You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
In the case of the Church at Sardis, we observe —
I. THE SAD SPECTACLE OF SPIRITUAL DECLENSION. The Church is represented as having only a name to live. The world sometimes sees the worst side, and God the best, but in Sardis it was the opposite. The word "dead," however, is not used absolutely, but comparatively, for there were certain rare plants in this desert of decaying vegetation that required to be watched and strengthened. Yet the faith and virtue of these were in danger.
1. There were some things ready to die. What things? Faith, love, zeal, hope.
2. Things requiring to be strengthened. Weak and incipient virtue, languishing graces, and faint desires. Things that are decaying need cherishing. Learn a lesson of the gardener, and nurse the exotics of the soul. Give thy soul room and stimulus and appropriate exercise.
3. Things that needed remembrance. Appeal to experience, to the memory of former days and old associations. We may forget our past history and so live a sort of fragmentary life.
4. Things that needed to be repented of. Dereliction of duty, loss of faith, decay of love.
II. THE CHEERING SPECTACLE OF RELIGIOUS FIDELITY. "Thou hast a few names," etc.
1. Redeeming features in the most sombre landscapes. There is always a green spot in the desert.
2. The saints in Sardis were in striking contrast to the society around them. They were pure amidst impurity, holy among the vile. They closed their eyes to the brilliant illusions, their ears to the flattering enticements, or corrupt pagan society.
III. THE GLORIOUS SPECTACLE OF THE CORONATION AND TRIUMPH OF FAITH. "They shall," etc. Weigh the reward thus symbolically described.
1. Heaven's purity for the pure on earth.
2. Enrolment in the register of heaven for those who have held fast the faith of the saints.
3. Recognition before God and the angels for those who, though scorned of men, are eternally honoured by God.
(W. E. Daly, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.