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Monday, March 20, 2023

Revelation 3:4-6 The Promise; To Everyone Who Conquers Will Be Clothed In White, And I Will Not Erase His Name From The Book Of Life

Revelation 3:4-6 4Yet even there in Sardis, some haven’t soiled their garments with the world’s filth; they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that he is mine.

6 Let all who can hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.[1] 

 

6.         The Promise (Revelation 3:4–6).

Chapter 3

F.   The Message to Sardis:

The Church That Has a Strong Reputation but Is Dying, Revelation 3:1–6

1.   The recipients

a.   The messenger of the church

b.   The Sardis churchDS1

2.   The speaker: Jesus 

3. The complaint: You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead

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.

4.  The counsel: Wake up! Strengthen what remains & is about to die

2 Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

5.   The warning

a.  Remember & obey what you have received & heard

b.   Repent

c.  Know that judgment will come suddenly, unexpectedly

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.

6.   The Promise 

a.  To the people not soiled: They will walk with the Lord dressed in white  

b.   To the overcomers

1)   Will be clothed in white

2) Will never be blotted from God’s Book

3) Will be acknowledged before God

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.

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.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.[2]


8. The Commendation (Revelation 3:4)

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 (Revelation 3:4). This is a commendation of the faithful in Sardis. Four things are said of the undefiled.

• Their number. Thou has a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments.” It is few,” not “many,” who are undefiled. It is always this way. Few characterizes the godly compared to the others (Matthew 7:13, 14) and the undefiled compared to the defiled. But some walk in holiness. Some couples are not divorced. Some young people are chaste. Not many but a few. Holiness will never be the popular brand of life in this world. But it is the right and best way of life.

• Their nature. Have not defiled their garments.” This is figurative language for an undefiled character. Our churches are filled with those who live an unholy life. Immorality, divorce, and cheating at work are all common, but some stay true. Their nature is chaste, honest, and virtuous.

• Their nobility. They shall walk with me in white.” This is a great honor. It puts one in a noble class to walk with the king in special garments. Divine rewards are the best.

• Their noteworthiness. They are worthy.” The world may not consider them worthy of any honor or recognition, for the world saves their honors for the unholy. But when God gives His honors, they will go to the truly worthy. And the truly worthy are those of high character in God’s evaluation.

9. The Compensation (Revelation 3:5)

Every letter has a message about the overcomer—the one who overcomes the evil in the church. There is a threefold compensation for the overcomer in Sardis in this text.

• The clothing in the compensation. Shall be clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3:5). This is honor in eternity.

• The certifying in the compensation. I will not blot out his name out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5). Overcoming does not save but gives assurance of salvation, for the promise here is one of assurance.

• The confessing in the compensation. I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5). “He who shrank not from the confession of the Name of Christ … shall be singled out in the august presence of the Father and His angels and have his name confessed [honored] before that grand assembly” (Scott). There is no worldly honor that compares to this honor.

10. The Charge (Revelation 3:6)

He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:6). This charge, which is given to all the churches, is a charge of stewardship that involves three things.

The capacity to hear. He that hath an ear.” Use the ability, assets, and advantages God gives you to honor God.

The character of hearing. Let him hear.” Be attentive, interested, and respectful.

The communication for hearing. What the Spirit saith.” “What the Spirit saith is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Too many use their ears only to hear defiling things.[3] 

6 (3:4–6) Overcomers—Promises: There Is the Promise To The Overcomers. Note: there is a promise to those who do not defile themselves as well as to the overcomers. 

1. There are those who had not defiled themselves. This means there were a few faithful believers in the church. They had not defiled, dirtied, or spotted their lives with the worldliness of the day. They had kept themselves “unspotted from the world” (Js. 1:27). They were not activity-centered nor program-centered but Christ-centered. They did not use the church …

         as a religious salve for their conscience

         as a social activity

         as a place for fellowship alone

         as a place for social and business contacts

         as a place to build their public image

         as a place to provide activities for the family 

The faithful believers kept themselves pure. They focused upon Jesus Christ and His purpose: they were still growing spiritually and reaching out to share Christ with a needful world. 

Note the promise: the faithful and pure believerwalks with Christ in white.” This means …

         that the faithful believer walks day by day in the presence of Christ and has the presence of Christ looking after and taking care of him—keeping him pure (white).

         that the faithful believer walks day by day and moment by moment in open confession before Christ, that he keeps himself clean by constantly confessing all sin and having Christ forgive his sins. Christ keeps him clean (white).

         that the faithful believer walks in victory and purity with Christ forever and ever. 

