SARDIS and The Seven Churches

SARDIS and The Seven Churches

The same Church that unlocked the Bible for the world, becomes the Church that hides it in obscurity, this is represented by the Church of Sardis as considered in this study. The reformation Churches are those that the Church of Sardis Represents, it has a name that it lives but is DEAD. These are the DEAD Churches today who have nothing to say of the times we live and nothing to add to the discussion. They try in vain to stand up against perversion, but they have taken away the foundation from which to stand. They have intellectualised the simple Gospel of Christ and have made the word of God of “none effect”. Rather than simply “believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved”, they created a flowery acronym to explain that which the Bible does not teach. While the Reformation Church “received and heard” that which was good, they have forgotten “how” they have “received and heard”. A few names stood well and continue to stand, most however have “defiled their garments”, and with the doctrines of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gracia, which they have forgotten, “are ready to die”. God bless you.

Perilous Times: Sardis

Revelation 3:1–6

A blessing to bring before you yet again a Church that has its description that gives to us an understanding of how we got to the Perilous Times the Bible speaks of in the last days Church.

Beloved, though this series has been inspired by recent events within this church, the series is a reasonable journey for us to go through. God had given such details within the scriptures for a reason.

The very theme of Hope Baptist Church is the verse that established the purpose of this Church, Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope

Everything from the preaching of the Gospel to making disciples of men is found in the scriptures that were written for our learning. Though prophecy can often seem despairing, they are also instructive and enlightening as I believe the series this year is.

The desire of Hope Baptist Church from the very beginning was not to help develop lacklustre or weak superficial Christians, but true godly people who are “not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17) and undertake with strength and courage to “PRESS toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).

If this is the desired work of a faithful Church, it will be challenged greatly in the last days all the more

True doctrine will not be readily accepted the nearer we come to the end of this world… for as Paul wrote to Timothy;

1 … in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1–5

The natural result will therefore become an affirmation of what Paul later writes in the next chapter;

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3–4

While recent events inspired the series, I pray its been a blessing to you as you see the day approaching, but I also pray its been instructive to other churches whose pastors might hear it.

EVERY SINGLE CHURCH today, both strong conservative Churches as well as those that have completely sold themselves to the last days, will experience some part of that described in the series.

How can this happen in “Strong Conservative Churches”?

I had a business in construction for some 25 years and as my overall work involved the enclosing of the exterior of the home or building, we worked diligently ensuring the building met certain “Star Ratings” of insulation. 

We enclosed one of the first 8 Star energy Rated homes in Australia, I cant recall if it was a Jennings home or one of the subsidiaries of Metricon. Either way it was on behalf of James Hardie Industries.

The challenge with building such a home is that the INSIDE OF THE HOME has a natural force of pressure that pulls the outside ENVIRONMENT inside.

This is made even clearer the more you work to completely SEAL the home against its outside influences.


One day as I was called to return to a window leak in the home. 

The Builder stated that water was ‘pouring into’ the house through a corner of the window, indicating that it was not properly sealed.

When I inspected the home I found a puddle of water about two feet into the room from the window and naturally looked up to the sealing for its source.  

But the Builder said, “no, as I said it is pouring in from the corner of the window like a fountain“. 

I asked the energy technician how this was possible, and he said that the natural tendency of the small inside of the home WANTS TO MATCH its larger environment OUTSIDE the home. 

So, unless it is perfectly sealed, it will literally SUCK THE OUTSIDE environment inside.

Can we see the analogy?

What was interesting is that the MORE the house is sealed, the MORE OBVIOUS becomes the SOURCE OF THE LEAK and more easily fixed. 

The less the house is sealed, the less obvious will be its source and it becomes more and more difficult to stop the INSIDE of the HOME from matching the environment outside.

In fact, it can get so difficult to find all the leaks that simplest and most cost effective solution is to demolish the house and start again.

Conservatively Biblical Churches are NOT IMMUNE to outside influence, but they are generally more able to RECOGNISE it and DEAL WITH IT when they see it.

