Summary: When Jesus says there is no life
CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD - REV 3:1-6
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 we will be studying in preparation for our revival. 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.
Last week we saw how the loss of doctrine begins to destroy a church. DOCTRINE IS LIKE THE SKELETON OF A BODY. Without your skeleton for leverage your muscles would be of no use. You would just lay there and twitch. We have some churches meeting this morning across our nation that are just twitching for Jesus. Lots of activity but no real direction or purpose.
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.
HEAR 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’.
1) 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 Ephesian) and her brother god Apollos, the sun god.
a. DECLINE - Defeated twice in its history, once by the Persians and again by the Greeks. Unusual since the city was virually unreachable. The city was built on a mountain spur about 1500 ft about the valley floor. You could only approach from the south side on a very steep and difficult path.
YOUTH TRIP: Visited the highest spot in state of Tennessee: 1/2 mile steep and winding path leading to the summit lookout. Two nuts in our group decided to try to run to the top. Neither Wendal or I made it but had to stop and walk. MCGEE says he visited Sardis, he and another preacher tried to make to the city but gave up before they reached the top.