Note that the faithful and pure believer receives this promise because he is worthy. Christ is ever so pleased that the believer focuses upon Him, his Lord; therefore, Christ loves him with a very special love and counts the believer worthy. 

2. There are the overcomers. Three promises are made to the believer who keeps his spirit alive and focuses on Jesus Christ and His spiritual purposes for the church. 

a.      The overcomer will be clothed in white. This is the garment of righteousness, purity, and perfection that shall be given to the believer when he enters heaven. The believer is given this garment of righteousness and purity …

         because he trusted the righteousness of Christ.

         because he followed Christ by living a righteous life.

V  “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment” (Mt. 22:11).

V  “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet” (Lu. 15:22).

V  “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Ro. 3:22).

V  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Co. 5:21).

V  “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” (Re. 3:5).

V  “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” (Re. 3:18).

V  “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats, I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (Re. 4:4).

V  “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands” (Re. 7:9).

V  “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Re. 19:8).

V  “And he believed in the lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Ge. 15:6).

V  “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem” (Jb. 29:14).

V  “I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy” (Ps. 132:16).

V  “I will greatly rejoice in the lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Is. 61:10).

V  “And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment” (Zec. 3:4). 

b.      The overcomer will not be blotted out of the book of life. This is a book that God keeps. The picture of Scripture is this: every person’s name is written in the book of life when the person is born. But at death, the names of unbelievers are erased from the book, and they are judged to eternal death. The names of true believers are never touched. They receive eternal life.

V  “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Lu. 10:20).

V  “And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life” (Ph. 4:3).

V  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Re. 20:15).

V  “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, nor maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Re. 21:27).

V  “And the Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (Ex. 32:33).

V  “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Ps. 69:28).

V  “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book” (Da. 12:1). 

c.       The overcomer will be acknowledged by Christ before God. Christ will confess that He knows the believer who overcame by keeping his spirit alive and focused upon the Lord.

V  “Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32–33).

V  “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God” (Lu. 12:8).

V  “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Ro. 10:9).

V  “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Ph. 2:11).

V  “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 Jn. 2:22–23).

V  “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 Jn. 4:15).[4] 

Yet even in Sardis, there are some who have not soiled their garments with evil deeds. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” Revelation 3:4–5 NLT

Not every believer in Sardis was condemned for complacency and compromise with the world. Christ pointed out that some had not soiled their garments with evil deeds. These believers were being faithful. It must have been encouraging to those few who had been attempting to live for Christ in this dead church that Christ was commending them as worthy of his name. Christ promises a threefold reward for these faithful few: 

1.      They will be clothed in white.

2.      I will never erase their names from the Book of Life.

3.      I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. 

To be “clothed in white” means to be set apart for God, (sanctified) cleansed from sin, and made morally and spiritually pure. Revelation mentions white robes several times. The believers in Laodicea are told to buy white robes to cover their shame (Re. 3:18); the martyrs awaiting justice wear white robes (Re. 6:11); the twenty-four elders in heaven wear white robes (Re. 4:4), as do the people in the great multitude who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white (Re. 7:9, 13). The armies of heaven are also clothed in white (Re. 19:14). The white of these garments symbolizes the purity that comes when one has been “washed” in Christ’s blood.

Evil deeds soil garments, but Christ can clean those sins away. Isaiah had said, “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18 nlt). Only those who have allowed Christ to cleanse them from their sins and clothe them in white will be able to reign with him (Re. 2:27). In pagan religions, it was forbidden to approach a god with soiled garments, so a person had to be clean in order to come into a temple. Christ, however, invites soiled, sinful people to come; he will give them clean clothing.

“The Book of Life” refers to the heavenly registry of those who have accepted salvation in Christ. This expression appears elsewhere in the Bible. The picture of God’s “book” first appears in Exodus 32:32–33. Also, the psalmist had cried out against his enemies, “Erase their names from the Book of Life; don’t let them be counted among the righteous” (Psalm 69:28 nlt). Daniel had prophesied, “At that time, every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued”(Daniel 12:1 nlt). This “book” symbolizes God’s knowledge of who belongs to him. At that time, cities had registry books, so having one’s name removed meant losing citizenship. A city would also erase a person’s name from the registry when he or she died. For the citizens of heaven, however, death is not a cause for one’s name to be removed; instead, it is the way of entrance.

