Friday, September 4, 2015

A Pastor's Worse Nightmare!



We are studying more about the Church of Sardis than any of the other churches, because we really don't want to be like this church at all. It is relevant to the age in which we are living in now. This church should be the one that concerns us the most. It is the most dangerous. It is a church that Jesus is not in control of. People attend church to get the Word of God, but the Spirit of God was not welcome here nor was He the counselor of this church.

When we look at our own Christian lives, a real thorough in depth look at who you are as a believer, are you like the church of Sardis?

When Jesus is no longer the counselor, three things will happen.

1. We will run the risk of complacency. It becomes so successful it becomes apathetic. It becomes comfortable and grew complacent.  If we don't make a difference in the world, they world thinks that what they are doing is fine, why do they need Jesus. We need to be making a difference in the life of this world.

2. We will forget Jesus is the Proprietor. He bought us with His own blood. He owns you. No one else did. Jesus wasn't murdered, He willfully laid down His life just for you. Don't ever think that no one loves you, Jesus does and He is the only one that counts.

3. The church will suffer as men struggle for power. This church of Sardis had come to this place that they became dependent on themselves.

Jesus had to put up with this kind of ambition and He hadn't even died yet.

Luke 9:44-48 ~ "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men." But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it. An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all - he is the greatest."

It is a dead dying day when a church loses sight of Jesus Christ, and begins to maneuver, scheme, and manipulate like the world. Rather than a church being humbled by what God has done and is doing, it begins to associate itself with the victories that have been gotten by God and given to us. Men become pirates to the church of Christ.

When the Holy Spirit is no longer the source of power, we touched on this before, the church begins to die. Instead of marching forward it becomes encumbered by the cares of the world. When this happens, the church will begin to look back at past victories and begin to boast about them. Jesus was here for 33 years, how long has the Holy Spirit been here? Ever since Jesus left. Why are we not consulting Him more? All we need is the Holy Spirit and the Bible. That is all we need. When we attempt to forget that, we become more like the world.

Jesus reminds them in Revelation 3:1b ~ "I know you deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead."

"You have a reputation," for being the most alive church in the city. "Now more accurately," you once had a life, but now you are dead. Jesus is saying this, " What you're doing now as a church is worse, than when you never believed in me at all."   Who in their right mind would want to attend a dead church? How do you do that?

"I don't want worship songs, unless they are sung to me."
"I don't want to carry a Bible, its just a book of old stories."
"I don't want messages that make me think, I just want to sit here in this pew."
"I don't want anyone to know me at church, I just slip in and slip out."

Mark 8:38 ~ "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Romans 1:16 ~ "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

They were called "Christian," but they had no Christ.

They went by the name "Christian," but they had no life.

When the Spirit is no longer the source for power in the church, the church begins to error. When the Holy Spirit is not consulted by the leadership of the church, so the people will follow in the same path. We all fail. No one is perfect. We have all done things we are ashamed of, but have we continued in them? If you repent from them, not continuing in them, then you are a healthy believer. If you fell down, hopefully you got back up, repented and carried on. Did you know that Christians are the only ones that shoot their own wounded. That is a sign of a dying church.

Revelation 3:2 ~ "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God."

When the church pays no attention to the Holy Spirit, the church will descend into error, it must and it will. When Jesus tells the church to be watchful, it means in the Greek, gregoreuo, which means to open your eyes and be on guard; to watch; to be vigilant for an intruder. According to Jesus, a church that is alive, is a church that is watchful for the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 26:41 ~ "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Watch against satanic attacks and strengthen the things that remain is basically what this verse translates to. In Greek, the word strengthen means, sterizo, which translates to to make a turn in a new direction; or to set a broken bone back into place; to create an opportunity to heal or rehabilitate.

Psalm 138:7 ~ "Thought I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me."

What kind of a church of you, when the church forgets its humble beginnings.

Revelation 3:3 ~ "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent.But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."

 Do you remember how the city of Sardis was taken? If you look up the city of "Sart" today, you will still see the ruins of this city. It was conquered twice while the people were sleeping at night. They were so convinced they were invincible but they weren't. They were caught unaware and had grown apathetic. They died in their sleep. This has no reference to the rapture or the second coming, but merely judging them by their area that they are lacking in. This was how the city was captured twice like a thief, they can when they weren't looking.

Hebrews 12:5-8 ~ "And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons."

Even to a dead and dying church, Jesus is reaching out His hand to them. When we face hardships in your life, Jesus is working things out in your life. He's telling them to straighten up. When the church forgets its humble beginnings, we need to call to mind the things God has done.

Revelation 3:3 ~ "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent.But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."

1. Remember (therefore how you have received and heard)
2. Hold Fast (to dig in, latch on, to grip, like a death grip, to hold on so tight, you will do whatever it takes to hang on.)
3. Repent (menanoeo, meaning to think straight; to think differently; change the course you are on.)

Those of you who are new to Christ, write and date things down, and watch what happens. Attend as many opportunities as possible.

To those of you, who have been with Jesus, keep writing and dating things down. Attend as many opportunities as possible.

When the church forgets its humble beginnings, its time to become vigilant again to what matters.

Revelation 3:3 ~ "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent.But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."

According to the historical accounts of the fall of Sardis, the night the city was captured, the soldiers were asleep. A church that is alive, and a Christian who understands scripture is living and waiting, watching and laboring for Jesus' return.

You had better be ready today and everyday, but...this passage was not referring to to Jesus' return but to his coming to judge of the church of Sardis.

What kind of church are you, when all hope seems to have slipped away.

Revelation 3:4-6 ~ "Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

When all hope seems to have slipped away, we must keep pressing forward. He is speaking to the pastor or angels of the church, the messenger. How were they worthy? Their faith in Jesus Christ, by the grace of God. If you think you have to become worthy, by doing something, you are mistaken. There is no human effort that can do that. It is through faith alone, not works.

We have to get serious about Jesus Christ in these last days. If you take a stand for Jesus, watch what happens. You will get interrupted when you try to do things like prayer, go to church, read the Bible. The phone will ring, you won't feel well, you feel sleepy. PRESS ON!!! The enemy hates your guts. He is real. 83% of people who claim that they are a Christian, don't believe in the devil or demons. Jesus tells the pastor, I got a few names in your church that are not defiled. This is a pastor's nightmare. If the rapture happens, how many people will still be in church on Sunday? Every single church will be packed the Sunday after the rapture, because they will be serious about what has happened and they have missed it. Are you one of the few? Are you watching and waiting for Jesus? Might be the perfect thing to consider if you're not walking with Him the way you should be.

We will finish this up on Monday, but I hope you will start doing the things you should as a Christian because like the church of Sardis, you don't want to grow too comfortable thinking you have all the time in the world, and then they were attacked while they were sleeping.


2 comments:

Terra said...

An excellent post.

David C Brown said...

Sobering reading, and a necessary challenge. I appreciate your exercises in these posts. What these few names mean to Christ.