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FOR EKKLESIA

The Church in Sardis

Scripture Revelation 3:1-6 NIV

- For Ekklesia Part 6 - The Church in Sardis

- The church in Sardis was known as the FEEBLE church.

- Feeble: weak intellectually or morally; frail; weak from sickness or age.

- What is interesting about this diagnosis for this church is that it didn’t match who they were supposed to be.

- According to history, the city of Sardis was a military center; it was located 1,500 feet above the main roads; it was supposed to have the advantage over its enemies because it was not an easy city to attack, and yet history records that this city had been captured twice.

- What does that say? It had every reason to be a fortified city, but they didn’t do their job; they were a lazy city.

- Additionally, the church was so fixed on its past glory that they forgot about their present and their future.

 

- In Rev. 3:1a,

- there is only one Holy Spirit, but the reason He describes Holy Spirit as “seven spirits” is because seven represents fullness and completeness.

- It is apparent then that Holy Spirit was lacking in this church; the presence was missing.

- Additionally, Jesus reminds them that He holds the seven stars. The seven stars represent the leaders of these churches. Jesus was reminding them that He is ultimately in charge of the leadership of these churches.

- they needed to acknowledge His authority over them and seek His presence to come fill their church again!

 

- Rev. 3:1b-2

- They had a history of being alive.

- But the commendation was that they were only known for their past, not their present.

- Additional commendation that we just read was that they were encouraged to “strengthen what remains.” There was still some good in them.

 

- But in the same verse we just read, Jesus tells them, “but currently, you are dead.”

- What existed was enough to rebuild, but what existed was also not enough to call this church an “alive” church.

 

- Rev. 3:2

- “Stop being lazy; you are my church; get up!” You need revival!

- He said, “I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.” That tells me that they rejected Holy Spirit, who remember, is the complete Spirit necessary for any church to exist and thrive.

- He told them to strengthen what remains and what was about to die. If Jesus didn’t believe they could rebuild from this, He would have already removed their lampstand.

 

- Rev. 3:3a

- They had heard the Word before. This church, at one time, was not only a presence driven church, but it was a Word established church.

- And it was time, now, to remember that Word and go back to it.

- 1Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come…

- Jude 1:18-19 says, “In the last times there will be scoffers…

- In both of these warnings from the apostles Timothy and Jude to these churches that they were writing to, they reminded them, “You can’t have a church without the Word and the Spirit.”

 

- Rev. 3b

- This church was being commanded to repent; time was up.

- And the alternative? Jesus said He was coming as a thief.

- In John 10:10 Satan is described as a thief who’s aim is to steal, kill and destroy.

- Here, Jesus is now describing Himself as a thief, with the same objective; to those who do not repent, I will come to steal away your lampstand; that means I will take away your existence as a church. I will kill will little you do have left; I will wipe out the remnant that remains. And I will ultimately destroy this city because this church didn’t do its job.

- In fact, He says to this church, “you will not know at what time I come.”

- Like a thief, they recognized, they would be unprepared for His visit. But this shouldn’t have come as a complete shock to them; they weren’t conducting themselves as they should have been.

 

- Rev. 3:4

- the reason they could come back from this judgement was because of a few people in the church.

- It’s interesting to note that He said, “only a few people remain faithful”; if you remember any of the other churches and their correction, this was the only church that the bad outweighed the good.

 

- In Rev. 3:4 He went on to say, “Those few will walk with Me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.”

- Sardis was a city known for its manufacture of woolen garments. In other words, the people in this city were familiar with texture, textiles and fabric; it was familiar to them.

- In Rev. 3:4, when He said to them, “a few haven’t soiled their clothes,” they knew what soiling a garment would do to the garment.”

- Rev. 3:5, “I will never blot out his name,” they could also identify with that statement because they knew what a blot on a garment would do to the garment.

 

- Rev. 3:6

- And just like all the other churches, this book was not just for the leaders who may have led this church astray, but anybody who was hearing this reading was subject to everything they heard.

