Study of Revelation and End Times wk 11

Study of Revelations and End Times  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings
· 1 view

Feeble Church


Church at Sardis wk 11

So far we have looked at the first four letters to the churches in Revelation, which is chapter two of Revelation.
Tonight, we begin chapter 3 of Revelation which contains the last three letters to the churches at Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
With that tonight we will be looking at the first of the three, the letter to the church at Sardis, which is contained in the first six verses of chapter three.
The church at Sardis is also referred to as the Feeble church.

I. Destination V. 1a

Revelation 3:1 (NASB95)
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
In this first part of the verse one, we see the destination of this letter which is the important commercial city of Sardis, which was located about 30 miles southeast of Thyatira, on an important trade route that ran east and west through the kingdom of Lydia.
It also laid about fifty miles east of Ephesus at the junction of five main roads, it was at the top of a 1,500 feet acropolis which allowed it to form an impregnable fortress, which allowed for a perfect military center.
The main religion in the city was the worship of Artemis, was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, nature, vegetation, childbirth, care of children, and chastity.
Sardis was also know for its manufacture of woolen garments, also jewelry, dye and textiles which had made the city wealthy.

II. Commendation V. 1b

Revelation 3:1 NASB95
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
The He here is Jesus, as He is reminding the church at Sardis that He is the one giving them the wording for the letter.
He is the Who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.
Here what we think is the word of approval is in actuality a word of rebuke as Jesus says to the church, you have a reputation for being alive, another words other churches regarded Sardis as being an effective church.
But Jesus continues with, but you are dead.
See there are times, and there are churches that from our human perspective that they look alive, they appear to be doing great things for the Kingdom of God, but we must remember that God sees the heart not the outward appearance.
There are churches that come to mind, I wont mention names, but some mega-churches that are large, and from an outward appearance they look to be doing great things for the Kingdom of God, as their attendance on Sunday’s is like 10,000 or more, but again God looks at the heart, what is their heart, what are their true motivations, what are they truly teaching.
But it is not just the mega-churches, it is the small churches sometimes too, they appear to be alive, but in reality as Jesus said they are dead.
See the church was born when the Holy Spirit descend on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and the church’s life comes from the Spirit.
When the Spirit is grieved, the church begins to lose life and power.
When sin is confessed and church members get right with God and with each other, then the Spirit infuses new life-revival into the church.
There was hope for the church at Sardis, because Christ is the Head of the church and He is able to bring new life.
Jesus described Himself as the one possessing the seven Spirits and the seven stars.
There is only one Holy Spirit, but the number seven demonstrates fullness and completeness, and the Seven here is representing the seven churches.
The Holy Spirit gives life to the church, and life is exactly what the people at Sardis needed.
All of the church’s man-made programs can never bring life, any more than a circus can resurrect a corpse.
The church will only come to life when the Holy Spirit is present in the church, without the Holy Spirit, the church might look alive on the outside but will be dead to God.

III. Rebuke

Revelation 3:2 NASB95
2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
The Lord didn’t point out any doctrinal problems that required correction.
Neither is there any mention of opposition or persecution of the church of Sardis.
The church would have been better off had there been some suffering, for it had grown comfortable and content and was living on its past reputation.
There was reputation without reality, form without force.
Like the city itself, the church at Sardis glorified in past splendor, but ignored present decay.
In fact, what they were doing right, Jesus says was about to die!
Why was what they had remaining about to die, because the people were falling asleep, they were dying off.
The people were doing their jobs faithfully, twice in the long history of the church, it had been captured because the people had failed to do their jobs faithfully.
It is when the church’s leaders and members get accustomed to their blessings and complacent about their ministry that the enemy finds his way in.
The assembly in Sardis was not aggressive in its witness to the city.
There was no persecution because there was no invasion of the enemy’s territory.
No friction usually means no motion!
The unsaved is Sardis saw the church as a respectable group of people who were neither dangerous nor desirable.
They were decent people with a dying witness and a decaying ministry.
Our Lord’s counsel to the church began with, wake up, and strengthen the things that remain.
Romans 13:11–12 NASB95
11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
The first step toward renewal in a dying church is honest awareness that something is wrong.
When an organism is alive, there is growth, repair, reproduction, and power; if these elements are lacking in a church, then that church is either dying or already dead.

