Revelation Chapter 3:2
Verse 3:2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.
Revelation 3:2: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”
Jesus tells them here; there is still some good in this church, build upon those things. Even the good in this church is being watered down to the point, that even it is about to die. I believe the works here spoken of are not saying they are not doing works, but that their works are slanted more toward the world than toward God. This church, if I understand it, is very social minded and helps local government with their projects.
If you took a count of how many true conversions were made within the last year, you would be amazed at the shortage. You see, what we call good works and what God calls good works are two entirely different things. God looks at the Spirit, and we have a tendency to look at the physical.
We come now to Our Lord’s critique of the Church at Sardis. First He said, “Be watchful.” The Greek word translated “watchful” is gregoreo. It means “stay awake; watch; be awake, vigilant.” Jesus used this word in His great Olivet Discourse. When His disciples asked when He was going to return to Earth, He said,
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. – Matthew 24:42
In the same sermon, after giving the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins, He warned,
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. ” – Matthew 25:13
It is also interesting that in the next chapter, when Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, he took Peter, James and John with Him,
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” – Matthew 26:38
This brings up the wonderful concept of Revival. When the Church (or even an individual) is in spiritual decline, or complacency, it is like falling into a stupor or a deep sleep. But like a call to “get up” in the morning, it is possible for the comatose believer to be restored to His “first love” for Christ (see notes on chapter 2, verse 4).
There is so much need for revival in our days. Thankfully, there are many signs that God is at work, hopefully planning to send a great in-gathering of young people who have been raised in secular homes and subjected to an anti-Christian education and an immoral culture.
The spiritual atmosphere today reminds me of some of the disappointing trends in the 1960’s, when I first began to pastor a church in East Los Angeles. They were the days of hippies, psychedelic drugs, free-love, and riots. I wrote a little book just for our congregation. It was called “Reveille: Arise and Conquer.” Reveille is the bugle call used to awaken the troops to prepare for battle. We were seeing signs of revival around us: massive Billy Graham crusades, the birth of Campus Crusade for Christ, and the early days of the Jesus People Movement. We mobilized into small groups to study, pray, and be a part of what The Lord was doing in our needy world.
Jesus continued His instruction for those who would be willing to be revived: and strengthen the things which remain, thatare ready to die. The things that remain were the good things about the Reformation: The return to God’s Word, the rejection of non-Biblical ideas, the amazing zeal and courage that infused the church. However, as good as those things were, if they were not revived, even those gains would be lost.
There is good reason to believe that there was a revival there in Smyrna. John MacArthur mentions Melito – a 2nd Century apologist from Sardis, who also wrote the earliest known commentary on the Book of Revelation. He became a martyr, probably under Marcus Aurelius about a.d. 177. He had told Antonius Caesar:
It is not easy, speedily to bring into the right way the man who has a long time previously been held fast by error. It may, however, be effected: for, when a man turns away ever so little from error, the mention of the truth is acceptable to him. For, just as when the cloud breaks ever so little there comes fair weather, even so, when a man turns toward God, the thick cloud of error which deprived him of true vision is quickly withdrawn from before him. For error, like disease and sleep, long holds fast those who come under its influence; but truth uses the word as a goad, and smites the slumberers, and awakens them; and when they are awake they look at the truth, and also understand it: they hear, and distinguish that which is from that which is not. (https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/melito.html)
There is something encouraging about our Lord’s warning for His Church to wake up. Even if the majority of Christians at Sardis were in a spiritual coma, and were not walking in the Holy Spirit, this situation could evidently be reversed. Jesus’ call to revival implies strongly that they should, and more importantly, that they could, have an awakening!
To God’s glory, the Reformation Period of history, which the Church of Sardis prefigured, also had its revivals. The Anabaptist movement and all the martyrs of the period from various branches of the Reformation bear witness to revivals, big and small, during those years.
C.S. Lewis, John Stott and others in our generation – from old-line reformation churches – are examples of renewed thinking and teaching. The charismatic Catholic movement is also an encouraging development.
Then Jesus said, “for I have not found your works perfect before God.” The word for “found” in the original Greek is heurisko, meaning “to discover.” From this word we derive “Eureka,” – “I found it!” from the gold-rush days in California.
The Lord is looking for the hidden gold in our lives. Good works are not enough. Deeds can’t save, but they are the inevitable result of a changed life (Ephesians 2:8-10); walking in the Spirit. We noted earlier that this was the greatest failure of the Reformation age.
The word for “perfect” is the Greek pleroo, which means to be full, complete. This should not be thought of as sinless perfection, but of a generally godly and productive life.
Next week we will participate in the funeral service of a close personal friend and long-term missionary to Brazil with Youth for Christ. Paul Overholt, in his eighties, was still organizing teams to go there to improve the YFC camp even more! He was seriously ill and weakened, but he still hoped to go there again next summer. Paul was responsible for the salvation of many thousands of Brazilian young people. He was so venerated there, that when I saw him in action and noted the reverence Brazilian Christians had for him, I started calling him “The Pope of Brazil.” Was he perfect? He would be the first to say “no!” But his deeds proceeded from a life of personal commitment to Jesus Christ and a dependence on the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The flesh is weak. Therefore, relying on the flesh, as did the church of Sardis, is a recipe for failure. Being watchful and praying “in the Spirit,” can help prevent the trap of temptation that the flesh is easily subject to:
Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
The Holy Spirit has seven eyes that denote His watchfulness over the Earth, through the lamp stand with seven lamps, which represent the churches and believers abiding in the Lord (Revelation 1:13):
Revelation 5:6 – And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Zechariah 4:1-2, 6, 9-10 – Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the standseven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps…. So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts…. “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.“
Fruit can only grow on branches, if the branch abides in the life-giving vine. Likewise, fruitful works only come through those who rely on the Lord:
John 15:4-6 – Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Notice that the Lord said to: “strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die”. Some may take this to mean that salvation for the members at the church of Sardis was in jeopardy; that the unfruitful branches were withering and about to die and be taken off the vine. On the contrary, those in the church of Sardis, who confessed that Jesus was God, still abided in Him; their salvation remained secure:
1 John 4:15 – Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Only through the Holy Spirit are believers able to produce fruitful works, and not dead works that are not perfect. Imperfect works are those done through the flesh, rather than the Holy Spirit. In the passage below, we see that doing works contrary to the flesh, and only possible through the Holy Spirit, does the Lord consider perfect:
Matthew 5:43-47 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
So we see that the works done by Sardis were not perfect because they did them in the flesh and not through the Spirit.
image courtesy: Revelation 3-2 Be Watchful – knowing-Jesus
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.