This is a series of complete study notes. If you take a premillennial, pretribulational, position in prophecies, these notes may be helpful. I have shared these previously. 

Read the poem, “It Isn’t the Church, It’s You”. (See below.)

I think most of us agree that the author of this poem has a point!

If we don’t like the church, it’s because it’s made up of people just like us! We are the ones who can help fix it! 

In Revelation 2-3 Jesus is talking about the “things that are”.  He is talking about types of churches that still exist today.  As we said last time, these churches are made up of people who are just like the churches they attend. Before telling us about future things, Jesus is telling us exactly “like it is” now.  And in the messages to these churches, Jesus not only tells us what’s wrong with us, but how to fix it. We have already seen: 

  • Revelation 2:1-7 – The Subtly Flawed Church – Ephesus
  • Revelation 2:8-11 – The Suffering Church – Smyrna
  • Revelation 2:12-17 – The Infiltrated Church – Pergamos
  • Revelation 2:18-29 – The Broadminded Church – Thyatira 

Revelation 3:1-6 – THE DEAD CHURCH – Sardis

There are many churches which appear to be alive and well like the church in Sardis.  They had a good reputation. They had been successful in the past, but in reality they were dead. 

THE LORD’S DEATH PRONOUNCEMENT -Vs. 1 – The Lord Jesus who is working through the Holy Spirit and holds each pastor in his hand, makes the death pronouncement. 

THE LORD’S DEMANDS FOR REPENTANCE – Vss. 2-3 – Their works were not perfect because they were not done in the power of the Holy Spirit. They needed to “wake up”, strengthen, remember, repent. If they did not watch they would be removed. 

THE LORD’S DELIGHT IN THE FAITHFUL -Vs. 4 – There were a few in this dead church who were very much alive in Christ! 

THE LORD’S DECLARATION OF HOPE – Vss. 5-6 – Truly saved individuals are “overcomers”. They need not fear losing their salvation. 

Revelation 3:7-13 – THE CHURCH WITH THE OPEN DOOR – Philadelphia – It is a real blessing when our Lord Jesus gives us open doors of opportunity.  The church in Philadelphia was such a church. 

CHARACTER OF CHRIST – Vs. 7 The success of this church is based on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is in charge. He is holy. He is true.

He has the key of David. This is a reference to Eliakim, who was evidently steward to King Hezekiah’s house. He had access to, and was responsible for all the king’s wealth (Isaiah 22:20-22). Spiritually speaking, our Lord Jesus has access and the key to the King’s riches. He opens and closes as he pleases. He is responsible for all blessings. What he opens no man can close. What He closes, no man can open. 

COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHURCH – Vs. 8 They had a little power, and evidently used it. They kept His word. They did not deny His name. As a result, the Lord gave them an “open door”. 


False Jews, those who did not believe on Messiah were persecuting the church. The Lord would defeat them. Philippians 2:9-11 

COMFORT FOR THE FUTURE – Vs. 10I personally think that the “hour of temptation” or testing is the Great Tribulation. The church will be taken out before it happens by way of the rapture. 

CHALLENGE TO PERSEVERE – Vss. 11-13Even people who have been faithful can slip and lose their “crowns” (rewards).  Therefore, we are to remain faithful.

A pillar speaks of strength, stability and honor. Receiving names is an honor reserved for “overcomers”. 


The last of the seven churches addressed by our Lord Jesus seems to be very prevalent in our world today.  The water supply in Laodicea came by aqueduct over a few miles. The water was only lukewarm by the time it got there. 

THE LORD’S APPRAISAL – Vss. 14-17 – Jesus has the authority to judge. Because He is the creator, He is “the faithful and true witness”.

Jesus’ problem was with their lack of commitment towards Him one way or another. As “lukewarm”, they were disgusting.  And yet they thought they were rich and had it made! 

THE LORD’S ADVICE – Vss. 18-19

  • They needed to come and make “purchases”. Isaiah 55:1-3
  • They were being rebuked and chastened because they were loved. 


  • Jesus is knocking. He is available to all who will “open the door”.
  • Overcomers will reign with Christ.
  • Each message for each church has a commandment “to hear” at the end of it. 


Author Unknown 

If you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike.
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new.
It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
Just take a look at yourself and say,
“What’s the use of being blue?”
Are you doing your “bit” to make things “hit”?
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

It’s really strange sometimes, don’t you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we think of the little–the very small mite–
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what’s done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn’t the church–it’s us.

So, if you want to have the kind of church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off your guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, my brother, just hike,
To the work in hand that has to be done–
The work of saving a few.
It isn’t the church that is wrong, my boy;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.