Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 3:2

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Backsliders;   Church;   Instability;   Lukewarmness;   Repentance;   Sardis;   Temptation;   Watchfulness;   Wicked (People);   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Human;   Imperfection, Human;   Perfection-Imperfection;   Satan;   Vigilance;   Watchfulness;   The Topic Concordance - Alertness;   Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ;   Confession;   Knowledge;   Undefilement;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Spiritual;   Watchfulness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Sarids;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Sardis;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Works, Good;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Sardis;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Acts of the Apostles;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Works;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Magi;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brotherly Love;   God;   Perfect Perfection;   Perseverance;   Watching;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Sardis;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Sar'dis,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Sardis;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Perfect;   Revelation of John:;   Sardis;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for May 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be watchful - Ye have lost ground by carelessness and inattention. Awake, and keep awake!

Strengthen the things which remain - The convictions and good desires, with any measure of the fear of God and of a tender conscience, which, although still subsisting, are about to perish, because the Holy Spirit, who is the author of them, being repeatedly grieved, is about finally to depart.

Thy works perfect - Πεπληρωμενα· Filled up. They performed duties of all kinds, but no duty completely. They were constantly beginning, but never brought any thing to a proper end. Their resolutions were languid, their strength feeble, and their light dim. They probably maintained their reputation before men, but their works were not perfect before God.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Be watchful - Be wakeful; be attentive and earnest - in contradistinction from the drowsy condition of the church.

Strengthen the things which remain - The true piety that still lives and lingers among you. Whatever there was of religion among them, it was of importance to strengthen it, that the love of the Saviour might not become wholly extinct. An important duty in a low and languishing state of religion is, to “strengthen the things that still survive.” It is to cultivate all the graces which do exist; to nourish all the love of truth which may linger in the church; and to confirm, by warm exhortation, and by a reference to the gracious promises of God‘s word, the few who may be endeavoring to do their duty, and who, amidst many discouragements, are aiming to be faithful to the Saviour. In the lowest state of religion in a church there may be a few, perhaps quite obscure and of humble rank, who are mourning over the desolations of Zion, and who are sighing for better times. All such it is the duty of the ministers of religion to comfort and encourage; for it is in their hearts that piety may be kept alive in the church - it is through them that it may be hoped religion may yet be revived. In the apparent hopelessness of doing much good to others, good may always be done to the cause itself by preserving and strengthening what there may be of life among those few, amidst the general desolation and death. It is much to preserve life in grain sown in a field through the long and dreary winter, when all seems to be dead - for it will burst forth, with new life and beauty, in the spring. When the body is prostrate with disease, and life just lingers, and death seems to be coming on, it is much to preserve the little strength that remains; much to keep the healthful parts from being invaded, that there may be strength yet to recover.

That are ready to die - That seem just ready to become extinct. So, sometimes, in a plant, there seems to be but the least conceivable life remaining, and it appears that it must die. So, when we are sick, there seems to be but the feeblest glimmering of life, and it is apparently just ready to go out. So, when a fire dies away, there seems but a spark remaining, and it is just ready to become extinct. And thus, in religion in the soul - religion in a church - religion in a community - it often seems as if it were just about to go out forever.

For I have not found thy works perfect before God - I have not found them complete or full. They come short of what is required. Of what church, of what individual Christian, is not this true? Whom might not the Saviour approach with the same language? It was true, however, in a marked and eminent sense, of the church at Sardis.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have found no works of thine perfected before my God.

Be thou watchful ... Many commentators love to tie this in with the repeated destruction of the city of Sardis through failure to "watch"; but this is not necessary. Christ himself, in the great discourse on Olivet (Matthew 24 and parallels), enjoined watchfulness; and that discourse is frequently in the mind of the writer throughout Revelation; and this is very likely the case here. See Mark 13:35,37.

Establish the things that remain ... This stresses a truth sometimes overlooked, namely, that even in dead, wicked, in different congregations there may be some members, probably humble and obscure, who are still trying to do the will of God and in their hearts grieve for the desolation. Barnes said, concerning such as these:

An important duty in a low and languishing state of religion, is to "strengthen the things that still survive." It is to cultivate all the graces that do exist; to nourish all the love of truth that may linger in the church; and to confirm, by warm exhortation, and by reference to the gracious promises of the word of God, the few who may be endeavoring to do their duty, and who, amidst many discouragements, are aiming to be faithful to the Saviour.[11]

ENDNOTE:

[11] Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1961), p. 89.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Be watchful,.... Which may respect both ministers and members: the ministers of the Gospel, whose business is to watch over themselves, their conversation and doctrine, and watch every opportunity to preach it, and the success of their ministry; and that they do not grow careless, or be drawn aside through frowns or flatteries; and over others, as shepherds do, to know the state of their flock; as watchmen of cities to give the time of night, and notice of approaching danger; and to see that the laws of Christ's house are put in execution: and this may also respect the members of these churches, who ought to be watchful, and constant attenders on the word and ordinances, and in the duty of prayer; and should watch over themselves, their hearts, thoughts, affections, words, and actions, and against sin, Satan, the world, and false teachers: or "be awake"; which shows that both ministers and churches are asleep, or much inclined to it; which is the present case of both in this period of time:

