When a train, plane or ship gets moving, it's kinda of difficult to get it to stop. You can turn the power off and it will still go for quite awhile. Even in big churches, once you get the momentum going, we can become complacent. We see this even in today's modern times. The question you should be asking is "Are we still doing God's work here?" Churches should always contemplate before making any decision, is how will it glorify the church or glorify the Lord.
Are you a Christian? Because when you say that, you make that a public declaration to the world what your life should look like. We better be careful when we say it because when you say you are a "Christian," it means "I follow Christ!" We are now living in a world of recreational Christianity. We just want to bring Him out on Sunday's only and even then, we don't want our pastors to go one minute over their allotted time slots. No more than an hour to an hour and a half. We put Jesus back after that.
Remember the signs of dying church? One of reasons is when Jesus Christ is no longer consulted. Jesus is either the Lord and Savior of your life, or He isn't your Lord or Savior! When pastors stop seeking the will of God, then the hearts of the people will likely follow. It's a very frightening thing when that happens. Is God working through the pastor of your church? You know that pastors will stand before the throne and give an account to what they are teaching duties of any church. Jesus Christ when writing this letter to the Church of Sardis, He is addressing it to the church leaders, but also the the leaders of the church age as well. We have learned in our study into the Book of Revelation that in each of these letters to the seven churches, they also apply to certain aspects of our own spiritual life at one point or another. This is the reason we ask, "What kind of church are you?"
If you are a believer in Jesus, one of these letters in the Book of Revelation, applies to you right now in your life. In this case with the Church of Sardis, Jesus' letter indicts the church on a few things.
1. Complacency: You never take your hands out of your pockets. You don't do anything for the Lord, you're not interested in that. This church of Sardis began to slack off. They had quite the reputation. Out of all the churches in the seven letters, Sardis was the most popular church. Everyone knew about the church of Sardis, it had a reputation. If it existed today, we would send people to that church to learn how to grow the church and its ministry. The church was so accepted in the community that the community began to depend on the church for godly things but for conditional things. They became comfortable.
Vance Havner writes in his book, Playing Marbles with Diamonds, that we need the Holy Spirit to comfort those who are afflicted and afflict those that are comfortable. They wanted messages that only made them feel good, no negative comments in their sermons. They didn't want people to tell them what to do. Only positive messages from the pulpit please! No one took the church seriously anymore. They had grown complacent when it grows old. They were rotting in the church with how comfortable they were. They didn't want anything new in their church. They don't like the color of the carpets, or chairs, music or anything different than what was their traditions dictated. Is your church growing old?
Do you hear things like, "Well this is the way we have always done it." Maybe the Holy Spirit wants to do something different. Do your pastors messages sound the same? Pray for your pastor, that He spends time alone with God in study, you have to get the messages from God, not the internet or in some book. It's like eating old manna. You ever eat old bread? You might eat it if you were dying. A pastor needs to be spending study time with God and have God dictate the message. A pastor should never want to hear that "his messages all sound the same." If a pastor stops growing, so will his church through his messages to them.
2. Jesus is the proprietor of His church, paid for with His own blood. It was bought and paid for by His blood on the cross. You just need to accept the offer. It needs to left in the hands of Jesus to use as His will. He is in charge. That regardless of a churches condition, progress or failure, the Holy Spirit is always watching. And God is patient, giving man time and opportunity to repent, or to strengthen up in spiritual matters. Have you ever thought about how your doing in your relationship with Jesus Christ?
Jesus has the seven spirits of God = watching.
and the seven stars = the men who answer to God for the direction of that church.
Pastor Jesus was saying in the end, these men will answer to Me alone.
3. If we don't consult Jesus, it's over. Human now take over the church, if we won't consult Jesus. That just like Porky Pig saying, "That's all folks" at the end of the cartoons. Haven't you seen a local church is your town, dry up and blow away? When Jesus is no longer consulted, the church begins to die from the inside out. In the letter to the church of Sardis, at the conclusion of verse 1, that is all the good that Jesus had to say to them. From here on out it was all downhill.
What kind of church are you, when the Holy Spirit is no longer in power! When's the last time you asked God to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit. We can't live Christianity without His power. They lost the power and person of the Holy Spirit.
Revelation 3:1b -2~ " I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive,
but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God."
The worst patients are doctors, because they know what goes on. Like a passionate surgeon, here Dr. Jesus, the Great Physician, cuts into the body of the church of Sardis, and looks inside and is sickened by what He sees on the inside, and sees spiritual cancer and disease of complacency. He stops and begins to stitch her up, saying "you are as good as dead. There is nothing I can do here." Instead of marching forward, it had become easier to boast of past victories.
"Christianity has no grandchildren; and a church alive for Jesus Christ, will never turn into a coffin."
Sardis was resting on its reputation, and for this reason, Jesus denounces it as a dead church. Are you willing to be revived? This was the only hope for the church of Sardis. Maybe God is trying to lay you open through things going on in your life so He can revive you and bring you back. Are you willing?
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