A FEW NAMES
Revelation 3:1 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.
The name, Sardis is only found here in this passage and in Revelation 1:11. For in that verse we find the listing of all the churches who are to receive the Lord’s letter which he dictated to John. It was where the kings of Lydia held their court. And it lay in the vicinity of Smyrna and Ephesus.
We never read of Sardis in Paul’s letters, or even referred to in his missionary journeys. But it is one of the seven churches which are in Asia. (Rev. 1:4). And to each of these churches, without fail, the Lord makes a statement that should interest and concern us all. For he states to all seven, I know thy works. (Rev. 2:2,188.8.131.52:1,8,15). Therefore we must understand that the instruction given to Sardis, from our Sovereign Lord is most relevant to us also!
We know that man looks only on the outward appearance, but our watchful Lord looks upon the very hearts of his people! He even gives us instruction as to our relationship to one another and to the ministry within the local church! Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
And as the One speaking identifies Himself in the most supreme fashion, we also are farther given to an humble reverence to submit wholly to His instructions! For he says, These things saith he (the One – Interlinear) that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars! Therefore he is in absolute sovereign control of the church’s ministry both on earth and from heaven!
The seven stars
In Revelation 1:16 and 19 we are given to know then that these seven stars are the messengers, or the ministry of Christ to the church! These are the gifts that he presented to his Bride as a wedding present upon his ascension! Now that he ascended, … gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephes. 4:9-12). And notice in Revelation 1:17 it was these stars held in Christ’s right hand that represent the New Testament gospel revelation which raised the weeping John upon his feet in order for him to fully enter into this new kingdom! Come up hither (4:1), was an enabling command in order for him to seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of god! (Col. 3:1-3; Rev. 5:1-10).
These “gospel stars” point souls to Christ alone, never to religious man’s opinion about God, just as the Bethlehem star did for those wise men! And it did not leave them until they looked upon the face of the Person of God Himself! Matt. 2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
The seven Spirits of God
There is but one Holy Spirit! But He has a multiplicity of enablements and blessings for the true church! Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; For the church’s every accomplishments are Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zech. 4:6). And as there were seven churches to whom this letter was written, then the Lord shows that every one of them shall have this gift of God (John 4:10, Acts 8:20), to fully form Christ in their character and to enable their gospel efforts.
For both Christ and the Holy Spirit are said to grant them all grace and peace. Rev. 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; There are two “froms” in that verse! For as there is a oneness of Person in the Godhead, so there is a oneness of purpose with Christ, the Spirit, and with the Father! (John 8:29, 10:30).
Then in Revelation 4:5 we read: And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. For all the illumination and revelation of Christ to the church comes from the Person of the Spirit! John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. Read John 16:12-15. He provides to all the saints the path of light in which they shall walk! Psa. 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
We see Him again in Revelation 5:6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Both the seven horns and the seven eyes are said to be the seven Spirits of God! And the power of the church represented by the horns rests solely in the Holy Spirit! After Christ conquered death, hell and the grave in His victory at Calvary, all power in heaven and earth was given him! And it was in that power that he sent his church forth! Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore,..
Listen to their prayer for His power and of his granting it by the sending of the Holy Ghost! Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
But we also notice that with those seven horns there is also seven eyes! For authority without knowledge is very dangerous! And all the perception, all the discernment, and all the understanding of all believers that glorifies God is from the Holy Spirit alone!
Dear reader, the true, born again, spiritual believer is not a man on earth looking towards heaven! THAT is but a religionist! A true christian is one sitting in heavenly places, (Eph. 2:6), looking back towards the earth and discerning earth’s actions from a viewpoint of God’s glory!
1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
The ministry in our day needs to get back to this. The reason that ministers shy away from this is because it’s scary to rely solely by faith on the Spirit! We’d rather read Calvin, Gill, or Spurgeon and then come like a parrot to the pulpit, to repeat what they said because that’s more comfortable! But that causes our flock’s faith to stand in man’s ability and not in Christ! May the Sovereign Lord raise up spiritual minded preachers not afraid to rely on the only gift and provision the early church had, and the only one we really have today – the Person of the Holy Spirit!
Pastor Gene Breed
November 10, 2010