and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; not good works; though these may be said to be ready to die when men grow weary of them, are lifeless in the performance of them, and want zeal for them; and may be said to be strengthened when men do their first works: nor the graces of the Spirit; for the whole work of grace remains, and though it is imperfect, yet no part is, or can be taken away from it; yea, there is an increase of it, though it may not be discerned; the work of grace cannot die, or be ready to die; there may be a decline as to the exercise of it, and a want of liveliness in it; and things may be ready to die in appearance, and in the apprehension of believers, but not in reality; and besides it is God's work, and not man's, to strengthen this: therefore they may intend the truths of the Gospel, which at the beginning of the Reformation were revived, and were preached with great life and liveliness; but towards the close of this state, as now, would be just ready to expire, to be almost lost, and dead, and buried, as they are; and which it becomes both ministers and members of churches to hold, and hold up, establish, and confirm: or else the rest of the members of this church may be meant, those of them that remained, that were not wholly sunk and apostatized; and yet were in a very faint and sickly state, scarce any life in them, ready to give up their religion and profession; which should be strengthened, by preaching the pure Gospel, by faithfully administering the ordinances of it, and by speaking comfortable and encouraging words to them. The Complutensian edition and some copies read, "which thou art about lose"; which seems a good reading; and the Arabic version, and some other copies, "which thou art going to reject":

for I have not found thy works perfect before God; meaning that the reformers, and reformed churches, stuck where they first began; and did not carry their works neither with respect to doctrine, and especially with respect to discipline and worship, to a greater perfection, as they ought to have done: and however perfect they might appear before men, they were not so in the sight of the omniscient God, nor found so by Christ, before whom all things are naked and open: the Arabic version reads, "before me"; and the Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, read, "before my God". This church, though she has departed from the corrupt church of Rome, and from her evil doctrines and practices; yet did not go on to that perfection which might have been expected and desired, and which would have rendered her praiseworthy, whereas she is now discommended. It is an observation of a Jewish writerF8R. David Kimchi in Psal. i. 2. , that "if one departs from an evil way, and does not do that which is good, he does not השלים מעשהו, "make his work perfect", and he is not pronounced blessed.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are c ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

(c) Other things, whose state is such, that they are now going, and unless they are confirmed, will perish without delay.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

BeGreek. “Become,” what thou art not, “watchful,” or “wakeful,” literally, “waking.”

the things which remain — Strengthen those thy remaining few graces, which, in thy spiritual deadly slumber, are not yet quite extinct [Alford]. “The things that remain” can hardly mean “the PERSONS that are not yet dead, but are ready to die”; for Revelation 3:4 implies that the “few” faithful ones at Sardis were not “ready to die,” but were full of life.

are — The two oldest manuscripts read, “were ready,” literally, “were about to die,” namely, at the time when you “strengthen” them. This implies that “thou art dead,” Revelation 3:1, is to be taken with limitation; for those must have some life who are told to strengthen the things that remain.

perfect — literally, “filled up in full complement”; Translate, “complete.” Weighed in the balance of Him who requires living faith as the motive of works, and found wanting.

before GodGreek, “in the sight of God.” The three oldest manuscripts, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, read, “before (in the sight of) MY God”; Christ‘s judgment is God the Father‘s judgment. In the sight of men, Sardis had “a name of living”: “so many and so great are the obligations of pastors, that he who would in reality fulfil even a third of them, would be esteemed holy by men, whereas, if content with that alone, he would be sure not to escape hell” [Juan D‘avila]. Note: in Sardis and Laodicea alone of the seven we read of no conflict with foes within or without the Church. Not that either had renounced the appearance of opposition to the world; but neither had the faithfulness to witness for God by word and example, so as to “torment them that dwelt on the earth” (Revelation 11:10).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Be thou watchful (γινου γρηγορωνginou grēgorōn). Periphrastic imperative with present middle of γινομαιginomai (keep on becoming) and present active participle of γρηγορεωgrēgoreō (late present from perfect εγρηγοραegrēgora and that from εγειρωegeirō as in Matthew 24:42) and see Revelation 16:15 for γρηγορεωgrēgoreō also. He does not say “Arise from the dead” (Ephesians 5:14), for there are vestiges of life. Those still alive are addressed through the angel of the church.

Stablish the things that remain (στηρισον τα λοιπαstērison ta loipa). First aorist active imperative of στηριζωstērizō to make stable. Those not actually dead, but in grave peril. See a like command to Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5). Every new pastor faces such a problem.

Which were ready to die (α εμελλον αποτανεινha emellon apothanein). Imperfect active plural because the individuals, though neuter plural, are regarded as living realities. The imperfect looking on the situation “with a delicate optimism” (Swete) as having passed the crisis, a sort of epistolary imperfect.

For I have found no works of thine (ου γαρ ευρηκα σου εργαou gar heurēka sou erga). “For I have not found any works of thine.” Perfect active indicative of ευρισκωheuriskō The church as a whole represented by σουsou (thy).

Fulfilled (πεπληρωμεναpeplērōmena). Perfect passive predicate participle of πληροωplēroō Their works have not measured up to God‘s standard (ενωπιον του τεου μουenōpion tou theou mou).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Be watchful ( γίνου γρηγορῶν )

Lit., become awake and on the watch. See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8. Become what thou art not.

