Revelation 3: The 7 Churches (part 2)
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Delivered By
Will Robbins
Delivered On
October 3, 2018 at 6:00 PM
Central Passage
Revelation 2:18- 3:22
Revelation Bible Study

Revelation 3 "To the 7 churches" (part 2) Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea

Thyatira  (listen to background)

  1. A word about Jesus: The title "Son of God" anticipates what is read in Psalm 2. Who has eyes like a flame of fire (1:14)? Jesus's eyes reflect His omniscience that sees all with holy judgment and can justly bring God's judgment on His enemies. His feet like burnished bronze (v.15) reflect Jesus powerfully standing in holiness due to His perfect obedience in carrying out God's victory over sin and death for the redemption of God's image in man.

  2. The good: A list of their good works. Love, faith, service, patient endurance (not giving up) and perseverance that led to greater faithfulness (Hebrews 10:24-25)

  3. Warning and Rebuke: Toleration of Jezebel (false prophetess that brings about compromise and ultimately opposition against God). Judgment on this Jezebel and those who follow her into idolatry and sexual immorality are coming. And in V. 23, no one can escape Christ's eyes of flaming fire- see v.18 and 1:14.

  4. The reward for the conquerors: To those who remain faithful- authority to rule and execute God's judgment will be given. The morning star (Daniel 12:3 and Job 38:7) reflect the righteousness of the saints who will be recognized for remaining faithful.

Sardis (listen to background)

  1. A word about Jesus: The 7 spirits of God referred to the fulness (7 fold spirit of God) of the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus has the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The focus in Sardis was on spiritual death, but Christ alone held the power of the Holy Spirit that brought about His resurrection and alone can give life. The 7 stars referred back to 1:16, 20 where it was Jesus who had the angels who care for the churches in the power of His hand. He is caring powerfully for His church.

  2. The good: The church at Sardis had done some good things, but they were incomplete. They were incomplete in such a way as to be ineffective the same way an incomplete tool cannot accomplish the intended task of the creator of that tool.

  3. Warning and Rebuke: The works of Sardis were those of a very religiously active church, which brought about a good reputation. Yet, on the inside, God could see they were dead. We must not look simply religiously active (honoring the traditions of men and being concerned with mere outward appearance so as to please people), but rather, we must be about our Father's business of living out the Good News in our every day lives. We must boldly call people to faith out of our life that is rooted in God's Gospel of grace in Christ. YET, there was hope for Sardis, "WAKE UP" and strengthen what faith you do have. The city of Sardis had never been taken by a frontal attack, but only by a sneaky one person attack that scaled the cliffs and opened the doors to the enemy army. The church of Sardis still could be recovered IF they would keep watch over the areas of life that they had neglected. Complete their work according to God's call for them to burn bright from a deep inner devotion, not a mere outward devotion.

  4. The reward for the conquerors: The "white robes" and "book of life." Those in white robes that have not been soiled their robes are those who have not compromised their devotion to Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel, unlike so many in Sardis. The city of Sardis had mixed a lot of different religions. Those with white robes had not mixed anything with their devotion to Christ. They could rest assured that their names would be in the Book of Life. No one can enter into God's kingdom and escape the 2nd death of God's judgment unless their names are written in the Book of Life.

Philadelphia  (listen to background)

  1. A word about Jesus: Jesus is the “holy one, the true one” which points out that He is faithful and trustworthy to God’s mission to save the churches (Ex. 34:6 & Psalm 146:6). He is the God of truth, Is.65:16 & John 14:6. He will exercise His power to save Philadelphia. They can trust Him, unlike emperor Domitian who burned their vineyards. “Who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Isaiah 22:22 The Key of David is the one who holds the access to the Kingdom of God, the Messianic kingdom that would come through David. ***The Jews if Philadelphia would claim that they held the Keys to the Kingdom, but the Key of David was held by Jesus the Messiah, and the Jews had rejected Jesus and thus had been excluded from being God’s people. Only those who turn to the Son can know the Father, 1Jn. 2:22-23; Revelation 5:5; 17:14; 22:6.

