Revelation E10, “Dead or Alive!” 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 3:1-6 ESV).’

When you hear it is Sardis you think to yourself, “Finally we get a little break.  They do so much for those around them.  They have such a rich history.  God has done some great things over the course of many years in that church.  Surely, there isn’t much discipline for Sardis.”  That is good. We need a break.  So, far Jesus confronting us directly, and the chastising of the other churches, the personal connections to Smyrna and Pergamum, quite frankly I can’t take it, I need a rest!  Sardis does so many good deeds for their community.  They have so many that have been followers of The Way, all the way back to the original apostles.  This church has served the other churches.  They love God, you breath a sigh of relief. 

As the reader reads about Sardis the congregation gasps when it is said their reputation was that of being alive, but they are actually dead.  Latvius is sitting a few seats away and you hear him whispering to his wife, “Did he say Sardis?  Jesus isn’t happy with Sardis?”  When it comes to how to reach out to your neighbor in a lot of ways Sardis has become the gold standard.  When it comes to how a church should look and what it looks like to gather on the Lord’s Day this is the church I think of.  You can’t believe this!  This is messing with your mind.  You were aware on some level of what Jesus is saying to the other churches so far, but Sardis?  Wow!  There works are incomplete.  They are asked to wake up and strengthen what is left? 

In fact I find that statement extremely odd, that they are dead, but Christ asks them to wake up and strengthen what is left.  What is going on behind closed doors there?  There are many who have soiled their garments, but some will still walk with Jesus in pure white.  Only they know I guess.  But, what do you make of this?  I don’t know which end is up anymore.  I guess we shouldn’t try to be like them, or be jealous of their growth or how they worship.  They are not the standard.  

I guess when you really think about it, you must wonder, “What have they done lately?”  Maybe they have settled into a state of comfort.  Comfort is so often the enemy of our Spirit, where poverty is often the  enemy of our flesh.  Either one only breaks your spirit if you let it.  But, comfort leads you to believe you don’t need God, and life is up to you.  Poverty causes a person to lean into God.  

As the reader reads on, you begin to think about two different times you went to Sardis with the Apostle John to assist him in the tasks of food distribution and helping them to minister to the community around them.  The first trip early on in the life of the church it was joyous.  John was happy, you were happy.  Everyone returned feeling blessed and refreshed and it motivated you to be a better follower of Jesus. 

Several years later you went back with only John and yourself.  There was something that John was having a hard time verbalizing but he was very frustrated with some of the elders of the church there.  One thing I noticed even for the great apostles is it is hard to lead people who feel they do well on their own and are stubborn.  Their were some who were unwilling to be led.  John stayed out of the way, but it visibly bothered him.  I didn’t think much of it, only that leadership is hard, but could it be that self-righteousness and independent thinking gone unchecked can lead to someone’s demise, even an entire church?  

It sure is funny how we as people can get set in our ways.  It is funny how we can believe we have the answer and we don’t set spiritual goals to push ourselves, but if life is comfortable our faith can grow cold in comfort.  We can stop praying and studying.  We can stop gathering and when we do, it is only to be busy.  We can become comfortable, but Jesus won’t put up with this, because it seems that trouble is coming and the witness of Christ’s holy bride is in danger.  

You think of the people you know in Sardis.  You think of the people there and how you kind of lump them all together into a group of very godly people.  But, it isn’t true.  Some of them are and some of them are not.  Jesus says so.  He says that some of you haven’t soiled your garments.  Some of you haven’t done this, but many have.  This church is in grave danger and no one knew.  We thought they were fine, I think they thought they were fine.  Jesus, help us to be better.  It makes me think, “What does God want me to change?  What is dead in regards to me that I still consider to be alive?”  Then you catch yourself, “There I go again.  It isn’t about me!”  You begin to pray for Sardis for the first time in many years.  “Jesus make them whole, holy, undivided, obedient and alive again.  Amen.”

Thanks for Reading!  Continue on with us next week!  

 

This Was Continued From:

Revelation E9, “Sexual Attack” 2:18-29

Revelation E8, “Nicolaitans” 2:12-17 Continued

Revelation E7, “The Throne of Satan” 2:12-17

Revelation E6, “God, Help My Sister” 2:8-11

Revelation E5 “The Great Cult” 2:1-7

Revelation E4, “Ephesus” 2:1-7

Revelation E3, “Faithful Together” (Theological Thursday)

Revelation E2, “He Really Sees Me!!!” 1:4-8 (Theological Thursday)

Revelation E1 “Why Us?” 1:1-3 (Theological Thursday)

 

Continues To:

Revelation E11, “Brotherly Love” 3:7-13

 

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Take a look at the Intro Here:  Introduction to “The New Testament Challenge”

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“The New Testament Challenge by Aaron Mitchell is the perfect way to experience the New Testament in one year.  The one page per chapter guide is perfect in helping you to understand God’s truths and how to apply them to your life.  One day at a time, one chapter at a time, will change your life over time.”

– Tom Ziglar 

CEO of Ziglar, Inc.

 

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12 thoughts on “Revelation E10, “Dead or Alive!” 3:1-6

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