As we open to Revelation 3:1-6 we are opening to the only time that Jesus declares that a local church is dead, non-responsive to His plans, and non-functional for His purposes. Look back over the text of the letter Christ wrote to them, which we read last time. In those words we find in an event from Sardis’ past, a key that unlocks the message Jesus gave to the saints that were alive in Christ, and listening.
Many of the seven letters from Christ mention local events that those who lived in that city, and attended that fellowship, would understand. Here in Sardis, it is the “watchfulness” allusion that would ring in their minds. They all knew that twice their city fell to the invading armies of enemies: because the soldiers who guarded them, had slept on the job.