“He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead…’”
These are the words of the Apostle John that were written according to the directive he received from Jesus Christ. Jesus wanted John to know—and all believers down through the ages—that He looks beyond the outside veneer of a man and into the heart; in other words, He sees what is really going on. Sometimes we look alive in Christ because of all the right things we are saying and all the good things we are doing, but deep inside we don’t feel alive at all. Jesus is telling us that good deeds and a righteous name won’t cut it. In fact, in Revelation 3:1 the church at Sardis was dead in spite of the good work that they had done.
Being dead doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has lost his salvation or even that he was never saved in the first place. Sometimes we just fall asleep and we need to wake up.
This is exactly what Jesus says in verse 2 of chapter 3. “Wake up and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” Apparently, the church at Sardis had not completed the good works that God had given them to do. And so, in His great mercy, God warns them to “wake up” and get busy. In essence, He’s saying “Come out of your ‘deadness’ and be alive in Me again. Put your heart into what you are doing!”
What do we do when sadly we find ourselves in a Sardis-like condition? Jesus answers the question in verse 3 of Chapter 1. “So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”
To “wake up,” we must remember the overwhelming awe of Jesus we experienced when we first were saved; then rekindle that same attitude of heart. As we recall that precious moment and the impact it has on our lives, we cannot help but fall to our knees and repent of our sins. Once we do that we will have a true reputation for being alive and our heart’s desire will be to complete our assignment of “deeds” in the sight of Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father.