Strengthen What Remains

March 14, 2024 | Read Time: 2 mins

By: Rev. Mark Sorensen

Last week I had the opportunity to share a devotional with our staff leadership team based off Revelation 3 and Jesus’ words of comfort and correction to the church at Sardis. I thought I would share a little of that devotion with you all this week.

To understand Jesus’ words to Sardis, it’s important to look at that church from a first century context. Specifically, there are three important observations to note. One, Sardis was a city with great wealth and affluence thanks to a rich mercantile trade business that happened within the city. Two, the city was surrounded by a wall which made it a safe and protected community, unlike many of the other cities in the region. Third, there were no documented martyrs or persecutions within the city of Sardis.

So, we know that Sardis had great wealth, it lived within a bubble, and there was little risk of persecution when it came to Christianity. In all honesty, doesn't sound like a bad place to live, does it? Yet Jesus had to get word to Sardis because their wealth, security and lack of awareness to the urgency of the Gospel led to the following diagnosis: They had the “reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1).


Hard words to hear, yet Sardis was not without hope.

Jesus gives the following prescription: “Wake up! Strengthen what remains... Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent” (Revelation 3:2-3). These five little commands that were relevant to the Sardis church because they were a people going through the motions, minus the heart of Christ at work in their everyday lives.

Anytime I read the letters Jesus sent to the seven churches in Revelation 1-3, I always think that if it mattered to Jesus then, it should matter to the church today.

Wealth, status, affluence, safety and comfort are not terrible things, yet as children of God, we mustn't get so acclimated to our culture that we forget we are in the world yet not of this world.

Today, let's take the five action statements and put them into practice in our lives.

  • Wake up. (Ephesians 5:8-14)
  • Strengthen. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
  • Remember. (Psalm 103:17-18)
  • Hold it fast. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17)
  • Repent. (Mark 1:15)

That, my friends, is not a bad checklist to put on our everyday calendars.