Sardis or Sardes (Lydian: Sfard; Greek: Σάρδεις, Sardeis; Persian: سارد, Sārd) was an ancient city at the location of modern Sart (Sartmahmut before 19 October 2005) in Turkey's Manisa Province. Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. As one of the Seven churches of Asia, it was addressed by the author of the Book of Revelation in terms which seem to imply that its population was notoriously soft and fainthearted. Its importance was due, first to its military strength, secondly to its situation on an important highway leading from the interior to the Aegean coast, and thirdly to its commanding the wide and fertile plain of the Hermus...Since 1958, both Harvard and Cornell Universities have sponsored annual archeological expeditions to Sardis. These excavations unearthed perhaps the most impressive synagogue in the western diaspora yet discovered from antiquity, yielding over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions as well as numerous mosaic floors.(Wikipedia)
URL Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardis
Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Sardis write: These are the words of Him Who has the seven Spirits of God [[a]the sevenfold Holy Spirit] and the seven stars: I know your record and what you are doing; you are supposed to be alive, but [in reality] you are dead.
2 Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight.
3 So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
4 Yet you still have a few [persons’] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy and deserving.
5 Thus shall he who conquers (is victorious) be clad in white garments, and I will not erase or blot out his name from the Book of Life; I will acknowledge him [as Mine] and I will confess his name openly before My Father and before His angels.(A)
6 He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).
Revelation 3:1 Richard of St. Victor, cited by Richard Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament.
Revelation 3:5 : Ps. 69:28; Dan. 12:1.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
URL Link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203&version=AMP
Jesus says He has the Seven Spirits of God (or the Sevenfold Holy Spirit) and the seven stars. What He says about the Church of Sardis is very sad. He says that the Church of Sardis is dead and that they need to wake up. They need to repent and reinvigorate what is left of them. He says that He hasn't found any work they've done that meet God's requirement of them. So, Jesus urges them to recall and obey the lessons they've already received and heard, and to continually be mindful of them. He doesn't want them to be caught unaware when He comes. He mentions that there are a few people who have not 'soiled their clothes' and they shall walk with Him in white because they are worthy and deserving. It is so sad to think of soiling your clothes and not being able to walk in white with the Lord. He says that those who are victorious will be clad in white garments. He also, very importantly, says that those who are victorious will not have their name erased or blotted out of the Book of Life. Those who are victorious will be acknowledged as His and Jesus will confess their names to the Father and before His angels.
The Matthew Henry Commentary says this:
about the sevenfold Holy Spirit and the seven stars: He hath the seven spirits, that is, the Holy Spirit with his various powers, graces, and operations; for he is personally one, though efficaciously various, and may be said here to be seven, which is the number of the churches, and of the angels of the churches, to show that to every minister, and to every church, there is a dispensation and measure of the Spirit given for them to profit withal—a stock of spiritual influence for that minister and church to improve, both for enlargement and continuance, which measure of the Spirit is not ordinarily withdrawn from them, till they forfeit it by misimprovement. Churches have their spiritual stock and fund, as well as particular believers; and, this epistle being sent to a languishing ministry and church, they are very fitly put in mind that Christ has the seven spirits, the Spirit without measure and in perfection, to whom they may apply themselves for the reviving of his work among them. (2.) He hath the seven stars, the angels of the churches; they are disposed of by him, and accountable to him, which should make them faithful and zealous. He has ministers to employ, and spiritual influences to communicate to his ministers for the good of his church. The Holy Spirit usually works by the ministry, and the ministry will be of no efficacy without the Spirit; the same divine hand holds them both.
another thing about Christ's introduction to this message: There is this observable in it, that whereas in the other epistles Christ begins with commending what is good in the churches, and then proceeds to tell them what is amiss, in this (and in the epistle to Laodicea) he begins,1. With a reproof, and a very severe one: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Hypocrisy, and a lamentable decay in religion, are the sins charged upon this church, by one who knew her well, and all her works.
about the Book of Life: Now to this is added another promise very suitable to the case: I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Observe, (1.) Christ has his book of life, a register and roll of all who shall inherit eternal life. [1.] The book of eternal election. [2.] The book of remembrance of all those who have lived to God, and have kept up the life and power of godliness in evil times. (2.) Christ will not blot the names of his chosen and faithful ones out of this book of life; men may be enrolled in the registers of the church, as baptized, as making a profession, as having a name to live, and that name may come to be blotted out of the roll, when it appears that it was but a name, a name to live, without spiritual life; such often lose the very name before they die, they are left of God to blot out their own names by their gross and open wickedness. But the names of those that overcome shall never be blotted out. (3.) Christ will produce this book of life, and confess the names of the faithful who stand there, before God, and all the angels; he will do this as their Judge, when the books shall be opened; he will do this as their captain and head, leading them with him triumphantly to heaven, presenting them to the Father
URL Link: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/revelation/3.html