Summary: This sermon compares the Health of our church to that of the 7 Churches of Asia Minor. It can easily be adapted to any church.
Title: State of the Church, 2008
Text: Revelation 2 & 3
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: President Bush gave his 7th and final “State of the Union” address on Monday night before a joint session of Congress. He discussed the war on Terrorism and talked specifically about the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also encouraged congress to quickly ratify the economic stimulus package which he has proposed. Generally Presidents have used the State of the Union address to update the American people about how things are going in various areas like the war, or the economy and to promote the issues and policies that they feel are important and need to be dealt with in the coming year.
As your pastor I have delivered a few ‘State of the church’ addresses. A couple of years ago I preached a sermon entitle ‘Good to Great’ and outlined seven or eight things that we as a church needed to do in order to move from being a good church to being a great church. We haven’t achieved all of them, but we are making progress.
I want to review those with you again, and then I want to share some scripture with you and a message that I believe the Lord has for all of us here at Sulphur Spring.
1. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be a Church that puts Jesus first.
2. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be a Church that truly Loves one another.
3. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be a Church that truly cares about the needs of people, and does everything we can to help meet those needs.
4. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be A Church that takes its responsibility to share the gospel seriously.
5. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be A Church that is willing to do whatever it takes to reach people for Jesus Christ.
6. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be A Church that truly worships the Lord in Spirit and Truth
7. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be A Church that provides opportunities for men, women, boys and girls to grow in their faith.
8. God Wants Sulphur Spring Baptist church to be A Church that has the reputation for being a “House of Prayer.”
In the 2nd and 3rd Chapters of the Book of Revelation the Apostle John records a personal message from Jesus to each one of the 7 churches of Asia Minor.
These messages were very personal and very direct in nature. The Bible tells us that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance of a man but looks at the condition of his heart. In the same way, Jesus didn’t look at the outward appearance of these 7 churches. He peeled back a few layers and examined their overall spiritual health. With the exception of the church at Smyrna, what He discovered was very troubling.
The church at Ephesus had forsaken their First Love. They had replaced their personal love relationship with Jesus Christ with a bunch of spiritual activities. Jesus warned them to repent of their sins and return to Him or face the consequences.
The church at Pergamum was condemned for allowing False Prophets and False Teachers to join the church and influence them to commit all kinds of sinful acts; including eating food that had been sacrificed to idols and committing sexually immoral acts. Jesus told them to repent or be ready to face the consequences!
The Lord also condemned the Church at Thyatira for tolerating a False Teacher who happened to be a woman just as wicked at Queen Jezebel. Like the members of the Church at Pergamum, the members of the church at Thyatira had been led to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, and commit sexually immoral acts. As He had done with the other churches he told them to repent of their sins, and return to Him or be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Jesus condemned the Church at Sardis for being spiritually dead. He told them that even though they had the reputation of being alive that they were actually spiritually dead. He told them that unless they woke up and repented of their sins that He would come like a thief in the night and would judge them for their sins.
Jesus scolded the church at Philadelphia for their lack of strength. Just as He had scolded his own disciples for their lack of faith, He condemned the church at Philadelphia because they were spiritually weak. In other words their faith was so weak that He couldn’t accomplish anything through them.
Perhaps the Lord’s harshest rebuke was given to the Church at Laodicea. Follow along as I read Revelation 3: