Something is Amiss in Sardis
“…faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.“
Welcome to week six of our study through the seven churches in Revelation. Today, we will be looking at the church in Sardis. 30 miles southeast of Thyatira, Sardis was built on a plateau making it secure, or hard to attack. However, that led to the residents becoming over confident. They had a safe location, so they weren’t worried about actively protecting their city. They falsely believed they were safe. Yet history tells us this was not the case. The belief the city as a whole held about their physical safety, is the same problem the church in Sardis faced spiritually. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what He had to say to this church:
And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things:
I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won’t watch, I will come as a thief, and you won’t know what hour I will come upon you. Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and 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 assemblies.
~ Revelation 3:1-6
I’ll be really honest with you. The letter to the church in Sardis scares me more than any of the letters we’ve looked at so far. This was a church who thought they were good with God, but Jesus didn’t agree. In fact, He didn’t say they were doing anything worthy of praise.
In Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s commentary about this church, she suggested that the reason they weren’t facing persecution as the other churches were, was because they weren’t doing anything to make Satan worried about them. They didn’t need to be persecuted, because they weren’t standing strong. They weren’t a threat to Satan, or to any other religions in the city.
The Christians in Sardis were docile.
Sure, they were known as Christians, but they didn’t have anything to back up that claim. To paraphrase James 2:17, faith without works is dead, and that’s exactly what Jesus said about this church. They had a reputation of being alive, but they were dead (Rev. 3:1). Moreover, they thought they were alive, but they weren’t. If that doesn’t scare you as a christian, I don’t know what will.
2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” With that in mind, I want to ask you how you are suffering persecution today? If you’re not, there could be a problem.
Being a christian isn’t popular. Not even in America. Not even here in the Bible belt. If you are serious about your faith, you will find Paul’s words to Timothy to be true in your life. But there lies the problem. Too many Christians aren’t serious enough about their faith for it to be powerful enough for anyone else to worry about.
As christians we go to church and maybe read our Bibles at home, but that’s as far as it goes. Non-believers and false teachers don’t have to worry about us, because we don’t rock the boat. We don’t stand up for our beliefs. We just live and let live. Would you be surprised if I told you the great commission says nothing around those lines?
“Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
~ Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus didn’t tell us not to rock the boat. He said, “You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9) If we aren’t facing persecution, we need to wake up. We are in danger of Jesus telling us that our deeds are not complete (Rev. 3:2).
I find so many times I let things slip by. Opportunities to stand up for my faith. Whether it is by calling out gossip among my christian sisters, or denouncing a false teacher for fear of starting an argument. And you might see some of these in your life as well…
- Do you ever stay quiet just to avoid controversy?
- Do you let others go their way, and just worry about yourself (and maybe your immediate family)?
- Do you ever compromise your faith by going along with the crowd (whether at work, with friends, or among your family)?
- Do you ever let the opportunity to share Christ’s love with someone pass, for fear of what they might say?
Those are just a few ways we can fail to live the life God has called us to on a daily basis. Today, I want to leave you with a call. I call you to be serious enough about your faith to rock the boat. I call you to be willing to stand up for the one who died for you. And this isn’t something I am just calling you to do, it’s something I’m asking of myself as well. So I ask you, will you join me in rocking the boat for Christ?
“And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.“
- Summarize this letter in your own words. What would you say God wanted us to understand from reading it?
- How can we know if we are alive in Christ?
- Are you serious enough about your faith to rock the boat?
Take it Further:
- Look up the following verses: John 13:35; Matthew 12:33; Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:17-18; Revelation 3:3;
- Click here to download the group study guide.
- Leave a comment below.
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