1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis, write: 'He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says these things: "I know your works. You have a reputation of being alive, and yet you are dead. 2 Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die, for I have not found your works fulfilled before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white clothing. And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write: 'He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, and he who opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens, says these things:
8 "'"I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door and no man can shut it. For you have a little strength and have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie, behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try those who dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly. Hold firmly to that which you have so that no man takes your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God. And I will write upon him my new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, write: 'The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, says these things:
15 "'"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are luke-warm and neither cold, nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing,' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold tried in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothing so that you may be clothed and the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye-salve so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'"
[v.1a] - "reputation" - Literally, "name."
[v.1b] - "and yet you are dead" - From the Pulpit Commentary: "In all these cases the contrast is introduced by a simple καί, which may be rendered 'and yet;' but the simple 'and' is more forcible."
[v.2-5] - Reference, Deuteronomy 18:13; Psalm 37:37; Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:12, 15. Christians are to repent of their sins and be blameless before God. This is exemplified in the Apostle Paul's striving for the prize of the righteousness of God through faith in Christ in Philippians, ch. 3. This is also exemplified by Job in Job, ch. 1 and also Noah in Genesis 6:9.
[v.2] - "fulfilled" - From the Pulpit Commentary: "The substitution of 'fulfilled' (Revised Version) for 'perfect' (Authorized Version) is important. The Greek is πεπληρωμένα (John 16:24; John 17:13, etc.), not τέλεια (1st John 4:18). And 'fulfilled' is better than 'complete' (Alford, Tregelles), in order to bring out the connexion with the numerous places in which the same verb occurs, especially in the writings of St. John (Revelation 5:11; John 3:29; John 7:8, 12:38, 13:18, 15:11, 25, etc.; 1st John 1:4; 2nd John 1:12); in many of which passages 'complete' would not stand as a rendering. 'Fulfilled,' or 'made full,' means made up to the right standard of excellence. The works of the Sardian Church have been weighed, and found wanting before God."
[v.7] - Reference, Isaiah 22:22.
[v.19] - Reference, Deuteronomy 8:5; Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-7.