To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this:
"I know your deeds, that you have a name that you’re alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. Revelation 3:1-2
Sardis is the fifth of the seven churches. She was the capital of ancient Lydia, situated about 30 miles S of Thyatira. There was a strong imperial cult there. The seven Spirits is what Jesus holds as recorded in Isaiah 11:2-4:
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, and He will delight in the fear of the Lord and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
The seven stars are the angels of the churches. Then He begins to hold this church and us accountable to the deeds He is well aware of. This church has a reputation among men that they are alive spiritually, but God has a true knowledge of what is taking place, because He sees inside of our minds and motives of our heart behind our religious deeds. Whatever is not done out of obedience and simply for the love of God will burn when our works are tried in the fire. We must wake up to this truth in God’s Word. We must not follow one another, but follow our Christ, our Bridegroom. Jesus, although He was the Son of God, learned obedience through the things He suffered to the point of death and resurrection. His deeds were found completed, He was able to proclaim "it is finished" from the cross. Please take the time to read Hebrews 5.
John 8:28 reads:
So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. "
John 12:49-50 He declares:
For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
I wish this was true today in our lives as believers. We areso busy doing our own thing and speaking our words in His name we have forgotten what His Word commands. The majority of professing Christians are doing a lot of speaking on their own initiative and putting His name on it. If it isn’t backed by Scripture it is not obedience, but a dead work. I believe God gave me His definition of a dead work: It is any thing you do, not performed out of obedience initiated by Him. Any word spoken not initiated by Him is not words of eternal life. Read again the last part of John 12:50!
"I know His Words are eternal life."
I am sick to death of Bible studies more full of the teacher’s Words than His Word. I am tired of listening to the emotional babble rather than the Word of life during worship and so called prayer meetings. The enemy keeps the sheep distracted from the true Shepherd and we follow one another rather than Him and His Words. You can’t improve on the Word of God. Proverbs 10:19 warns us where there is a multitude of words you will find sin.
"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."
The Bible also tells us in Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus made Himself of no reputation, but took the form of a servant. He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Please read these verses in your Bible and underline them. I am afraid most haven’t read them lately as I see many seeking a reputation for themselves and motives mostly from selfish ambition and empty conceit. The very things our Lord did none of, but warned us against. We will never be able to stand before Him with our deeds completed, unless we choose to truly follow our Lord and become His bondservants. Let us wake up! Let’s look at the instructions He is giving us and this church this morning.
Revelation 3:3-4 reads:
"So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you."
They have become complacent from where they started. They had received and heard the truth. They had not kept it! Our relationship with Christ is just like a good marriage; it has to be tended daily, or it will become stale and eventually die. True repentance is necessary. If there is true repentance we change directions. Shedding tears externally, but not having a broken and contrite spirit will not work. We first must humble ourselves as we read Jesus did in Philippians. He is telling us He is coming like a thief. Be prepared; ready yourselves!
Not all were rebuked. Revelation 3:4-5 states:
"But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."
Notice it is a few that have remained faithful. I find this often stated in scriptures which has taught me to be prudent and discerning about what the masses are doing. I find few true bondservants in the body of Christ according to Scripture. I don’t know why we try so hard to impress and seek the approval of man more than God when we read His Word. I want to be counted as an overcomer by My Lord according to His standard which is His Son. He is our example; no other man or woman. Jesus has the power to erase our name from the Book of Life, and He will if we choose to not obey Him, and reject His love and sacrifice. What could be greater than to be clothed in the white garment of His robe of righteousness and to hear Him confess our name before the Father God and the angels? Seriously, think about it. Who and what are you living for? He concludes with that now familiar statement:
" He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches."
Are we honestly hearing what the Spirit is saying to each one of us this morning? He is speaking through His Word. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth.
In His love.
How blessed to spend yesterday running one of my favorite trails, Castle Rock Gorge Loop near Floyd, Va off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Challenging, rugged, and filled with God’s glorious creation!