Summary: How can a church be revived back to life
The CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD – 2
PREACHER found a shoe box in a closet. Opened it and found strange contents. Inside was an egg carton with 5 eggs inside. Next to the eggs was a stack of bills that totaled over 10,000 dollars.
As soon as his wife walked thru the door he stopped her to ask if she knew anything about this odd combination. ‘Yes, dear, after we got married I decided that after every sermon you preached if it was a bad one I would put an egg in this shoebox’. The preacher thought with pride about all the years they had been married and that only 5 eggs were in the box. ‘But honey, what about the 10,000 dollars?’ ‘Oh, well everytime I got a dozen eggs I sold them’.
Higher estimation of ourselves than we should. Sardis thought highly of themselves as a church but Jesus came along and told them they were on life support, at death’s door.
· Looked at Sardis, a church in name only but without any spiritual life.
· A city with a rich history trying to live on a past reputation
· Had a name but had no substance to it: Wax fruit or artificial flowers
CAUGHT UP IN SURVIVOR: Early show spent a half hour attempting to do one thing. This thing meant the difference between making it or not. Until they accomplished this they could not move on to anything else. GET A FIRE STARTED. No warmth, no light, no ability to cook to feed ourselves. Sardis was a church without a fire. After the fire was started it is essential that it is never allowed to go out.
· Why would anybody darkened a church door?
Three possible motivations: Maturity is at level #3
1) Punishment & Reward: I fear the consequences of not. Might not get a ticket into heaven. Their body is in the church but their heart is still with the world.
2) PEOPLE:Example: My reputation is at stake, I care what others think of me so I go or I give or I serve somewhere. BILL CLINTON
3) Matter of Principle: Whether there is a reward or a cost to me, whether I am seen or unseen, if I lose my job, is I miss my program, it is a matter of what God’s has asked of my life.
(Each level moves you to a more isolated position: Most people operate at level #1. #1 & #2 are religion while #3 is a relationship)
· Sardis was like a chocolate bunny. They make me angry cause I have had them before. They look huge but actually they are hollow.
1) Jesus told the Pharisees: outside they looked lovely, newly whitewashed tombs, but on the inside they were full of dead men’s bones.
THE PRESCRIPTION - (2) Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. (3) So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
1. WHAT DOES A DEAD CHURCH NEED? Steps to Recovery
a. IT NEEDS TO WAKE UP
1) I shared this morning how Sardis had been defeated twice because of being careless in areas that really mattered.
2) Wake Up is not a calm word but a strong one. It is not to gently try to wake someone but grab a spotlight and scream
WAKE UP!!!!! SHILOH & NERF BALL. Tone matters
a) Sounds cruel but to do the opposite is worse:
It is said of the CAPTAIN OF THE TITANIC that after the ship had struck the iceberg and within hours of sinking that he went through the restaurant assuring everybody that everything was OK and even said that ’drinks are on the house’.
3) WAKE UP literally means a mindfulness of threatening dangers which with an alert mind keeps one from all drowsiness and all slackening of energy in both faith and conduct.
4) Step one in recovery is to become aware that something is wrong. Honestly face failure, feel the dullness, smell the death.
STEDMAN: Said he went to Europe to meet with pastors and found many churches there dead, cold, and empty in what might be called a post-christian era.
Many churches are state churches where the pastor is a hired civil servant given a certain geographic region of 10’s of thousands of people. It is his job to baptize(infant spinkling), marry, and bury people.(Hatch, match & dispatch).
Pastor came in tears saying, ’Oh I will I could preach the Word like you do in America, but I have no time. I must baptize all the babies, marry everyone, and bury everyone who dies in the parish and there is simply no time to study’.