Strengthening the things that remain EBC
Strengthening the things that remain EBC
Rev. 3:2 11/09/08
These verses are a wakeup call to the city of Sardis. Sardis was located on the top of a mountain. It had one entrance on the southern side which was the only way you could get into the city in the old days. Therefore, all that Sardis had to do was to put a detail at that one place to watch the city. But on two occasions in their history they had been invaded by their enemies because they had felt secure, believing that the hill was impregnable, and the guard went to sleep on the job.
In two occasions, in 548 and 218 B.C. the enemy had scaled the walls of Sardis while the sentries sleep. Now the 2nd half of the first century Sardis was again a thriving city, but has forgotten what could so easily happen again – her walls could be scaled. Perhaps the church had also taken on the attitude.
Christ was telling the church you wake up and watch out. The enemy is approaching and you don’t even know it. Don’t let the enemy catch you asleep at the wheel.
Today, the church is turned away from looking for His return. Titus 2:13- anybody can be ready for a known return- we are commanded to be ready for an unexpected return Eph. 2:1-2 they also needed to remember the rich spiritual heritage of their church and to return to the attitudes and activities their teachers had taught them.
This same thing has happened in many of our churches today. They have become thermometers instead of thermostats. The church had become apathetic.
· A dying church rests on its past accomplishments and is satisfied with its presence state.
· A dying church is more concerned about their rituals and their formalities than they are about spirituality.
· A dying church is more concerned about social change than they are about seeing people changed by the power of God.
· A dying church is more concerned with material growth than it is with spiritual growth.
· A dying church is more concerned with pleasing men that it is with pleasing God.
· A dying church clings more tightly to its creeds and confessions that it does to the Word of God.
· A dying church is one that loses its conviction that the Bible is the Word of God.).
I.The Commands of God (2-3)--the church was in sad shape but all was not lost, they could make some changes and get back where they needed to be.
A.They were to look (2a)
1.Watch- give strict attention to.
a. Present, active tense- a continuous action.
b. This church had a glorious past but their successes had lulled them into state of complacency.
c. 1 Peter 5:8-
2. This happens far too often in churches. A church will struggle in its beginning and the core group who founded that church will have to work, pray, witness, give and yield to God to see the church stay alive. Over time, more people come in. More money comes in. Buildings are built and good services are enjoyed. Yet, in the midst of all these good things, something terrible happens. The church begins to lose the vision that made them so strong in their early years. They become content to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
B. They were told to labor (2b) strengthen
1. Strengthen- to render constant or consistent.
2. He was telling them that it is hopeless- you still have some fire in you. These things need to be revived.
3. It is possible to be working hard and not pleasing to God- They were accomplishing little with eternal good.
a. perfect- completely full, over the top
C. They were told to remember (3a)
1. They were told to remember where the Lord had brought them from. They were told to remember when they served the Lord faithfully and couldn’t wait to tell someone about Jesus.
D. They were told to hold fast (3b)
1. We must not strengthen one area and allow another to die.
E. They were told to repent (3c) there has to be a time when we change our mind about sin and so we also change our actions.
Vance Havner once commented that ministries often begin with a man who has a vision. That vision is captured by others and becomes a movement. As the movement gains followers and momentum, it becomes a machine. After a while, people forget all about the vision and what was once a movement becomes nothing more than a monument to a man and a glorious past.