Summary: Jesus calls a church on life support back to life
CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD
AMAZING STATISTIC: Imagine a company that has more than 500 employees and has the following record:
29 accused of spousal abuse 7 arrested for fraud
19 accused of writing bad checks 117 directly or indirectly bankrupted
3 done time for assault 71 cannot get credit card due to credit
14 arrested on drug related charges 8 arrested for shoplifting
21 current defendants in lawsuits 84 arrested for drunk driving in past year
WHAT BUSINESS? What organization? Who would hire such a group? US!
The 535 members of the United States Congress
· Sometimes it should be obvious that something is wrong. To look at the Bible we hold and then the lives lived by most Christians it should become obvious that something is not as it should be.
· This is the fourth church Each church has specific problems that lead into the problems of the next. Ephesus has lost it’s passion for Jesus. Pergamum begins to flirt with the world through compromise. Thyatira begins an adulterous relationship with the world. SARDIS is on life support, barely clinging to hope.
1) Maybe you would say this morning that you have lost your passion for Jesus, you have compromised with the world and in some ways have sold out your relationship with God and you wonder if there is any life left in you, any hope that any spark could return to your spiritual life.
Experts tell us that churches often go through four stages of life. I classify them as:
1. The Movement Stage. The beginning stage of most churches. .. small, intimate and driven group of believers…. people are nearly 100% committed…. Sunday School, Worship, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Night…..spend time together at each other’s homes and in Bible studies.
2. The Magnificence Stage. reached a high level of attendance…..because of their size, they can begin to do things they could only dream about before. However, commitment of the group begins to dip to between 50 & 70%. still have the vision, and a dream, but the intensity has diminished.
3. The Monument Stage. still do things to increase growth, but begin to talk less about the future than they do about their past. They work at maintaining their past reputation. They do things because that’s the way they’ve always done them. … often cursed by power struggles and many talk about the church as “my church” and “our church”. Commitment level dips to between 10 to 30%.
4. The Mausoleum Stage would most commonly identify as the “dead church.” People have drifted away or died. Attendance levels are between 10 to 50% on any Sunday, and new people - when they show up - are suspect (they’d take control).
The Mausoleum church is the one we most often identify as the “Dead Church”
1) This morning there are also many churches just meeting. They are lifeless, just going through the motions, like a religious robots, it is all a sham because there is no real spiritual life in their hearts.
A DISCOURAGED PREACHER told his congregation one Sunday morning that the church was dead and that next week he was going to preach their funeral service.
When people arrived the next week, the curtains were drawn, solemn music was playing, and a casket had been placed at the front of the church.
The pastor preached his message and then said, ’Some of you may not agree with me that this church is dead. To convince you I am going to ask you to view its remains’. Each one came to the casket to see the dead body but when they looked in the found that a mirror had been placed there instead.
HEARD ABOUT THE CHURCH SO DEAD that when a member actually died in a service that the paramedics carried out 5 people before they got the right one.
· Jesus spoke to Sardis and we find that He was not interested in labels but in life, not in reputation but in reality. ’Reputation is what people think you are but reality is what Jesus knows you are’.
1) Some of the saddest words in the Bible are spoken about a man with a great reputation, killed thousands of the enemy, impressive leader, famous in his time, SAMSON: ’he knew not that the Spirit had departed’.
2) IS A CHURCH DEAD? Where is the Holy Spirit right now?
· Study with same outline: Patient - Physician - Positive - Problem - Prescription - Possibilities.
THE PATIENT - (1) To the angel of the church in Sardis write,..
1. THE PATIENT: SARDIS -
a. HISTORY - 500 years before John wrote this letter Sardis was one of the richest and most powerful cities in the world. Man named Croesus lived there and was consider the wealthiest man in the world. Coins were first minted in Sardis. It became the center for the carpet industry(Persian rug?) Two temples: Cybele(Diana of Ephesians) and her brother god Apollos, the sun god.