3:3-6 HOLD FAST AND REPENT
“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. If therefore you do not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3). If Protestants had remembered and incorporated the heart of the message of the reformers, they could have avoided the political and military catastrophes which came upon them “as a thief.” One of the most tragic aspects of this period was that millions of people lost their lives prematurely, cut off in the bitter and unholy passions of religious wars.
Jesus’ warning that “I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” recalls what He said concerning His Second Coming: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:42-44). The reformers “rediscovered” the promises of the second advent of Christ and preached His soon coming. Unfortunately this great truth was lost again by their “dead” followers and it was not until the Philadelphia era that the church woke up and proclaimed with power the Second Coming.
“You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4). In this period of darkness for the true church there were still some champions of faith. In England, Tyndale translated the scriptures and died a martyr’s death, along with John Frith, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer and others. John Knox in Scotland stood boldly for the Protestant cause in the face of the plots and political intrigues of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. The Puritans were hounded from country to country for their fidelity to their faith in the Bible, with some of them, the “Pilgrims,” eventually establishing their colonies in America. Most of the “few names” will only be known in eternity; on this earth they were persecuted by Catholics and Protestants alike.
“He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiments, and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches” (Revelation 3:5,6). In His closing message to the church of Sardis Jesus warns of the great danger facing those who have “a name that [they] are alive” but who have not "overcome:" their name would be "blotted...from the Book of Life." Jesus was here directing attention to the Philadelphia era that would come next, when the judgment in which the lives of those whose names were written in the Book of Life would be either retained or blotted out.
 The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) is an example; it was a particularly brutal territorial struggle between Protestants and Catholics in Europe. “To Germany the Thirty Years’ War was an unmitigated and frightful evil. The land was ploughed from end to end for a generation by lawless, plundering armies. Population had fallen from sixteen million to less than six. Fields were waste, commerce and manufacturing destroyed. Above all, intellectual life had stagnated, morals had been roughened and corrupted, and religion grievously maimed. A century after its close the devastating consequences had not been made good. Little evidence of spiritual life was manifested in this frightful time of war” (Walker p. 451).
 For example, John Knox wrote, “Has not our Lord Jesus carried up our flesh into heaven? And shall He not return? We know that He shall return, and that with expedition”. Other reformers made similar statements. See White, Ellen The Great Controversy, (Pacific Press) Pg. 303..