Summary: Week 8 in a Wednesday evening study through the book of Revelation
“An Autopsy of a Dead Church”
Date: July 24, 2002
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: Revelation 3:1-6
We live in a world of substitutes. Products designed to look as if they are real or imitations of the real items, costly items but are not. Examples clothes; jewelry; purses and not to mention food like Blue Bell Ice Cream.
They may look like the real deal but they are false imitations.
So it is with the church at Sardis. From the outside the church had a name that denotes it was an alive church, but in reality it was dead.
In my personal opinion that is where so many of our churches are today not to mention Christians themselves.
This message should be heard and taken with great concern.
“To the angel of the church at Sardis”
The city of Sardis was situated on a small-elevated plateau, which rises sharply above the Hermus Valley. On all sides but one the rock walls were smooth and had not access. The only entrance was along the southern side of the city by a very steep and difficult path.
Around 1200 B.C. in gained prominence as the capital of the Lydian kingdom.
It’s primary industry was harvesting of wool, dying it’ and making garments from it such as rugs and blankets.
The famous author Aesop came from Sardis
“These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.”
Remember we said in chapter one that 7 is the number of completeness. This referring to Jesus is the fullness of God.
The seven stars are the churches.
Then He gets right to the point…
“I know your works, you have a name that you are alive but are dead.”
They were a working church put not working in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As I said earlier the city of Sardis only had one entrance. All they had to do was put a detail of soldiers at that spot and keep watch. But on two occasions the city was over taken by the enemies because the guard had fallen asleep.
The church as a whole at this time had turned away from looking for the return of Christ. We are to be looking as Titus 2; 13 says, “that blessed hope” of Christ return.
“for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
Some have asked how can our works be perfect?
If we are seeking and serving God with a pure heart, and our works are done through the power of the Holy Spirit not our own strength, God finds our works perfect.
“You have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments”
Defile means to smear or to pollute; garments refer to character.
During the time of the great reformation, those who stood against the church, those in the priesthood like Martin Luther, John Calvin and others had their robes or clothes removed. This is where ministers came by the name “men of the cloth”.
“and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments.”
In the ancient world white robes were commonly worn at festivals and celebrations.
“and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life”
Here is one of those verses some use to say that we can lose our salvation.
John 10:28 Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Dr John Walvoord give a great explanation of this:
“ Some have indicated that there is no explicit statement here that anybody will have his name blotted out, but rather the promise that his name will not be blotted out because of his faith in Christ. The implication, however, is that such is a possibility. On the basis of this some have considered the book of life not as the roll of those who are saved but rather a list of those whom Christ died for, that is all humanity who have possessed physical life. As they come to maturity and are faced with the responsibility of accepting or rejecting Christ, their names are blotted out if they fail to receive Jesus as Savior; whereas those who do accept Christ as Savior are confirmed in their position in the book of life and their names are confessed before the Father and the heavenly angels.”
* Some have said this Book of Life becomes the Lambs Book of Life, which we will discuss in chapter 22.
* No matter the interpretation this is the book you want your name to be found in.