Appearance of Life, but Really Dead

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.’”

The church in Sardis was the body of Christ throughout the entire city. There was and is ONLY ONE church, which is the body of Christ, with Christ as our head. But she can meet in various places, which I am certain this church in Sardis did, for back then they didn’t have big beautiful buildings to meet in. They met in homes or they met at the temple courts or wherever they could find a place to meet. So ONE CHURCH, different locations.

Now today, at least here in America, when we hear the term “church,” most people think of a building called “church” or a church denomination, but the church is neither the building nor the church denomination nor a business nor a corporation under the state. But yet that is what she has been turned into in practice, for the most part. Yet, the body of Christ still exists, but she is not one and the same as these buildings called “church.”

So, what has happened in our day and time, and perhaps this has been going on a lot longer than I am aware of, is that the body of Christ compromised with the world and with the government and with big business, and she incorporated herself under the state, and she turned the gatherings of the church into a business to be operated just like any other business so that she is now marketing “the church” to the people of the world.

So, in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings, they had to make more compromises with the world. And so worship services started turning into stage productions for the people’s entertainment. And pastors became showmen and actors and clowns in order to entertain the people and to keep them coming back for more. And they started getting their messages from people of the world and not from the Holy Spirit, and they pretty much all diluted the gospel message to make it more acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world.

Across the Board

Now this didn’t happen to just one congregation. This happened across the board to pretty much all congregations, and it seemed to happen all at once in a big massive movement which crossed denominational boundaries and which got pastors of various church denominations to all follow the marketing schemes of one man who told them how they could all grow their churches (or plant churches).

And if you think about it with me for a moment, what would that take to make that happen? People in high up positions in church denominations and in Bible colleges and seminaries would all have to agree together to promote this to their pastors (and pastors in training) to where the masses of them would embrace the whole idea of incorporating under the state and to then run their “churches” just like businesses.

Well, that is obviously what happened, and then it appeared that most congregations did embrace the idea and so most gatherings called “church” today in America all seem to be incorporated under the state and are being run like businesses, and they are marketing their gatherings to the people of the world and so they are making compromises with the world, and the Holy Spirit has been pushed out of most of these participating “churches.”

Now, outwardly, many of these “churches” appear successful. Some are dying, true, but most appear to be alive and active in their communities with all kinds of fun stuff for families and lots of activities and fun preachers who know how to make the people laugh, and a friendly atmosphere where they make it their goal not to offend the people of the world. But isn’t the gospel supposed to offend the people of the world? Yes!

So, although they may seem alive, spiritually they are dead (or mostly dead) because they are following a religion of men and not of God. They are listening to marketers over and above the Scriptures. And they are getting their sermons from men, and not from the Holy Spirit. For it appears most of them are teaching the same cheap grace gospel (not true biblical grace). Now I am certain there are exceptions to this, but this does appear to be the majority.

So, the Lord is speaking to these “churches,” which do have true believers in Jesus among them, though they are in the minority. And he is calling them to repent. Now most of them appear to not be listening, but Jesus is still calling the believers in these congregations to repent of their desertion from the true faith in order to compromise with the world to be acceptable to the people of the world and in order to grow their earthly kingdoms. And he is calling them to wake up from their spiritual slumber.

If your congregations which have compromised with the world, and are now being market-driven, do not repent of their desertion of Christ as Lord and of their compromises with the world, God will judge them. I believe he already began that judgement, not sure when, but I definitely saw it begin to take place in March of 2020 when so many of these institutional churches had to close the doors to their “churches” because of the pandemic. I think things have not really returned to “normal” since then, but that is my opinion.

A Good Side

Now, there is a good side to this. Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” has deserted the faith and compromised with the world and agreed to allow the church to move in this wrong direction. There is a remnant of true followers of Jesus Christ who have not gotten on board with all this marketing stuff and with diluting the message of the gospel. There are still saints of God in the land who are holding true to the Scriptures and who are following Jesus in walks of obedience to his commands. Praise God! I rejoice!

Now we are in the minority, but that is okay to be in the minority if you are in the right and not in the wrong. And we have the hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God because we have not compromised with the world but we have remained steadfast in our faith in walks of obedience to our Lord’s commands and in lives dedicated to holy living. But those who are still making sin their practice, and who are not walking in obedience to the Lord, they will not inherit eternal life with God. Please take this to heart!

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

Caution: This link may contain ads
P.S. This is not an endorsement of the singers other than as musicians

2 thoughts on “Appearance of Life, but Really Dead

  1. Hi Sue, I listened to this duet of father and daughter the other day and it was so beautiful. It struck me that one can see the image but not always hear the message. I would have missed this if I had not taken the time to look further. And isn’t that the truth! Thank you and as always, God’s Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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