Revelation 3

To the church in Sardis

1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

The term "seven spirits (of God)" is used 4 times in Revelation (also Rev 1:4, Rev 4:5, Rev 5:6). It could be a reference to Isa 11 2

2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'

To the church in Philadelphia

7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: 'The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

8 "'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.

10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'

To the church in Laodicea

14 "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

15 "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Many people are under the impression that this means hot is good, cold is bad, and lukewarm is neither good nor bad . But in fact, it means that hot and cold are both good, and only lukewarm is bad. In Laodicia, with its natural hot springs, hot water is good for bathing, and cold water is good for drinking. But lukewarm water was good for neither. It is said that those who mistakenly drank lukewarm water would spit it out in disgust, and that Jesus is alluding to this practice. Maybe so. The important thing to remember is that hot and cold are both good but only lukewarm is bad.

17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

This is one of the most misused verses in modern so-called evangelism. Preachers commonly appeal to unbelievers with something like, "Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart because it says in Revelation 3:20..." Then they quote this verse and ask something like, "Isn't that a lovely picture of Jesus's love for you?" It's a lovely picture and it's true that Jesus loves his saints, but such preaching misrepresent this verse. It's hard to tell whether Jesus is angry or sad here, but in v.19 he mentions "reprove and discipline", so it seems that he is delivering a stern message. In any case, the context is Jesus knocking on the door of a church that had closed its door to him - the one they claim to worship. It had effectively become apostate, and had locked Jesus out of his own church. The touching thing about this verse is that despite all their faults, Jesus, in his amazing grace, is willing to forgive them and treat them like family again - eating was a sign of hospitality and close relationships. All it would take is one person in that church to open the door to the Lord, and he would again embrace that church as his own. That's a far profounder lesson than the one the misquoting evangelists try to paint. This verse has nothing to do with the hearts of unbelievers. We should not misuse Scripture to try and make converts. It's unnecessary and dishonours God's Word. We don't need to appeal to unbelievers with false pretences. The end does not justify the means.

21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"