REVELATION 3:1-6 // SARDIS // A DECEPTIVE REPUTATION
We looked at the Church of Thyatira
We saw God respond to their Sexually Idolatrous ways with a plan of Restoration and Redemption
We saw Mercy extended to a church that had allowed pagan practices to effect its congregants and its leaders
We also saw how unrepentance can effect a group of people.
The more I read and study the book of Revelation
I am finding that it is a revealing of God’s redemptive behavior and Man’s destructive behavior
God’s willingness to Save & Man’s Unwillingness to Repent
We are going to look at the Church of Sardis
WHAT I WANT US TO ASK OURSELVES IS THIS
Would you ever be a part of something that had a great reputation, but was dying within?
Would you be a part of a movement that had great potential, who in its current state was only known for its hay day while it lay on its death bed?
IT TAKES A SPECIAL CRAZY TO BE A PART OF A SINKING SHIP
REMEMBER THE VIOLINISTS ON THE TITANIC?
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
TO THE ANGEL
To the Messenger of this Church
To its Overseer
To its Pastor
OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS
WHERE WAS SARDIS? WHAT WAS SARDIS ALL ABOUT?
WHAT WAS SARDIS ALL ABOUT?
The name Sardis, is actually a plural word
Sardis had become two cities
One on top of the plateau
One at the foot of the Valley of Hermus
Before it became two cities, it was one huge city on a hill
It’s reputation was rooted in the fact that this city was almost impregnable
It had once reigned as the Capital of the Lydian Empire
Josephus, a Jewish Historian, spoke to the history of Sardis in
In recent excavations they found two religious buildings
One dedicated to Artemis, who was the Greek Goddess of Nature, and Fertility
One Synagogue like Temple where Christians would gather
This City was home to a very Prosperous group of Jews known as Sephardic
THE archaeologist Sir William Ramsay said of Sardis that nowhere was there a greater example of the melancholy contrast between past splendour and present decay. Sardis was a city of degeneration
Though this was a very wealthy city
Though it had at one point been spiritually wealthy
JESUS SAYS: I KNOW YOUR WORKS, THAT YOU HAVE A NAME THAT SPEAKS TO LIFE, BUT YOU ARE DEAD
WHAT WOULD WE DO, IF THIS IS WHAT JESUS SAID TO US?
AS A CHURCH?
AS A BELIEVER?
AS A “CHRISTIAN”
HE KNOWS OUR WORKS
HE KNOWS WHAT WE ARE DOING RIGHT
BUT HONESTLY, WHAT IF HE TOLD US THAT THOSE WORKS AREN’T QUITE CUTTING IT
WHAT IF HE DESIRED MORE THAN OUR RIGHTEOUS WORKS
WHAT IF WE REALIZED WHAT ISAIAH REALIZED
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
We must realize that the exterior perception of a Church can be deceiving at times
The Majority of the Church of Sardis was guilty of this
Having an external reputation
Where others would look at this Church’s Social Media Feed and say “Wow, thats an awesome Church”
Yet the spiritual reality, is far from awesome, in fact its comatose.
WHAT DOES JESUS PRESCRIBE FOR THIS CHURCH?
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
IN THE FAMOUS WORDS OF THE GREAT PROPHET AND LUCHADOR, NACHO LIBRE
“LOOK ALIVE STEPHEN”
BE ON ALERT
CHURCH, WHEN WE AREN’T WATCHFUL, WE ALLOW THINGS TO HAPPEN THAT CAN SOMETIMES COMPROMISE OUR TESTIMONY
OUR ACTIONS BEGIN TO SPEAK A DIFFERENT NARRATIVE THAN THAT OF THE GOSPEL.
JESUS SAYS: “BE WATCHFUL” OF WHAT YOU ALLOW INTO YOUR LIVES
In a recent post, this dude was confronted with the Question
“Do you think it is okay to listen to secular heavy music?”
After the banter went back and forth
One of our deacons responded
“Listen to the Holy Spirit brother, use discernment in what we shouldn’t listen to. I listen to secular music myself, but if I hear something I shouldn’t be hearing, I change it, Simple as that”
It is no small thing that after every Church, God poses a statement that should lead us to action
He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church
BEING WATCHFUL LEADS US INTO ACTION
HOW WE REACT TO CERTAIN SITUATIONS WILL SPEAK TO
WHO THE HOLY SPIRIT IS IN OUR LIVES
WHAT WE DO WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SPEAKING TO US
IF WE LOOK ALIVE AND ARE WATCHFUL
BUT ARE ONLY WATCHING WHAT IS GOING ON WITHOUT STANDING UP FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, ARE WE REALLY ALIVE?