Strengthen ( στήριξον )

See on 1 Peter 5:10, and compare Luke 22:32; Romans 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

That are ready to die ( ἃ μέλλει ἀποθανεῖν )

Read ἔμελλον wereready or about (to die).

I have not found thy works ( οὐ εὕρηκά σου τὰ ἔργα )

Some texts omit the article before works, in which case we should render, I have found no works of thine. So Rev.

Perfect ( πεπληρωμένα )

Lit., fulfilled. So Rev.

God

The best texts insert μου , “my God.”

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

The things which remain — In thy soul; knowledge of the truth, good desires, and convictions.

Which were ready to die — Wherever pride, indolence, or levity revives, all the fruits of the Spirit are ready to die.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-3.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

perfect

(See Scofield "Matthew 5:48").

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 3:2". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Ver. 2. Be watchful] Rouse up thyself, and wrestle with God, shake thee out of sin’s lethargy, as Samson went out and shook him when the Philistines were upon him.

That are ready to die] Because tainted with the infection of hypocrisy, that pernicious mangood.

Perfect before God] Gr. full, without halting or halving. Omnis Sarmatarum virtus extra ipsos. (Tacitus.) All the hypocrite’s goodness runs outward; it is shored up by popularity, or other base respects.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 3:2. That are ready to die: By this death we must understand the death of their faith, since, when men lose their faith, they are dead to Christ. When our Saviour says in the beginning, that he hath the seven Spirits, that is, the Spirit of God in all his active powers, he there lays a foundation, upon which the whole epistle is built, which runs throughout in the same allegory. I have not found thy works perfect, means, "I have found the greatest deficiency in thy works."Before God is emphatical; for God is here opposed as a witness and judge to them. He did not approve what was commended bythem. Short-sighted man may be deceived; the Omniscient God never can be deceived.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-3.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2495

EPISTLE TO SARDIS

Revelation 3:2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

THESE words reflect the true light upon those which precede them. Our Lord did not intend to say that the Christians at Sardis were wholly destitute of life, but that they were in a state bordering upon it; none of their works approving them as perfect, either as to their number or their “intrinsic worth [Note: οὐ πεπληρωμένα.];” on the contrary, every thing which they did was sadly defective, and the “things which remained in them were ready to die.”

In the foregoing discourse, we traced somewhat of the resemblance which there is between the Church at Sardis and that which exists amongst us at this day. And in the counsel which our Lord gave to them we may undoubtedly find much that is applicable to ourselves. Let us, then, proceed to consider,

I. The state here described—

It is here acknowledged, that they did some works, though not in a perfect way; and that there were some good things remaining in them, though they were in so feeble a state that they were ready to die. Now, that we may be able to form a correct estimate of our own state, I will endeavour to shew, when the same kind of declension has taken place in us. We may discover it as having already taken place,

1. When our graces languish—

[The exercise of our graces is a sure test of the reality and degree of our spiritual life. We may form a judgment by examining them.

Let us examine our faith.—The office of faith is, to realize invisible things: and when it is in vigorous exercise, “it is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen [Note: Hebrews 11:1.].” Then earth and heaven appear in their true colours; and the things of time and sense are lighter in our estimation than vanity itself, in comparison of those things which are invisible and eternal. Under the influence of this grace, both the promises and threatenings of God are regarded as no less certain than if they were already accomplished before our eyes; and the soul is stimulated by them to an active pursuit of its chief good. But let a man decline in his apprehension of invisible things, how clearly will the effect be seen in his whole deportment! The truths of God’s word, which were once so powerful, will lose their efficacy: the diligence which was once so constant and exemplary will be relaxed: and the man who was once so lively will become almost as one dead.

Let us examine also our hope.—As faith sees the reality, hope anticipates the enjoyment, of heavenly things: and when it is lively, it is an anchor of the soul, which keeps us steadfast, in the midst of all the storms and tempests with which we can be assailed. But oftentimes this is suffered to decline: and then the future prospects are less valued: and earthly things rise proportionably in importance. Then we are discouraged by any difficulties which we are called to contend with; and we lose our enjoyment of those things which formerly constituted our supreme felicity.

Let us further examine also our love.—Love is as wings to a believing soul: it carries us forward with ardour and delight. So greatly does it expand our views of duty, that it makes us dissatisfied with all we do, and urges us to the utmost exertions of which we are capable. But when love decays, we lose all our fervour in holy exercises: duties become a task and a burthen; and they are performed with less frequency and spirituality of mind. Then the hidings of God’s face, which once would have filled us with the deepest distress, are endured without much concern; and, whilst we feel indifferent about his return to our souls, we lose all our solicitude to please and honour him.

Now, I ask, what can indicate the dying state of a soul, if such a decay of our graces do not? Can any one doubt, but that a person who has so degenerated from a life of real godliness is fallen into the very state of those at Sardis?]

2. When our corruptions increase—

[Graces and corruptions are as the scales of a balance: whichever preponderate, the other kicks the beam. If, then, the decay of our graces manifest a decline in the divine life, so does the growth of our corruptions. Let us examine, therefore, respecting these.

The growth of these, and the consequent decay of the divine life, is manifest, when our besetting sin resumes its former ascendency.—The effect of grace is to mortify our besetting sin. But that sin is rarely, if ever, so extinguished, but it continues, more or less, to harass and defile the soul: and it is sure to return when once we begin to decline from the ways of God; and by that, as much as by any thing, will our declension be discovered. It matters not what that besetting sin is, whether pride, or covetousness, or lust, or anger, or whatever else; if it regain its power over us, we may be sure that it goes ill with our souls.

