Friday 02 September 2022

Bible Book:

I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. (v. 11)

Revelation 3:1-13 Friday 2 September 2022

Psalm 38:1-8


Today's passage has a letter to the church in Sardis and one to the church in Philadelphia. The city of Sardis had once been great but now its glory had faded. The church had suffered a similar fate to the city. It had started well, but although it still looked good as a community, it was actually close to disaster. In contrast to the other churches that receive letters in Revelation, Sardis is not facing persecution, but consequently people have become spiritually lazy. The call is to ‘wake up!’ (v. 2). This echoes Jesus’ warnings about his imminent return like a thief in the night (see Matthew 24:42-44). The aim is to encourage them to repent and remember their original faith.

Today, as then, it is hard for a church to retain its desire and passion for following Jesus. Often an exciting beginning period when a church grows fast is followed by difficult times when things move more slowly – the church may remain relatively large, so from the outside it looks healthy, but the inner drive to meet people and share faith, love and good works in the neighbourhood is ebbing away.

The letter to Philadelphia is quite different and contains no criticism at all. It seems from verse 9 that there has been conflict between the church and the Jewish synagogue – probably the Jewish congregation have excluded the Christian Jews. The association of the synagogue with Satan is unfortunate and has since been harmful to Jewish-Christian relations. We need to take care when reading such phrases forged in a context of conflict and bitterness, which we do not need to perpetuate. The Philadelphian church was encouraged by the image of Christ as the one with the key of David, opening the door of the kingdom (v.7). Christ has set before them this open door, which is intended to stand in contrast to the door of the synagogue which has been closed to them. Deprived of a place to worship, they have instead been exploring what it means to live as part of God’s living temple and to belong to God’s city which is not built by humans but "comes down from God out of the heaven" (v.12).


To Ponder:

  • To what extent can you identify with the Christians from Sardis, keeping up appearances of a godly community but not having a real depth of spirituality and faith?
  • How would you advise the Philadelphian church to begin healing their broken relationship with the synagogue?


Holy God, who has the key of David, and who can open the door of the kingdom, we pray that you may open doors for us, and guide us on the way to go through, following your will and maintaining a right relationship with you. Amen.


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