Revelation 3:1-3 ESV
“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. 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.’”
When we read the next section of verses, we see that there were a few people in the city who had not soiled their garments, spiritually speaking. They were not dead (or mostly dead), but they were spiritually alive. But they were in the minority.
So, from this we can gather that the church (overall) in the city was dead (or mostly dead). And this reminds me of the church (overall) in America today which is also dead (or mostly dead). And those in America who are truly walking in obedience to their Lord are definitely in the minority.
So, first Jesus tells them that they have a reputation of being alive but they are dead. But then he tells them to wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die.
So, it appears that, by contrast to their reputation of being spiritually alive, they are dead, but not completely dead, for something remained, but it was in danger of dying, too, if they did not repent. For the Lord did not find their works complete in his sight.
Now, did you notice the use here of the word “works”? He is not talking about works of the flesh, and he is not talking about humans’ good works which will not save them. He is talking about the works which we were created to walk in (Eph 2:10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Phil 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thes 1:11-12; 2 Tim 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17).
Regarding the good works we were created to walk in (in practice), they were not complete in God’s sight. They were spiritually alive in reputation only, but not in works. So, they needed to wake up spiritually. They needed to be revived, and that would only happen if they would repent of their spiritual deadness and if they would surrender their all to Jesus Christ.
The Church in America
The reason that the church (overall, the majority) in America is mostly dead, even though they have a reputation of being spiritually alive, is that most have gone the way of the world in order to attract the world to the church.
They have partnered with the government and big business in an unholy union in order to market the church to the world just like any other business. Thus, they turned the church into a marketplace in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world.
So, they altered the church gatherings to make them more acceptable and appealing to the world, and the church became more of a center for family friendly fun and entertainment and for socialization. And pastors were turned into entertainers, actors, and clowns to keep the people laughing.
But the worst part of it all is that they also adulterated the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world and to human flesh. So, they removed from it the parts that offend people, and they include only the parts which people are comfortable with, but then they also twist those parts to give a message which tickles itching ears.
What they remove is the necessity of having to be crucified with Christ in death to sin and us having to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God on a daily basis. So, on a most basic level, what they teach is that a mere profession of faith in Christ secures people heaven.
So, what they do is that they give people free license to continue living in sin guilt-free. Even if they teach against sin, which many don’t anymore, many are pretty casual about “Christians” who continue living in sinful addiction. They don’t want to get in anyone’s face or offend anyone, so they end up coddling people in their sins rather than leading them to holy living.
The gospel that is permeating much of today’s church here in America goes much further than that, though. They teach against repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord. They say that is works-based salvation and that we should not do that. They teach that Jesus does it all and that we do nothing, and so they encourage people to remain in bondage to sin.
Since it appears that the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians today are buying into some form of this false gospel which requires no dying to sin or living to righteousness, that is why the church is spiritually dead and needs to wake up and repent and turn to the Lord in humble submission to his will for their lives.
And I believe this is why we are facing the stuff we are now facing in America and in the world, for God is judging his adulterous church so that she will wake up and so she will repent, and so she will return (or turn) to him as her only Lord and Savior, so she will have the hope of eternal life with God.
For, the Scriptures teach that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin that we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
Revelation 3:4-6 ESV
“’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.’”
Even though it appears that the overall spiritual condition of the church in America (and in other parts of the world, too) is like this church in Sardis, not everyone has compromised with the world. Not everyone has bowed the knee to the marketing plans of men and to their diluted gospel message.
There are Christians in America who are still holding to the gospel as Jesus taught it and as the New Testament apostles taught it. We have not bought into the teaching that says we can continue living in sin guilt-free and that nothing is required of us. We are not perfect people, but we are surrendered to Christ and we are walking in obedience to his commands.
And the encouragement here is for the whole church to be surrendered to Jesus Christ, to be no longer living to the flesh but to the Spirit. For if we live to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting sin to death and we are walking according to the Spirit, then we will live.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.