[Rev. 3:1] ¶ “To the angel of the church in Sardis write the following: ¶ “This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a reputation that you are alive, but in reality you are dead. [Rev. 3:2] Wake up then, and strengthen what remains that was about to die, because I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. [Rev. 3:3] Therefore, remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come against you. [Rev. 3:4] But you have a few individuals in Sardis who have not stained their clothes, and they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. [Rev. 3:5] The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels. [Rev. 3:6] The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Becoming a Christian commences with a momentous change called conversion. This is only possible because the Holy Spirit has gripped the soul of a person. The Spirit empowers a person to turn from their slavery to sin to a joyful surrender to Christ. This is called repentance. Yet it doesn’t end there. The Holy Spirit walks beside a believer and draws them back to the upward path of following Christ whenever they stray off it. This is also called repentance.
But I am disturbed by this call of Christ to the Sardisians to repent. They had not gone into gross sin like the Thyatirans, rather they had strayed while maintaining the appearance of continuing to walk on the upward path of life. But even if this straying from the path of life was into blatant sin, and still appeared to most to be upright Christianity, to the eyes of Christ who addresses the Sardisians with the statement (that either comforts or confronts) “I have seen…” – their sin of spiritual laxity and pretense was a cause of soiling their garments of conversion.
Some in the church at Sardis had not fallen asleep spiritually or strayed from Christ’s upward path of life. Just because all around you abandons right living does not mean that you must as well. But it does make it harder for you. This is why Christ strongly commends those “few” Sardisians who had overcome this.
Do you need to repent? How would you like to Jesus to see you and your works for Him at this point in your life? The idea of Christ watching over us is either comforting or confronting. There is coming a day, however, when we will discover that Christ actually has been watching us. If this is confronting more than it is comforting, then perhaps we need to repent. And the same Holy Spirit who enabled you to repent in the first place, is still available to believers today to enable you to get back onto the path of life.