The same decay is manifest, if the natural hardness and obduracy of our heart return.—Divine grace brings a tenderness of spirit, which shews itself very especially in a way of humiliation and contrition. On the other hand, the effect of sin is to blind the eyes and harden the heart. Now, if we find less sensibility in reference to sin, less aversion to commit it, or less compunction after the commission of it—if, I say, conscience be less active and powerful in the discharge of its office in relation to these things—there can be no doubt that at least a great torpor is come upon us, if we be not actually dead.

I add once more, that this decay is peculiarly manifest, if we are unwilling to be reclaimed.—A heart duly impressed with heavenly things desires the light: it longs for every instruction, whereby it may correct what is amiss, and prosecute with more success its way heavenward. But if a person be so fallen as to feel averse to instruction; if he hate to be told of his faults, and take offence at his monitor for his fidelity; if he palliate and excuse his errors; if he turn from the light, and go to company and worldly occupation in order to stifle his convictions and shake off his uneasiness; truly he is in a Sardian state indeed: for this is the worst symptom that a living soul can possibly experience.]

Now then, brethren, if you have obtained any insight into the condition of your own souls, listen, I pray you, to

II. Our Lord’s counsel to persons in such a state—

None can need advice for their bodies more than such persons do for their souls. In the Lord’s name, therefore, I say to you,

1. Be watchful—

[Be watchful against self-deception.—There are many things which may hide our condition from us. We may easily mistake our gifts for graces; and may ascribe to the special operation of the Spirit of God what is the result only of natural principles. There have been many amiable traits in the characters of heathens, which yet were widely different from the graces of the Spirit, and which consequently were no proofs that the persons exercising those virtues were children of God. We must therefore be peculiarly on our guard againt this source of self-delusion. We may also be less sensible of decay, because it has come gradually upon us. And the heart itself will suggest many plausible excuses, in order to hide from us our real state: but we must remember that, though we may impose on ourselves and others, we can not impose on God. And to this effect St. Paul cautions us; “Be not deceived: God is not mocked.”

I must say, too, Guard against the occasions of sin. A man of God must, as far as will consist with his duties in social life, flee from contagion, lest he be infected by the evils which prevail around him. Worldly business, worldly pleasure, worldly company, will, if not very carefully watched, draw the soul from God. Too unrestrained an use, even of lawful things, will damp our ardour in our heavenly course. There is not any thing of which we have not occasion to be jealous, lest it draw our souls from God, or interfere with our progress in the divine life. Especially must we be on our guard against a neglect of secret duties, or formality in the performance of them. No wonder our spirituality decays, if we be inattentive to the frame of our souls, or unwatchful against the very first symptoms of declension.]

2. “Strengthen the things that remain”—

[Doubtless it is the Lord Jesus Christ alone who can impart to you the strength you need: for “He has the seven Spirits of God;” and from him must you derive such “supplies of his Spirit” as your daily necessities require. All human endeavours without him will be in vain. Yet must you exert yourselves to the uttermost, and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” As bodily strength improves by exercise, so does the strength of the soul: and in proportion as you “stir up the gift of God that is in you,” your graces of faith and hope and love will be increased. If with all diligence you labour to add grace to grace, you are assured that “you shall never fall, but so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [Note: 2 Peter 1:10-11.].” In order to stimulate your soul to such exertions, lay home upon your minds all the most forcible considerations which either your knowledge or experience can suggest. Think how painful it is to lose our spirituality of mind, and our sense of the Divine presence: consider how dishonourable it is to God, and how dangerous to our own souls. Supposing we be recovered from such a state, who can tell by what fearful chastisements the recovery may be effected? And who can tell, whether, instead of ever restoring us to his favour, God may not come, in righteous indignation, to execute upon us his threatened vengeance, and exclude us for ever, like the foolish and unwatchful virgins, from his presence? Supposing then, that, notwithstanding our declensions, there be some good thing remaining in us, let us “strengthen it” by every possible means, if peradventure our backslidings may ultimately be healed, and we may attain at last a preparation of heart to meet our God.]

Address—

1. Those who have no marks of life in them—

[If they who are in a declining state be in great danger because of their declensions, what, think you, must be your danger, in whom not even “the root of the matter” can be found? You may say, perhaps, ‘I make no pretensious to religion, and therefore cannot be chargeable with a departure from it.’ But I answer, This very acknowledgment involves in it a greater measure of guilt, than one would suppose any human being capable of contracting. We may suppose a creature to rebel against his Creator: we may even suppose a redeemed sinner to trample under foot the blood of his Redeemer, and to live altogether as “without God in the world.” But that any man should glory in such a state, and make the acknowledgment of it a ground of self-vindication, this does really surpass any thing which we should imagine even Satan himself to be capable of committing. But to every one who so proclaims his own impiety, I must say, “Out of thine own mouth God will judge thee, thou wicked servant.” Thou hast said to God, “Depart from me, I desire not the knowledge of thy ways:” and He will say to thee, “Depart from me, I never knew thee, thou worker of iniquity;” “depart, accursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Keep on then, if ye will, and dream that no evil shall come upon you: but know, of a surety, that “your judgment lingereth not, and your damnation slumbereth not [Note: 2 Peter 2:3.].”]

