2 Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight.
· This doesn’t mean that this church isn’t doing things. It means that they are taking credit all of the credit for what they are doing. They are glorying in human abilities and supposed human free will.
· Jesus tells us in the Gospel’s to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect, Matthew 5:48. Jesus can say this to us, because this is how He is, He is perfect, and we are now one with Him. This is why our burden is light and our yoke easy. Being perfect is easy for Jesus! But yet we read that the church of Sardis is dead, they are dead because their works are human, so nothing they do can be perfect. Jesus plainly tells them that He knows their works, not that He knows the works of the Father within them.
· Notice here too, that Jesus tells these people to rouse themselves, not that they should seek the power of our Father to be great within them. The Shepherd, our Lord, is leading the wolves, the elders of Sardis, away from the flock here. Jesus is speaking directly to them, and they are being told to go and do it on their own. While Jesus is telling true believers through the Holy Spirit within them, that we can do nothing without Him being the power doing it, John 15:5. When we read the Gospels we can clearly see the difference in Jesus’ teachings for the saved and what He is telling these church leaders.
3 So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
· Jesus doesn’t tell these people to call unto Him. He proclaims that they are to arouse themselves. Where do we ever read in the Gospels that we are to call upon ourselves to walk in the ways of the Lord? But here all of a sudden this is how it is done? No! This is Jesus speaking to those whose hearts are not right and He is clearly speaking to them in a parable, unless hearing He should have to come and heal them.
· For this nation's heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. Matthew 13:15
· For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death]. 2 Corinthians 7:10
· These people are told to trust in themselves and to look to themselves. Their efforts will absolutely fail and it will bring sorrow and grief and that will finally lead them to seek the Truth that will set them free.
4 Yet you still have a few [persons’] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy and deserving.
· Once again Jesus is telling His truly chosen ones in Sardis, “I have your back and I know what is going on!” Think of what a relief that hearing this is to these true believers. They are always hearing the leaders of the church bragging about what the church is doing, when they know that it is actually dead. They see men being elevated and praised and they have to be thinking, where is Jesus in all of this vain glory? And then Jesus has John write to them.