“Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”
If you are not spiritually awake, Jesus says that He will come like a thief, meaning that it will be suddenly and unexpectedly. To be ready, you need to be awake, prepared and alert always. Jesus repeats this warning in Revelation 16:15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”).
The scripture was being spoken to the Sardinian church. Like the church in Ephesus, the church in Sardis needs to remember what they “have received and heard.” They must hold on to the word of Christ as the church in Philadelphia was doing. Revelation 3:8 says “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
The main point we need to take from these passages is the importance of the “word” of God. All those who have “heard and received” the word of God must be spiritually awake. This is the same message for the church today. The word of God is being spoken all over the world, including in churches. Yet, it does not mean that the church is actually awake. What this passage shows is that you can hear and receive the word, but it does not necessarily mean that you are awake. This is a strong warning we need to take seriously and an opportunity to examine our faith and walk with Christ. Revelation 3:3 gives us a few instructions to go a step further in our faith.
Revelation 3:3 says “Remember, then, what you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent…” This passage commands you to “remember” what you have heard and received. It is talking about the word of God. So, is this passage implying that you have somehow forgotten the beginning, the first love of Jesus through the word of God? Where are you now in your faith. Revelation 2:4-5 says “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp-stand from its place, unless you repent.”
The warning is that you can be in the church of God, yet you are fast asleep. You are receiving and hearing the word of God, yet it makes no difference in your life. Therefore, the command has been given, saying “keep it and repent”. This calls for you to take action on the word that you are receiving and hearing. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you keep reading verses 3-12, it gives you instruction on how to live a life pleasing to God.
Take this next step in your Christian walk. You have heard and received. Now it is time for those in the church to keep the word and repent. Repent from your past ways that are of this world. Hold fast to the instruction given in scripture on how you are to live a life that honours your Father, who is in heaven.
If you do not do these things, then at the coming of Christ, He will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour He will come against you (Revelation 3:3).
In conclusion, I urge you to stay awake for the coming of Jesus Christ is at hand. Stay awake by keeping the word of God which you have received and heard. If you do so, then you will be spiritually awake and ready to be received by Christ at His coming. Oh, what a glorious day that will be. Let us close by reading James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” So, hear the word and be doers of the word, and in this way, you will be ready and prepared when it is your time to meet Christ.