|This church is the
one most condemned. Indeed, the most
notable thing is the lack of praise for anything. (Rev 3:1-6)
|The title of Christ
is significant here. It symbolizes (as
does the Spirit in general) the life of the church. A church out of touch with her Lord is a
dead church. Everything about this
letter is a powerful warning.
thing is that this church appears to be doing well. The reputation is that of a church which is
doing great things. But see the
|• There is no heresy
in this church. Heresy is at least a
sign that people are thinking, that they care about doctrine. They don’t even have that.
|• There are no
attacks on the church from the outside.
If Satan does not bother to attack, there may be a reason!
|• There is no
praise. There is nothing -- absolutely
nothing -- for this church to smile about.
|This church has sunk
so far that our Lord begins his admonition with “Wake UP!” There is an interesting sequence of
|• REMEMBER what you
|• OBEY that teaching
|Why does repentance
come third? As Bonhoeffer put it,
everyone knows that only those who believe, obey. What they don’t know is that only those who
obey, can believe.
|Even in this dire
circumstance there are a few old fashioned fossils. Those who hold to the Lord’s teaching. For these overcomers, he promises two
|• They will be robed
in white -- the color of rejoicing, victory and purity. In chapters 6 and 7 we will see these white
|• Their names will be
in the book of life, confessed before the father.
|Perhaps a small
reward, compared to other churches.
But hear the fate of Sardis:
the town that was the home of Croesus (as in “rich as...”) is now a
|FUTURIST: In an interesting turn, the futurists
identify this with the Protestand Reformation! The idea is that this reformation was in
fact nothing but a cover for a dead church.
This seems almost impossible to me -- until you look at the
sequence. Then it becomes easy to
|Recall that one of
the great appealing points of the futurist view is its “exclusiveness.” There is an air of being the elite that’s
in the know. Obviously, such a
doctrinally correct church could not be either in the period of Sardis or of
Laodicea; clearly, all the other ages
are accounted for. Therefore, “our”
church must be in the age described by Philadelphia. The theory was first propounded in
1830. Therefore, the church before
that time -- the church of the Reformation, and the Roman Catholic church of
the counter-Reformation, must be the church at Sardis. Is it not strange that the reason for a
theory’s popularity has so little to do with its correctness?