"And write [this] to the angel of the church at Sardis: These are the words of Him who has the seven Spirits of God [i.e., Jesus, who has the Holy Spirit] and the seven stars [i.e., the seven angels of the seven churches. See 1:20]: I know about your deeds, that you have a reputation for being [spiritually] alive, but you are [really] dead.
[This book is from] John [and is being sent] to the seven churches that are in Asia [Note: This refers to the province of Asia Minor, a part of present-day Turkey]. May there be unearned favor and peace to you from God, the One who is [in the present], who was [in the past] and who will come [in the future], and from the seven spirits that are in front of God's throne [Note: Because the number "seven" was regarded as the number of perfection by the Jews, it is thought that this refers to the Holy Spirit].
But the widow who devotes herself to unrestrained pleasure is [spiritually] dead, even while still living.
And He had seven stars in His right hand [See verse 20], and a sharp, double-edged sword came out of His mouth. And His face [shone] as the sun, shining in [all] its brilliance.
For my son here was dead [spiritually], but is [now] alive again. He was lost [from me], but [now] is found.' And they began to celebrate.
saying, "Write down in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicia" [Note: These seven congregations were all located in western Asia Minor].
And lightning flashes and [loud] sounds of rolling thunder came out of God's throne. And there were seven lighted torches burning in front of the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God [i.e., the Holy Spirit. See 1:4].
Then I saw a Lamb, looking like it had been killed. He was standing in the center of the throne, surrounded by the four living beings and the [twenty-four] elders. He has seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God [i.e., the Holy Spirit. See 1:4], sent throughout the entire earth.
But it was [only] proper that we celebrate and have a good time, for this brother of yours was dead [spiritually], but is [now] alive again; he was lost [from me] but [now] is found.'"
And I did not recognize Him, but He [i.e., God], who sent me to immerse in water, said to me, 'The one on whom you see the Holy Spirit descending and remaining is the same One who [will] immerse people in the Holy Spirit.'
For the One whom God has sent [i.e., Jesus] speaks the words of God, for He [i.e., God] does not give the Holy Spirit in a limited quantity [i.e., to Jesus. See next verse].
Now on the last and greatest day of the Festival [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood up and spoke out, "If anyone is thirsty he should come to me for a drink.
"But the Helper will come, that is, the Holy Spirit of truth [i.e., who reveals truth]. He comes from the Father and I will send Him to you from the Father. [When He comes] He will give testimony about me.
Upon saying this, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said to them, "[Be willing to] receive the Holy Spirit." [Note: This "breathing" served as a pledge of the Holy Spirit which actually came on these apostles a few weeks later. See Acts 1:5-8; 2:4].
Jesus is [now] exalted at the right side of God, and having received the promised Holy Spirit from His Father, He has poured out what you have seen and heard [here this day].
And you [Gentiles] were once [spiritually] dead because of your shortcomings and sins.
restored [spiritual] life to us with Christ, even though we were [spiritually] dead because of our sins --- it is by God's unearned favor that you have been saved.
And when you were [spiritually] dead because of your sins and your lack of being physically circumcised [Note: This refers to their having been unconverted Gentiles and therefore outside of a relationship with God], God made you alive [again] together with Christ, having forgiven us for all of our sins.
They studied [their own prophecies] to learn what, or which, [person or] time the Holy Spirit in them pointed to, in predicting the sufferings of Christ and the glories yet to come.
These people are like rotten spots [contaminating the food] at your love feasts, while they gorge themselves without fear [i.e., unashamed of their selfish indulgence]. [Note: This passage may mean "like selfish shepherds, looking out only for themselves, they eat the grain set out for the animals"]. They are like clouds that blow over without producing rain; [they are like] trees in the fall that do not produce any fruit and have been uprooted, [thus] being dead twice [i.e., fruitless and rootless].
The secret of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands [is this]: The seven stars are the angels [i.e., messengers] of the seven churches. And the seven lampstands are the seven churches."
I know [about] your suffering and your poverty (but you are [really] rich), and the slander of those who say they are Jews, though they [really] are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [i.e., they claimed to be an assembly of God's people, but in reality were serving Satan].
I know where you are living; [it is] where Satan's throne is. And [I know] that you are holding on firmly to my name, and did not deny [your] faith in me, even in the days of my faithful witness Antipas [Note: The Greek word here for witness is "martyr"], who was killed there where you are, where Satan lives.
I know about your deeds, your love, your faith, your service and your endurance, and that your most recent deeds are more numerous than when you first began [your Christian lives].