Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Message to Sardis
“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.” (Revelation 3:1)
To the pastor of Sardis, the Lord introduces himself as the one who provides the power and who the pastors belong to and are responsible to. He knows what they are doing, that they have a reputation for being alive, but in reality they are dead.
Most people think of life in conjunction with activity, and this church has a lot of activity that fools people into thinking it is alive. Unfortunately, activity is not a good indicator of life, winds, ocean currents, and gravity all produce motion unrelated to life. In the same way, other forces can produce activity that may be mistaken for spiritual life.
Death is when life goes out of something that was once alive. This church has neglected what made it alive. John 6:63 says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” It is the spirit that makes one alive, not the works or actions of the flesh. This church has substituted programs and human effort for spiritual power. Spiritual power and life come through the Lord’s word, not through programs.
An exciting musical program and youth program or missions program, and numerous programs to develop friendship or help with financial problems will never produce spiritual life. Only the word of God can produce life. Jesus commanded the disciples to “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life,” in John 5:39. John said “…these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” in John 20:31.
With all their activities this church has neglected the word of God, forgetting that Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Without the word of God, people cannot get saved, nor can those who are saved grow in faith.
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Revelation 3:2-3)
This church needs to go back to their roots and remember what led to their salvation and growth before those who have been saved leave the church and strengthen their faith by teaching the word. God has not been pleased with all their activities. If they don’t act soon, this church will become nothing more than a religious social club.
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; 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.” (Revelation 3:4-5)
Fortunately there were still a few who believed in what God said and had not turned to other things. They have followed God even when the rest turned away, and deserve the right to walk with the Lord in heaven. Everyone who believes in Christ will have the robes of righteousness and his place in the book of life filled in.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:6)
For the fifth time, the Lord stresses the importance of listening to the warnings to the churches.