Some have suggested that Christ’s statement that he will “never erase” certain names leaves open the possibility that he might erase some names and may imply that people can lose their salvation. In other words, can a name be written in the book and then later erased? It would be shaky to base one’s theology of salvation on this symbol, so it is best to take Christ’s statement at face value. Those who remain faithful to him are promised future honor and eternal life—they are guaranteed citizenship in heaven.

The names of all believers are registered in the Book of Life, and Christ will introduce them to the hosts of heaven (“my Father and his angels”) as belonging to him. Christ had stated, “If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32 nlt). Believers can have no greater reward than to stand in heaven with Christ and have him announce to the entire assembled host, “They are mine.” 

“I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye while I stand on this isthmus of life between these two boundless oceans, and I verily think the daily consideration of both highly becomes all men of reason and religion.” – John Wesley 

Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:6 NLT 

Again, Christ emphasizes the importance for the readers of Revelation to listen and understand. The message in this letter is also for you.[5] 


Read Homiletic at the Following Link 



Revelation 3:4-6 The Promise; To Everyone Who Conquers Will Be Clothed In WhiteAnd I Will Not Erase His Name From The Book Of Life


Biblical Influence & Life Application: Revelation 3:1–6. —The Words of Christ To The Congregation At Sardis. (modesofinfluence.blogspot.com)


[1] Taylor, Kenneth Nathaniel. 1997. The Living Bible, Paraphrased. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

DS Deeper Study

[2] Leadership Ministries Worldwide. 1996. Revelation. The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.

[3] Butler, John G. 2010. Analytical Bible Expositor: Revelation. Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.

[4] Leadership Ministries Worldwide. 1996. Revelation. The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.

NLT Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

nlt Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

nlt Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

nlt Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

nlt Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

NLT Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

[5] Barton, Bruce B. 2000. Revelation. Edited by Grant R. Osborne. Life Application Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Revelation 3:1–6. —The Words of Christ To The Congregation At Sardis.

 Revelation 3:1–6. —The Words of Christ To The Congregation At Sardis.

 “Sardis,” says Dr. Eadie, “was a city of ancient Lydia. Its modern name is Sert kalesi, and it lies about thirty miles southeast of Thyatira and two miles south of the river Hermus. It is, however, but a miserable village, inhabited chiefly by shepherds, though it is one of the stopping-places of the Persian caravans. The original city was plundered by Cyrus and afterward desolated by an earthquake, the ruins of it being still visible a little distance to the south of the present town. Nothing is now to be seen but a few mud huts inhabited by ignorant, stupid, filthy Turks, and the only men who bear the Christian name are at work all day in their mill. Everything seems as if God had cursed the place and left it to the dominion of Satan.”

A modern traveler says, “I sat beneath the sky of Asia to gaze upon the ruins of Sardis from the banks of the golden-sanded Pactolus. Beside me were the cliffs of that Acropolis which centuries before the hardy Median scaled while leading on the conquering Persians whose tents had covered the very spot on which I was reclining. Before me were the vestiges of what had been the palace of the gorgeous Croesus; within its walls were once congregated the wisest of mankind, Thales, Cleotolus, and Solon. Far in the distance were the gigantic tumuli of the Lydian monarch, and around them spread those very plains once trodden by the countless hosts of Xerxes when hurrying on to find a sepulcher at Marathon. But all had passed away! There before me were the fanes of a dead religion, and the tombs of forgotten monarchs, and the palm tree that waved in the banquet halls of kings.” Who founded the Christian community at Sardis, or the exact period when the gospel was first preached there, are questions that have not been, and perhaps cannot be, settled. The address of Christ to this community, as recorded in these verses, forcibly calls our attention to the consideration of three things—the general character of the many, the exceptional character of the few, and the absolute Judge of all. Notice— 

I. The general character of the many.

They were in a very lamentable condition.

1. They had a reputation for being what they were not. “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and [thou] art dead.” It was bad enough for them to be “dead,” that is, all but destitute of that supreme sympathy with spiritual goodness, which is the essence of moral life. It was worse still for them to have the reputation of life and for them to believe in that reputation. The sight of death is bad enough, but death garbed and decorated with the semblances of life makes it more ghastly to behold. How this community obtained this name for living, and this high reputation in the neighborhood, does not appear, albeit it is not difficult to guess. Perhaps it made loud professions, appeared very zealous and active, and paraded its affected virtues. Then, as now, perhaps, men were taken by their contemporaries to be rather what they appeared than what they were. In these days, and in England, there are Churches that have a reputation for wonderful usefulness. All their doings, their prayers, their sprinklings and dippings, their pulpit deliverances and their psalmodies, their architectural expansions and numerical additions, are emblazoned in the so-called “Christian” journals, so that they have a great name to live, whereas spiritually, they may be all but dead. Reputation is one thing; character is another. Everywhere in a corrupt world like this, the basest characters have the brightest reputation and the reverse. The barren fig tree was covered with luxuriant leafage. Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”

