“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.” - Revelation 3:1
Sardis was a “dead” church. Its Christian members had become overconfident. They remind me of a driver whose gas gauge reads empty, but who believes he has enough gas to get him where he’s going!
Sardis lay fifteen hundred feet above the floor of the valley. Gold, found in the river that ran between the foothills, and silver, mined in the area, were made into the first coins here. It was a materialistic culture. At one time, the city had been the political center of Asia Minor. Its name had been synonymous with luxury and opulence. In the end, Cyrus came with his Persian army and besieged the city, taking it easily. Cyrus spared Solon’s life as a symbol to posterity of the precarious nature of prosperity. Sardis had been overcome by overconfidence. More than three hundred years later, Antiochus the Great again captured Sardis by finding his way, like a thief in the night, up the seemingly impregnable cliffs.
I suppose, as someone has said, “If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that it doesn’t teach us anything!” The Christians in Sardis reading John’s letter from Jesus Christ understood when the Lord said to them, “You have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). They were also hopefully shaken into repentance when the risen Lord warned them, “Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly and turn to me again. Unless you do, I will come upon you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief” (Revelation 3:3).
For Further Study: Revelation 3:1-6
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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