Summary: A sermon on the seven churches of Asia Minor.
Sardis, Mail Call!
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
There is nothing in the world like a church that is alive for God! A living church is super-charged with spiritual power and just seems to be doing the work of the Lord with joy. Souls are being saved and lives are being changed and believers are growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the deadest thing in the world is a dead church! It’s building may be modern and magnificent, it’s programs and plans may be inviting but if it does not have the fire of the Holy Spirit in it and a love for God and a lost world, it is dead. Sardis had a name that it was alive but God said that it was dead, DOA! Worse still, it was dead and its members didn’t know it, Christ knew it and He states that He is not coming to comfort the church but to judge the church.
I. The Atmosphere
This church had a reputation that it was alive but had no relationship with the living One! The church members thought it was alive, the brethren in other churches thought it was alive, the community thought it was alive but it had no such name with God and the great tragedy is they didn’t know it. They were oblivious to their condition. One of the most interesting characters in the Bible is Samson. He was an ordinary looking man with extraordinary strength, that was derived from his long hair, hair that had not been cut because of a Nazarite vow. When his hair finally was cut by a woman named Delilah the Bible says that he rose up like he had before but his strength was gone and he didn’t know it! There is another passage in the book of Hosea that conveys this same idea. Speaking of the tribe of Ephraim the prophet says…
Hosea 7:8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
Sardis was a church that was living in the past, resting on its accomplishments. This is true of many churches today, who at one time lived in revival fire but today there is nothing left but cold lifeless ashes. Once they were active in God’s service and could hardly weight to go to church but not they were living in cold neglect of their Christian duties. They prayed in the Sardis church but their prayers went no higher than the ceiling. They sang at Sardis but hearts were not touched. They gave but they gave out of a sense of duty They did many things that looked good on the surface but these things did not honor God because they were not done to satisfy the Lord. The Sardis church went through the motions but they were dead and bore no real fruit for God.
II. The Advice
The Lord tells them to be watchful, to wake up and be on guard! As Christians we must always be on our guard because sin and worldliness can creep in an steal and rob us of spiritual power. The Lord also tells them to strengthen the things that remain. How could they do this? They could put life into the things that they were doing, by doing them because they loved the Lord. The salt had lost its savor and the Lord tells them to get it back! He further tells them to remember the things that they had received and hold on to them tightly. Do you recall when you were saved? Do you recall when you first began your walk with the Lord? If you are away from the Lord, remember these things and let them draw you back to His side. Finally, the Lord uses the word repent which is the key note word of these letters. If we have grown cold toward the things of God we need to repent.