Continue on the Letters to the Churches…
Description of Jesus:
‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 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. 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.
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.’
Sardis was a wealthy city. The people there were wealthy. Jesus had some harsh words for the church in Sardis. Basically, they were the walking dead. They had strayed so far from Him, the truth.
Sardis was a church full of un-repented sin.
The church did many things, they went through the motions, but their deeds were “not completed in the eyes of God”. Sardis was a dead church because their hearts were not in it and they were following false teachings. Jesus calls for them to “Wake up and repent”. They need to go back to the basics of what they were taught and re-grow their faith in the right direction this time. They got off-track.
Jesus recognizes that a handful were faithful and on the right track and they were found worthy.
This letter to church in Sardis is scary because it speaks to those who believe they are saved and are not.
Some people believe that once a person is saved they can never lose their salvation and I do agree with that statement in that salvation is not like car keys, you can’t “lose” it, it is not a thing.
I also believe that no one else, not angel, or principality or such can separate you from the love of God which is through Christ Jesus. Having said that though, I also believe that as we “choose” God, we can also “un-choose” God. No other “created thing” can separate us, but it doesn’t say that we can’t separate ourselves from God.
I do believe that the Bible is filled with Jesus giving warnings to His own disciples, to stay vigilant in the faith, to remain faithful until the end, warning after warning is given to NOT be led astray. Some warnings we are given and told not to do:
- just giving lip service to God, saying all the right things but not feeling them in our hearts
- going through the motions of good deeds for the wrong reasons like believing our good deeds will save us or doing things just to be recognized by man and gain praise from man
- following false teachings by not giving the attention needed to check things against Scripture
I believe, and I know others will disagree and that is ok, but I believe that salvation is not to be taken for granted.
The believers in the church of Sardis took their salvation for granted. They believed they were saved. They had a beautiful church on the outside, they did good works etc. On the inside they were following false teachings and were filled with sin.
Jesus is warning them. Wake up! Repent! Jesus stands ready and waiting with forgiveness for anyone who will wake up and repent. Jesus knows how easy it is to be led astray. Jesus knows how easy it is forget the basics, to forget what we are taught. He says over and over to Wake up and repent! Come back to Me!
Sadly, there are many people out there who believe they will be saved, but will not. There are many people out there that are following false teachings or have lost the belief in their hearts. They may sit by you in church every Sunday, they may help out and do many good works and have none of it touch their hearts. They may be the walking dead.
“They” may be “you”.
Do you feel the same passion and love for Christ as you felt when you first came to faith?
If not, do what you can to renew your passion and love!
Get back to the basics of what you first were taught and validate the basics through Scripture. Always check new teachings against Scripture. Never take someone else’s word for truth.
Are you feeling the worship service in your heart or just singing the words with your lips? Are you singing TO God or just singing?
Is the outward appearance more important than what’s inside? This includes everything…yourself, your friends, other people, what church you attend, what car you drive, what job you hold?
Do you find yourself caring more about what others see, shallow impressions, than the heart that God sees? Are you going through the motions because others expect you to, or because you love God?
If you are struggling with this, repent and turn back to Jesus! He is waiting for you with forgiveness and love.