Thursday in the Second Week of Easter

Revelation 3:1-22

Keep My Word

We finish up with three churches, Philadelphia, which is a model along the lines of Smyrna, and Sardis and Laodicea, both of which could use some work.  We’ll begin with Sardis and Laodicea.

Sardis is described as having a reputation for being alive, but is actually dead.  The Laodiceans think that they are rich but are instead wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  How wrong we can be about our own spiritual affairs!  We are not told what the specific sin in Sardis was, only that they are to remember what they had received and heard, keep it, and repent.  The Laodiceans are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, just a complacent bunch of Christians who are quite satisfied with themselves.  It should be rather instructive for us how self-congratulatory we can be, thinking we have arrived.  I have heard on several occasions Christians refer to other Christians as “spiritually immature,” leading me to wonder about their own spiritual maturity, which then led me to wonder about my own.  We are so prone to think that we are on a higher spiritual plane than someone else, when in reality we are all swimming on the ocean floor.  Paul reminds us, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:2).  The answer to such self-delusion is heavy doses of the word of God.  Thus, the refrain, “Remember,” “Repent,” and “Keep.”

With the church in Philadelphia, we have another small yet powerful church.  What had they done that Sardis and Laodicea had not?  They had “kept [his] word.”  And it was the keeping of Christ’s word that enabled them to withstand the persecution from those in the city.  They had patiently endured, and because they had, Christ would deliver them from the coming trial which would engulf the whole world.  No doubt, unlike the churches in Sardis and Laodicea, these Philadelphians didn’t think that they were anything special.  Humility is naturally blind to itself.  All they did was remain faithful to what they had received.  After that, they let the chips fall where they may.

And so the two weakest and smallest churches of the seven – Philadelphia and Smyrna – were the strongest and greatest of the bunch.  It should not surprise us, for “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong … that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  May we be so faithful that we may be so strong.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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