Summary: How to evaluate the Spiritual health of your Church and your own personel life.
THREE THINGS THAT CAN CAUSE A CHURCH TO DIE
TEXT: Rev 3:1b "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."
INTRO: Jesus said the Church at Sardis was dead! I see two meanings here, there could be more. First, this probably means this local Church lost it’s influence in the local community and the True Church moved on! Second, death means separation, and it could, therefore, mean that the local Church at Sardis was separated from the Living Christ.
That local Churches can die is reinforced in Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. The candlesticks were explained to be the churches in Chapter 1 verse 20.
In this message written to the Church at Sardis, we can see at least 3 things that will cause a Church to die. Remember as we look at this passage, we are the Church and we must beware of the warning given us here.
I/ FAITH WITHOUT WORKS
To the Church at Sardis Jesus said: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Rev 3:2
And James writes under the influence of the Holy Spirit: Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? James 2:22
a. At Sardis, the Churches works were not perfect (complete) because they were not accompanied by faith. Good works are the result of a changed life or a life of faith. They go together, if you are really a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, then you will have fruit (works).
Mat 7:16-20 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
b. I like to hear testimonies about changed lives, because a tree that has life, has fruit. We do not
change ourselves, nor do we bear fruit by ourselves. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Fruit bearing is evidence that we are in Christ, or rather that Christ is in us.
c. Both Jesus and James are saying; Stop fooling yourself that you are a Christian! If you have no
works or no fruit, you may be dead! Which would mean you are separated from the Living
Christ. You say, I just have not yet completely surrendered to Jesus, Well then Surrender!
You say, I’ve not yet made Him Lord, Well then make Him Lord! You say, I have not died to
Self, well then die! Whatever it takes, but start letting Jesus have control of your life or you
will never bear fruit.
II/ WORSHIP WITHOUT WASHING
Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
a. At Sardis, most of the members had defiled their garments. This is also true of Churches today!
The problems comes when there is no washing or cleansing. 1 Jn 1:9 tells us how to take a Christian bath. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When was the last time we earnestly and honestly searched our hearts, confessing our sins to the Lord?
b. To often we have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit of God so there is no Quickening power in
our lives or of the Church. Isaiah writes in Isa 1:15-16 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
c. We don’t need more money, or more programs in the Church, we need more broken-ness, more
confession, more repentence. Speaking of broken-ness do you remember what Jesus said about Jerusalem? Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,