(Revelation 3:4 ESV) Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The Book of Revelation begins with a very personal and direct message to the seven churches. The church at Sardis had a reputation for being alive, but in reality they were dead. The Spirit spoke to them and encouraged them to wake up and strengthen what remained before the damage became irreversible.
What a beautiful picture of grace! God had invited them to make the proper course corrections which would enable them to experience restoration. Even though the church was in a weakened state, the possibility still existed for them to conquer their sin by repenting and reestablishing the principles of God’s word.
The angel then pronounced two promises. First, they would be clothed in white, symbolizing their restored place in the Kingdom. Second, their name would be written in the book of life, never to be blotted out.
In the middle of this disciplinary action, the angel makes a declaration that caught my attention. He said, “Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” In the midst of this dying church, there were people who had remained faithful, and had kept their reputation spotless.
As a pastor, I feel that I have a pretty good pulse on the people in the congregation. I don’t always get it right, but for the most part, I can tell who the “shiny” people are and who the faithful ones are. Like the church at Sardis, the shiny ones have a reputation for being alive, but are rotten on the inside. They know all the phrases to say. They’ve got religion down to an art. They can impress with the best! But, upon closer inspection, their shiny rubs off to reveal hidden inadequacies. And, when the going gets tough they get going–as far away as possible; looking for a shiny new place where their shininess will be appreciated!
In the middle of the mess there are individuals who, like the tortoise in the old fairy tale, just keep walking. There’s nothing shiny about them, they’re just faithful! You can depend on them. They don’t have to have the spotlight and they will give themselves sacrificially for the sake of Kingdom expansion. They aren’t usually in the majority, but they are there. And the Lord said of them, “They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” Imagine that!
In closing, consider the two options. Jesus says He will come as a thief in the night and “come against” the unrepentant. But, the ones who conquer will have their names recorded in the book of life; they will be clothed in white, and will walk with the Savior. Why? For they are worthy!
PRAYER: Father, more than anything, I want to be counted worthy to walk with You in white! But, until then, help me walk with You right now through whatever circumstances I may face. In the midst of a dark and foreboding world, I desire to be faithful. I’m looking forward to our walk… Amen.