Summary: Lessons learned from the church of Sardis. Sermon Notes, Power Point, and video clips available upon request.
The Bible says that God (TAB) “is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
(TAB) God is holy –if sin is in His presence it’s consumed.
(TAB) God is perfectly just… He can’t forgive sin; it must be properly punished. He’s not a just God if He doesn’t.
(TAB) Yet, God is loving – He desires to restore sinners to a right relationship with Him. But How? If His holiness consumes sin, and His justice requires punishment, how can God restore sinners to a right relationship with Him?
Answer: The Gospel! Gospel means:(TAB)“Good News”.
God become a man Himself – Jesus Christ. He was born, lived a sinless life. So He didn’t deserve punishment for sin. And (TAB) He who had no sin, became sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:21) (TAB) At the cross Jesus took the just punishment for our sin. Instead of us being punished for what we’ve done wrong, Jesus was. He substituted Himself in our place. That way the holiness & just standard of God is met, And He can now extend His love and forgive all who accept it.
When Jesus was here on earth, He said: (TAB) “Repent and believe the good news” Mark 1:15. Repent (turn from your sin, to Jesus). Believe, trust Him, who He is, what He’s done with your life. And He says, if you do… you “will not perish but have everlasting life” Jn. 3:16. All because of Jesus. He’s (TAB) thee way, & thee truth & thee life (John 14:6). Not a way, He’s THEE WAY! The only way!
Acts 4:12 says, (TAB) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(TAB) He’s the way maker, He made a way
where there was no way.
1 John 5:12 says, (TAB) “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Again, (TAB) He’s the way maker, He made way
where there was no way.
And now, He has called His church (those who have repented and believed) to get the word out. (TAB) Mark 16:15 "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. Sin, death and hell are defeated – he proved it by raising from the dead. Everyone who repents & believes will be saved. God (TAB) “is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
The church is on a mission to share this message so that people can be saved from the coming judgment of God.
I know people today don’t’ want to hear that – but what kind of people would we be if we don’t’share the truth? Jesus has sent on a mission to share His message.
With all this in mind, let’s turn with me to (TAB) Rev. 3.
The book of Revelation shares the details of this coming judgment. But again God is patience not wanting anyone to perish, so we see here that He calls his church to be on mission with the message. Today we look at (TAB) the Letter to the church of Sardis.
Saris was one of the oldest cities of Asia Minor. It was also a capital city during an earlier Lydian empire prior to Roman occupation. (TAB) William Barclay said the people of Sardis were known for (TAB) “loose living…pleasure and luxury loving. It was a city of decadence.”
Look with me Rev. 3:1 “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.
We’ve seen that for Jews, numbers were more than a unit of measure… they held symbolic meaning. (TAB) “7” was the symbol of “completion”. So the (TAB) “7” spirits of God could refer to the 7-fold ministry of the Spirit of God. We see this described in Isaiah (TAB):
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord – and He will delight in the fear of the Lord. Isa. 11:2-3
We’ve seen in past weeks that the “7” stars? (TAB) are the “messengers”, who many believe are the “pastors” of the churches. And notice were they are - in Jesus’ hands, He cares for them and the churches they lead.
Back to v. 1 Jesus continues: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
Now, I think I can say with a high degree of certainty that this church didn’t want to hear Jesus say something like that. Remember, early on Christians were seen as a sect of Judaism. But radically changed in the mid 60’s. By then the Christian population had grown, which meant there message “that Jesus was the Only Way to forgiveness of sins & eternal life” (TAB) a core belief we called exclusivity – was spread more and more. This doesn’t fit with Roman culture who has multiple gods, Caesar being chief.