Jesus, the son of man, the one we have seen as moved by compassion, healing and doing good, the one that laid down his life on the cross has taken his place in the throne room of heaven. John now sees, not just the risen Jesus, but the enthroned Christ who is Lord of all in Revelation 1:16 “a sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth, and his face was like the sun shining in its strength”. This Jesus, the head of the church, has a message for each church that is specific to them. Some, he commends in Revelation 3:8 ‘I know your works … and have kept my word, and did not deny my name”. For others, it is a tough but accurate assessment, in Revelation 3:1 “you have a name that you are alive, and you are dead”. Our reputation among men isn’t important, what does Jesus, the head of the church have to say about you?
The Son of Man
When people think about Jesus, it is usually about his birth and events as a child. Then, sometimes people think about his life and ministry in
Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth—how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.
Then people remember his death on the cross, where he laid down his life and said in
Luke 23:46 And Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit!” And after he said this, he expired.
Now though, here, as happens when people encounter Jesus, there was a voice behind John in
Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great sound like a trumpet
as John turned, he saw the resurrected Jesus, the King of Kings in Revelation 1:13–16 “in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man … his head and hair were white like wool … his eyes were like a fiery flame … a sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth, and his face was like the sun shining in its strength”. This is Jesus Christ in the fullness of his glory and power. John could not stand in his presence so in
Revelation 1:17–18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead person, and he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, 18 and the one who lives, and I was dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades.
This is the beginning of the end, the administration of the judgments of God against all evil.
The Church in Ephesus
The Church of Smyrna
The Church of Pergamum
The Church in Thyatira
The Church of Sardis
This is a strong indictment of the church in Sardis because they say they are alive, but they aren’t. These people are deceived. They have a form of godliness, but no relationship with Jesus Christ who is the author of life in
Revelation 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: “This is what the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, and you are dead”.
It isn’t too late for them if they will heed this word, but what did they miss? They received and heard, they understood, but have not observed, they didn’t change their behavior except to put on an air of spirituality. They “have a name”, “Sardis was famed among the churches for spiritual vitality; yet the Heart-searcher, who seeth not as man seeth, pronounces her dead”.1 They are living a natural life as they had before. Though they were forgiven, they have not turned from their old ways in
Revelation 3:3 Therefore remember how you have received and heard, and observe it, and repent. If therefore you are not on the alert, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come against you.
Even in the midst of this, among the dead in the church, there are some in
Revelation 3:4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not defiled their clothing, and they will walk with me in white, because they are worthy.
The Church of Philadelphia
By the introduction, you can hear, feel, the opposition the people in this church are facing. It is “the holy one, the true one, the one who has the key of David, the one who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one can open” in Revelation 3:7 that is speaking to them. Jesus, the head of the church, that commends them and says to them in
Revelation 3:8 ‘I know your works (behold, I have put before you an opened door that no one is able to shut) that you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and did not deny my name.
Though they had little strength, they kept his word and this is a principle truth in our Christian life in
2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in calamities, in persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Jesus is intervening in the affairs of this church and those who oppose, “The synagogue of satan, the ones who call themselves Jews” will come under the hand of God in
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I am causing those of the synagogue of Satan, the ones who call themselves Jews and are not, but are lying—behold, I will make them come and kneel down before your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
Then there is a great promise for the one who conquers, those that, through their weakness, hold their ground in
Revelation 3:12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go outside again, and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God, and my new name.
The Church of Laodicea
- Revelation 1:9–20 The Son of Man
- Revelation 3:1–6 The Church of Sardis
- Revelation 3:7–13 The Church of Philadelphia
- Revelation 1:9-20
- Revelation 2:1-29
- Revelation 3:1-22
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 559). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.