Revelation 3:1-3 NIV
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
“These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
By Reputation Only
What we say we believe and what we really believe can be two different things. Our mouths may profess one thing, but our continuous and consistent actions (our deeds) reveal the truth of what is truly in our hearts and of what we honestly believe.
So, genuine faith in Jesus Christ is not lip service only. It is not just a public confession of Christ as Savior or words we repeat after someone else in a prayer. It is also not a mere acknowledgement of who Jesus is and of what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins.
For, faith in Jesus Christ is not outward only. It is not by reputation only. Just because some people say they believe in Jesus doesn’t mean they really do. Just because they “prayed the prayer” does not mean they are saved, either, or just because they joined a “church,” or they were baptized.
Just because some people say that Jesus set them free from sin doesn’t mean they are free from sin. What they may mean is that they believe they are no longer under condemnation and that they will no longer be punished for their sins, even though they continue living in sin (many of them do).
Some of them are going so far as to say that their faith in Jesus Christ makes no demands on them whatsoever, that they are free from having to obey God, that they don’t have to turn away from their sins, and that they don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord of their lives.
But that is a lie straight from hell! The Scriptures warn about that. They warn about those who think or who teach that freedom in Christ is free license for lasciviousness. They warn those who continue in their sin, and who obey sin, and are slaves to sin, that they will not inherit eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Jude 1:4).
So, the faith that they think they have in Jesus is a dead faith, for it is not accompanied by such works of the Spirit as obedience, repentance, and submission to Christ as Lord. And they are dead sheep because they are following a false gospel taught by false teachers, who are spiritually dead shepherds. So, they are not the sheep of the Lord’s pasture, but they are the sheep of these liars and deceivers who are leading people astray.
So, Wake Up!
Okay, so they are alive in Christ by reputation only. But their deeds show that they are really dead, not alive. So, this is a call to wake from the dead and to truly be alive in Jesus Christ through genuine faith in Jesus Christ which dies with Christ to sin and lives to Christ and to his righteousness.
Not everything is dead though. Something remains that is still alive. They are to strengthen what remains for it is about to die. So, what might that be? The truth, maybe? The truth that they have known, perhaps since childhood, but that they have since rejected? But they still know it?
Well, I don’t know how long the church existed before the book of Revelation was written, so I don’t know how much they knew then, but many people today in America grew up in a “church” where they were taught the Scriptures and they know the truth, but they traded in the truth for a lie.
Many of them went the way of the world and big business and followed the business model for how to “do church,” rather than following the Scriptures. And rather than following Jesus, they became followers of men (and women) who were teaching them feel good messages to pacify their flesh.
So, they do know the truth, but they have been suppressing that truth in order to follow the lies, because the lies give them permission to live in sin, to keep on in their adulteries and immoralities, while being promised heaven when they die. And that lie makes their flesh feel good.
So, this is a warning to those who are in this spiritual condition to reignite the truth they know, to repent of their sins, and to follow Jesus with their lives or truly they will die in their sins and heaven will not be their eternal destiny, but hell will be.
For they reject the truth in favor of a lie which allows them to continue living in addiction to sin, and if they do not repent, God will visit them in judgment. And their end will be death, not eternal life.
Revelation 3:4-6 NIV
“Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
But, praise Jesus, not everyone has gone the way of the world and of the flesh. Not everyone who knows the truth and who was taught the truth has rejected the truth in favor of the lie. There are still believers in Jesus who are walking the walk who are not just talking it, and who are not rejecting it.
They may be few in number, but they are remaining true to the Lord and to their commitments to follow him to the death. And that is because they love the Lord because of his love and grace to them. They understand the sacrifice he made for them for their freedom from slavery to sin, so they don’t want to live in sin, but they want to walk in righteousness.
And this is where we all need to be. For, Jesus died for us that we might live in freedom from slavery (addiction) to sin, and that we might live holy and godly lives pleasing to him. So, if you are living the lie, repent, obey the Lord, and start walking by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and not by the flesh.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.