December 24

Revelation 3 -- 5

The church in Sardis had no Nicolaitanes, Balaam, or Jezebel. They could boast that there were no false teachers, nor was false doctrine being taught; but there was an equally serious evil. What a fearful revelation when the King who knows all things announces: I know your works, that you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent (Revelation 3:1-3).
The world could endure the church in Sardis because it had "lost its purpose for existing" -- just as a branch separated from the vine, it could bear no fruit (John 15:1-10). Thankfully there were a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life (Revelation 3:4-5).
Although the "few" Christians in Philadelphia had little strength, Jesus commended them for their faithfulness, saying: You have kept My Word, and have not denied My Name (3:8). The Lord assured them: Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world (3:10).
The majority of church members in Laodicea probably congratulated themselves on being moderate and broad-minded. They could pity the zealous Christians in other churches who provoked the anger of the world and the worshipers of false gods. The Laodicean believers could also pride themselves on their ability to compromise and make friends with those who hated Christ. But Jesus severely condemned this church: Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. . . . You say, I am rich . . . and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind (3:16-17)!
Our Lord appealed to them to buy of Me gold tried in the fire. . . . Be zealous therefore, and repent (3:18-19), which means pay the price for true faith. Compromise is both self-deceiving and self-destructive. Equally deceiving and spiritually destructive was material wealth which gave them a false assumption that God was pleased with them.
Our Lord rebukes His people when we stray and calls us to repent. Such rebukes are signs of His love but also a warning of judgment if they do not repent. We have the promise that those who endure the testing and repent will receive promised rewards in eternity.
The King of kings and Lord of the church is still knocking on doors of men's hearts with the same words of encouragement: To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
Cross Reference:
For Revelation 4:8: See Isa. 6:2-3.

Prayer:

Government Official: Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WOOW-AM, Greenville, NC · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Mission Possible -- a ministry to Haiti · Country: Nigeria (107 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and Hausa · Government permits all types of religious activity · 36% Muslim; 19% Protestant; 15% animist; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Kneel in a humble spirit of reverence as you pray to the Lord (I Kings 8:54).
Memory Verse for the Week:
I John 3:3