  2. The good: Jesus affirms the security of their great salvation and reward.  Jesus will exercise His power to keep out those who reject Him from His kingdom, the Jews of the synagogue of Satan who thinks they hold the Key to the Kingdom, and those Jews will not be able to keep the faithful Church of God out of the Kingdom. The church had clearly passed through a difficult time, but they had not given up on the Name & work of Christ. He will not give up on them.

  3. Warning and Rebuke: None. Only a reminder to stay the course and don’t let the lies of the unbelieving Jews steal their “victory crown” that is their reward for faithfulness. “Write my name and the name of the city of my God” All of these point to God’s possession of His people, the New Israel who will dwell with God and be His people in the New Jerusalem. “my own new name” Rev. 19:12 is the symbol that our Name will be tied to His Name- Glorified new identity as one with Him.

  4. The reward for the conquerors: A victor's crown and reward.


Background: Six miles to the south, Colossae had cold clean refreshing water. Hierapolis had hot springs that were known to bring healing, which made the city known as a healing center. Unlike its neighbors, Laodice did not have its own water supply and required water to be brought in from 6 miles away, from Denizli, by aqueduct. By the time the water arrived at Laodicea from Denizli, the water was very warm and undrinkable until it had been put in jars and cooled. The water was at first useless because it was neither hot nor cold.

  1. A word about Jesus: “the Amen” This is taken from Isaiah 65:16 (as translated as “the God of truth”) Christ can be trusted and is the true covenant keeper, unlike Israel who broke the covenant, Jesus is the true better Israel who will keep His covenant. This is supported by the following “the faithful and true witness.” And  “the beginning of God’s creation” Just as in Revelation 1:8 and Colossians 1:15- Jesus is the Source of Creation and Supreme over creation as the Creator.

  2. The good: Often this passage is translated as it is better to be “hot” and zealous for Jesus or “cold” 2Peter 2:21, BUT considering the geographical setting that points to two cities that both have their use- ONE with hot healing water and the OTHER with Cold satisfying drinkable water the “WORKS” of the Laodiceans are barren and useless. They contribute nothing either healing or satisfyingly soul quenching.

  3. Warning and Rebuke: Thetheire, their corrective rebuke was that they need a witness that brings the Gospel of life and healing to others. THERE witness as a LIGHT to Laodicea was ineffective. THE OTHER 7 churches were either encouraged or rebuked because of their witness. Smyrna had a strong witness in the face of persecution and Ephesus lacked a bold love for Christ with a powerful witness, rather they focused on strict doctrinal purity with no BOLD love to REDEEM the LOST that Christ died for, John 3:16/ Rev. 7:9.

    1. No. They were neither hot nor cold- lukewarm. They were complacent and lacked conviction. NO WITNESS is a useless witness. JESUS, on the other hand, was introduced as the “faithful and true witness” they can turn back to him and be REVIVED!

    2. Buy real gold refined by fire “faith in Christ” they should do as Jesus parable in Matt. 13:44–45) suggested, the REAL VALUE is Jesus- He is the pearl of great price, he is the treasure in the field because in Christ you can obtain the Kingdom of Heaven, even eternal life!

    3. White unsoiled robes to cover your shame with purity and sincerity to Christ and His mission- Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 1:8.

    4. Salve- The Phrygian eye ointment healed physical eyes but Jesus could heal their blind spiritual eyes to see Him and to follow Him in faithful obedience into His kingdom.


  4. The reward for the conquerors: DOES IT ALL SEEM HOPELESS- NO Jesus loves them and that is why he is harshly rebuking them. There is HOPE! BE ZEALOUS & REPENT→ because V.20 Jesus lovingly stands at the door and knocking. If you REPENT then Christ will come into your life and fellowship with you. WHAT He has will be yours! He will share a meal with you as a family member and share the resources of His kingdom with you SO THAT you can LIVE as a BOLD witness and join Him in His “kingdom come work.” Whatever happens along the way, He will have your back and supply your need to overcome. THEREFORE, put His kingdom first, Matt. 6:33. As G.K. Beal points out, “This is an invitation not for the readers to be converted but to renew themselves in a relationship with Christ that has already begun, as is apparent from v 19.”

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