Summary: Churches are closing at a alarming rate in America.. Why are they dying? The Lord gives us a picture of a Dead church and gives us the solution
I like Murder Mystery’s. And before you get mad and leave the church because you are thinking that I am promoting violence.
I like them because I want to solve the mystery or who did it before the show reveals it.
And the key is the Autopsy – It usually reveals the cause of death which gets you thinking on the person who would commit the murder.
AUTOPSY - a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease.
You might be asking yourself what and the world does this have to do with your message.
Well I am glad you asked, because God performs an autopsy on a dead church in the Word of God.
And it reveals to us the cause of death so that we can understand the cause or the causes of that death so we will not become a dead church
This morning I would like to preach with the Power and the Presence of the Holy Spirit on this topic: An Autopsy of a dead church.
If I were to take a trip to London, among the sites in which I would like to visit would be the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
The tour guide would tell me that this is the place that the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to preach.
He would tell me that the 5,000 seat auditorium there was never large enough…they packed it to overflowing Sunday after Sunday in Spurgeon’s day.
He would tell me how on Sunday nights, they would actually ask church members to stay home because so many visitors wanted to come and fill the building.
But today, that church is only a shadow of what it used to be.
If you were to visit the Metropolitan Tabernacle, basically what you would hear is wonderful stories of “the way it used to be.” The good ole days…
Such could be said about the church of Sardis in our text this morning.
At one time they had a reputation for being exciting, alive, and vibrant and on fire for God!
VS 1 – I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest
It would have been great if the verse ends there but it continues and art dead.
But as Jesus Christ writes to this church in Sardis, they were all reputation and no reality. They were all form, and no force. They were glorying in past splendor, and ignoring their present state. They focused on Past Reputation, rather than Present Reality.
I. THREE STAGES THAT CHURCHES GO THROUGH
A. SPIRIT FILLED – DYNAMIC
B. A MACHINE – GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS - DYING
C. A MONUMENT – THE GOOD OLE DAYS – DEAD
The greatness of NLBC is not just a past reputation, it is a present reality!
So Jesus tells this church that they are now dead, and then Jesus does an Autopsy to show us today how this church died so that we will not do the same thing.
II. THE AUTOPSY OF A DEAD CHURCH
A. THE HOLY SPIRIT – POWER OF GOD WAS MISSING
1. THE POWER TO CONVICT 2. THE POWER TO GUIDE 3. THE POWER TO EQUIPS MINISTRIES 4. THAT ENERGIZES THE CHURCH
I hear this from Christians were ever I go. We are tired. Are you listening we are tired because we have trying our hardest to do God’s work without God’s Power!!!!
The first thing we find in Jesus’ autopsy is that they were powerless!
And where do we get this power?
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The Evidence of this power is
Proclaim the Word of God With Boldness
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Our Music Changes – It is not about making us feel better – It is Praising the Lord
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
We have a heart of Gratitude or thankfulness
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God
B. THEY WERE APATHETIC
The only thing that’s worse than being powerless is to be powerless and knowing there is a problem, and we really do not care or not willing to do anything about it.
What’s the difference between ignorance and indifference? “I do not know and I do not care!”
Jesus describes this dying or dead church as
There is great news in these verses for a Christian who is sick, dying or is dead spiritually and a Church that is sick, dying or is dead.