Let the believer keep his spiritual ears open continually, for the voice of the Holy Spirit, lest he be found merely professing the name of Christian, and not having the power thereof, or lest he grow lukewarm toward Christ, and so be taken unawares, or even found to be a counterfeit at the sudden appearing of Christ in glory.
1 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.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 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.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 3:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:2-3 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:4 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:5-6 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:7 Intro 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:7 Intro 2 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:7-8 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:9-10 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:10-13 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:14 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:14-16 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:16 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:17 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:18-21 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:22 – J. Vernon McGee
Revelation 3:1-6 – “Strengthen the Things Which Remain”
In other addresses to the churches our Lord began with commendation, but no such word is here. He is described in the fullness of His glorious nature, but this church is full of unfulfilled works. What a striking phrase and how true! We begin and do not finish, skirt the edges but do not penetrate to the heart, are superficial and fragmentary. How few can say with the Master (John 17:4), “I have finished the work”; and of how few it can be said, as by Paul of the Baptist, He “fulfilled his course”! Acts 13:25.
There are four evidences of spiritual life. In a living church there will be growth, compassion, unity, and love; and the Lord missed all these and bitterly lamented their absence. Of what use was the fig tree to abate His hunger, when it bore leaves but no fruit? Amid all this disappointing formalism, there were a few live souls who fulfilled their works and did not defile their robes. Does not this suggest the Transfiguration? On the holy mount, the homely garments of Jesus shone with light; and so the inner purity of the saint shines through and glorifies His simplest acts. The holiness we love in this life shall be rewarded by the white robes, Christ’s acknowledgment, and the deeds of heavenly citizenship. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Revelation 3:1 – Have you ever read “The Ancient Mariner”? I dare say you thought it one of the strangest imaginations ever put together, especially that part where the old mariner represents the corpses of all the dead men rising up to man the ship,—dead men pulling the rope, dead men steering, dead men spreading sails. I thought what a strange idea that was. But do you know that I have lived to see that time? I have seen it done. I have gone into churches, and I have seen a dead man in the pulpit, a dead man as deacon, and a dead man handling the plate, and dead men sitting to hear. (Spurgeon)
Revelation 3:1 – A man may be a living churchman but a dead Christian. (Ryle)
Revelation 3:7-13 – Let No One Take Thy Crown
For those who have but a little strength, the Lord sets open a wide door. You may not be able to open the door, but you can enter it in His Name. Once He opens the door, all the opposition you may be called upon to encounter will not avail to shut it; and if He shuts the door against your adversaries, all their craft and strength will beat against its exterior in vain. Get Christ to shut the door against the tempting at would allure you from your allegiance, may be sorely beset, but He will keep them in the hour of trial. They shall not miss their crown, but shall become permanent and important constituents in the eternal Temple. We have often stood to notice the strength and stability of a pillar in an old church. It has looked unmoved on generations that have grown from youth to age at its base, and so shall Christ’s saints endure.
It is marvelous how much Christ can make of our poor lives, if only we yield to Him. It was said of a great statesman recently deceased, “He was a resounding example of what a great thing a great man may make of a life.” But how much greater can Christ make a life, once a mere block of stone, but now inscribed with His own mystic handwriting and engraving! —Through the Bible Day by Day
PILGRIM WATCH THY CROWN.
Life is a journey and as pilgrims we tread its pathway, resting now and then for refreshment or ease. It is during these periods of rest that Satan employs every art to wrest from the traveler his dearest possession, his crown of life, which secures him an ample entrance to the heavenly city beyond. Folly, which represents the sensuous pleasures of the world, is employed to display her gaudy charms in order that the eye of the wayfarer may be turned aside and give Satan the opportunity to snatch the coveted treasure. At such moments let the Christian keep his crown before his eye, nor let him look back at the allurements and false pleasures which he has left behind. For, as a reward for this vigilance, a crown of life is assured him, one that is imperishable and brilliant and that fadeth not away.
Revelation 3:11 – We can only hold fast what we have by constantly using it. If we have a measure of love, we must daily study the means of manifesting it. It is easily recovered from yesterday, but not from the day before. If we have joy, we must persevere in rejoicing; every day must have its spiritual joy. Our peace too, we must daily see to it that it is with us. So with long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Each day is to be considered a stage, and we must ascertain regularly that none of our treasures have been left behind. Christians are ready to think, until they have learned the contrary, that their graces are safe when they are slumbering, but their slumber is fatal. Whatever we would retain we must keep near our consciousness; our will, our memory, our understanding, all must be conversant with it. (Bowen)
Revelation 3:12—Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God.
All who lived on the seaboard of Asia Minor were familiar with the vast and beautiful temples, in which Oriental lavishness and Greek art combined to realize the utmost magnificence. Their ruins strew the deserted sites of former cities to this day. The Lord therefore used familiar imagery in this promise. A column hewn from its rocky bed, richly sculptured, and conveyed to the rising temple-structure!
Stability.—“Shall go no more out.” God Himself shall establish, strengthen, and settle, the soul which trusts Him, and is willing to follow at all costs where He leads. He will make such a one to be as Jachin or Boaz, the two mighty pillars which Solomon erected in the Temple court, their names signifying establishment and strength. There is no spectacle more inspiring than to behold the steadfastness of the soul that wavers and swerves not, but stands to its post, though all nature rocks.
Responsibility.—The pillar bears up some part of the structure; and it is Christ’s good pleasure to call us to share with Him the weight of ministering to his Church. As you show yourself true and faithful, God will allow you to bear up the common life of his people by ministering comfort, direction, encouragement, to such as could not stand by themselves.
