Summary: Sermon 9 in the series dealing with the Biblical signs of a healthy church.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Life Signs of a Healthy Church”
What determines whether something is dead or not? A medical doctor checks for VITAL signs.
Pulse, blood pressure, oxygen levels, brain function
Some remain alive but are pronounced brain dead because there is no longer any brain activity. There are certain things associated with living breathing organisms that indicate there is still life. Jesus addressed those who called themselves followers of Christ who lived in a city in modern day Turkey called Sardis. It was a city with a long history. Jesus sent a letter to a group of believers who had probably been gathering for some forty years. Jesus appeared to the Apostle John over 2000 years ago with a personalized message to seven representative churches. Jesus addressed issues that have afflicted groups of His followers ever since.
In a broader sense Jesus dictated a message to all churches in every age about their present condition and the details of the final age. The bulk of the book of Revelation has to do with the revelation of Jesus Christ concerning the period of time just prior to His glorious return and the culmination of what go derailed in the original garden of God.
I. Prologue 1:1-20
II. Jesus’ Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
A. To the church in Ephesus – the passionless church 2:1-7
B. To the church in Smyrna – the suffering church 2:8-11
C. To the church in Pergamum & Thyatira – the compromising church 2:12-17
D. To the church in Sardis - the dying church 3:1-6
1. Characteristic 3:1a
“To the angel (leader) of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this:
2. Commendation 3:4
But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with me in white; for they are worthy.
3. Correction 3:1b
“I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are DEAD.”
4. Action 3:2-3
Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
• Wake up
• Strengthen what remains but is about to die
• Remember what you have received and heard
• Obey what you have heard
5. Consequence 2:21-23
Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief (unexpectedly) and you will not know what hour I will come to you.
6. Promise to overcomers 3:5
He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name form the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
7. Call to pay attention 2:29
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
What are the vital signs of a church? Is it building, bodies or bucks? Many pastors succumb to depression when they measure their success by any of these factors. Eighty percent of American churches are in plateau or decline. The number of “mega” churches (200+ members) has increased over the last several years. The problem is, the number of smaller church closures has increased. The church is not really growing it is just moving into the big church centers. Most churches in America are 100 members or less members.
Bill Hybels Willow Creek church in Chicago with a multi-thousand membership came to the conclusion that something was wrong. They were not really turning out obedient followers of Jesus Christ. They were bringing them in but no growing them up.
How should we look at the church
Is the church an organization or an organism; machine or mission? An organization or factory or machine functions by a collection of systems and principles. The focus is production; does it work. If it is not working, then figure out what part of the system is malfunctioning and replace it or retool it or restructure. Everything and everyone obtains value and is evaluated by their value to the company.
The modern thinking goes something like this. Everything functions by principles and laws.
If you are able to understand and apply the right law you will get the desired result.
Just look at the latest list of best seller books.
The 5 secrets to… The 7 principles to successful parenting. The 3 absolute essentials to financial success. Discover and apply the right law and get the right result. Even Christians distill the Bible down to the basic principles to success in the Christian life. Apply these principles and you will find success; whether parenting, marriage or ministry.