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Revelation 3 The Voice (VOICE)

For centuries many Jews had been scattered throughout the known world, exiled to the lands east of the Jordan River from the promised land by powerful invading nations. After Jerusalem fell in a.d. 70, even more Jews left Judea, this time crossing the Mediterranean looking for some place far from Roman cruelty. That’s why, as John writes these letters to churches in Asia Minor, he recalls some of the most infamous characters from Israel’s past—Balaam, Balak, and Jezebel. The ordeals facing John’s churches are not all that different from those Israel faced hundreds of years before. Many of the same struggles plague churches in the West to this day. The names may change, but the problems confronting God’s faithful do not.

Letter to Sardis

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis. “These are the words of the One who has the seven Spirits of God, the Perfect Spirit, and the One who holds the seven stars:

“I know the things you do—you’ve claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead. Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it’s time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways.[a] If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief—you will have no way of knowing when I will come. But there are a few in Sardis who don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes. They will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy.

“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments, and I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life. I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Letter to Philadelphia

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia. “These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One who closes all options so that no one can open:

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. I have done this because you have limited strength, yet you have obeyed My word and have not denied My name. Watch, and I will make those of the congregation of Satan—those who call themselves ‘Jews’ but are not because they lie—come before you penitent, falling at your feet. Then they will know how much I have loved you. 10 Because you have obeyed My instructions to endure and be patient, I will protect you from the time of trial which will come upon the whole earth and put everyone in it to the test. 11 I will soon return. Hold tight to what you have so that no one can take away your victor’s wreath.

12 “As for the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will plant that person as a pillar in the temple of My God, and that person will never have to leave the presence of God. Moreover, I will inscribe this person with the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, New Jerusalem—which descends out of heaven from My God—and My own new name.

God’s intention for the world is this: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.

13 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Letter to Laodicea

14 Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Laodicea. “These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation:

15 “I know your works. You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion. It would be better if you were one or the other, but you are neither. 16 So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 You claim, ‘I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing’; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. 18 So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).

19 “Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back.[b] 20 Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.

21 “The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death I will place next to Me on My throne, just as I Myself conquered and took a place of honor with My Father on His throne.

22 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:3 Literally, repent
  2. 3:19 Literally, repent
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Revelation 3 New International Version (NIV)

To the Church in Sardis

“To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 3:1 Or messenger; also in verses 7 and 14
  2. Revelation 3:1 That is, the sevenfold Spirit
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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