Church at Sardis
Sardis (modern Sart, Turkey), in Roman times, was a wealthy city known for the manufacture and dyeing of woolen fabric and carpets. Originally, it was the capital of the ancient Lydian Empire and was the first city to mint coinage (600 b.c.). A stream that flowed through its marketplace carried gold dust from a nearby mountain. King Croesus of Lydia (560-546b.c.) financed the building of the great Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (550 b.c.). The city was conquered twice, under Cyrus the Great and under Antiochus, due to lack of adequate watchfulness. AMP
11. A. Christ’s message to the Sardis congregation—
- I know everything about you.
- “…you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.” NLT
- The little flicker of life that remains needs Holy Spirit CPR.
- Reaffirm your faithful commitment, which is about to die.
- Your busy work isn’t God’s work. MSG
- Change your sinful way of thinking, and demonstrate your repentance with new actions.
- “If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I’ll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.” MSG
- “There are still a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven’t ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world’s ways.” MSG
To the remnant that overcomes He promises to clothe them in white, “the purity of grace shall be rewarded with the perfect purity of glory.” Matthew Henry
They had a form of godliness but not the power.
holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. 2 Timothy 3:5 AMP
B. Personal application
I’m awake. I’m a living and lively stone.
I feel like I’m striving, though. It’s hard to have and keep up pure motives.
My attitude could use adjustment at some point every day.
12. Clean, white garments
The clean, white clothes are the righteousness of the saints. Only by our faith in Jesus.
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth (spiritual transformation, regeneration) and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5 AMP
There’s also a garment of praise.
We can’t obtain or maintain our salvation through our own efforts.
Daniel 12:3 those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Romans 13:14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Jude 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment* stained by the flesh. (*chiton–garment worn under the cloak next to the skin. ESV)
Revelation 19:8 She has been permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean—for the fine linen signifies the righteous acts of the saints [the ethical conduct, personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character of believers].
It’s easy to get mixed messages from these verses. The verse in Titus isn’t one from the lesson.
I grew up hearing the mixed messages: Once saved, always saved versus a long list of though shalt nots.
If we could become righteous by our own works, which we can’t, then Jesus died for nothing. Jesus came to earth to fulfill, carry out ALL the law. And He finished what He came to do.
We receive salvation and a white garment by grace.
Here is what the old covenant looks like and why we needed the new one (this verse also wasn’t referenced in the lesson:
We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:5-7 NLT (italics and bold added)
I don’t believe we keep our salvation through works either. Even the leaders. Works don’t get us the new birth. And works or lack thereof don’t make us unborn again.
The Holy Spirit teaches us and counsels us in God’s ways if we keep our spiritual ears attentive.
Sin does lead to neglect and estrangement in our relationship with the Lord. And open a door to an evil stronghold like addictions.
Jesus holds the spiritual leaders accountable for allowing the stronghold of wrong teaching, wrong motives, and focus on the wrong things. He is jealous for the pure affections of His bride.
Day 6 Revelation 2:12-3:6
13. What I learned from this study—
I pray that I will better understand the Lord’s plans for me in every area of my life. I pray I will listen and hear His voice, be obedient, and set aside every distraction. Be consumed with zealous love for Him and others.
Photo Credit Jordan Pickett CC
My answers—not THE answers—to study questions for BSF Revelation Lesson
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