STRENGTHEN THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN, THE THINGS THAT ARE ALMOST EXTINCT
BEFORE WE BEGIN TO STRENGTHEN THOSE THINGS
WE MUST DEFINE THOSE THINGS
WHAT THINGS ARE ALIVE AND WELL IN OUR LIVES RIGHT NOW?
WHAT IS GOING GOOD FOR US SPIRITUALLY?
WHAT IS GOING GOOD FOR US AS A CHURCH?
OK, LET’S STRENGTHEN THOSE THINGS
LET’S INVEST IN THOSE THINGS
LET’S DOUBLE DOWN ON WHAT IS GOOD
DON’T LET THOSE THINGS DIE
START PUMPING LIFE GIVING NUTRIENTS INTO THOSE PLACES.
THE REALITY WAS THAT THIS CHURCH THOUGHT IT HAD REACHED ITS POTENTIAL
THEY THOUGHT THERE WAS NOTHING TO WORK ON
IN THEIR EYES, THEY COULD STAY IN CRUISE CONTROL
But the reality was that their works had yet to be perfected
That word Perfect is Pleroo
Which means Full, Complete, Filled
God wasn’t done with this Church
God wasn’t done working through them
God wasn’t finished with their assignment
They thought He was done
They put the machine on cruise control
And now, they were being called out for it
HOW DO WE FIX THIS?
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
REMEMBER THEREFORE HOW YOU HAVE RECEIVED AND HEARD
Remember the Word of God
Remember those times of instruction
Remember those times of following hard after God
WHAT DID WE ALLOW TO CREEP IN?
HOW CAN WE FIX IT?
HOLD FAST & REPENT
WATCH OVER AND OBSERVE THOSE THINGS THAT ONCE EXISTED
REPENT FROM YOUR LETHARGIC PRACTICE OF FOLLOWING JESUS
STOP FAKING IT
JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A REPUTATION
DOES NOT MEAN THAT THAT IS THE END ALL BE ALL
IN FACT, YOUR REPUTATION CAN DECEIVE YOU
IT CAN BE DECEPTIVE
IT CAN CAUSE YOU TO STAY STAGNANT
IT CAN PREVENT YOUR GROWTH.
REMEMBER THE DAYS OF YOUR YOUTH
REMEMBER THE EARLY DAYS OF FOLLOWING JESUS
REPENT FROM ANYTHING THAT HAS CAUSED YOU TO GO BACKWARDS.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T?
“THEREFORE IF YOU DO NOT WATCH, JESUS’ COMING WILL BE A RUDE AWAKENING”
AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
UNAWARE OF WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON
WE CAN GO FROM BEING EDUCATED AND AWARE OF THE COMING OF CHRIST
TO AN AGNOSTIC STATE REGARDING THE COMING OF CHRIST
BUT NOT ALL OF US
THERE WAS A FEW PEOPLE IN SARDIS WHO HAD NOT DEFILED THEIR GARMENTS
WHO HAD REMAINED CLOTHED IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS
WHO HAD NOT TRADED IN WHAT THE BLOOD OF JESUS HAD DONE FOR THEM
IN A CITY THAT HAD A THRIVING GARMENT INDUSTRY
WE FIND THAT THOSE WHO REMAINED FAITHFUL ARE GIVEN A WHITE GARMENT WITH MORE SWAG THAN THE BEST DESIGNER IN SARDIS
THEY WILL WALK WITH ME IN WHITE
FOR THAT IS WHAT JESUS VALUES
THATS WHAT JESUS CALLS WORTHY
5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
HE WHO OVERCOMES SHALL BE CLOTHED IN PURE GARMENTS
JESUS, WILL NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE
BUT WILL CONFESS HIS NAME BEFORE HIS FATHER AND HIS ANGELS
How we proclaim and confess the name of Jesus is complimented on the day of Jesus Christ
Not just by those around us
But by Jesus himself
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
CONFESSION IS POWERFUL
ITS THE REASON WE HAVE COMMUNION EVERY WEEK
WE NOT ONLY WANT TO PROCLAIM WHO JESUS IS PRIVATELY
BUT WE WANT TO DECLARE IT TO THE NATIONS