God told Apostle John to send a letter to Sardis. Sardis was the capital of the Asian Kingdom of Lydia. It was a very important for political, commercial, and religions centre. And it was a very wealthy city. Most cities where seven churches were in this area depended too much upon Rome, because of their limited food and resources. However, Sardis was different. It had plenty of food and natural resources including gold and silver. Many of people were very rich, so they could survive without the help of Rome.
Jesus says in Rev. 3:2 “Wake up! Strengthen what is left, or it will die. You have not done all that my God wants you to do.” The original meaning of wake up is gregoron (γρηγορῶν) in Greek. It means ‘Be watchful.’ The tense uses a continuing state. It means “Watch continually without stopping.” And strengthen is sterison(στήρισον) in Greek. It originally means ‘fix firmly and direct ourselves towards God.” This means that “Watch out. Keep focusing on God, and Follow God at all times”. Because of our weakness, we humans might forget the word of God, so they might turn away from God. Thus, God told the people of Israel that they would keep the word of God at all times.
Apostle John continues, in Rev. 3:3, “So remember what you have been taught and have heard.” The original meaning of remember is mnēmoneue(μνημόνευε) in a Greek word. It is in the present imperative. And it means to bear in mind rather than recall or remember. It is a command. Jesus said that believers were to keep God in mind and follow him at all times.
Rev. 3:3 says “Hold firmly to it (the word of God).” God wanted them to come back to God and hold firmly to God. Hebrews 3:14 says, “we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” God commanded that his followers were to hold firmly till the end of this world, so that they could be saved.
Our Lord never gave up on the people of Sardis. He wanted them to come back to him. Rev. 3:4 says, “But you have a few people in Sardis who are pure.” Even though there were many people in the church in Sardis. There were only a few people, who believed in God. God blessed them..
For the believers in Sardis. Jesus says, in Rev. 3:5, “..I will do for anyone who has victory over sin.” God wants us to overcome our sins and sufferings. And he will help us to succeed in this world. Our life is like climbing a mountain. There are many obstacles on the process. If something goes wrong, we are to keep going. Otherwise, we might not be able to climb the mountain. We will meet many obstacles. How can we overcome? We are with God. He sends his people, other believers of God to help them. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are here with us. They are here to help us to survive. We need to live and work for God along with our brothers and sisters in God. Why would we not?
How can we overcome our sufferings so to continue to have the strong faith in God in this world?
In what way, are we able to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are troubled?
Rev Dr Je Cheol Cook