Bible Study – Sardis

March 6 – 12, 2022

Sardis – That Which Remains [a Remnant] (A.D. 1798–1833)

Key Text

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” Revelation 3:1

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 289–298; Maranatha, 238


“In the message to the church at Sardis two parties are presented—those who have a name to live, but are dead; and those who are striving to overcome. Study this message, found in the third chapter of Revelation.” The Review and Herald, August 20, 1903



1.a. What words were spoken by Jesus to assure us of His tender care for His church? Revelation 3:1, middle part

Note: “God’s promise to His church will stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. There is no limit to His power. Our covenant-keeping Saviour unites with the omnipotence of the King of kings the tender care of a faithful shepherd. He who has chosen Christ has joined Himself to a power that no array of human wisdom or strength can overthrow.” The Review and Herald, October 8, 1903

1.b. What contrast exists between the profession of the church of Sardis and her real condition? Revelation 3:1, last part; James 2:17

Note: “Faith and works go hand in hand; they act harmoniously in the work of overcoming. Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead. Works will never save us; it is the merit of Christ that will avail in our behalf. Through faith in Him, Christ will make all our imperfect efforts acceptable to God.” Faith and Works, 48, 49



2.a. What counsel is given in the word of God for those who are tempted to be discouraged? Revelation 3:2 first part; Hebrews 12:12, 13

 Note: “There are times when under adversity and sorrow, the servants of God become discouraged and despondent. They brood over their circumstances, and, contrasting their condition with the prosperity of those who have no thought or care for eternal things, they feel aggrieved.” The Signs of the Times, February 3, 1888

“Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory.

“At the table of the publicans He sat as an honored guest, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence.” Gospel Workers, 47

2.b. What was the charge given against the church of Sardis regarding her works? Revelation 3:2

 Note: “Faith is made perfect by works. The cry will come to us from the servers of Mammon: You are too exacting; we cannot be saved by works. Was Christ exacting? He placed the salvation of man, not upon his believing, not upon his profession, but upon his faith made perfect by his works. Doing, and not saying merely, was required of the followers of Christ. Principle is always exacting. …

“That religion which leads its subjects to enclose themselves in monastic walls, excluding themselves from their fellow men, and not doing the good they might, cannot be the light of the world. The world is no better for their living in it, because they shed no beams of light in good works. These live for themselves, and bring no glory to the Master, for they hide away from man as though ashamed of the light which they claim to have.” The Signs of the Times, January 15, 1880



3.a. What would happen if those in Sardis would not repent and obey the truth they had heard? Revelation 3:3, first part

 Note: “ ‘Hold fast.’ This does not mean, Hold fast to your sins; but, Hold fast to the comfort, the faith, the hope, that God has given you in His word. Never be discouraged. A discouraged man can do nothing. Satan is seeking to discourage you, telling you it is of no use to serve God, that it does not pay, and that it is just as well to have pleasure and enjoyment in this world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 959

“ ‘Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Here is the work which every son and daughter of God must do. But to adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour, we must have the mind that was in Christ. Our likes and dislikes, our desire to be first, to favor self to the disadvantage of others, must be overcome. The peace of God must rule in our hearts. Christ must be in us a living, working principle.” The Review and Herald, August 24, 1897

“Why repent? Because there have come in faults in the form of theories so subtle that by the influence of mind upon mind—through the agency of those who have departed from the faith—the wily foe will cause you imperceptibly to be imbued with the spirit that will draw you away from the faith.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 126

3.b. What is the meaning of the words “I will come on thee as a thief”? Revelation 3:3, last part; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4

 Note: “Let every soul be on the alert. The adversary is on your track. Be vigilant, watching diligently lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare shall take you unawares. Let the careless and indifferent beware lest the day of the Lord come upon them as a thief in the night. Many will wander from the path of humility, and, casting aside the yoke of Christ, will walk in strange paths. Blinded and bewildered, they will leave the narrow path that leads to the city of God.

“A man cannot be a happy Christian unless he is a watchful Christian. He who overcomes must watch; for, with worldly entanglements, error, and superstition, Satan strives to win Christ’s followers from Him.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 99, 100



4.a. What does the Lord promise to those who do not defile their garments? Revelation 3:4, 5, first part; Zechariah 3:4, 5

 Note: “Every defect in character, every point in which they fail to meet the divine standard, is an open door by which Satan can enter to tempt and destroy them. … We are to exert every energy of the soul in the work of overcoming, and to look to Jesus for strength to do what we cannot do of ourselves. No sin can be tolerated in those who shall walk with Christ in white. The filthy garments are to be removed, and Christ’s robe of righteousness is to be placed upon us. By repentance and faith we are enabled to render obedience to all the commandments of God, and are found without blame before Him. Those who shall meet the approval of God are now afflicting their souls, confessing their sins, and earnestly pleading for pardon through Jesus their Advocate. Their attention is fixed upon Him, their hopes, their faith, are centered on Him, and when the command is given, ‘Take away the filthy garments, and clothe him with change of raiment, and set a fair miter upon his head,’ they are prepared to give Him all the glory of their salvation.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 472

4.b. Why is it necessary to be clothed with white raiment, and what does it symbolize? Matthew 22:11–14; Revelation 19:8

 Note: “We should consider the great sacrifice that was made in our behalf, to purchase for us the robe of righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 30, 1896

“Christ’s white robe of righteousness will never cover any soul that is found in sin unrepented of and unforsaken. ‘Sin is the transgression of the law.’ Therefore those who are trampling upon the law of God, and teaching others to disregard its precepts, will not be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Jesus came not to save people in their sins, but from their sins. ‘And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him.’ ” The Review and Herald, August 28, 1894



5.a. What did Jesus say should be a reason for great satisfaction and rejoicing, and why? Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:15; 21:27

 Note: “The names of all those who have once given themselves to God are written in the book of life, and their characters are now passing in review before Him. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. They are watching the development of character in those now living, to see if their names can be retained in the book of life. A probation is granted us in which to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Who is doing this work? Who is separating from himself sin and selfishness?” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 960

5.b. In what way may we confess Christ or deny Him, and what will be the ultimate result? Revelation 3:5, last part; Matthew 10:32, 33; Romans 10:9

 Note: “He who would confess Christ must have Christ abiding in him. He cannot communicate that which he has not received. The disciples might speak fluently on doctrines, they might repeat the words of Christ Himself; but unless they possessed Christlike meekness and love, they were not confessing Him. A spirit contrary to the spirit of Christ would deny Him, whatever the profession. Men may deny Christ by evilspeaking, by foolish talking, by words that are untruthful or unkind. They may deny Him by shunning life’s burdens, by the pursuit of sinful pleasure.” The Desire of Ages, 357



1    How is true faith demonstrated?

2    How is faith made perfect by works?

3    Why is repentance an important work?

4    What is the white raiment?

5    How can we confess Christ?

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