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Summary: Sardis was full of corpses that had been propped up in the pews.

THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION

SARDIS—THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD

TEXT: Revelation 3:1-6

Revelation 3:1-6 KJV 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.

I. INTRODUCTION—THE MOST IMPORTANT VIEW

Made a personal reference to a patient I worked with in the hospital that outwardly looked fine but on the inside had a terrible condition of severe heart disease. She was not even aware of it and it almost proved to be fatal to her.

-We come now to the fifth church along the postal route in Asia Minor.

-From all of these churches that we have looked at to this point, there is a prevailing lesson: We can look at the outward appearance of things but God looks on the heart. We also have to point out that God is not nearly as impressed with the things that impress us.

-That was the lesson of Sardis. . . it looked like it was alive but it was dead. . . it was literally a church populated with corpses sitting up in the pews. They looked alive but they were dead.

II. SARDIS—THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD

-If we were to make a comparison of the other churches, it might be like this:

• Ephesus—Loss of their first love

• Pergamos—Gripped by worldliness

• Thyatira—A toleration of sin

-But Sardis had reached a new low. It was a church dominated by sin, false doctrine, and unbelief. It was the church of the living dead.

• It was about 30 miles on around the horn from Thyatira.

• It was one of the richest cities in the entire world because it had become a major trade center.

• It had a river that could be panned for gold, it had a thriving wool industry, and makers of costly dyes for the wool were there as well.

• It may have received its name from the sardis stones found in the region which were used as amulets to drive away evil spirits.

• The climate and the elegant palace were the center of attraction here.

• One of its famous citizens was Aesop (6 B.C.), who is still remembered for his fables. He was a slave who had been given freedom because of his accomplishments. His fables had such ability to negotiate peaceful relations between warring leaders that he would be called to places like Corinth and Athens.

• King Croesus used Aesop as one of his royal advisers, a cabinet member, in his courts.

• Aesop was sent to Delphi on what would be his final mission. He had been directed to deliver some gold to the people from King Croesus. But when he arrived he was so disgusted by their greed that he refused to give it to them. They took it from him and executed him as a public criminal.

• It was the center of worship of Cybele who was considered the mother of the gods.

• These people literally lived in the lap of luxury and spent their lives working so they could spend it on pleasure.

• Sardis was a place for slack and effeminate living.

-The church in Sardis was not threatened by any dangers or perils:

• There was no worship to Caesar or persecution

• There weren’t any Jews slandering them

• There was no internal heresy in the church

• There was no pressure from inside or outside

• The church was completely at peace but it was a place of the living dead.

-Perhaps things were too well in Sardis.

A. Revelation 3:1—The Counselor

Revelation 3:1 KJV 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.

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