Message to Sardis
3 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [a]Sardis write:
“These are the words of Him who has [b]the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds; you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but [in reality] you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me], which is about to die; for I have not found [any of] your deeds completed in the sight of My God or meeting His requirements. 3 So remember and take to heart the lessons you have received and heard. Keep and obey them, and repent [change your sinful way of thinking, and demonstrate your repentance with new behavior that proves a conscious decision to turn away from sin]. So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 But you [still] have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes [that is, contaminated their character and personal integrity with sin]; and they will walk with Me [dressed] in white, because they are worthy (righteous). 5 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine].(A) 6 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [c]Philadelphia write:
“These are the words of the Holy One, the True One, He who has the key [to the house] of David, He who opens and no one will [be able to] shut, and He who shuts and no one opens:(B)
8 ‘I know your deeds. See, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut, for you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not renounced or denied My name.(C) 9 Take note, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and make them know [without any doubt] that I have loved you.(D) 10 Because you have kept the word of My endurance [My command to persevere], I will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial, that hour which is about to come on the whole [inhabited] world, to test those who live on the earth.(E) 11 I am coming quickly. Hold tight what you have, so that no one will take your crown [by leading you to renounce the faith]. 12 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will make him a [d]pillar in the temple of My God; he will most certainly never be put out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My [own] new name.(F) 13 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Laodicea
14 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [e]Laodicea write:
“These are the words of the Amen, the trusted and faithful and true Witness, the [f]Beginning and Origin of God’s creation:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are [g]neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were [h]cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust]. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need],(G) 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold that has been heated red hot and refined by fire so that you may become truly rich; and white clothes [representing righteousness] to clothe yourself so that the shame of your nakedness will not be seen; and healing salve to put on your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I rebuke and discipline [showing them their faults and instructing them]; so be enthusiastic and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will].(H) 20 Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.(I) 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
- Revelation 3:1 Sardis (modern Sart, Turkey), in Roman times, was a wealthy city known for the manufacture and dyeing of woolen fabric and carpets. Originally, it was the capital of the ancient Lydian Empire and was the first city to mint coinage (600 b.c.). A stream that flowed through its market place carried gold dust from a nearby mountain. King Croesus of Lydia (560-546 b.c.) financed the building of the great Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (550 b.c.). The city was conquered twice, under Cyrus the Great and under Antiochus, due to lack of adequate watchfulness.
- Revelation 3:1 See note 1:4.
- Revelation 3:7 Philadelphia (modern Alashehir, Turkey) was a commercial center located on elevated ground overlooking the fertile plain of the Hermus (Gediz) River. In 189 b.c. the king of Pergamum established Philadelphia and named the city to honor his brother.
- Revelation 3:12 Like the common phrase “pillar of the community,” this is a metaphor of great honor, but far more so. The statement that the one who overcomes will never leave the temple is assurance that he will never lose the privilege of being in the presence of God and serving Him.
- Revelation 3:14 Laodicea, located beside the Lycus River, was a prosperous city about forty miles south of Philadelphia. It had a well-respected financial center, thriving textile production industry (specializing in black wool), and a leading medical school that produced a famous eye salve. Two other cities were in this general area: Colossae, known for its mountain spring of cold, fresh water; and Hierapolis, a site famous for its hot, therapeutic mineral springs.
- Revelation 3:14 I.e. Origin of Source.
- Revelation 3:15 This phrase and the word lukewarm in v 16 form a metaphor that is probably based on the quality of the water supply of Laodicea, which was delivered by aqueduct from the hot mineral springs about five miles away. During its journey, the water cooled to a warm or lukewarm temperature.
- Revelation 3:15 I.e. alive, productive—beneficial in one way or the other.