To The Church in Sardis

In reading the letters to the churches in Revelation, I’ve focused on marks of a living and thriving church.  Here’s the first four:

Love:  See the letter to Ephesus

Suffering:  See the letter to Smyrna

Orthodoxy:  See the letter to Pergamum.

Repentance:  See the letter to Thyatira.

In this post we add another.  Holiness: See the letter to Sardis.

Read Revelation 3:1-6 and check out previous post here and here and here and here and here.

We learn from the letter to the church in Sardis that you can’t fake holiness … at least not before God.  The church in Sardis had a reputation of being alive.  But they were actually dead.  They were posers, pretenders, play actors. They had fake holiness. You might call them hypocrites. They looked good to the world but they were dead to God.

Reputation in the eyes of the world is worthless.

Reputation in the eyes of God is everything.

This letter is a call to holiness. The majority in Sardis had soiled their clothes. That this, they were defiled by sin. Yet, those who resist the stain sin are dressed in white. White is a beloved color in Revelation: white stones, white cloud, white horse, great white throne. It symbolizes victory, purity, and holiness.  Those in white enjoy fellowship with Jesus Christ, will never be blotted out of the book of life, and will be acknowledged before the throne of God.

But don’t get confused. You don’t wear white through the works of man. You gain holiness through the work of Christ. Our holiness is borrowed from Christ.

Look forward a bit in Revelation:

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

– Revelation 7:14

I love absurdity of this passage at face value! You are made white by being washed in the blood of the lamb. At face value this makes no sense. Yet, those that know the work of Christ understand it.

You might ask, what exactly is holiness?

I love the definition of holiness provided in the song Lord, I Need You:

“Holiness is Christ in me”

This idea has a boatload of Biblical support. I’ll just give you one reference:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

– Galatians 2:20

 
Reputation in the eyes of the world is worthless.

Reputation in the eyes of God is everything.

2 thoughts on “To The Church in Sardis

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