- Everybody in this church was on notice; from the Pastor to the Pew member.

 

- The message to the church in Sardis is a warning to all, both church and individual, that are living on past glory.

- A study done by Dr. Vance Havner concluded that spiritual ministries often go through four stages: a man, a movement, a machine, and then a monument.

- Sardis was at the “monument” stage, and yet there was still hope!

- Holy Spirit is the only one who can give life to the church; nothing else will do that.

- I’m here to tell you church that all of the church’s witty and create programs can never bring life, any more than the super bowl can raise a man from his casket. The church was born when the Spirit of God came on the Day of Pentecost, and the only reason the church is still alive today is because Holy Spirit is still here. When we reject Holy Spirit, the church begins to lose life and power. But when we repent of our sins and we get back to doing church with Him and His way, then the Spirit breathes new life – and that my friends is what you call REVIVAL!

 

- The church in Sardis’ problem was that only a few remained faithful; only a few had not soiled their clothes.

 

- The church in Sardis would have been better off had there been some suffering, because it had grown comfortable and content and was living on its past reputation.

- It reminds me when I hear people talk about “The good ‘ol days.” I

- Listen, I appreciate those days and times and stories, but they weren’t the best; these are the best, and get ready, because tomorrow will be better. How do I know this?

- Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans…

- Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing, now it springs up, do you not see it?”

- 2 Corinthians 2:9 says, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

- In other words, in all these scriptures, God is encouraging you all today, the best is yet to come.

- It is so good to guard our spiritual heritage, but we must not enshrine it like a monument.

- What happened then was great, but we can’t bring it back to life; our only hope now is that Holy Spirit will bring us something even greater!

- Aloneness is the enemy’s playground. You need consistent church fellowship to grow and stay spiritually awake!

- When we get so fixed on the former days, that is when the church’s leaders and members get complacent about their ministry that the enemy finds his way in.

- 1Timothy 6:6 says it like this, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

- To be content means to live with expectancy that any minute this can change, but for the better.

- To live complacent or comfortable means to live without desire for more or refusal to change for better.

 

- In all that we read about the church in Sardis, it made no mention of persecution. All the other churches we read about; persecution, adversity, test and trial. But here, no persecution.

- When the church is experiencing no persecution or adversity, that means we aren’t invading the enemies territory. In other words, Satan doesn’t see us a threat to his kingdom.

- Intentionality doesn’t always need inspiration, but when you allow Holy Spirit to control every part of your life, you will always answer His calling to you.

- Psalm 27:8, “My heart has heard…”

 

- When there is no friction it usually means there is no motion.

- Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

- Friction sharpens us; it makes better and stronger. Without friction we cannot be sharpened.

- James 1:2, “Count it all joy…

- Do you know what adversity should cause you to do? It should cause the flame within you to intensify.

- Adversity should draw us closer to the church whereas the enemy desire is that persecution separates us.

- Don’t let circumstance cause your flame to go out.

 

- The first step toward revival in our lives and in a dying church is honest awareness that something is wrong.

 

- Rev. 3:4-5, “Those who haven’t soiled their clothes… they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life,”

- he says, “But if you overcome, like them, you’ll be dressed in white.”

- If you can overcome this, if you can come back from this, then you’ll be dressed in white. But if you become lazy, and complacent, and comfortable, like the people in the church in Sardis, don’t think the Lord won’t blot out your name from His book.

- He said in verse 5, He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will never blot his name from the book of life.”

- God may write in pen, but according to scripture, He can still blot your name out if you don’t live up to what you said you would do.

- We cannot take our salvation for granted. Do you want to ruin your garment? Two things here: Every time you sin, you stand a chance of having your name permanently blotted out, and the more comfortable you get with your sin, the likelihood He will permanently blot out your name from the book of life.

- “Wake up! Stop being lazy! Repent! Remember the Word you have received and obey it!”

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