New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 Sardis. Sardis, once the capital of ancient Lydia, was a wealthy city about thirty miles southeast of Thyatira.
3:1 name that thou livest. The church at Sardis had many members who were not truly born again, possibly second or third generation “members” who were only nominal Christians, without the zeal or commitment of their forebears who had founded the church. This is typical of many so-called “main-line” denominational churches today.
3:8 little strength. Literally, “a little strength” simply reads “little strength,” since the article is not present in the Greek. The Lord’s promise of a continuing open door, therefore, is conditioned on the premise that the church (or any Christian ministry, for that matter) have little strength of its own, and thus relies wholly on the strength of the Lord. Worldly marketing methods may seem to yield large numerical results for a time, but will also produce gradual spiritual compromise and eventual disintegration.
In addition to the “little strength” criterion, of course, the church or other ministry must keep (that is “guard”) the absolute integrity of God’s Word, and uphold the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in all its sovereign power.