And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things said he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars…
By these seven Spirits of God is meant apparently that One Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, to whom, with the Father and the Son, we render homage and praise. And the reason for the peculiarity of the sevenfold Spirit is because in this book that Spirit is contemplated, not so much in the unity of His person as in the manifoldness of His operations. And, further, that the number seven, being a sacred number, expresses completeness. And so, "He that hath the seven Spirits of God" represents Jesus Christ as possessing, and as possessing that He may impart, the whole fulness of that quick and Divine Spirit. Thus the first thought to be presented to the moribund Church is of the fulness of Divine life gathered into that Spirit who is not enclosed in inaccessible mysteries of deity, but going forth like the flame of the torch, like the glance of the eye, everywhere where men are. This great Life giver is waiting for all feeble and half-dead Christian hearts to come surging into it if they will, and to fill them with its own vitality. Notice still further that the second of the predicates applied to our Lord here suggests for us one very frequent way in which He cleanses out Churches. He hath the seven Spirits and the seven stars. The stars are the symbols of the angels, and the angels are the representatives of the teachers of the Churches; taking that for granted, is it not beautiful that our Lord should be represented, if I may so say, as holding in one hand the seven Spirits of life and in the other hand the seven stars, or to put away the emblem, and to take another figure in Scripture, in the right hand He held the golden vase full of the anointing oil, in the other hand an empty chalice into which it was poured. Jesus Christ wakes up a dead Church by bringing the seven Spirits of God into the hearts of selected men: for the way in which great revivals of religion in little communities and in big ones is usually brought about is that some man or men are filled with the fulness of God and become weary of forbearing and feel the Word like a fire lit up in their bones, and are so fitted to be God's instruments for communicating the magnetism of life to the dead Church. And now let me ask you to think of one or two very simple lessons from this vision.
1. First of all, should not this vision shame us all into penitent consciousness of our own deadness? So much life waiting to be bestowed, and so little actually appropriated and possessed by us. The whole flood of ChriSt's grace running by our doors, and we, like improvident settlers in some new country, having no provision for storing or for distributing it, but letting it all run to waste.
2. And then, should not this vision set us upon questioning ourselves as to what it is that keeps the life of Jesus Christ out of our hearts? In the winter time in our towns, when the water stops in the houses, why doesn't it come? Because there is a plug of ice in the service pipe; and there is a plug of ice in a great many Christian hearts in connection with their Master. Life is sustained by food, by air, and by exercise. Do you feed the life of Christ in you? Do you read your Bible? You will never be vigorous Christians unless you can say, "I have desired the words of Thy mouth more than my necessary food." Life is sustained by air breathed. Do you take that Divine Spirit into yourselves, expanding that capacity by desire, and so oxygenating all your life and cleansing out the corruptions of sin? And life is sustained by exercise. Do you do anything for Jesus Christ? Absolute idleness is a sure way, and it is a very popular way amongst many Christian people to kill the life of Christ within us.
3. And so, let this vision draw us to our Master that we may get the life He can give from His own hands. Your Christianity can only be sustained by the repetition continually of that which kindled it at first.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
WEB: "And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: "He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.