We hear a fierce indictment in Revelation 3:1, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” What a serious message this is! How perplexing then is Christ’s self-designation, "These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” Christ holds in His hands seven stars, representing seven churches, and among them is Sardis.
But even here are some true believers. We read in verse 4, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” Most in Sardes have defiled their garments. They are living unholy lives. This is also clear from verse 2: “I have not found thy works perfect before God.” The tree will be recognized by its fruit. The outside is defiled by the inside. But there is always a remnant. Even in Elija’s days, there were 7,000 who did not bow their knees to Baal. No matter how dark the times and circumstances and how sick the church is, there is always a remnant. The Lord knows His own. We read that He knows their names. Salvation is God's one-sided love. We are not saved because our church is pure. We are saved because we believe in Jesus Christ. Although the life of the church does matter!
We read about clothing several times in the letter to Sardis. Sardis was a center for the clothing (woolen) industry for a long time. The Lord here uses language that is familiar to the church members in Sardis. In verse 5, we read again about clothing, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; 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.” Again, we see the emphasis on personal repentance and faith. “He that…” Those who persevere in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ here will be clothed in white garments, counted righteous before God, and seated at the heavenly wedding table. Those who remain faithful to Christ can have their citizenship taken away from them here on earth. But Christ secures citizenship for them in His Kingdom. Those who confess Christ's name here on earth, even in the courtroom, will not be forgotten by Christ.