Revelation 3:1-6
The Church at Sardis
(Rev 3:1 KJV)
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.

Now the Lord Jesus Christ turns His attention to the church in Sardis. The seven Spirits of God we have seen to be the divine completeness of the Holy Spirit. The seven stars are the angels of these churches, probably these are the pastors of those churches. He tells them that He is fully aware of the works which they are doing and as a result of those works they have a name, in other words, they have a reputation for their works and those works show that they are a living church, however, the Lord Jesus tells them that they are dead. The word for dead in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “lifeless or useless.” Those people on the outside were seeing that this church was a live church based on their works. Many today make the same mistake. If they see a church which concerns itself with hunger, environmental issues, political activities, many will say that it is a vibrant church. When it is looked at closely through spiritual eyes, it is seen to be a dead church, that is, spiritually dead. The church at Sardis was one which falling into the ways of a social church rather than remaining a spiritual church. When a church loses its spiritual activity, then it becomes a secular congregation and eventually becomes a dead congregation which is being dead to the things of God. A true church never exchanges the true Gospel for a secularized version.

(Rev 3:2 KJV)
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

The Lord is commanding them to be watchful. The word “watchful” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “be alert or be vigilant.” This church was to be vigilant in strengthening those things which remained of when they first became a church. The word “strengthen” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “establish or set firmly.” There was obviously still a spiritual base left in the church at Sardis and before they completely died out, the Lord is telling them to rebuild and re-strengthen those spiritual building blocks in the church. The works which the church at Sardis were doing were not perfect or complete before God. In other words, the works which this church was doing was not to its full potential. The works were not fully realized. They probably lacked the spiritual motivation to do the proper works and to bring them to fruition.

(Rev 3:3 KJV)
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.

Watch - Remain vigilant, stay awake, or be alert.
Christ is now commanding them to remember not the fact that they heard but how they received and heard. They received the truth in much hardship and persecution. They also received the Gospel through faith. The Lord is telling them to hold fast to the things they had when they first became a church. Christ is commanding them to repent and abide in those things which make for a solid spiritual church. Worldly things in the church does not grow Christians in the faith. If this church refuses to remain vigilant in those things which still remain, then the Lord is going to come upon them as a thief and when a thief comes, you do not know what hour he comes. There are two scenarios in view in the second half of this verse. The first one is that if they do not repent, the Lord will come swiftly and uncompromisingly upon this church and remove them from being a living church among the congregations of the Lord. The second scenario is that the return of the Lord at His second coming will be as a thief in the night. It will come upon all churches and if they are not found faithful, will suffer the consequences of the unsaved world.

(Rev 3:4 KJV)
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.

There were some in the church at Sardis who did not defile their garments, that is, they did not go the way of the world and cling to false teachings or unbelieving works which is what secular works are. Any time a Christian adopts any false teachings or false ways it is like defiling the pure garments we were given at the moment of salvation. All true believers wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
(Isa 61:10 KJV) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. However, those Christians who continue to persevere in the true teachings of the Lord shall walk with Him in white, which means they will be with Him throughout all eternity because these are the truly redeemed. Walking with Christ in white means they are pure before the eyes of God. We are made worthy only through the shed blood of Christ and the fact that His righteousness was imputed to us.

(Rev 3:5 KJV)
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.

(Rev 7:9 KJV) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; Rev. 7:9 shows us that the true believers will be given white robes as a symbol of spiritual purity because of the cleansing they received through the Lord Jesus Christ. The white raiment is given to those who are victorious through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he says those true believers will not be blotted out of the book of life. This is because they were written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world. This verse should never be taken as a “proof text” that a person can lose their salvation. It is dangerous to build a doctrine upon apocalyptic imagery when the rest of the Bible refutes such a teaching.

(Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

(Rev 17:8 KJV) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Not only are the truly redeemed given eternal life but the Lord Jesus Christ is going to acknowledge and verbally confess our names to God the Father and before the angels. It is amazing when you think what the Lord Jesus Christ is going to do for His redeemed when it was He who did all the work on Calvary for us, and yet, we will reap all the eternal benefits.

(Rev 3:6 KJV)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Once again we are told that only those who have spiritual ears by means of being truly saved will understand these truths which are given to all churches and not just to these seven. The notion that these letters were only applicable to these seven churches must not be entertained and we must realize that all churches are in danger of going apostate if they do not remain vigilant in the truth.