BUT, if the people in the Church are NOT growing in the Lord through prayer and reading of their Bibles, the godless influence of the PERILOUS TIMES Church will come from places that will not be readily identified, unless God makes it manifest through divisions (as in 1 Cor 11:18-19).

1 Corinthians 11:18–19

18 …. I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Or, when the Church is so much like the world, those in Christ simply leave the Church to the world.

In the Church, Paul writes to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them, In Romans 16:17, this naturally assumes a Strong Biblical Church will occasionally have a ‘godless influence’ that is IDENTIFIABLE and able to be rectified.

What we are finding interesting is that The “Perilous Times” Church period written of by Paul had its journey quite literally THROUGH the Seven Churches of Revelation.


Revelation 3:1

Perception and Reality

1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 

We often get the impression that simply because a person is famous that there is a GOOD reason for their fame. 

Though this is true on rare occasions it’s also more often associated with a FOLLOW THE CROWD mentality, the Commentator John Loeffler from his old Podcast Steel on Steel had his regular introduction as “The heard is almost always running in the wrong direction”. I would agree

Perhaps this is why we are called “Sheep” in the scriptures.

The Church of the City of Sardis HAD A NAME that it lived, BUT was DEAD. 

Like each of the other letters, this Church is either a synthesis of the City or and Antithesis of the City, it is either a COPY or a CONTRAST. 

In the case of Sardis the Church was a COPY and could be COMPARED with the City.

This fifth City on the POSTMAN’S journey from the Isle of Patmos, was a City Perched HIGHon a ridge, some 500meters above sea level, overlooking the Hermes Valley below it.  

As the City grew so did the plateu of the City until it grew too large and the City began to develop beneath its high platou

It is of interest that the greater the height the greater can be its fall, and the city did indeed fall greatly during an earthquake in the year of our Lord 17AD, until it died the evident death 1300 years later in the 14th century. 

Yet it was an ancient City and existed for some 1500 years before Christ. 

It was a City of NAMES, renowned  for the great men who were associated to it;

The mythical King Midas has been associated with the King of the Lydian Empire in the 7thcentury BC, of which Sardis was its Capital, 

His name was King Croesus

“Rich as Croesus” was the long held catch phrase historically associated with this King. 

The City of Sardis, under this King, was the first city in the world to mint Gold and SilverCoins to a weighted standard. Thereby, Sardis was the first City ever to standardise the use of a Bi Metallic Monetary system of Gold and Silver coinage.

Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian stated

“”So far as we have any knowledge, they [the Lydians] were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins, and the first who sold goods by retail”[1[1]]

The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage stated

Croesus thus established the first known example of bimetallism, commonly defiend as a monetary system in which the state fixes the exchange rate between Gold and Silver”[2]

The Standard of Coinage was near perfect and the Lydian Empire traded with a popularity that allowed to expand greatly, until it attracted the attention of YET ANOTHER GREAT NAME.

Cyrus The Great

A Persian King who was prophesied in the Bible as one to whom God himself will hold his “right hand“, “to subdue nations before him”. God NAMED his name 150 years before he was even born;

Isaiah 45:1

1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

Isaiah goes on to write;

Isaiah 45:4

4 …I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

Incredibly, on his way to “loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates;” of Babylon, Cyrus the Great loosed the loins of King Croesus and the Lydian empire fell in the middle 6th century BC. 

But there was another King with a great name;

Xerxes the Great, the Persian ruler who invaded Greece for the famous Battle of Thermopylae, according to Herodotus departed from the City of Sardis with an army, one million men strong together with his elite force of 10,000 Persian Immortals.[2[3]]

Thales the First historical Philosopher, who came to Sardis and built its entire sewage system as well likely involved in the first ever Geothermal Heating system in history for that very City. His death also marks the downfall of the City[1]

Legendary Statesman and Legislator named Solon, who gave to Athens the Code of laws was also associated with the City of Sardis, being advisor to the King Croesus. Advice not accepted and later regretted by this same king.

