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Crippled Church


Sermon shared by Jerry Shirley

June 2009
Summary: Sardis is the dying or dead church. It could be our church. The problem and the prescription to fix it and make it once again the Lord’s Church. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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church of Martin Luther, who nailed his 95 thesis to the church door, rejecting the works salvation of the Thyatira church, proclaiming once again that salvation is thru faith alone!

This is the remnant who escaped the clutches of the Thyatira church.

2 points on Sardis: The problem and the prescription

1. The problem

In these 7 letters, the Lord presents Himself in different ways to each. This is significant.

v. 1 “I am the one who possesses the Holy Spirit (7 = perfection)”

Why present Himself like this? Because it’s what they were missing…the Holy Spirit…the power was missing…and Jesus reminds them that He holds the power in His hand…power to make this dead church live again…power to convict / guide / equip for ministry. It is the Holy Spirit that energizes the Church, and tragically, it was missing in Sardis.

Their first problem was that they were powerless! They were reformed, but they weren’t revived!

When Jesus labeled them a dead church, that was a sure sign that they needed the power of the Holy Spirit!

The church of the Reformation separated from the Catholic Church. These Protestants escaped…but quickly reverted to their former practices. This Lutheran assembly, and other Protestants of that day reverted to some of their old ways…infant baptism, ritualism, and more of a social gospel…a feel good gospel that eventually returned to works as the means of salvation.

They forgot where their power came from, which is from prayer and purity. You show me a church that is on fire for God, and I’ll show you a church paying the price thru prayer and purity every time!

Protestant churches today are far removed from where they once were.

In Acts 1-2, the disciples prayed for 10 long days, and Peter preached for 10 minutes, and 3,000 people got saved. Today we try to pray for 10 minutes, preach for 10 days, and we wonder why no one gets saved! What’s missing? I’ll tell you what’s missing, the power of the Holy Spirit of God!

If we want a church that is alive, and not dead, it will be because we get serious about paying the price in prayer and purity. When does the prayer take place…all the time! Not the least of which is when my prayer partners meet in the back room at 5:30 PM. That’s a good starting point for you, come join the 4 or 5 who are doing that which is least…and then let it grow to every day of the week, and every waking moment…a passion for prayer, for power, and for purity.

The purity happens as we listen to God, as we allow Him to change us on a daily basis. It happens at invitation time, if we’ll listen and focus on His still small voice. It happens thru His word, as it’s preached and proclaimed, and as we read it on our own in private devotions.

I remind you church, of our need for power, which comes thru prayer and purity! If we’ll get serious about that, there’s no limit to what our Great God can and will do, by the power of His Spirit!

That was their first problem, they were powerless!

Their second problem was that they were apathetic. The only thing that’s worse than being powerless is to be powerless and not know it, or, Lord help us, powerless and not care!

What’s the difference between ignorance and indifference? “I don’t know and I don’t care!”

v. 2 “Be watchful”

Could literally be translated, “wake up!”

Background on Sardis:
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