Summary: A series of messages on the seven churches of revelation
7 Churches of Revelation
Waking the Walking Dead: Sardis
Introduction: This week, the supreme court has endorsed same sex marriage. I'm not surprised. Sometimes we feel like the psalmist when he writes “When the foundations are being destroyed what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3) It seems that the urgent warnings, the rebukes, the fiery sermons, the desperate calls for prayer and fasting have fallen on deaf ears for the last decade and now America will be judged for her sin. You see when God turns you over to your sin, that really is the worst judgment there is. All we can do now is weep for the lost and pray for those who are blinded.
Ill. An old tale says that one day Satan sent some of his minions from the bottomless pit for the purpose of doing all the harm they could to Christians. On their return one of the demon generals reported that he sunk a ship full of Christians caught in a storm on the sea. “You did them no harm.” said Satan “for they all went straight to heaven.” Another had set fire to property and destroyed much wealth that belonged to Christians. “You done them no harm.” he said “for their losses make them all the more determined to fight against us.” Finally one reported that he had succeeded in putting to sleep a large number of Christians. Then Satan smiled, and all the host of devils shouted their approval.
This old legend has in it the awful truth that nothing can do the cause of Christ more harm than for His people to go to sleep. The worship band, 'Casting Crowns' sings a song about adultery called “Slow fade” and in it they say “people never crumble in a day. Its a slow fade.” America has committed spiritual adultery on God. It didn't happen over night, it was a slow fade from their first love.
Year after year, while we were sleeping; the enemy offered one small sin after another and when preachers roared against it from the pulpit, many rolled their eyes in the pew. When the church sleeps, what we call sin in the present, will be called a 'right' in the future. One sin piles on top of another until we are at a place where our freedoms, our rights, and our spiritual hunger are lost. And now we are living in an nation that has made prayer, speech, & worship in public illegal and have made drugs, abortion and now homosexuality legal. How could this happen? How could such a drastic change happen so quickly. It didn't. I read this week about an actor that revealed that T.V. Producers know when the public is “ready” for something (homosexuality) so they have to take 'small baby steps' toward that end. Incrementally the enemy smuggles in “small sins” until we accept it without a struggle. The church has been asleep for many years and now we are paying the consequences.
Transition: Starting today, and in no particular order, I am going preach a series of sermons on the 7 churches of Revelation. We will begin with Sardis. Some refer to the church of Sardis as the “zombie church” or “the church of the Walking Dead”. It's an apt description. Sardis was filled with the dead, had a remnant of the dying, and possessed a few that would never die.
I. Sardis was filled with the dead (Rev. 3:1)
Jesus introduces himself differently to every church. And to Sardis, He introduces himself in verse 1 as “him who holds the seven spirits and the seven stars.” He holds the Holy Spirit and all his various powers and faculties. Seven is the number of perfection, The Holy Spirit is perfect and infinite. He holds the seven stars or pastors who are sent to the seven churches to be a light to them and to guide them in godly truth. He has the authority, and all those who receive his word should heed it! How many sermons are heard but never heeded, listened to but never lived out?!
Then he says “I know your deeds you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead.”
He says “I know your deeds . .” Christ is omniscient and knows our works. Christ sees what others do not, because he sees behind our works into our hearts. Samuel thought Jesse's son Eliab looked the part of a king but the Lord said “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord odes not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -I Samuel 16:7 He knows when are intentions are good or when they are evil. He knows what motivates our deeds, and for what purpose we aspire to do them.