The church in Sardis. Oh, my! A deeply depressing word about this church: “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (3:1). Actually, the Lord identifies two groups, here: those who must repent and who, if they fail to repent, will face terrible judgment that will come upon them suddenly & a few who have remained faithful and to whom the Lord says, they “have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (3:4).
Amazing is God’s patience and grace that, even to those who have turned away from him, he calls to repentance. And amazing is God’s faithfulness to his own; he will keep them and they will walk with him in purity. Always, the appropriate counsel is, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (3:6) whether needing to repent or continuing in faithfulness. Always, we must watch and we must trust.
My soul, be on thy guard;
ten thousand foes arise;
the hosts of sin are pressing hard
to draw thee from the skies.
Fight on, my soul, till death
shall bring thee to my God;
He'll take thee, at thy parting breath,
up to His rest above. -- George Heath (1781)