2. Those who are “walking with God, as dear children”—

[We are told of “some at Sardis that had not defiled their garments:” and, I trust, there are some of that happy character amongst you. But, when I consider how awfully the great mass of the Sardian Church declined from God, I cannot but be “jealous over you with a godly jealousy, lest Satan by any means prevail” to impede your progress in the divine life [Note: 2 Corinthians 11:2-3.]. I would have you, even to your latest hour, to guard against pride and self-confidence, and to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” When you are weak, then it is that you are really strong.” If you would be perfect, you must look to the Saviour to “perfect that which concerneth you.” You must go on in a simple dependence on his power and grace; and commit yourselves to Him [Note: 1 Peter 4:19.], of whom it is said, “He is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy: to whom be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen [Note: Jude, ver. 24, 25.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/revelation-3.html. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 3:2. γίνου γρηγορῶν, become watchful. This idea, Grot. interprets as indefinite: “beware of all sins.” N. de Lyra, with an oblique reference: “watchful for the recognition of defects in thyself and thy flock.” The Lord demands the condition of spiritual watchfulness, which is opposed to indolence or security, as spiritual sleep or death, and is occupied in holy works, or a holy life.(1327) Upon the essential identity of meaning in the two ideas of spiritual death and sleep, depends the connection of the command γίνου γρηγορῶν with the judgment νεκρὸς εἰ, and, again, with the admonition combined with the γίνου γρηγορῶν, viz., καὶ στηρ. τ. λ. ἐμ. ἀποθανεῖν. The last member of Revelation 3:2, in its connection with γάρ, and its reference to the works,(1328) is further explained from the proper conception of the one as well as of the other figurative designation.

καὶ στήρισον τὰ λοιπὰ ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν. Grot.: “See to it lest, by neglecting one charge, you become altogether flagitious.” Thus the τὰ λοιπὰ appear as the blessings still remaining to their own souls,(1329) “the virtues which still have remained with thee;” as Ewald says, who, by the explanation necessary with his recension of the text ( ἔμελλες ἀποθανεῖν): “Strengthen the other things which, by dying, or keeping at leisure, thou art about to lose,” commends that interpretation of the τὰ λοιπὰ the very least.(1330) The neuter form by no means hinders us from referring the expression personally, i.e., to that part of the entire church which was already on the point of dying(1331) This personal reference is supported as well by the idea of the ἀποθανεῖν,(1332) as also of the στήρισον.(1333) Only we must not understand “the rest” as meaning the laity,(1334) under the presupposition that the angel of the church was the bishop, or the college of officers (Vorsteher); but the church contemplated in its unity and entirety, and, just because of the connection of its members, made in a mass responsible,(1335) has, in its actual reality, on the one hand,(1336) still vigorous living members, but also, on the other hand, and that, too, in a preponderating majority, those who could be preserved from the death already threatened only by strengthening on the part of the church again recovering, in its entirety, unto active, wakeful life.

The imp. ἔ΄ελλον can be understood from the standpoint of the writer of the letter, just as the aor. ἐ΄αρτύτησε (1, 2);(1337) but it is more probable, that, as in the immediately following εὓρηκα, the Lord himself, who speaks, looks back upon the investigation of the church previously undertaken by himself.(1338)

οὐ γὰρ εὓρηκα, κ. τ. λ. The entire preceding admonition to the church, in mass, to be watchful, and to strengthen their members already dying by rising to a new, energetic life, is founded upon the reference to their defective works, in which it has become visible to the eyes of the Lord that they have been dead,(1339) or sleeping. By ἔργα, as in Revelation 3:1,(1340) the entire activity of the inner life in its external activity and deportment is designated; it is not “good works”(1341) that are meant, as though they were blamed only because they were not altogether perfect in their goodness. This idea, which in itself is not altogether incompatible with the tenor of the words, is much too weak for what precedes. It would first be necessary, with De Wette, to find a litotes: “Thy works are not less than perfect.” But just in the simple precision, as the words proceed from the mouth of the Lord who judges his church, do they have their most forcible significance. The Lord who has tested(1342) the works of the church according to the absolute norm(1343) has found them not perfect, and therefore not corresponding to the measure applied to them.(1344) Whether much or little be wanting for the required perfection of the works, is not to be asked: it is enough that the only and unconditionally prescribed measure is not reached. The express allusion to the absolute norm of all Christian morality is here the more forcible, as the church, according to human judgment, has the name that it lives.(1345) Incorrect references, in Grot.: “You are inconstant; some things you do well, others ill;” and in Bengel: “However good the beginning was.”

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-3.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 3:2. (45) ἔ΄ελλον) Thus the Al. And. Pet. 3, the Cov. Areth. and also Uff. read ἔμελλεν: Er. from the comm. of Andreas, μέλλει: Leicestrensis and eight others, and also Comp. Arab. εμελλες ( ἀποθανεῖν being on this account changed into ἀποβάλλειν). This reading of the clause formerly did not displease me, ἔ΄ελλες ἀποθανεῖν, in this sense: Strengthen that which remains, which, unless you were here admonished, you were about to lose by spiritual death. There is a very similar phrase of Philo, τὸν τῆς ἀρετῆς βίον θνήσκειν; also, τάς ψυχὰς τεθνᾶσι. And of Heraclitus in Philo, τεθνήκα΄εν τὸν ἐκείνων βίον. But that expression of itself appears more philosophical than prophetical. The simple and genuine sentiment must be that, which the Latin imitates, the things which were about to die;(46) and so the Armen. Copt. Syr(47)

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-3.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Be watchful, against sin, and unto thy duty, to perform it in a better manner than formerly.

And strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; improve those gifts and good habits which are left thee as yet, but are faint and ready to die, if thou dost not look after the improvement and strengthening of them.

For I have not found thy works perfect before God; for I have not found thy works before God (whether thy works in thy ministry, or in thy conversation) such as they ought to be; thou mightest have done me more service, and thou mightest have done what thou hast done with more uprightness and sincerity.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-3.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Things which remain; their remaining attachment to truth and duty.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

3. "I have not found thy works perfect before God"-- 3:2.

There were no works in this church completed; they were works begun but not finished; their deeds were mere fragments of service, partial and imperfect, or incomplete. They were exhorted to "strengthen the things which remained, that are ready to die"--that is, the waning works that yet existed would soon wither and perish if not invigorated and revived. This was a stern letter to Sardis, for they were their own enemies. There were no enemies of false doctrine mentioned; their danger lay in their state of spiritual decadence.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-3.html. 1966.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 3:2. Become watchful. Sardis had failed to ‘watch,’—the very sin into which spiritual pride is sure to fall. Therefore must she first of all awake, discover what her temptation is, and put herself on her guard against the foe.

And stablish the things that remain which were ready to die; that is, which were ready, at the moment when the searching eye of her Lord was first directed towards her, to sink into the state characterized as ‘dead.’ Christian graces, not persons, are alluded to,—a part of the church’s ‘works’ that had as yet been preserved from the too complete degeneracy by which she had been overtaken.

For I have found no works of thine fulfilled before my God. In no part of the Christian life had Sardis reached that perfect spirituality after which she was to aspire. Spirituality is Christ’s perfection, His consummation in His state of glory. At the right hand of the Father He is ‘spirit,’ not to the exclusion of a body, but with a ‘spiritual body,’ a body completely accordant and harmonious with that state of spirit in which He is. But the Church is Christ’s fulness; and so long, therefore, as she is not spiritual, her works are not ‘fulfilled.’ It is difficult to say why we should have the word ‘my’ prefixed to God; but the probability is that it is for the purpose of bringing out that true nature of God which leads Him to demand spiritual worship. ‘My God,’—‘the God for whom and in whom I live, who am your ascended and glorified High Priest and King.’ The Pharisee might think that God would be satisfied with outward profession: the heathen might offer Him a merely formal service. Jesus knew that He was ‘spirit’ (John 4:24), and that only in spirit could He be worshipped.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-3.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Et ceteræ quæ moitura erant, Greek: ta loipa a mellei apothanein, meaning persons, not things.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Be = Become.

watchful. See Matthew 24:42.

the . . . remain = the remaining (things). App-124.

are = were, with the texts.

perfect. App-125.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Be, [ ginou (Greek #1096)] - 'Become' what thou art not, 'watchful' [ greegoroon (Greek #1127)], 'waking.'

The things which remain - those thy remaining few graces, which, in thy spiritual slumber, are not yet extinct (Alford). Hardly 'the PERSONS that are not yet dead, but ready to die;' for Revelation 3:4 implies that the "few" faithful at Sardis were not "ready, to die," but full of life.

Are. 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Coptic, Syriac, read, 'were ready' [emedon], 'were about to die,' at the time when you "strengthen" them. 'Thou art dead,' Revelation 3:1, is therefore to be taken with limitation; for those must have some life who can strengthen the things that remain.

Perfect, [ pepleeroomena (Greek #4137)] - 'filled up in full complement:' 'complete.' Lacking in living faith as the motive of works.

Before God - `in the sight of God.' 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, read, 'in the sight of MY God:' Christ's judgment is the Father's. In the sight of men, Sardis had 'a name of living:' 'so many and so great are the obligations of pastors, that he who would fulfill even a third of them, would be esteemed holy by men: whereas, if content with that alone, he would be sure not to escape hell' (Juan D'Avila). Note, in Sardis and Laodicea, alone of the seven, we read of no conflict with foes within or without. Not that either had renounced apparent opposition to the world; but neither had the faithfulness to witness for God by word and example, so as to 'torment them that dwelt on the earth' (Revelation 11:10).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) Be watchful.—Rather, become wakeful. It will not do simply to rouse and sleepily grasp at their spiritual weapons, or even to stand for once at arms; you must become of wakeful habit. Strengthen the remaining things which were (when I roused you) about to die; for I have not found thy (or, any of thy) works perfect—completed or fulfilled, fully done in weight and tale and measure—before my God.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
watchful
16:15; Isaiah 56:10; 62:6,7; Ezekiel 34:8-10,16; Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 24:42-51; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:33-37; Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; 1 Peter 4:7; 5:8
strengthen
2:4; Deuteronomy 3:28; Job 4:4-5; 16:5; Isaiah 35:3; Luke 22:31,32; Acts 18:23
thy works
1 Kings 11:4; 15:3; 2 Chronicles 25:2; Isaiah 57:12; Daniel 5:27; Matthew 6:2-4; 23:5,28-38
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 18:13 - Thou shalt;  Matthew 25:7 - GeneralMark 14:38 - Watch;  John 3:21 - that his;  1 Corinthians 11:31 - General1 Corinthians 16:13 - Watch;  2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine;  1 Thessalonians 5:6 - watch;  2 Timothy 4:5 - watch;  Revelation 2:5 - and do

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-3.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

WORKS INCOMPLETE.

