What is a prop? What is a stage prop? And, what is the purpose of props or stage props? And, what about the stage (or staged)?
Prop: “To support by placing something under or against —often used with up (to prop up); sustain, strengthen; something used in creating or enhancing a desired effect” (M-W Dictionary).
Staged: “Contrived for a desired impression” (dictionary.com).
Stage prop: “A property (commonly shortened to prop) is an item used on screen or stage to help enhance a performance. It can make a scene feel more authentic or help actors play their role more adequately” (Source: spurcreative.co.uk).
So, this is something which is used to support, sustain or to strengthen a desired impression; something or an item used in a performance for creating or for enhancing a desired effect, i.e. this is something used to enhance the act to make it appear more authentic (true), or to help actors (pretenders; deceivers) to play their roles (their performances) more effectively.
Enhancing a Performance
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” Rev. 3:1 ESV
What the Lord is showing me here about this church, which represents a large portion of the church here in the USA, I believe, is that it is “propped up” to make it look like it is spiritually alive when truly it is destroyed, fallen away, declined spiritually, degenerate, and ruined; a failure, disgraceful, defeated and a wreck; immoral, wicked, worldly, and fleshly.
They circumvent the truth in order to sustain and to strengthen the lie. And, the lie is the desired impression they want to leave, that they want in the forefront. So, they use “props” to help them keep this lie going.
So, what kind of props? Advertising is certainly one of them. Marketing schemes is another. Even the Bible can be a prop to make it look like they are spiritual when they are not. Stage productions in themselves are props. Anything which would make them appear as though they are spiritual when they are not is a prop. The gospel they preach is a prop, too, for what they put out at the forefront is the first half of the gospel message only, giving the impression that they are telling the whole truth, when they are not. A half-truth is still a lie if it is told in order to deceive naïve minds.
This church lives as though they have never been freed from their sins. They live as though the natural man, the sin nature, is still the one in control. They are double-minded, deceitful, dishonest, and unfaithful to the one who saved them from their sins. Their leaders, too, are often wolves in sheep’s clothing who are out to kill and to destroy the church, not to save her.
They teach this half-truth gospel which excludes repentance and obedience to Christ and which gives a false impression that one can be saved and going to heaven and still live according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit. But, scripture says the opposite. Scripture says if we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the flesh (fulfilling our lustful desires) that we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Rev. 3:2-3 ESV
So, the Lord Jesus is calling out to this “propped up” fallen church to wake up spiritually, and to strengthen what little bit of spiritual life might still be there but is about to die. Their works are incomplete because so much of them are works of the flesh, to gratify the cravings of the sinful flesh. Included in this is man-made religion, and I am not speaking just of legalism, either, for today’s modern church movement is very driven by the flesh of man and not by the Spirit of God.
They have united themselves with a “false love,” a mistress, which is this false gospel which promises them a false hope of salvation based on a lie (a half-truth). It gives them carte blanche to continue in their sinful addictions without guilt and without remorse, but it is still a lie. And, it will kill them if they do not repent!
So, this fallen “propped up” church, which gives a false impression of being spiritually alive but is actually mostly dead, needs to remember what the scriptures teach, and not just the ones which support this “feel good” watered-down gospel, but all the scriptures in the New Testament which teach about salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life with God, etc. We can’t build our doctrine of salvation off of just a few verses, though many do, because they take them out of context and apply them wrongfully.
So, we need to know what the Word of God teaches, and read what Jesus and his NT apostles taught with regard to why Jesus died on that cross, and as to the meaning of God’s grace and faith and salvation. And, then we need to obey the truth which says we must repent of our sins, and we must walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life… and which teaches us that God’s grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
If this “propped up” fallen church does not turn away from her sins, and if she does not reject (throw off) this false grace gospel and the old man (sinful flesh), the Lord is saying he will come against her in judgment.
Walk in White
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Rev. 3:4-6 ESV
Yet, not every individual believer in Jesus Christ has fallen prey to deception and captivated by clever deceivers and enchanters, nor has every congregation of the saints of God followed after the ways of man and of the flesh. There are many, though they may be the minority, at least here in the USA, who are walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, who are not walking (not living) according to (in agreement with) the flesh (sin nature).
They are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for they are worthy, not because of anything they have done in the flesh, but because they have yielded their lives over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and they have allowed him to purify their hearts and to conform them to his likeness. They have separated themselves from what is worldly so that they can be made into the likeness (the image) of their Lord Jesus, yet they are still a work in progress. God will be refining our hearts until the day he takes us home.
So, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Rom. 8:1-17).
As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1
As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You…
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
Sunday, January 28, 2018, 7:17 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name.