Summary: The church was dying and did not even know it.
The greatest criticism of the Church today is that no one wants to persecute it: because there is nothing very much to persecute it about. -- George F. MacLeod, Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 4.
This statement could be the story of the church that we are going to look at today, the church at Sardis.
As we have looked at the other letters in this series, we have noticed that each of the churches thus far have been experiencing tough times. They were being persecuted because of their faith.
Even though these churches had some problems, they were for the most part suffering for being different; they were suffering for their faith.
This was not the case for the church at Sardis, something was happening to them and they did not even know it.
The city of Sardis was a very wealthy city. The city was known for its loose-living, pleasure-seeking, luxury-laden lifestyles.
The city accumulated a great deal of wealth from the gold found in a near by river and from the trade industry.
The church did not face a lot of opposition, there were no trade guilds to deal with, no pressure to worship false gods. The people of this church had it relatively easy when compared to the other churches we have looked at.
Something was happening to the church and for the most part, they did not even realize it. The church was dying; they needed a wake up call.
The number one cause of death in the USA is some form of heart disease or heart related problem. Many times we do not even know we have a problem until we drop dead one day. If we see a person who is dying, we usually do what we can to revive them. If a person has stopped breathing, we will try to beat the life back into them with CPR in an effort to revive them. Today I want us to look at a dying church that is need of a revival!
I. THE REASON FOR REVIVAL v 1
• Let look at Revelation 3:1 to see the reason revival was needed.
• SLIDE #3
• Revelation 3:1 (NASB) 1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
• In a church that was on life-support, Jesus is saying that He is the one who holds all spiritual gifts and is therefore able to revive, recover, and restore the church from the brink of spiritual death.
In 1992, a Los Angeles County parking control officer came upon a brown El Dorado Cadillac illegally parked next to the curb on street-sweeping day. The officer dutifully wrote out a ticket. Ignoring the man seated at the driver’s wheel, the officer reached inside the open car window and placed the $30 citation on the dashboard. The driver of the car made no excuses. No argument ensued--and with good reason. The driver of the car had been shot in the head ten to twelve hours before but was sitting up, stiff as a board, slumped slightly forward, with blood on his face. He was dead. The officer, preoccupied with ticket-writing, was unaware of anything out of the ordinary. He got back in his car and drove away. (http://www.meridianchristian.org/Pages/Messages/onfolio-files/051106%20Bold%20Flavor.pdf
1. The church at Sardis looked good.
The church had a good reputation in the community, they may have done many great things, but like the police officer in the above story, maybe they were too busy to see what was happening to them.
Jesus tells them that He knows their deeds and that they have a great name, but their character does not match up with their reputation.
This is a church that because of the overall wealth may have had a nice place to meet; maybe things were well organized. Things must have looked good for this church to have such a good reputation.
The problem was that Jesus said that in spite of the reputation, they were really dead.
Have you noticed that there are not too many things that are as well kept and organized as a cemetery? A place for everyone and everyone in their place. The problem with the cemetery is that there is no life in it. The church at Sardis was experiencing the same dilemma, looks nice, but little to no life inside.
2. Looking good on the outside is not good enough.
Jesus during His ministry condemns the Pharisee’s for looking good on the outside, but being dead inside.