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Summary: So that we do not become spiritually drowsy, we learn to take inventory of our spiritual lives through remembrance, obedience, and repentance.

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THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN DEAD ORTHODOXY AND DEAD TRADITIONALISM IN A DEAD CHURCH. A DEAD CHURCH WHERE NOBODY JOINS, GETS SAVED OR FEELS COMPELLED TO PUT FORTH ANY EFFORT INTO THE CHURCH’S MINISTRIES.

NO WONDER THE LORD CAME UPON SARDIS AND TOLD THEM TO "WAKE UP!" SARDIS WAS A CHURCH THAT WAS READY TO DIE. THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL WAS ABOUT TO BE EXTINGUISHED. THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WAS ABOUT TO FADE. WHAT IS WORSE IS THAT FEW PEOPLE SEEMED TO CARE.

NOTHING IS MORE TRAGIC THAN WATCHING A CHURCH DIE A SLOW PAINFUL DEATH. SOME CHURCHES DIE BECAUSE THE PEOPLE REFUSE TO LET GO OF THEIR TRADITIONS. THE STALE ATTITUDES OF "THAT’S THE WAY WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT" MURDERS THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AND PROGRESS.

SOME CHURCHES DIE BECAUSE OF COMPLACENCY. WHY DO WE FIND PEOPLE REFUSING TO EXERT THEMSELVES SPIRITUALLY? WHY ARE THEIR STILL PEOPLE WHO SHY AWAY FROM PUTTING FORTH AN ENTHUSIASTIC SPIRIT TOWARDS MINISTRY? WHY DO WE FORSAKE ANY CHALLENGE THAT INVOLVES MORE THAN THE GIVING OF OUR MONEY?

REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER IT MAY BE THAT CAUSES THE DEATH OF A CHURCH, THERE IS ONE THING THAT WILL KILL A CHURCH QUICKER THAN ANYTHING: NO EVANGELISM!

WHENEVER A CHURCH STOPS PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND STOPS REACHING OUT WITH THE GOSPEL, IT TURNS INWARD AND SELF-DESTRUCTS BY IMPLOSION. WHEN WE GET OUR EYES OFF THE LOST AND FOCUS ONLY ON OURSELVES, WE HAVE LOST OUR TRUE SPIRITUAL VISION.

CHURCHES THAT ARE NOT WINNING PEOPLE TO JESUS CHRIST ARE FAILING TO OBEY THE GREAT COMMISSION. WITHOUT NEW CONVERTS TO CHRIST THE CHURCH WILL STAGNATE, STOP GROWING AND EVENTUALLY DIE.

SARDIS HAD ALMOST REACHED THE POINT OF DEATH. THIS IS WHY THEY CAME UNDER THE MOST SEVERE ACCUSATION OF ALL THE SEVEN CHURCHES.

SARDIS HAD SO COMPLETELY COME TO TERMS WITH ITS PAGAN ENVIRONMENT THAT YOU COULDN’T REALLY TELL IF IT WAS A CHURCH OR A RELIGIOUS COUNTRY CLUB FOR ELITE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY.

ALTHOUGH SARDIS WAS ABLE TO MAINTAIN THE OUTWARD APPEARANCES OF HAVING AN ACTIVE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY, IT COULDN’T HIDE THE FACT THAT IT WAS SPIRITUALLY DEAD ON THE INSIDE.

JUST LIKE THE FIG TREE OF MARK 11:20, IT HAD LEAVES BUT NO FRUIT! THEY HAD BECOME THE PERFECT MODEL OF THE TERM "HARMLESS CHRISTIANITY." THEREFORE, JESUS CHRIST COMES TO THEM AS THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD AND THE SEVEN STARS.

HE WHO HOLDS THE STARS IN HIS HANDS DOES SO TO PROVIDE SAFETY IN DANGER AND PUNISHMENT IN UNFAITHFULNESS. THE LORD OF LIFE IS ALSO THE LORD OF DEATH AND JUDGMENT.

JESUS COMES TO SARDIS WITH WHAT SEEMS TO BE A WORD OF APPROVAL. THIS WORD OF APPROVAL IS ACTUALLY A WORD OF REBUKE.

HE SAID THEY HAD A REPUTATION FOR BEING ALIVE AND FOR BEING AN EFFECTIVE CHURCH. CHRIST DID NOT WASTE ANY TIME IN STRIPPING AWAY THIS REPUTATION BY DECLARING THAT THEY ARE DEAD.

JUST LIKE THE PHARISEES, THEIR OUTER APPEARANCE WAS A FAÇADE HIDING THEIR LACK OF LIFE. EVEN WITH THE THINGS THEY WERE DOING CHRIST WASN’T IMPRESSED. HE SAYS, "I HAVE NOT FOUND YOUR DEEDS COMPLETE IN THE SIGHT OF MY GOD." SARDIS HAD FALLEN FAR SHORT OF FULFILLING THEIR OBLIGATIONS AS BELIEVERS.


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