Revelation 3:2. — "Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die, for I have not found thy works complete before My God." The general condition being one of death, the Church's spiritual representatives are to rouse up. Not only is watchfulness in view of the state then enjoined, but they were to become abidingly watchful. Watching and praying are coupled (Mark 13:33) in the light of the Lord's return. Praying and watching are connected in the maintenance of the Christian conflict (Ephesians 6:18). If moral death characterised the Protestant profession of Christianity inwardly, spite of deceptive appearances to the contrary, how needful the admonition to continue in a state of wakefulness and not slumber with the mass.

But while a continuous state of watchfulness was enjoined in order to arrest further paralysis (for death, not life, was fast becoming master of the situation), the energy of love was also needed.

2. — "Strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die." The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) yet existed, although in measure small and in expression feeble; whatever of life and grace remained was to be built up, cherished, strengthened. Whatever is of God hold fast, and the more so as practical religion is dying out of these Christian lands. The exhortation was never more needed than now. The sword and the trowel are ever in demand, but the wise and diligent use of the latter is the crying need of the Church.

2. — "I have not found thy works complete before My God." This charge forms the ground of the admonition addressed to the angel. The works of faith and of obedience were not complete, i.e., in the sense of being filled up. The soul's practical relations with God were almost neglected in the public conflict with Rome. Individual godliness and Church life were at the lowest ebb. Protestantism as designating those who have seceded from Rome{*At the famous diet of Spires, in 1529, on April 19th certain of the princes of Germany and many others protested against the usurpation of the papacy under Clement VII.; and again on Saturday, the 24th, the last day of the diet, they firmly renewed their protest. Hence from that day the Reformers all who stood out in opposition to the papacy were termed Protestants, eight years after Luther had so nobly borne himself alone at the diet of Worms.} is a poor designation of what a Christian ought to be. The exalted truths contained in the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians were utterly unknown to the mass of the Reformers. Their efforts were mainly concentrated on the great struggle to recover for themselves, their children, and succeeding generations the Pauline truth of justification by faith, and even that is not presented in their writings in its scriptural fulness.{*Luther spoke in the most contemptuous terms of the epistle of James, because he foolishly thought that the Jewish apostle clashed with Paul in the presentation of the doctrine of Justification.} Exceedingly defective were they in their thoughts as to the personality and dwelling on earth of the Holy Ghost, of the Church as the Body of Christ, and of our individual and corporate relationships to Christ in Heaven.

Thus their works were not complete or filled up before "My God." This, then, was, and is, the great defect of Protestantism, and in this respect it compares unfavourably with the devotedness in works for which Thyatira was commended (Revelation 2:19). We must, however, in all this distinguish between the Reformation and the state subsequently known as Protestantism. The former was undoubtedly a divine movement, the latter is a public position taken up in opposition to the papacy in which, of course, there are many pious persons, while the system itself is one of moral death.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-3.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The aforesaid charge of being dead is relative for dead people cannot do anything. Yet these people are exhorted to do something about that which is ready to die, which shows that some prospect. of life was in sight. Not found thy works perfect. The church as a whole had some good qualities but it was not as good as it could and should be considering its opportunities.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-3.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 3:2

Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Here followeth the directions that Christ gives this church, in order to their recovery out of that dead state and decaying condition that they were in, which directions are two sorts; the first respecteth their present duty, and their future behavior or carriage for the time to come.

"Be watchful"

which doth more especially concern the Ministers of the church who are her watchman, { Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:2; Ezekiel 33:6-7} and watch for their souls, { Hebrews 13:17} which doth imply, that they were not so diligent in this duty as they ought to be; for there were some poor and precious souls under their charge in this church, who were neglected, and not so looked after, not watched over, as they ought to be. The Second direction respecteth what was past, and teacheth them what to do in regard to that.

"And strengthen the things which remain"

is meant, First, some remainders of the work of God's Holy Spirit and word in the hearts of some members of this church, which the ministers did not endeavor to nourish, cherish, and establish, as they should have done; and so partly through the security of those weak members, and partly through the negligence and carelessness of their ministers not visiting them, and not inquiring into their backsliding condition, they were ready to die: Or, Secondly, some work, or beginning of grace in some poor souls, which was the fruits of the ministry; and these poor souls, not being fed with the sincere milk of the word, and nourished up with good and sound doctrine, began to decay and cool, and were ready to die; that Isaiah, to cast away their confidence, to give over their hopes, and comforts and promises; and so began to decay in their gifts, to cool in their affections, and to neglect holy duties, in which respect they are said to be ready to die.

