Rev 3:1-6 says, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
The Story of the Thief
This church was located in the city of Sardis which was the capital city of Sardis. This city was well known historically for two militaristic advancements that had brought the city to its knees. This city was a wealthy mountain fortress that made it very difficult to capture and overthrow by outside invaders. In fact the people were so assured that the city could not be taken they wouldn’t even set up watchmen or guards around the city wall. One soldier of Cyrus with the great Persian army noticed a young soldier climb down the mountain to retrieve his helmet that he had let fall. This showed the Persian army that this mountain face was climbable. To their own surprise the Persian army arrived to the top of the mountain late in the night to find no guards nor watchmen at post. Leading to a very surprising and destructive night for the people of Sardis as they fell swiftly to the Persian army. They regrettably did not learn from this great loss but again some time later fell to another king the same way, because they were too complacent to watch. Christ utilized this imagery that would hit home with the people of Sardis that if they did not return to Him, and soon, then he would come quickly and swiftly with judgement.
A Dead Church That Was Dying
To the world and those in the community of Sardis, the church was alive, and it was thriving. They were even known throughout the region as a thriving church with a lot of work going on. They may have been known to the community of being alive, but to those sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and to Christ Himself, He knew they were dead. You know when you are in the presence of death, if you aren’t dead yourself; it has an unmistakable feeling about it. There so many Christians today who they think they are alive, people around them think they are alive, and the world even thinks they are alive, but Christ knows that they are dead. It does not matter how often you attend church, the position that you have, the opportunities that you have, or all that you do for the church, none of that determines whether or not you are truly living. It is far more difficult to convince a religious person that he is dead than it is to convince the drunk that he is dead and without God. Yet, Christ’s love for every man is portrayed here showing up to a church that was just a façade of Christ to let them know that they were out of the way.
The Solution: Remember What You Heard! Remember How You Received It!
What did you hear that made you right with God? Was it not that Christ died at Calvary for your sins? That despite the mess that you find yourself in right now that Jesus loves you and He would do anything to have a relationship with you? Don’t you remember? Remember the love that He poured out for you at Calvary!
Remember what you received when the Holy Spirit invaded your life. He washed away your sins, He recreated you on the inside, and you were born again! Remember, and turn from the way you are going back to the crucified life.
Jesus is Calling! [song title is Softly and Tenderly]
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
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