Beauty.—The mediaeval architects and masons took great pleasure in their designs. In many cases each pillar is sculptured as to its capital in its own fashion. There is infinite variety and beauty in the patterns. So Jesus is cutting deep into us the name of his Father and Himself, and making us bear new revelations to the world. Do not shrink from the deep cutting of his chisel. —Our Daily Homily
Revelation 3:14-22 – “I Stand at the Door, and Knock”
It is better to be cold than lukewarm, for in the latter case all that God’s love can do for the soul has only produced a moderate result, while if we are cold, our soul has yet to be tried. The Gospel has a better chance with the openly profane and godless than with those who have been brought up under its influence and are so far unaffected. The mischief with men generally is that they do not know themselves, and do not want to know; and they are equally ignorant of the rich stores of blessedness that Christ waits to bestow. We think that we abound in gift and grace, when in Christ’s eyes we are most pitiable. Yet, at this moment, He is standing at the door, laden with the gifts of heaven. Admit Him, or at least lift the latch of the will, so that He may push the door back and enter. Do not attempt to deal with the squalor within; He will see to that, and cleanse, keep, and enrich. Do not try to provide supper; He will bring thee His own flesh and blood.
Ponder that last beatitude, which promises to all believers that if they share with Him His age-long conflict against the evil of the world, they shall share His rule and power, which they shall use with Him for the uplift and blessing of mankind. Complete and continually renewed self-surrender to Christ will admit into our hearts the royalty and power of Christ. —Through the Bible Day by Day
THE POOREST MAN IN THE WORLD.
Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked on a lonely island, furnishes a picture of woe and desolation which it would be difficult to exaggerate, and yet, through his invention and enterprise, frugality and foresight, he transformed inhospitable shores into a garden of plenty. He conquered nature, by reason of his kindly acts even the wild animals learned to love him and the ferocious savages gave him their trust. In strong contrast to him is the man who heaps opulence upon greed and by his selfishness separates himself from the companionship of men. Faith, Hope and Love, once his attendants, he has allowed to perish. Eternity surrounds him. Opportunity is wrecked, and no ship will ever again come near his lonely island. The poorest man in the world is the man who has the means to purchase everything but has lost his capacity for enjoying anything.
Revelation 3:17 – We need help from God to know our helplessness. The greatest of all our enemies is in the royal chamber of our inmost being and rules us with a rod of iron, though it be bound about with ivy leaves. We need help from God Himself to become aware of the true character of this enthroned enemy, and to see the desolations he has wrought in our heritage. Alas for them who know not their need of help. The triumph of their foe is complete. They are led captive at his will, even though we see them occupying the high places of the earth, admired and followed by vast crowds. (Bowen)
Knock! Knock! Knock! Since childhood’s youngest day there has been a loving guest waiting at the door of our heart’s chamber. Long years we have heard that gentle, patient, persistent knock! knock! knock! Long ago it was louder, distincter, clearer, because, now we have passed from quiet, restful childhood into the loud and stirring world. Nevertheless, into business, into politics, into society, even into sin, that faithful Friend has followed us and is bound, still if possible, to gain admittance to our lives. But we are absorbed, indifferent, and, in a word, too busy. We also have another guest who has our ear. Therefore, keep out! No admittance! Life closes! Eternity dawns, and we begin to hear, not the knock, knock, knock of our unwelcome guest, but the clank, clank, clank of the chains of bondage which our new master is forging.
Behold a stranger at the door,
He gently knocks, has knocked before,
Has waited long, is waiting still,
You treat no other friend so ill.
Revelation 3:20 – Behold the dignity of man! The heart is a palace, barred and bolted, kept by man, and Christ his Maker allows him to hold the key, and will not force a way in. Behold the interest in man! Gracious powers from above gather about him in pity and love, and out of the midst of these, Christ knocks and asks admission. No other being is the centre of such interest. Behold the privilege of man! If he hear the entreaty and open the door, the Son of God will come in and dwell with him. Behold the blessedness of man! The soul into which Christ thus enters has Christ sup with him and he with Christ. Note the order: Christ first comes down and sups with him, and then takes him up to sup with Himself—Christly communion with Christ as leader up the ever higher Christly ranges. Here is the highest bliss and Christ stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, offering it. (I.E. Dwinell)
Revelation 3:20 – A man once stopped a preacher in a street of London, and said, “I once heard you preach in Paris, and you said something which I have never forgotten, and which has, through God, been the means of my conversion.” “What was that?” said the preacher. “It was that the latch was on our side of the door. I had always thought that God was a hard God, and that we must do something to propitiate Him. It was a new thought to me that Christ was waiting for me to open to Him.” (Moody)
Revelation 3:21 – At the close of the war of 1866, the triumphant army of Prussia came to Berlin for a reception of welcome. As each regiment approached the city gate from the Thiergarten, it was halted by a choir, demanding by what right it would enter the city. The regiment replied in a song, reciting the battles it had fought, the victories it had won; then came a welcome from the choir, “Enter into the city.” And so the next came up, reciting its deeds, and another, and another, each challenged and welcomed. They marched up the Linden between rows of captured cannon, with the banners they had borne and the banners they had taken, and they saluted the statue of grand old Frederick, the creator of Prussia. So, when all the fierce warfare of earth shall have been accomplished, and the kingdom of Christ assured, the phalanxes of His church shall go up to the city with songs and tokens of victory. They shall march in together, singing hallelujahs, and shall lay their trophies at the feet of Him upon whose head are many crowns—King of kings and Lord of lords. (Thompson)