Aesop, from the famous Aesop’s fables, was known as Aesop of Sardis.[3[4]] The City being one of several that contended for the distinction of being the Birthplace of this famous Poet. [4[5]

But having a name that it lived did not change the fact that it was dead. 

The greatness of the Cities past did not ensure its future. The Greatness of the names of Great men also did not determine its longevity.

The City was finally wiped off the map by a GODLESS Islamic invader Timur Tamerlanewho overran and destroyed all that was left of the City in 14th Century AD.

Note then:

·      The City had a name that it lived and it was indeed great.

·      It was first conquered by a Great King who had the hand of God upon him specifically to “Subdue nations before him

·      It was finally overrun by the Godless.

The Reformation Churches, Coming OUT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC SYSTEM before it,indeed had a name that they lived, 

They conquered the prevailing Church before it through the WORDS of Christ, that GREAT KING who had the hand of God upon him whose words are quick and powerful and sharper than eany two edged sword.

And we finally see were overrun by the Godless.

On the 31st of October 1517, the doors of the Roman Catholic Wittenberg Castle Church experienced the pounding of a nail that stamped the renowned 95 Thesis of a man who would HAVE A NAME, the first name that was truly associated with the Sardis Church type, his name is Martin Luther.

It is his name that is the name behind the German Lutheran Church to this day. Though it could be argued that he was not the FIRST Protestant reformer, he is certainly one of the most famous names of all. 

The NAMES of famous men abounded under the banner of the Protestant Reformation from around this time;

John Calvin in Geneva, Zwingli from Switzerland, John Huss from the University of Prague, Desideris Erasmus famed for the collating of the Greek New Testament that underlies the Authorised Version of the Bible, John Wycliff of England, Savonarola in Italy. 

These men stood against the barbaric pagan practices of the Roman Catholic Church and only because they determined to trust the Bible before the Pope. 

These had a name and the history of this Church type was great when it began. But it is dead as it stands, being now largely overrun with godless men. 

There are many Christians today that are the same as this. They began and had a name among others in their lives, family members regarded them, friends acknowledged them, they had a reputation of life, but have become dead in their faith, threatened to be overrun by the world.

Jesus spoke of the Pharisees in like manner saying;

 outwardly they appear righteous unto men, but within they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.Jesus speaking the same of the Pharisees of his day (Matt 23:28)

The perception we have of those with a name does not always align with reality. So to it is with the Reformation Churches and we shall see more of this as we go on.






A Warning for Sardis

Revelation 3:2

Prove or Perish

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 

The City of Sardis lies to the South of Thyatira, about three days journey for the people in those times, according to Google maps it would take us 49 min by car to travel the 61km (Akhisar).

The practices of the Church of Sardis were not dissimilar to all the Cities of the region that we have already considered. Paganism was the rule of the day and the worship of the Emperor was the form of worship acceptable.

The City, being set on high, was revered and its Acropolis was one of renown

Alexander the Great rebuilt the Temple of Artemis in the City and not long after, many Jews also populated it and built their Synagogues

The Coins it minted has Subscribed “Sardis the First Metropolis of Asia, and of Lydia, and of Hellenism,” as in Fig. 9, p. 139[1]

But nothing really differed as far as the general religious population was concerned. The City itself linked in alliance and affinity with that other Great pagan City where we found one of the Seven wonders of the world, Ephesus. Its coins demonstrated the link of its gods and its politics.

After the City was brought to its knees by the Great Earthquake of 17Ad Emporer Tiberious graciously lifted its taxing of the City for Five Years and gave a massive donationthat the City might be rebuilt.

The greatness of the City however died, and it would only have apparent life until eventually destroyed by the Muslim invaders 1300 years later.

Its a matter of interest that Stars are said to die in the distant galaxy that may be hundreds or even thousands of light years away, but we still see their light as it travels to us, even though the star itself has long been dead.

So it was with Sardis.

