Key Verse: Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Let’s understand that Jesus said, “I will NOT blot out his name from the book of life.” Some will immediately assume that He does blot out some names. That’s not what this means. Jesus does not do that! John tells us that not only does He not blot out names, but He confesses the names of the persons in the Book of Life before His Father. The other three writers of the Gospels all refer to this (Matthew 10:32, Mark 8:32, Luke 9:26) Read Matthew 10:28-33. The Jewish synagogue in Sardis was huge and it occupied the very centre of the city. Let us remember that until the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Christians worshipped with their fellow Jews in the Temple. It was the same for the synagogues throughout the world. Those believers in Jesus who were Jews continued singing the Psalms and sitting under the teaching of the Rabbis. On what became known as “The Lord’s Day” (the day of Jesus’ resurrection and the day of the birthday of the Church) those who were Christians gathered in each other’s homes where they were taught all about Jesus through the writings of the Apostles, and those of the lead Christian Pastor in the city. In these home churches, John’s “Revelation” would have been read. There may have been only one handwritten scroll of each of the Gospels, of the letters of Paul, and of the book of Revelation. They passed the scrolls around. To bring their Bibles to church they would’ve needed a cart to hold all the scrolls! Thank God for the invention of the printing press, and now the Bible is all over the World Wide Web (e.g. www.100words.ca). We have no excuse for not reading every Word of God’s Message to us over and over throughout our lives.
According to Jesus, the Sardis church was dead (3:1b). Yes, they said they believed in Jesus. Yes, they gathered together with other believers. Yes, they had a reputation of life. But where was the life which Jesus gives by the Holy Spirit? A few of the believers had genuine life in Christ, but the majority did not. Do we have ears, not just for decoration, but to hear God speak through His Word?
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, as I read and hear Your message to the believers of Sardis, I am moved to pray fervently that I will “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die” (3:2a). I ask for grace daily that I may “remember” why I have “received and heard.” May I “hold fast and repent!” (3:3a). Grant me consistency in daily overcoming sin and living in the purity which will enable me to accept Your invitation, “Walk with Me in white!” (3:4b). Amen! Amen! Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I’m aware of a Pastor (Bishop) called Melito of Sardis. Some of his written sermons have been passed on to us by Eusebius, Pastor/Bishop of Caesarea, who wrote the first church history book. Melito would probably have been a young man in the church in Sardis when “Revelation” was read to the believers. No doubt he was one of whom Jesus said, “walked with Me in white.” I’m going to include below in my “P.S.” just the conclusion of three of Melito’s sermons written around 160 A.D. (take a moment to read them now…). Based on this powerful preaching, I think that the “Dead” church of Sardis had experienced a revival and had come fully ALIVE! Of course, I am an incurable optimist! Jesus talked to dead people. There was the little girl in Capernaum. Jesus said to her, “Talitha cumi,” “Little girl, arise!” Jesus said to Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, “Come forth!” He specializes in resurrection!!! It is said that when a person is dying, hearing is the last sense still active, perhaps right up until rigor mortis sets in. Let’s never give up!
Yours for being faithful like Melito of Sardis,
P.S. Below is the last paragraph from three of Melito’s sermons, written in Sardis around 160 A.D.
1. From “The Easter Praise of Christ”:
Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, I am your salvation and your king. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up, and I will show you the eternal Father.
2. From “The Lamb That Was Slain”:
It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.
3. From “On The Passover”:
This is the alpha and the omega. This is the beginning and the end–an indescribable beginning and an incomprehensible end. This is the Christ. This is the king. This is Jesus. This is the general. This is the Lord. This is the one who rose up from the dead. This is the one who sits at the right hand of the Father. He bears the Father and is borne by the Father, to whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen.