False Assumptions and Fatal Flaws
Good Evening, have you ever thought something was one way only to discover that you had it all wrong to begin with? The shock of a false assumption can feel like a gut punch to someone and leave them disoriented and wondering what went wrong. When I think about this type of scenario I think of my good friend who called me on the phone in the middle of the night weeping.
“ Kyle … Kyle I sat there waiting to hear what was going to come out next and after a long pause he said, “My wife just handed me divorce papers.” The sobbing increased as the confusion began to set in. Wait a minute I thought you guys were doing great? To me this was such a complete shock out of the blue that I didn’t know what to think, and for him it was infinitely worse.
“I thought we were too she just showed up and brought them to me and I dont know what to do!” I didn’t know what to tell him, so i said let’s just pray and then you need to go have a sit down conversation with her. I told him to fight for his marriage, no matter how bad he was hurting.
He did for one year but she eventually called it quits, it shocked everyone, especially his little girl. This is an extremely difficult circumstance because of the pain involved. But this is how it is when we believe things are one way in our mind but they are not actually reality. The church in Sardis can relate to this story.
They thought they were on good terms with the Lord, but they were not and Jesus through the apostle John writes to them and to us to teach us about False assumptions and Fatal flaws. Let’s read the text.
“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.’
The interesting natur of these letters is that they are written by someon who has intimate knowledge of the inner hearts of the members within. Who can write such a letter discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart?
“HE WHO HAS THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD, AND THE SEVEN STARS SAY THIS”
who is the One who holds the seven stars? Well in order to answer this question we have to know what the 7 stars are. He also says that he holds the 7 Spirits of God? What in the world, does God have 7 Spirits? These things should force us to ask the question: What in the heck is He talking about and then seek the scripture for answers.
When He refers to the 7 Spirits of God here He is referring to the 7 fold ministry of the Holy Spirit Himself which is outlined in
And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it.
For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.”
This ministry of the Holy Spirit speaks of the power to illuminate and also to see everything. So no God does not have seven Spirits but He does have one Spirit which functions in 7 different ways. But also the writer says that HE holds the 7 stars.
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
So not only does this one who speaks hold the Holy Spirit and guide His ministry but He also holds the pastors of the 7 churches. This is Jesus Christ the all Soverign Savior. By stating that He holds the 7 spirits which see all and know all, and alos that he holds the pastors He is making a declaration I KNOW ALL THINGS AND I AM IN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS, He is making a statement of His authority
Their Greatest Strength was their biggest Weakness
Their Greatest Strength was their biggest Weakness
“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.
Here is where this letter begins they have one thing that is good sort of. the only thing this church has going for them is that they have a reputation of being alive. Man if you would walk through Sardis they would talk about first Baptist Sardis they got it going on down there, they are doing some big things, and I wonder what it is like to go to church down there.
But Jesus says here, that their perception is not reality, that even though everyone spoke about them in terms of having great life they were actually dead on the vine. It doesn’t matter what you do if your outward appearance does not match what is in your heart you are drifting in the wind. God will not bless something that is not of Him.
Here Jesus is saying the one thing that they are proud of is the one thing that displeases Him. He says what matters is not what everyone else says about you, what matters is what I say and while they think youre good I am telling you that when I smell the aroma of your worship is smells like a corpse.
Harsh words there Jesus.
But the Lord is trying to show them the severity of what is going on, things are not as they seem, sure Sardis you think our relationship is fine Jesus says but it is not, only a few there a righteous remnant remain and are the only ones there Jessu gives any hope to.
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.
HE declares to them that they are spiritually asleep, they dont realize anything is wrong even though it has been for some time, He tells them the only way to get back to where they need to be is to WAKE UP! Realize that this is true of them and then strengthen what they have left.
This seems to indicate that people had begun leaving the church in sardis, or either there were those within who were dying for their faith because whatever they had left they were to strengthen. The word used there for strengthen is the sterison which means to make solid.
Jesus says take what you have and strengthen it, because if you do not they are going to die as well. So the question comes about then how does one strengthen or make solid those within a congregation? It is to pour yourselves into the word of God, allow the inner man to be strengthened and then prepare to do what God is asking you to do.
You know in school when you don’t do something the completely right way then if you have a grace filled teacher she may write an I for incomplete on your paper and let you finish, this is what the Lord is saying to the church in Sardis.
YOURE WORK IS INCOMPLETE YOU STARTED WELL BUT NOW YOU HAVE BECOME COMPLACENT AND ITS TIME TO EITHER WAKE UP AND FINISH WHAT I BEGAN IN YOU OR YOU WILL FAIL.
Jesus says I have not found your works complete in my sight.
That is to say this even though they had done really well for a time YOU CANNOT COAST ON THE FUMES OF PAST SUCCESSES YOU MUST CONTINUALLY STRIVE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD TO BE OBEDIENT AND ANSWER THE CALL.
So how does this church fix this issue?
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.
What is Jesus intending to take away?
Quite bluntly Jesus says this show is over unless you get back to the way things were in the beginning. This is a hard word but it is one that we should listen to, If we lose our love we will lose our light.
We are called to be lightouses for the kingdom of God, and we are called to make disciples that is our primary goal. To reach the lost, love the broken and be on mission for the kingdom of god.
This is something that should have brought hope to the hearts of the people within the Sardis church. They have an opportunity if they will wake up to get things back on track.
But if they refuse to acknowledge this problem then they will ultimately lose their ability to minister for the kingdom of God.
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.
He says that there are still a few names within this church who are walking in purity before Him and they will be walking with Him in white. God sees those who are walking faithfully with Him and those who are not, He sees those disengaged and disinterested and those who are seeking Him.
He says they shall be rewarded for their faith in me.
When He says they have not soiled their garments in essence he is saying that if your name is not on this short list of a few names then you have been soiling your garments, meaning you have become dirty and impure in heart before God Himself.
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.
This encouragment is given to the ones who were walking faithfully with God He says to them, that if they continue that God will enable them to overcome. Their names would never be blotted out of the Lambs book of life.