Today, a small town called Sart with a population of less than 5,000 people is found very near the ancient site of Sardis.

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die

Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia;

The PRINCIPLE DOCTRINE of the Protestant Reformation was the threefold CREED

Scripture Alone, By Faith Alone, Through Grace Alone. It was the standing creed that completely separated it from the Roman Catholic system that long ago divorced itself from suffering for Christ through the Gospel, to supplementing its lust in the world. 

Its system of indulgences to enrich itself curtailed by Martin Luthers 95 Thesis nailed to its Castle Church on that Halloween Day, and replaced by the eternal creed of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gracia, Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone.

strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die

The Bible, freed from the imprisonment of Latin and finally unlocked into the language of the people of the world, in German, in Spanish and English, brought the imesurable truths of God into the hearts of many.

But tragically, as this remained the form for some 300 years, godless men, helped by the counter reformation of the Roman Cathoic Church through the Jesuit Order, began to corrupt the vain schools (traps) created by the protestants to train men CONTRARY TO THE SCRIPTURE ITSELF, produced theologians who again began to create doubt in the word of God and SOLA SCRIPTURA began to be put in question.

Revisions of the Bible began to be considered for the SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF removing the so called Paper Pope of the protestants;

“This translation [American Unitarian Association] is a decided help in the great battle against Bibliolatry and the doctrine of verbal and plenary inspiration. Every new version, even if it be not so good as this, aids in overthrowing the power of the ‘Paper-Pope’ which has ruled Protestantism as with a rod of iron [i.e. the King James Bible!]…” (Sidney H. Morse, Joseph B. Marvin, The Radical, Vol. 5, 1869. P442)

Consider this quotation by Samuel Davidson, an acclaimed Biblical Scholar, in 1873

“Revisions at moderate intervals of fifty years, will keep alive the idea of man’s limited acquaintance with the original Scriptures in all the fullness of their meaning, and prevent superstitious attachment to the letter. Whatever checks bibliolatry is good and profitable.” (Samuel Davidson, On a Fresh Revision of the English Old Testament, 1873)

In objection to this effort to remove the absolute authority of SOLA SCRIPTURA and to “STRENGTHEN THAT WHICH REMAINS THAT IS READY TO DIE;

The Banner of the Church journal in 1832 made clear where it would go;

1832: If alterations of the received version once commence, where will they end?…The reception of the ‘authorized version of the Bible,’ by the whole Christian community wherever the English language is spoken, is a blessing the value of which cannot be estimated, and the loss of which would be one of the heaviest curses which could befall the Church of Christ…If one substitution may be made, another may be; and the Bible, by this impious transmutation, become, after a few successive changes, the book of man, and not the Book of God…!” (Banner of the Church, Stimpson & Clapp, 1832)

Today we have over 400 versions in the English language alone, and that “which remains…is ready to die“.

Beloved it now stands to reason, if Sola Scripture is virtually dead, where stands FAITH ALONE Through GRACE ALONE?

Today, with so much doubt about the absolute assurance of our salvation and the rise of the teaching that salvation is NOT secure in Christ, but one can somehow lose that which they did nothing to gain BUT believe BY FAITH ALONE through GRACE ALONE, all indeed seems ready to die.


Beloved, the application I desire to bring out from this verse and this example is a simple one, if you do not believe the Bible is the word of God and reading it daitly, whatever remains of your own faith may indeed be ready to die. 

It will be a matter of time when you will “Not endure sound doctrine” and you will be “turned unto fables” 

The issue surrounding Bible versions is an issue that I could speak on for many many hours at a time, if you do not own a King James Version of the Bible, you DO NOT HAVE THE BIBLE. If you have a modern version of the Bible, you have been deceived to accept that which was created to undermine “the things which remain” of your faith.

The Reformation Church was given a simple Charge, PROVE YOUR FAITH, OR PERISH.


Revelation 3:3

Recognition To Repentance

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 

More to the historical nature of the physical Church in Sardis respecting this text particularly we know only what is now seen in this letter.

