My translation and notes on Revelation 3:1-6

We can learn from the life experiences of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord Jesus’s message to the believers in Sardis will help us to align our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds to what is pleasing in God’s sight.

My translation and notes on Revelation 3:1-6

1 “To the messenger of the church in Sardis write, ‘This is what he, who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know yours actions that yous have a reputation that yous live, but yous are dead, says,’

[The Lord Jesus, Judge of all judges, knows our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. He rebukes the believers to stimulate them to grow in faith and life. Their words and actions do not line up, for what they say is not what they do].

2 “Better wake up and strengthen the remaining things which are about to die, for I have not found yours actions perfect in God’s sight.

[The illustration is of a beautiful plant that is slowly withering and dying, so this fellowship is withering and dying. The Lord Jesus reminds them that what they are doing in life is not perfect.

The Greek word for ‘wake up’ is γρηγορεύω grēgoreúō (G1127). It means, literally, to wake up from sleep. It is used by extension, then, to refer to awareness of what is happening around them. Thayer’s adds:

to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one, Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35, [Mark 13:37]; Revelation 16:15; or lest one be led to forsake Christ, Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; or lest one fall into sin, 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 3:2f; or be corrupted by errors, Acts 20:31; ἔν τινι, to be watchful in, employ the most punctilious care in a thing: Colossians 4:2.

The Greek word for ‘strengthen’ is στηρίζω stērízō (G4741). It means to stabilize, strengthen, etc. In Sardis, there are some God pleasing actions still occurring but these were wobbly. The Lord Jesus tells them to stabilize these actions and grow. Spiritual growth comes primarily from truth. The only source of 100% truth is Scriptures. It is the perfect manna for our souls to give perfect health.

The Greek word for ‘perfect’ is πληρόω plēróō (G4137). It means meeting the standard at every point. Whatever the context, the measure is to the brim. The standard is God’s standard, which we find in Scriptures. See Matthew 3:15, Matthew 5:17, Matthew 13:48, and Galatians 5:14].

3 “Now remember how yous have received and heard? Pay serious attention to [these things] and repent. Now then, if yous will not be vigilant [in this], I will come to yous unexpectedly like a thief, and yous will not know what hour I will come to yous.

[Choices and decisions have consequences].

4 “Yous have a few names, even in Sardis, who have not defiled their clothes, and they will walk with me in white, because they are worthy.

[‘Defiled’ has the idea of thoughts, desires, words, and deeds are not pleasing to God. These believers are slipping into the worldview and lifestyle of the world].

5 “The overcomer will be dressed in white clothes, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life but will freely acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

[We all can be overcomers. God wants us to overcome. He gives us plenty of assisting grace. See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Romans 12:21, 1 John 5:4, and Hebrews 4:16].

6 “Everyone having ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

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