not spiritual life.
He then calls the church to wake up and to strengthen what remains. He is concerned that they are about to die and their works are incomplete in the sight of God. He reminds them to remember what they have received and heard and gives them instruction to obey it and repent. He then warns them if they do not wake up, he will come like a thief and they will be unaware of his coming.
Jesus does also commend those few who have not soiled their clothing and encourages them to continue to overcome. He gives them the promise that he will never blot out their name from the book of life and will acknowledge them before the Father and his angels. He gives them encouragement to continue because he will reward them for their faithfulness.
Jesus desires that all people are saved and come to the full knowledge of him. He heart is that we abide in him and overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. He so loved us that he died for us. He also loves us so much that like in the church in Sardis he warned them of what they needed to do. He does this for us. May the Lord help us to overcome and not be found dead with our works incomplete.