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Revelation 3:1





1 And [kai] unto the angel [aggelos] of the church [ekklesia] in [en] Sardis [Sardeis] write; [grapho] These things [hode] saith [lego] he that hath [echo] the seven [hepta] Spirits [pneuma] of God, [theos] and [kai] the seven [hepta] stars; [aster] I know [eido] thy [sou] works, [ergon] that [hoti] thou hast [echo] a name [onoma] that [hoti] thou livest, [zao] and [kai] art [ei] dead. [nekros]    KJV-Interlinear



1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 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.    NASB



Now for church number five.  Negative volition leads to degeneracy and the loss of eternal privileges.We can never lose our salvation, but we can lose out on eternal rewards above and beyond those that all believers will receive.


In the first four messages, the compliments went out, then the complaint. Here there is no compliment.Those people of Sardis were a negative lot.Sardis was one of the initial converted cities to Christianity, but they were also one of the first cities to revolt against Christianity and the city fell into ruins.  Initially it was prosperous, but that was lost as the city fell away from God.


Christ does not introduce Himself as judge or in any position of power or authority, but He does introduce this church to the seven spirits and the seven stars, symbolic of how His word gets to each individual believer.Namely the seven spirits indicative of the communication and spiritual growth process through the Holy Spirit, and the seven stars, the elders or communicators or teachers through whom the word of God is taught.


Both of these references are found in Isa. 11:1-2 (seven spirits), and Zech. 4:1-10 (seven lamps).  Both indicative of the thoroughness and completeness and control of the Holy Spirit in the communication of doctrine.  This spiritual learning and growth mechanism was dysfunctional and nonfunctional within the Church of Sardis.


What had they done?  They turned away from sound doctrine and the sound learning process, to devices of their own invention. They in effect turned away from doctrine, because they were wiser in their own eyes, than in truth.


He, Jesus Christ, who holds the seven Spirits, the mechanics of learning Bible doctrine, from salvation to maturity.  There is a method for learning Bible doctrine, an authorized method.You cannot learn Bible doctrine on your own, in your own way.  You cannot set up your own rules for learning Bible doctrine.Cain rejected God and tried to make his own sacrifices. God rejected Cain.  God controls history.  God controls the universe.  God tells us which is the right way and which is the wrong way.  Anything which smacks of man attempting to gain Gods approval by mans own efforts, is rejected by God.If He accepted mans efforts, then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ and the Cross.


Man cannot achieve his own salvation.  Man cannot defeat death or even sin.  Man is trapped in the slavery of sin and death, and only God can rescue man from sin and death.  Without God there is no future in heaven, only a future in hell.


God, Jesus Christ, controls history.  He has the seven spirits.  Refer to the study on verse 4 in chapter 1 of Rev., and in chapter 11 of Isaiah, as well as the ‘Seven Spirits’ chart on the web site.


He has the seven stars, the messengers, the method of communication of Bible doctrine.  Doctrine can only be communicated in the manner in which God authorizes.The concept of the spirits and the stars go hand in hand, the mechanics and the function.They all refer to the same thing, learning Bible doctrine and growing up spiritually in the way in which God wants you to grow.And in the only way in which you can, grow up.


The people of Sardis went negative.  Though once positive and saved, they went negative and rejected Gods word.They were alive, positive and active in their Bible study.  They were in fellowship and advancing toward spiritual maturity.But now dead.Not physical death, but out of fellowship (carnal death).


Just as the city had a long history of prosperity and great wealth, and seemingly being impregnable from enemies, it was over confident and thus lost its edge, its wealth, and its freedom.  It was conquered and destroyed on several occasions, and never learned from its history.


The Christians followed that same pattern.


There are several references to death in the Bible.We are all aware of physical death, when the soul and the spirit leave the body and go to heaven.   The body remains behind, an empty vessel to decay in the grave.From physical death there is recovery through resurrection.


There is sexual death, when at some point in our lives and generally in our latter years, when the sexual functions in us just stop working.Generally in their 50's, women have their menopause, and in later years the men just stop working in their own unique way.God has brought some people back into the sexual prime, but generally when you can't, you can't!


There is spiritual death, which refers to everyone who does not have a human spirit (unbelievers).   We are all born physically alive, we have a body and a soul, but we are spiritually dead, we have no human spirit.  Only when we believe in Christ do we receive a human spirit (we call this being born again) and then eternal life is imputed into the human spirit giving us eternal life and a future with God in heaven forever.


At that point in our life we have a body and a soul with human life imputed into our soul, and we have a human spirit with eternal life imputed into that spirit.  Unbelievers do not have a human spirit and therefore, are not saved.There is potential recovery from spiritual death by believing in Christ, but only while a person is alive.  Once you die, if you have not believed in Christ, then you are not saved.


There is an exception for children who have not attained the age of responsibility.Babies and young children and others, who simply do not understand God or are incapable of understanding God, and so forth.  If they die at their young age, they are automatically saved.We studied this when studying David.


There is the second death, which is what all unbelievers will experience when they face Christ at the Great White Throne at the end of the millennium.The second death is the final death prior to the fires of hell, from which there is no recovery, ever.


Then, there is fellowship death (our passage), when we sin and get out of fellowship with God.  We can recover from this death however, by confessing our sins to God the Father, 1 Jn. 1:9, and to no one else, and He restores us into fellowship.


This is the problem with the people in Sardis.  They were believers out of fellowship, therefore physically alive, but dead in their spiritual function.  And while out of fellowship they went down hill.   They forgot most of what they had learned.  They had lost most of the spiritual credit and health in their soul that they had attained while growing up spiritually. 


When you stop eating and processing food, your body goes down hill in its health.  So it is with the soul.  When you stop taking in Bible doctrine, your soul suffers and you deteriorate spiritually and mentally.


The believers of Sardis, simply fell away from doctrine, in a worse way than believers of the other previously mentioned churches.And they stayed away from doctrine.



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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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