2. They were in a state of spiritual consumption. “That is ready to die.” It would seem that, whilst they were not all spiritually dead, there was a spiritual consumption amongst some. “Things ready to die.” What things are these? The greatest things in the universe are eternal principles of virtue and truth. What things are comparable to these? To them, literature, markets, and governments are immaturities. There is a spiritual consumption, and the symptoms are manifest. Weakness, morbid appetites, false views of life, etc.

3. They were in a state requiring prompt and urgent attention. “Be [thou] watchful, and strengthen [stablish] the things which remain. that are [which were] ready to die.” What is to be done?

1)      They were to be vigilant. “Watchful,” wakeful, to shake off slothfulness, open their eyes to eternal realities, fan the dying sparks into a flame.

2)      They were to be curative. “Strengthen the things which remain.” How strengthen? Appropriate the true remedial element, fruit from the tree of life; use wholesome food, the “sincere milk of the Word;” take proper exercise—inaction leads to disease; “exercise thyself unto godliness;” inbreathe the pure atmosphere of holiness.

3)      They were to be recollective. “Remember therefore how thou hast received.” Call up all the good of the past.

4)      They were to be repentant. “Hold fast, and repent.” They were to renounce all that was pernicious to spiritual health and pursue the right course. “Hold fast.” Grasp with all the tenacity of their being the good that comes up to memory as the drowning man lays hold of the rope thrown out on the surging waves.

4. They were in a state of alarming danger. “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.” Such words as these Christ uttered while a tenant of this earth (Matt. 24:32). Retribution generally moves stealthily as a thief. “The feet of the gods are shod with wool,” says the old Greek proverb. 

II. The exceptional character of the few.

“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled [did not defile] their garments.” “These few names,” says Dr. Tait, “are here to the credit and honor of the Church, the few ‘things’ in connection with the Church in Pergamos were against it, and to its condemnation, He who was the angel of the Church does not seem to have known the few names, just as the prophet did not know the seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed their knees to Baal.” Here, then, is goodness amidst social depravity. Three remarks are suggested.

1. That true goodness can exist under external circumstances, the most corrupt. Sardis was one of the most dissolute cities of ancient times, but there were Christians. Man is not a creature of circumstances.

2. That true goodness, wherever it exists, engages the specific attention of Christ. Christ noticed the goodness in Sardis, and why?

(1) Because it is the highest manifestation of God upon the earth.

(2) Because it is the result of his mediatorial mission.

(3) Because on it depends the progress of humanity.

3. That true goodness will ultimately be distinguished by a glorious reward. The words “walk with me,” etc., imply three ideas. (1) Triumph. (2) Fellowship. (3) Progress. 

III. The absolute Judge of all.

Who is the absolute Judge, both of the many and the few? He is thus described: “These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” The absolute Judge of character is here presented in three connections.

1. In connection with the highest influence. “He that hath the seven Spirits of God.” Elsewhere we read, “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34). The Divine Spirit is everywhere. The amount of its possession by any moral being is conditioned by that being’s receptive capacity. No man ever appeared on earth who had the receptive capacity in such measure as Christ had it. He was filled with it. He opened his ministry by saying, “ ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” etc. The more a man has of this Spirit, the more he can communicate of life and power and blessedness.

2. In connection with the highest ministry. “The seven stars.” These were, as we have seen, the angels of the seven Churches. What is the highest human ministry? The ministry of the gospel. Those engaged in this work are here called “stars,” and these stars are in the hands of Christ. He molds them with his influence; He burnishes them with His holiness; He fixes them in their orbits; He guides and sustains them in their spheres. He is, in truth, their Centre and Sun. From Him, they derive their order, their vitality, and their power.

3. In connection with the highest Being. “I will confess His name before my Father.” The Father is the greatest Being in the universe. The relationship of Son implies (1) Resemblance. (2) Reciprocal love. The Son identifies Himself with all his true disciples. “I will confess His name before My Father, and before His angels.”—D. T.[1]


Revelation 3:1–6. —The Words of Christ To The Congregation At Sardis.

D. T. D. THOMAS

[1] Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. 1909. Revelation. The Pulpit Commentary. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.