Summary: A church that is spiritually dead can still hold services, sing hymns, offer prayers, deliver sermons, and do works of ministry – they can go through the motions of “doing church” but they will never be the church without being alive in God’s Holy Spirit!
Modern Day Scene: A paramedic arrives on an accident scene with what seems like a lifeless body; no pulse, no breath – CPR begins and instead of taking the body to the morgue, they go to the ER. Jesus has pronounced the church at Sardis as dead. Yet there is hope.
A church that is spiritually dead can still hold services, sing hymns, offer prayers, deliver sermons, and do works of ministry – they can go through the motions of “doing church” but they will never be the church without being alive in God’s Holy Spirit!
The Description of the Sardis Church - It was a dead church (vs. 1).
It had a good reputation in the community and was well respected in the community. When viewed from the outside, it appeared like any normal church.
Faith without works is dead – James 2:14, however…
Romans 10:5 tells us that Moses’ law says we are only right when we obey all of God’s commands. The church today has gone off the deep end with all its programs trying to fulfill the so called “requirements” and have totally missed the main thing! Life in the church can only be born from God’s Holy Spirit.
A busy church doesn’t mean that it is a church that is alive! Many churches are full of CHINO’s – CHristian In Name Only. They fully believe that they are Christian but they have no Spiritual life; they have NEVER believed in the ONE that can walk on water, the ONE that can raise the dead, the ONE that breathed life into a body of clay and it was ALIVE!
SARDIS WAS A CHURCH READY TO DIE
When a paramedic arrives on the scene with a patient with no pulse or breath, they have to make a decision if there is any hope in reviving the patient. The patient is for all intents and purpose, dead unless oxygen can be delivered to the vital organs.
When the human body becomes traumatized, the arteries and vessels that carry blood throughout the body begin to constrict in the extremities. The purpose is to direct the vital flow of blood to the core and brain areas of the anatomy. This is what causes frostbite when the flesh is exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time. When blood quits flowing to the extremities, the flesh begins a slow death.
A cold Spirit-chilling wind has blown across many of our churches today. The church has become a glorified country club filled with folks pretending to be God’s real-deal.
• Instead of being a church, many are pretending to be the church.
• Instead of being fishers of men, we have become keepers of the aquarium.
Church for them has become a ritual if singing hymns and reciting prayers. Even if the truth was there it has been lost in ceremony and formalities. The rituals have absolutely no affect on their lives and they wonder why? As The Message translation says in verse one, they are “stone-dead.”
The Good News?
The Good news is there is a minority that hasn’t become affected by the trappings of the world (vs. 4). There is HOPE!! Even though the majority was riddled with the stains of sin and caught up with the excesses of the world, there was a remnant that had survived.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
Jesus gives the church at Sardis some very specific instructions to become revived. I believe these instructions are valid for many churches in our land today, especially as I see the end-time prophesies unfold every day!
Verse 2 tells us to “Wake Up!” The King James Version uses the phrase “Be watchful.” The Greek word gray-gor-yoo-o can be translated as a strong command to pay attention and be vigilant. The rest of verse two tells us to strengthen what has not been killed off by the death-chill of the church.
In order to strengthen the core, we must focus on the “signs and wonders” ascribed to the early church in Acts chapter two. This was a church that was alive and on fire with God’s Holy Spirit. They didn’t tolerate idle talk, rumors and outright lies. If any of this tried to sprout up, God took care of them as He did with Annanias and Saphira in the Fifth chapter of Acts (yikes!).
Sometimes, a sacrifice must be made in order to preserve the healthy tissue that remains. Many a soldier has come home from war with one less leg or arm because of damage beyond repair caused by war. The damaged part of the body had to be severed in order to preserve life.
As the modern day church, we MUST do all we can to keep the healthy remnant alive and well by feeding it with the Word. Galatians 2:2 tells us that we receive the Spirit by the hearing of faith. We must set aside the formalism and dead works and replace it with the true Spirit of God!