Study Guide: Revelation 3:1-6 (Sardis)
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
If Christians remember the gospel, repent, and persevere in faith, they will be honored before God in eternity.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to the church in Sardis about two main groups of people: those who seem “alive” by their works but are spiritually “dead” and must repent, and those in Sardis who have remained faithful. Between describing these groups, Jesus speaks of his imminent return and the urgency with which the church must turn back to him. This passage emphasizes the Christian’s response to Christ’s call for repentance and how the faithful Christian will walk with Christ in eternity.
- What are the characteristics of the two groups of people in Sardis?
- What is the significance of being “clothed in white” (Revelation 3:4-5, Isaiah 1:18) and being in the “Book of Life” (Revelation 3:5, Philippians 4:3)?
- The people of Sardis have the reputation of being “alive” but are “dead.” What does
that mean? What does Jesus say they are supposed to do?
- Jesus says he will return “like a thief,” what does that mean? (Matthew 24:43)
- How does the description of eternity for the faithful encourage you? How could this reality shape your evangelism?
- Are you spiritually “alive” or “dead”? Do you need to “wake up” in any area? What would that mean practically?
- How could this passage shape the way you pray for believers? For non-believers?
Spend time in prayer thanking Jesus for his sacrifice that allows you to “walk with him in white.” Thank God that you are made alive with Christ and that it is no longer you who live, but Christ, who lives in you (Galatians 2:20). Pray that your life would be lived by faith in Jesus, repenting and believing the gospel.