Revelation 3 – “The Things That Are” – The End Of The Beginning – How Great Is Our God – God’s Plan For The Ages

Prestonwood The End of the Beginning

How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin

Cardboard Testimonies – Inside Out – Fellowship Bible Church (Roswell/Atlanta, Ga)

Revelation Chapter 3 – “The Things That Are” – God’s Plan For The Ages

Lesson Video

Revelation Chapter 3/Churches/Angel/Sardis/Philadelphia/Laodicea

Revelation Chapter 3

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Lesson Series – Revelation – God’s Plan For The Ages

Verses Of Note

Revelation 3:10 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Earth Dwellers

We will soon be discussing the seal judgments that are written in Revelation Chapter 6. Beginning with Chapter 8, we will see the opening of the seventh of the seals, which will also open the trumpet judgments. In Chapters 8 and 9 we will find the opening of six trumpet judgments. The seventh trumpet judgment is seen in Chapter 11. The seven bowl judgments are seen in Chapters 15 and 16. Beginning with the first seal judgment, all of the following judgments will be increasingly more violent. The judgments will affect every person on earth (Rev 3:10). In Chapter 5 we will see that “The Lamb,” who is the risen Christ, will open each of the judgments, “which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10) The purpose of the testing is to draw unbelievers to accept Christ as Messiah. We, who will have been raptured from the earth, have passed the test of accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior, which occurred prior to the rapture of the church, and the time of the Tribulation. If the rapture of the church does not take place, every man, woman and child will suffer at the hand of our risen Savior; consider an infant suffering at the hand of our Savior! None of the scenario of Christ tormenting His born-again believers makes any sense. Once unbelievers been born again, there will be no more test for them. Anyone who believes that born again believers in Christ will have to go through any part of the tribulation should consider the harshness of the tribulation and consider the words of 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” God’s Holy Spirit “courted us,” who were unbelievers (John 1:9). Our Lord said, “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). The born again body of believers in Christ is called the “bride of Christ” (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22-32). A key verse is Eph 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Christ is the bridegroom of all bridegrooms. No husband is going to leave his bride in a place or time of tribulation. Christ will not leave His bride, His Church, on earth to suffer from all of the judgments that He will unleash on, “the whole world, those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10). (Mine)

Consider the horrible things that will happen during the time of the tribulation and the judgments. It is important to remember that those who will suffer from those judgments are the ones which Revelation calls “earth dwellers.” Such people are those who had never accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. They were left behind when the rapture took place because they had chosen the things of this world over the things of heaven. Consider the verses that discuss those who are “earth dwellers,” also known as “those who live on the earth” (Rev 3:10). Notice that “all who live on the earth” will be subject to the judgments of God. Notice, also, that even in the face of the judgments of God, many of the “earth dwellers” will not change their attitudes toward Christ. (Mine)

Revelation 3:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

10 Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

Revelation 6:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

10 They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?”

Revelation 8:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

13 I looked again and heard an eagle flying high overhead, crying out in a loud voice, “Woe!Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!”

Revelation 11:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets brought judgment to those who live on the earth.

Revelation 13:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

8 All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.

Revelation 13:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

14 He deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound and yet lived.

Revelation 17:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again.

Lesson – Revelation Chapter 3 – God’s Plan For The Ages

Lesson Text – Things Present – Seven Churches – “The Things That Are”

Revelation 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Dead Church

1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from 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.”’

The Faithful Church

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, 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 refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, 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.”’”

Study Notes

The following study notes come from the MacArthur Study Bible, and are provided by


