“Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.” Revelation 3:2-3
Jesus then calls them to repent of their sin: “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. To “wake up” means to start paying attention to their need of salvation, to stop being careless about their heart’s condition before God. Many of our churches today needs to wake up. “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” Jesus is coming back. Jesus notes the judgment that would take place if they did not repent: A dead church, and one unrepentant in its deadness, will be disciplined by Jesus Himself.
Though the church at Sardis was classified as being dead in the sight of God, it is obvious from verse 2 that there were some in the church who still had true life and spirituality. Otherwise it would not have been possible to “strengthen the things which remain.” On the other hand a full restoration of the will of God was also impossible. In the best manuscripts the article is omitted before “works,” hence, literally, “not any of your works have I found perfect before God.” They are therefore exhorted to be watchful lest a further invasion of spiritual deadness come upon them. Not only are they exhorted to be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, but they are also warned to remember the truth that they have received and heard, and to hold it fast and to turn away from any defection from it.