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Poole on Revelation 3:1: Remedy for Spiritual Deadness, Part 1

Verse 1:[1] And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he (Rev. 1:4, 16; 4:5; 5:6) that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; (Rev. 2:2) I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, (Eph. 2:1, 5; 1 Tim. 5:6) and art dead.



The angel of the church: see on Revelation 2:12.


[Of the Church of Sardis, ἐν Σάρδεσιν] In Sardis (Erasmus). Which belongs to the Sardinians (Beza, Piscator). Sardis was the royal seat of Cræsus[2] according to Horace,[3] formerly a most opulent city (Grotius).



Write: see the notes on Revelation 1:11.


[Who (it is a Periphrasis of Christ [Piscator]) has (namely, in His power [Grotius]) the seven (or, those seven [Beza, Piscator]) Spirits of God (concerning which see Revelation 1:4 [Grotius, Piscator] and 5:6, through which He attends to the salvation of men [Durham]: which He is said to have, for to Him was committed the dispensation of gifts and graces to the Church[4] [Durham]) and the seven stars] Concerning which, Revelation 1:16, 20 (Piscator, Durham). Who holds all Bishops doing their duty most dear, and cares for them more than for others, and is able to cast away those not doing their duty.


The seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: see the notes on Revelation 1:4, 20.


[I know thy works] Thou dost some showy things (Grotius).


I know thy works: this phrase here (as appears from what follows) can signify nothing but Christ’s comprehension of the works of this church in his understanding, not his approbation of them.


[That, etc., ὅτι, etc.] Namely, that thou art said to live (that is, thou art celebrated as if alive [Beza], thou art generally held to be a good and faithful man [Pareus, similarly Durham, Drusius, Zegers]: because they do not know thy secret things, they hold thee to be a good Christian [Grotius]: To live here is to put forth good fruits [Beza], or, to live following Christ [Grotius]), but art dead (Beza, Piscator), that is, in reality (Camerarius), spiritually, as in 1 Timothy 5:6 (Piscator); Ephesians 2:1; see on Matthew 8:22 (Grotius), that is, a hypocrite (Pareus). Thou wallowest in sin concealed from men, and such that excludes thee from my favor and eternal life. Such are called dead (Grotius). Thou dost sin by neglecting thy duty in teaching and correcting the people, averting scandal, restraining heresies (Menochius, similarly Tirinus). Thou bringest forth no fruit appropriate for one who is said to live (Drusius).


That thou hast a name that thou livest; the ministry of this church had a name, that is, were reported as famous for their faith, diligence, and holiness; but their faith, without suitable works, was dead, and they were no better than hypocrites. And art dead; spiritually dead.

[1] Greek: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Σάρδεσιν ἐκκλησίας γράψον, Τάδε λέγει ὁ ἔχων τὰ ἑπτὰ πνεύματα τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἀστέρας· Οἶδά σου τὰ ἔργα, ὅτι τὸ ὄνομα ἔχεις ὅτι ζῇς, καὶ νεκρὸς εἶ. [2] Cræsus, or Crœsus (595-c. 547 BC), was the king of Lydia, renowned for his wealth, and is credited with the invention of the first formal coinage system. [3] “To Bullatius”. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC-8 AD) was a Roman poet, perhaps the greatest of his day. [4] See Ephesians 4.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 15, 2020


Octavius Winslow's Evening Thoughts: '"I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."—Revelation 3:1


In a land where the institutions and ordinances of religion are strictly and properly observed—marked by religious training from infancy, the habit of an early connection with the visible Church, and the consequent observance of the Lord's Supper being expected and commanded—would it be overstepping the bounds of tactfulness if we press upon the professing reader the importance of close self-examination and of trial by the Word of God, in regard to the great change? Professors of religion, Church communicants, office-bearers: have you the root of the matter in you? Do you have Christ in you? Are you temples of…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 15, 2020


Octavius Winslow's Evening Thoughts: '"I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."—Revelation 3:1


In a land where the institutions and ordinances of religion are strictly and properly observed—marked by religious training from infancy, the habit of an early connection with the visible Church, and the consequent observance of the Lord's Supper being expected and commanded—would it be overstepping the bounds of tactfulness if we press upon the professing reader the importance of close self-examination and of trial by the Word of God, in regard to the great change? Professors of religion, Church communicants, office-bearers: have you the root of the matter in you? Do you have Christ in you? Are you temples of…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 15, 2020

Archibald Alexander's Thoughts on Religious Experience: 'It is often observed that there are professors who never appear to grow, but rather decline perpetually, until they become in spirit and conduct entirely conformed to the world, from whence they professed to come out. The result in regard to them is one of two things; they either retain their standing in the Church and become dead formalists, "having a name to live while they are dead" [cf. Revelation 3:1]—"a form of godliness, while they deny the power thereof" [2 Timothy 3:5]—or they renounce their profession and abandon their connection with the Church, and openly take their stand with the enemies of Christ, and not infrequently go beyond them all in daring impiety…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 15, 2020


William Tong (for Matthew Henry): 'Here is...The preface, showing, 1. To whom this letter is directed: To the angel of the church of Sardis, an ancient city of Lydia, on the banks of the mountain Tmolus, said to have been the chief city of Asia the Less, and the first city in that part of the world that was converted by the preaching of John; and, some say, the first that revolted from Christianity, and one of the first that was laid in its ruins, in which it still lies, without any church or ministry. 2. By whom this message was sent—the Lord Jesus, who here assumes the character of him that hath the seven spirits of God, and th…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 15, 2020

Dr. Dilday's Sermon, "Remedy for Spiritual Deadness, Part 1"

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=821102146192

1) Reorientation

2) Analysis

a) A general view of the epistle

b) Verse 1

i) “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write”

ii) “These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars”

iii) “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead”

3) Doctrine: Deadness in the things of God is a violation of the First Commandment.

WLC 103: Which is the first commandment? The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.

WLC 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment? The duties required in the first commandment are,…

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