And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things said he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars…
The sad spectacle is presented here of a Church dying out. To the angel it is said, "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead." This is the judgment of him who hath "the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars." He holds the stars in his band, for safety in danger, for punishment in unfaithfulness. They cannot escape from him. The Lord of life is the Lord also of death and judgment. The watchword is significant of the slumbering, exposed state of the Church; it is the sharp word of the ever-wakeful Lord - Watch. "Be thou watchful, and stablish the things that remain, which are ready to die."
I. THIS CALL IS RENDERED NECESSARY BY THE CONDITION OF THE CHURCH.
1. The deceitful semblance of life though death lurks within. How strikingly opposed is the appearance to the reality! If all were not actually overcome by death - as the word "repent" would imply - yet were they on the brink of death; nay, death reigned. A remnant may remain, but of the body as a whole it must be said, "Thou art dead." Or, in more accurate language, spiritual death, which is as a sleep, has palsied the strength and virtue of the Church. "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead."
2. The good that remains is on the verge of ruin. "The things that remain" were "ready to die." Sad, indeed, is the condition of any Church when its last remnant of good is tainted; when a deadly disease seizes upon the last living hope.
3. The imperfectness of all their works in the sight of God. Whatever may have been their appearance to the eye of man, "before God," every work is judged to be unfulfilled, imperfect, incomplete. The strength of the life, the vital force, is abating; all the activities of life, therefore, are faulty. As is the life, so is the work of life.
II. THE CALL IS RENDERED NECESSARY BY THE CRITICAL CONDITION TO WHICH THE CHURCH IS REDUCED.
III. BY THE THREAT OF SPEEDY JUDGMENT IF THE SIGNS OF REPENTANCE ARE NOT FORTHCOMING. "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
IV. THE CALL IS FURTHER URGED BY THE GRACIOUS PROMISE TO THE FEW REMAINING FAITHFUL ONES.
V. AND IT IS RENDERED THE MORE IMPRESSIVE BY THE WORDS WHICH POEM THE BACKGROUND OF HOPE TO EVERY ONE THAT OVERCOMETH. These include:
2. Perpetuity of blessed life.
3. Honourable recognition: "before my Father and before his angels." - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
WEB: "And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: "He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.