IV. Exhortation

Revelation 3:3 NASB95
3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
Even though this church was dying, there was hope, there was a remnant of dedicated people in this dying church.
The Christians at Sardis had life, even though it was feeble.
They were working, even though their works were not all that they could have been.
The Lord admonished them to strengthen what remained and not to give up because the church was weak.
Where there is life, there is hope!
See Jesus had warned the Christians at Ephesus that He would come and remove their lampstand if they did not repent.
Then He warned the believers at Pergamum that He would come and make war with the sword of the Spirit if they did not repent.
Now He is warning the believers here at Sardis if they did not follow His orders, He would come as a thief in the night, when they least expect it; and this would mean judgment.
Jesus is giving the believers a chance to own up to their spiritual laziness, spiritual apathy and the lack of spiritual life, and repent and come alive.
Sardis was full of people that was like this with the exception of a very few, but today we see this all over, people show up to churches all across America, and they put on a great show on Sunday, they look alive, they talk the talk on Sunday, but then as soon as the service is over, they walk out to the car, it is right back to reality.
They play church each and every week, and they may fool the people in the church and may even fool the pastor, but we can never fool God, He sees our hearts, He knows the truth.

V. Promise

Revelation 3:4–6 NASB95
4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
This remnant that had not fallen asleep, that had not gotten lazy, that were still dedicated to doing what God had called them too, Jesus says, they have not soiled or defiled their garments.
This remnant had not compromised with the pagan society around them, that is they had not worshipped or practiced in the pagan religions, nor had they grown comfortable and complacent.
It was this devoted spiritual remnant that held the future of the church’s ministry.
It is good to guard our spiritual heritage, but we must not put it on a throne and memorialize it.
See it is good to remember where we came from, but we also must look to God for where He is leading us to go.
It is not enough to be true to the faith and have a great history.
That faith must produce life and works.
James 2:14–17 NASB95
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
Our faith has to be more than just sitting in a pew on Sunday morning from 11 to 12, it has to produce works, if we truly believe what Jesus did for us, then it will spur us to share with others in order that they will receive salvation, also it will spur us to share the love of Jesus Christ through helping those that have needs.
The promise in verse 5 - The one who conquers will be dressed in white garments, would have been especially meaningful to people who lived in a city where wool garments where manufactured like Sardis.
Also the statement in verse 5 - I will not erase his name from the book of life, would also be significant to people in the Roman Empire, where citizenship was vitally important.
Some have taken this verse to state that people can lose their salvation, because it says, I will never erase his name, which follows the one who conquers, which they say if you do not conquer you will be erased.
Let’s clarify this here, we believe that once saved always saved, meaning if you have truly received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, with a personal relationship with Jesus then you cannot lose your salvation.
Once you are covered in the blood of Jesus you cannot remove that blood.
One then may say, why then does Jesus say, that your name can be erased from the book of life, is this not the book of life that we are written in when saved.
One commentary explained it very well, when we are formed in our mother’s womb, at conception, not at birth, but at conception, because that is when Jesus counts us, because he knew us before we were in our mother’s womb.
We are written in the book of life, therefore, this is every person to ever walk the earth, that is the believer and un-believer, is written in the book of life.
Then as people die, if they have not excepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, that is if they were not a believer, then their name is erased from the book of life.
Then at the end of time, when Jesus returns for his millennial reign and eternity begins, the book of life will be converted to then become the Lamb’s book of life.
Because then at that time it will only contain names of believers, followers of Jesus Christ, people that have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and no longer can people deny or receive Jesus.
I have also heard that there is the book of life, where all people’s names are written and there is the Lamb’s book of life, where only believers names are written.
Either way, a believer’s name cannot be erased from the Lamb’s book of life, and Believer’s cannot lose their salvation, as there is multiple Scriptures that tell us that we cannot be plucked out of the hand of God, that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us.
Then the letter closes there in verse six, with let anyone who has ears to hear listen what the Spirit says to the churches.
We need to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit says not just to one of these churches, but to all seven of them, this was the fifth church, we have two left.
The message here is we are not to grow comfortable in our churches, or we find ourselves slowly dying.
The encouragement is that no church is beyond hope as long as there is a remnant in it, willing to strengthen the things that remain.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more