Here they are told to bring back to mind, to recollect, to remember that which was not only known from earlier times but HOW they received it. 

They had learned of the sweetness of Christ by the ear, they had heard the gospel as it was delivered them, they had seen the word of God come alive in their hearts and they were transformed by the power of that living word. 

They came to understand the simplicity of the scriptures; 

Romans 10:9

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

There was no admixture, nothing more that was needed to be done. 

…Believe on the Lord jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” was the answer given to the question, HOW? From the mouth of the Philipian Jailor in Acts 16:31. 

No “eight steps to salvation” invented by the devices of men. 

No hail Mary’s for forgiveness of temporal sin.

No, you need to keep believing until you finally, hopefully, maybe get to heaven. Jesus is the life buoy and if you can hold on long enough you wont sink under the waves of life.

No beloved, HOW have we received? By the Word of God we received and believed. 

The Reformation Churches made a mess of Salvation buy Faith alone through Grace alone, understood by the SCRIPTURE alone. They began to INTELECTUALISE the simplicity of the Gospel;

How can a TOTALLY depraved person generate enough faith to be saved?

Can a person resist being UNCONDITIONALLY elected?

Did Jesus pay for the sins of the whole world or is the atonement LIMITED?

Can I resist a grace that is IRRESISTIBLE?

What happens if I cant PERSEVERE in the faith???

This is the nonsense that has destroyed the simplicity of the Gospel. I praise God when I find that he “…hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:27–29)

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast,

The GOSPEL was NEVER given to the inteletual elietes that have so convoluted the simplicity of the Gospel to make “the word of God of none effect” God chose the foolish things to confound the wise”

These wise are those whom Jesus spoke of, they “strain at a gnat” but are ready to “swallow a camel”. 

The pure simplicity of the gospel they cannot swallow, but a complicated Labyrinth of  contradictory semantics that could not save a scuba diver from a two foot puddle  they are willing to choke down!

 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 

Beloved, we are to remember that “the theif cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (Jn 10:10).

When Jesus comes as a “Theif in the night” (1 Thess 5:2) This has NOTHING to do with the rapture of the Church. The similitude is NOT one of Benevolence, “AS A THIEF” does not represent a GOOD thing for the one to whom the THIEF comes, but an evil. This is what the church of Sardis is subjecting themselves to.

The passage in 1 Thessalonians 5 is NOT for the Church for good, but as it is here in Revelation, against those who have NOT WATCHED for evil. DO NOT GET CONFUSED!

Peter made the reference clear when he associated the phrase with the “Day of the Lord“, in other words, the coming judgment of God that is also referenced here, saying; “But the day of the Lord will come as a “theif in the night“; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat…” (2 Pet 3:10)

Don’t complicate the Gospel

Recognise HOW you have received and heard and REPENT if you have turned from the way you had received it.


Revelation 3:4-6

Remnants For Reward

4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Not all in these Churches have names that they live but are dead, there are a few that had not, and still have not, defiled their garments. They still remember how they had received the truth of the Gospel and are indeed worthy of the salvation which has washed them clean.

These are the ‘overcomers” and walk in white, clothed in white, with a name found in his “book of life”.

Is your name their?

Nothing else really matters at the end of the day does it? 

Do you have eternal life NOW?



B: Believe that Jesus Christ came and DIED FOR YOUR SINS. ALL your sins, not some, ALL. 

He offers you life my friend, he calls out to YOU saying Isaiah 1:18

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Will you believe Jesus died for your sins? Will you trust that he paid the full penalty on YOUR behalf? If so;

C: Will you CALL upon his name to save you?

It truly is as simple as ABC

Admit yourself a sinner

Believe Jesus Christ died for you

Call on his name and confirm to yourself that you have believed to the saving of your soul.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


[1] [1] Metcalf, William E. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage. Oxford University Press. pp. 49–50.


[3] [1] Metcalf, William E. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage. Oxford University Press. pp. 49–50.


[5] [1]


Leave a Reply