Is Your Church Alive? How?

Revelation 3:1-6 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. 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.’”

Spiritually Alive

What does it mean to be spiritually alive? Well, first of all it means that we have died with Christ to sin, and we have been reborn of the Spirit of God to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives. For our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Sin is to no longer have dominion over us but we are to be slaves of righteousness. So we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6).

And it means that we now, by the Spirit, walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to our sinful flesh but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. So, we no longer walk in sin, in adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, slandering, idolatry, and the like. But we now conduct our lives in holiness, righteousness, godliness, honesty, integrity, uprightness, moral purity, and in faithfulness, by God’s Spirit, and in his power and strength, because we have died with Christ to sin and we are living to God (Rom 8).

And it means that we are no longer walking (in conduct, in practice) as the ungodly do, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not the way that we learned Christ, though many today are learning Christ that way, sad to say. But we are living the truth that is in Christ Jesus that says we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24).

For Jesus Christ said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).

In Reputation Only

Now, sadly, when we hear of “churches” today being alive, it usually is not in reference to being spiritually alive, but it has to do largely with them having a super talented praise band with instrumentalists and singers, and with them singing songs which appeal to today’s generation, with music that mimics the music of the world, and with lyrics that are not teaching deep spiritual truths, but that are usually appealing more to people’s emotions with feel good messages that are fairly watered down and very repetitive.

This “being alive” reputation also has to do with stage productions, and movie clips, and comedy routines, and jokes, and even mocking people who are different from them, and with fancy lighting, and with preaching that appeals more to the flesh, which makes people feel good, which is entertaining and light on truth and righteousness, and which does not offend people or make them feel judged or uncomfortable. And it has to do with fun and entertaining activities for the families to enjoy throughout the week.

So, the only way that most of these “churches” have a reputation of being spiritually alive is in name only, for they are considered to be gatherings of people calling themselves Christians, who are supposed to be those who are worshipers of God, of Jesus Christ, who are supposed to be those who believe in the Bible (the Scriptures – Genesis to Revelation) and who teach on Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, and on God’s grace, and on our salvation from sin, and on forgiveness of sins, and on eternal life with God.

And there are still gatherings of Christians in America where they still hold firmly to the teachings of the Scriptures, and where they still teach the true gospel, although some of them lean more towards what the bible calls legalism. Whereas the more modern market-driven “churches” are leaning more in the direction of libertinism, which gives way (free license) for what is immoral, corrupt, perverted, and wicked, and few appear to be fully in line with what the Scriptures teach on salvation and the Christian life.

Wake Up and Strengthen

So, this is a call to all who call themselves Christians who have a reputation of being spiritually alive, by profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but who are still spiritually dead or who are mostly dead (alive at first, but since have fallen by the wayside). You are to wake up spiritually, to come alive spiritually by genuine (or renewed) faith in Jesus Christ, which involves dying with Christ to sin and living to God and to his righteousness daily. You are to no longer walk in sin, but now in obedience to Jesus Christ.

If you do not wake up, but you choose to keep living in sin, in direct disobedience to God, thinking that God’s grace is going to cover it all and that you will still go to heaven when you die, then you need to know that God is going to come against you in judgment. And if you do not turn away from your sinful practices, and if you choose to not walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands, and you do not repent and obey him, then when you die or when Jesus returns you will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But thank the Lord, not all who profess faith in Jesus are living a lie, professing one thing while living another. There is a remnant of faithful followers of Jesus Christ, who by the grace of God are walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, who take God and his word seriously, and who are holding on strong to the truths of Scriptures and of the gospel, and who are sharing that gospel message with others so that they might be saved and have eternal life.

But no matter where you find yourself now, you have to remember that our faith must be continuous, and that we must persevere in it until the very end if we are to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For, our salvation will not be complete until Jesus returns. If you are walking in sin now, repent, and obey the Lord. And if you are walking in holiness, continue in that holiness and do not allow yourself to be taken captive by the wiles of the devil. And he who conquers will have eternal life with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

Wake Up!

An Original Work / November 25, 2011
Based off Ephesians 5:1-21; Revelation 3:1-6

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead.
Your God awaits you to do what
He says to you.
Be not conformed to your selfish will.
Trust in the Lord. Do what He says.
He will give you victory.
Do not walk in darkness;
Come into the light of love.

Listen to your Savior calling
You to obey all His teachings.
Repent of your sin, and
Christ will shine His love on you.
He waits patiently for you to
Heed His whispers to your heart.
Will you hasten to obey Him;
Not from Him depart?

Live your life from this day forward,
Walking in His love and mercy.
Let Him cleanse you of all your sins.
Dwell with Him today.
Do not insult God’s grace to you.
Do not make light of your sin.
Let the light of His truth come
And free you from within.

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