Summary: Uses the example of the paralympics - to talk about strengthening what remains!
Churches of Revelation#5 - Sardis
March 2006 • Chris Rowney
These messages are also available as audio podcasts at www.tcfnet.org.au/podcasts
“1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Revelation 3:1-6, NIV.
SUMMARY of previous weeks
Return to the first love
Endure through Suffering
Remain True to the name (character) of Christ.
Not tolerating things opposed to God’s Kingdom
And today – to Sardis…
Well today we are on to message number 5, the fifth of the seven churches written to at the beginning of the book of Revelation in the Bible.
But unlike the silly robot movie SHORT CIRCUIT some year ago, this time number 5 is definitely NOT alive…
If you hang around churches or Christians long enough you are bound to hear some conversation in which a person or place is described as being ‘really alive’ or else a ‘pretty dead church’
Sometimes people might be described as NOMINAL Christians (nominal = in name only)
I won’t ask you what you think of TCF in that regard… but the sad thing is that whatever we think about some other church, or even us here, we may have it all wrong!
Lots of people, great music, activities – all the things that might lead to a reputation as a ‘really great, alive church’ may just point to the presence of movement, - not of meaning…
Sardis had a reputation to be envied.
I spoke only a few weeks ago of the important of having a ‘good name’… well Sardis sure had a good name – but the people of Sardis (and by the way I am VERY tempted to call them the Sardines…) weren’t true to the name they had earned!
And while others may have been blind to the Truth – Jesus walks among the churches and KNOWS… their reputation is just that – the Reality is that the Church in Sardis was dead. (or at least in such a deep sleep that it was hard to tell the difference!)
We all know the CLICHÉ that ‘Appearances can be deceiving’
But God cannot be fooled – and this is the saddest and harshest of the letters to the Churches in Revelation.
I think that is why it is most severe – God hates appearances that do not match reality.
God greatly values INTEGRITY
Integrity is being the same person no matter what the situation.
Now I don’t know if it would be right to describe what went on in Sardis as Hypocrisy – were they in some way intentionally avoiding Genuine life?
OR had they just lost the plot.. and remained active while having lost the vision and purpose that ought to underly their faith?
Perhaps we can take heart that they weren’t totally dead, after all Jesus urges them to WAKE UP – strengthen what does remain of true life…
NO FALSE DOCTRINE
NO FALSE TEACHERS ( no Balaam or Jezebel)
THE BIG ISSUE is that things had not being taken to completion!., (verse 2)
Maybe you could say there was plenty of activity but no accomplishments?
They were not really fulfilling Gods desire..
We talked of having a good reputation, a good name,, at Pergamum,, Sardis had a good reputation, but it was a reputation among men, and in the end what mankind thinks is not our aim.
God sees more, and to him it just didn’t cut the mustard…
BUT even the Sardinians were not left without hope.
This letter was not an obituary – not an announcement of their final passing.
THERE IS A REMEDY.. an ANSWER
WAKE UP.. Strengthen the things that remain.. ( it reminds me of what is written to Timothy fan into flame the gift you were given
Remember what you received obey it and repent (turn around!))