Sardis

Jesus' description of Himself:

He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars (Rev 3:1).

While Jesus explains the "seven stars" are the angels of the seven churches (Rev 1:20), there is little explanation of the "seven Spirits of God."

Revelation 4:5 locates the "seven Spirits of God" as being before the throne of God as "seven lamps of fire."

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; (Rev 4:5)

Revelation 5:6 locates the "seven Spirits of God" on the person of Jesus Christ as "seven eyes."

And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (Rev 5:6)

Most scholars understand the "seven Spirits of God" to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, and they see the prophet Isaiah describing the seven aspects of the Holy Spirit: 1) the Spirit of the Lord, 2) of wisdom, 3) of understanding, 4) of counsel, 5) of strength, 6) of knowledge and 7) of the fear of the Lord.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isa 11:2)

Background: Thirty miles southeast of Thyatira, the city of Sardis took advantage of its topography and became a militarily strategic city whose acropolis provided command of the important trade route passing through. Pagan worship flourished, and although incomplete, its Temple of Artemis was equal in size to the lauded temple in Ephesus. Sardis' wealth and luxurious living contributed to its moral decline and by the 5th century A.D. its citizens were mourned for their lethargy and dullness.

Rebuke (praise is absent!):

I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. (Rev 3:1-4)

Observation:

The problem exhibited by the church of Sardis appears to be a spiritually dead church. Jesus Christ's declaration, "but you are dead," sets up the imperative to "wake up and strengthen the things that remain." Scholars believe that Christ's encouragement to "remember what you have received and heard," is a reference to the gospel and the teachings of the apostles. The call to repent is to recognize their sin of not holding fast to God's word as the few who have remained faithful. With little mention of the church of Sardis' deeds and their diagnosis of being dead, it implies that there was little distinction between their Christian life amidst the surrounding pagan culture.

Promise to Believers:

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Rev 3:5).


This is an exerpt from: Message to the Churches.

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