3:1 angel. Messenger or pastor (see note on 1:20). Sardis. Situated on a natural acropolis rising 1,500 feet above the valley floor, the city (modern Sart) was nearly impregnable. Around 1200 B.C. it gained prominence as the capital of the Lydian kingdom. Its primary industry was harvesting wool, dying it, and making garments from it. The famous author, Aesop, came from Sardis, and tradition says that Melito, a member of the church in Sardis, wrote the first-ever commentary on certain passages in the book of Revelation. The church in Sardis was dead; that is, basically populated by unredeemed, unregenerate people. seven Spirits. See note on 1:4. seven stars. The pastors of these 7 churches (see notes on 1:16, 20).
3:3 come upon you as a thief. Here the reference is not to Christ’s second coming (cf. 16:15; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10), but to His sudden and unexpected coming to His unrepentant, dead church to inflict harm and destruction.
3:4 who have not defiled their garments. Defiled means “to smear, to pollute,” or “to stain,” and garments refer to character. There were a few whose character was still godly (cf. Jude 23). in white. The white garments of all the redeemed (cf. 6:11; 7:9, 13; 19:8, 14), speak of holiness and purity. Such white robes are reserved for Christ (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3), holy angels (Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5), and the glorified church (19:8, 14). In the ancient world, white robes were commonly worn at festivals and celebrations.
3:5 overcomes. All true Christians (see note on 2:7). Book of Life. A divine journal records the names of all those whom God has chosen to save and who, therefore, are to possess eternal life (13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19; cf. Dan. 12:1; Luke 10:20). Under no circumstances will He erase those names (see note on Phil. 4:3), as city officials often did of undesirable people on their roles.
3:7 angel. See note on 1:20. Philadelphia. Located on a hillside about 30 mi. SE of Sardis, the city (modern Alashehir) was founded around 190 B.C. by Attalus II, king of Pergamos. His unusual devotion to his brother earned the city its name, “brotherly love.” The city was an important commercial stop on a major trade route called the Imperial Post Road, a first century mail route. Although Scripture does not mention this church elsewhere, it was probably the fruit of Paul’s extended ministry in Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:10). holy…true. A common description in this book (4:8; 6:10; 15:3; 16:7; 19:2, 11). Christ shares the holy, sinless, pure nature of His Father (Ps. 16:10; Is. 6:3; 40:25; 43:15; Hab. 3:3; Mark 1:11, 24; John 6:69; Acts 3:14); that is, He is absolutely pure and separate from sin. “True” can refer both to one who speaks truth, and who is genuine or authentic as opposed to fake. the key of David. Christ has the sovereign authority to control entrance into the kingdom (Is. 22:22; cf. Matt. 16:19; John 14:6). In 1:18 He is pictured holding the keys to death and hell—here, the keys to salvation and blessing.
3:8 open door. This is either admission into the kingdom (see v. 7), or an opportunity for service (cf. 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3).
3:9 synagogue of Satan. See note on 2:9. who say they are Jews. See note on 2:9.
3:10 keep you from the hour of trial. Christ’s description—an event still future that for a short time severely tests the whole world—must refer to the time of tribulation, the 7 year period before Christ’s earthly kingdom is consummated, featuring the unleashing of divine wrath in judgments expressed as seals, trumpets, and bowls. This period is described in detail throughout chaps. 6–19. The latter half is called “the Great Tribulation” (7:14; Matt. 24:21) and is identified as to time in 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5. The verb “to keep” is followed by a preposition whose normal meaning is “from” or “out of”—this phrase, “keep…from” supports the pretribulational rapture of the church (see notes on John 14:1–3; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:13–17). This period is the same as Daniel’s 70th week (see notes on Dan. 9:24–27) and “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (see notes on Jer. 30:7).
3:11 I am coming quickly! This isn’t the threatening temporal judgment described in v. 3; 2:5, 16, nor the final judgment of chap. 19; it is a hopeful event. Christ will return to take His church out of the hour of trial (see note on 2 Thess. 2:1).
3:12 He who overcomes. All Christians (see note on 2:7). a pillar. Believers will enjoy an unshakable, eternal, secure place in the presence of God. temple. See note on 7:15. write…name of My God. In biblical times, one’s name spoke of his character. Writing His name on us speaks of imprinting His character on us and identifying us as belonging to Him. New Jerusalem. The capital city of heaven (see notes on 21:1–27). The overcomer will enjoy eternal citizenship. My new name. At the moment we see Christ, whatever we may have called Him and understood by that name will pale in the reality of what we see. And He will give us a new, eternal name by which we will know Him.
3:14 angel. The pastor-messenger designated to deliver this letter (see note on 1:20). Laodiceans. Located in the Lycus River Valley, the SW area of Phrygia, Laodicea became the wealthiest, most important commercial center in the region. It was primarily known for 3 industries: banking, wool, and medicine (notably its eye salve). An inadequate local water supply forced the city to build an underground aqueduct. All 3 industries, as well as the inadequate water supply, played a major part in this letter. The church began through the ministry of Epaphras, while Paul was ministering in Ephesus (cf. Col. 1:7; Paul never personally visited Laodicea). the Amen. A common biblical expression signifying certainty and veracity (cf. Is. 65:16, “the God of truth”). According to 2 Cor. 1:20, all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ; that is, all God’s promises and unconditional covenants are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faithful and True Witness. He is a completely trustworthy and perfectly accurate witness to the truth of God (John 14:6). Beginning of the creation. This corrects a heresy, apparently present in Laodicea as in Colosse, that Christ was a created being (cf. Col. 1:15–20). Instead, He is the “Beginning” (lit. “beginner, originator, initiator”) of creation (cf. John 1:3; 3:14) and the “firstborn of creation”; that is, the most preeminent, supreme person ever born (Col. 1:15). As a man, He had a beginning, but as God, He was the beginning. Sadly, this heresy concerning the person of Christ had produced an unregenerate church in Laodicea.
3:16 lukewarm. I.e., tepid. Nearby Hierapolis was famous for its hot springs, and Colosse for its cold, refreshing mountain stream. But Laodicea had dirty, tepid water that flowed for miles through an underground aqueduct. Visitors, unaccustomed to it, immediately spat it out. The church at Laodicea was neither cold, openly rejecting Christ, nor hot, filled with spiritual zeal. Instead, its members were lukewarm, hypocrites professing to know Christ, but not truly belonging to Him (cf. Matt. 7:21ff.). I will vomit you out of My mouth. Just like the dirty, tepid water of Laodicea, these self-deceived hypocrites sickened Christ.

3:18 gold…white garments…eye salve. See note on v. 14. He was offering them the spiritual counterparts to their 3 major industries. Each item was a way to refer to genuine salvation.

3:19 As many as I love…chasten. Both vv. 18, 20 indicate that Christ was speaking here to unbelievers. God certainly loves the unconverted (cf. John 3:16). And “chasten” (lit. “reprove”) often refers to God’s convicting and punishing the unregenerate (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 14:24; 2 Tim. 2:25).

3:20 I stand at the door and knock. Rather than allowing for the common interpretation of Christ’s knocking on a person’s heart, the context demands that Christ was seeking to enter this church that bore His name but lacked a single true believer. This poignant letter was His knocking. If one member would recognize his spiritual bankruptcy and respond in saving faith, He would enter the church.

3:21 overcomes. All true Christians (see note on 2:7). sit with Me on My throne. A figurative expression meaning that we will share the privilege and authority that Christ enjoys as we reign with Him (1:6; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:29, 30).

This post is one of many others that you can find in this blog that deal with God’s Plan For The Ages. All posts in this series can be found under the category of Journey. Please follow this blog so that you can receive updates automatically.

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The scripture text was taken from

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Unless otherwise noted, scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in

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