What does Revelation 3:3 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
NASB: So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Then if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
CSB: Remember, then, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come upon you.
NLT: 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.
KJV: Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse we find a challenge from Jesus and a warning about what will happen if the church at Sardis rejects the challenge. Jesus challenged the church to remember, recapture, and repent. It needed to recall the truth it had received when it first received it. The Lord had given the truth to the church as a permanent deposit that it was supposed to guard zealously.

Any church that is sliding away from the truth must remember its initial encounter with Christ. Jesus challenged the church at Sardis to repent—to change its mind. Instead of continuing its slumber, thinking its current condition was all right, it was to wake up. The original city of Sardis felt complacent, thinking no attack against it could prevail, but it was wrong. It had relaxed its sentry duty and experienced a sudden downfall, decades prior to this letter.

Similarly, the church at Sardis would fall if it failed to be watchful. The church cannot assume it has already "done enough" for God. If the church at Sardis did not wake up, Jesus would come like an unexpected and unwelcome thief. Christians who slumber in complacency do not live up to their high calling in Christ Jesus. When Jesus comes unexpectantly, those slumbering believers will forfeit their rewards at His Judgment Seat (1 Corinthians 3:13–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Verse Context:
Revelation 3:1–6 comprises the letter Jesus dictated to John to send to the church in Sardis. The church's reputation was a far cry from reality. It had a reputation of being a live church, but actually it was dead. While this reputation is—technically—a praise, it's a hollow one. Jesus instructed this church to wake up and strengthen what remained. All was not lost, though. A few members of the church were true to the faith, and Jesus promised they would walk with Him in purity. He would also keep their names in the book of life and confess their names before His Father.
Chapter Summary:
These final letters symbolize Church history from AD 1500 to the Rapture, the event that transports the Church from earth to be with Jesus. Sardis had a good reputation, but it was actually spiritually dead. Philadelphia had a good opportunity to spread the gospel, and it had kept Jesus' word and had remained loyal to Him. As such, Jesus promises to reward this church's conquerors. Laodicea was proud of its wealth, but was spiritually lukewarm, a characteristic that Jesus detests. He promises to fellowship with anyone in the church who would heed His voice and welcome Him. Laodicea is the only church given no praise by Christ.
Chapter Context:
This chapter concludes the letters Jesus instructed the apostle John to write to seven churches in Asia Minor. Those messages began in chapter 2. This passage ends the section of Revelation that describes the things that are (Revelation 1:19), meaning the things which existed in John's lifetime. Chapter 1 describes what John had seen (Revelation 1:19), and chapter 4 begins John's account of what was to take place in the future (Revelation 1:19).
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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