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.
I. GENERAL DEFILEMENT.
1. A vast deal of open profession, and but little of sincere religion. You can scarcely meet with a man who does not call himself a Christian, and yet it is equally hard to meet with one who is in the very marrow of his bones thoroughly sanctified to the good work of the kingdom of heaven. We meet with professors by hundreds; but we must expect still to meet with possessors by units.
2. A want of zeal. Ah! we have abundance of cold, calculating Christians, but where are the zealous ones? Where are those who have an impassioned love for souls?
3. The third charge against Sardis was that they did not "look to the things that remained and were ready to die." This may relate to the poor feeble saints. And what does the Church do now? Do the shepherds go after those that are wounded and sick, and those that are weary? Yes, but how do they speak? They tell them to perform impossible duties — instead of "strengthening the things that remain and are ready to die."
4. Another charge which God has brought against the Church is, that they were careless about the things which they heard. He says, "Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast; and repent." If I am wrong upon other points, I am positive that the sin of this age is impurity of doctrine, and laxity of faith.
II. SPECIAL PRESERVATION. "Thou hast a few names." Only a few; not so few as some think, but not as many as others imagine! There is not a church on earth that is so corrupt but has "a few." Since there are but a few, there ought to be great searchings of heart. Let us look to our garments and see whether they be defiled. The fewer the workmen to do the work the greater reason is there that you should be active. Be instant in season and out of season, because there are so few.
III. A PECULIAR REWARD. "They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." That is to say, communion with Christ on earth shall be the special reward of those who have not defiled their garments. Go into what company you please, do you meet with many men who hold communion with Christ? Oh, Christian! if thou wouldst have communion with Christ, the special way to win it is by not defiling thy garments, as the Church has done. "They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy."
1. This refers to justification. "They shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have been washed and made whiter than snow, and purified and made more cleanly than wool.
2. Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works."
3. And lastly, it refers to walking in white before the throne of God.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.