"The things which remain,"

to wit, the Spiritual gifts that remained, the saving grace that remained, the saving grace that remained, the heavenly comforts that remained, the holy duties that remained, the lively affections that remained, and the gracious desires, heart-pantings, soul-longings, and sincere hungerings, thirstings, sighnings, groanings, mournings, and feelings after Christ, which remained, (though ready to die and to be extinguished) ought to be strengthened, First, by spiritual counsel. { Isaiah 35:3-4} Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees, say to them that are of a sorrowful heart, be strong. Secondly, by spiritual food; administering a word in season to the weary soul. {as Zechariah 10:12} And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name,

"For I have not found thy works perfect before God".

Here followeth the reasons of Christ's former counsel and direction. Christ had examined and tried the works of this angel and church, and found some imperfection in them, whereupon he bears this testimony against them. There are three things necessary to make any perfect in the sight of God. First, It must be a work of faith, to wit, such a work as God hath commanded in his word; and the work of God must be the ground of our faith. { Hebrews 11:6} For whatsoever is not of faith is sin. { Romans 14:23} Secondly, It must be a labor of love, that Isaiah, the love of Christ must constrain believers to be fruitful and laborious in every good work, else it will not be acceptable to God, duties done from a principle of love to Christ, and service done from the same spiritual love to the saints, are well-pleasing to God. { Hebrews 6:10} Thirdly, It must be done in singleness and sincerity of heart. { 2 Corinthians 1:12}

And especially the angel's work (or the work of the ministry) must be done, First, in sincerity. { 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 2:5} Secondly, with zeal to God's glory: And, thirdly, with affection to the souls of the people, { Colossians 4:12-13} by improving all their ministerial gifts, graces, and abilities to the utmost; making full proof of their ministry for the conversion of sinners unto Christ, the edification of the saints in faith, love, and good works; and the feeding, ruling the church according to the word of God. { 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Timothy 4:13-15; Colossians 1:28-29; Colossians 4:17} Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-3.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 3:2. Be wakeful, and strengthen the rest that is ready to die; for I have not found thy works complete before my God. "Death and sleep," remarks Bengel, "are in natural things like one another, and in spiritual they are almost one. It is the commencement of true salvation to a soul when it is awakened from its sleep of death." In Eph. also, Ephesians 5:14, sleep and death are conjoined with each other. The "be wakeful" here implies more than the "awake" there. It calls them to be awake, and to remain awake. The γρηγορωῖ ν is not to awake, but to keep awake, to watch, the opposite of a state of sleeping, 1 Thessalonians 5:10. "Watch, therefore, because ye know not at what hour your Lord comes," the Lord had said to his disciples (Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13). "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation," he had also said to John and the two other disciples who stood nearest to him (Matthew 26:41). That John here, as Peter in 1 Peter 5:8, refers to that word, is clear from Revelation 3:3. The rest, besides the angel or the overseers, are the members of the church, or the laity, who not less than the overseers were in danger of death. Allusion is made to Ezekiel 34:4, "The weak have ye not strengthened, and the sick have ye not healed; the wounded have ye not bound, the wandering have ye not fetched, and the lost ye have not sought." There, too, it is the rulers of the church who are addressed. Their careless keeping of the Lord's flock is complained of. A testimony is furnished by this also, that the overseers of the church are to be understood by the angel, and that these are to be carefully distinguished from the church itself. Through the special allusion here made to Ezekiel, the whole lamentation raised by him over the bad shepherds is applied to the angel. Intentionally the verb is taken from the first member of the representation, primarily applicable to the neglect of the shepherds, and the object from the last.[Note: The ἃ ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν does notcorrespond to נהלות but to אבדת, as Vitringa supposes.] In this manner is the entire representation appropriated. From the original passage also has the neuter been adopted: the rest. There the feminine is used, referring to the sheep. The LXX. also have rendered the feminines by neuters.

The works, by which at last every thing is to be determined, Matthew 7:21, John 14:21. The complete, full (comp. made full in John 17:13, 1 John 1:4, 2 John 1:12), forms the contrast to the deficiency, under which the works laboured, though more in respect to their soul, the impelling motives, than to their external appearance. The expression: before my God, implies that they were still not justified, however they might appear pure before the eyes of men, and their own slumbering consciences.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-3.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.Be watchful—Literally, become wakeful; wake up, be wide awake. For this deadness is a sleep; the fumes of which may, and should, be right speedily dispersed.

Strengthen—Make firm, solidify.

Things—Not persons, as many excellent commentators aver, but things: the Christian virtues, ordinances, aggressive movements. Revive all the early zeal by which the membership was holy, the Church strong, sinners were saved, and the gospel spread. These were now relaxed and ready to die.

Perfect—Not the usual Greek word for perfect; but for filled up. It supposes a measure, a capacity, like a vessel which was not, but should be, completely filled with performed duties.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-3.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 3:2. , epistol. impf.— , “any works of thine”. Judged from the Divine standpoint ( . .), no matter how satisfactory is the verdict of outsiders upon her or of her own complacency, her condition is decadent.

 

 

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-3.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

2. So wake up. Sardis still has a good name, but it sleeps spiritually. In Pergamum and Thyatira, a small part of the church had been captured by the temptation of the world. At Sardis, almost the entire church had fallen. But, there is still hope that renewal can come! Not yet perfect. The forms were there, and the ceremonies, but the spirit and power were lacking (compare 2 Timothy 3:5).

 

 

 

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 3:2". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.