Sunday, Oct 29, 2017PM Service
God's People in Sardis: The Church of the Walking Dead (Part 1)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
Passage: Revelation 3:1-6
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The church in Sardis had a spiritual problem. They had a reputation as a people with a lively vibrant faith in Christ and they thought they had great spiritual influence. The reality was the opposite. They were devoid of influence and Christ is calling them to repent from the current trajectory. Christ also points out that some in the church are not phonies and are worthy of His name.

The church in Sardis had become complacent. Where there is complacency in the body, there is vulnerability. They had become over-confident.  And Christ mercifully puts the light of truth on their spiritual; condition. Human self-sufficiency is at the center of the problem and they had grown dull in God’s word.

Looking over at Hebrews 6:10-12, the writer warns of complacency.

  • Earlier in Hebrews 5:11, the writer warns of spiritual laziness and its effect; they have become dull and unable to discern Truth.
  • Then in Hebrews 6:12, the writer encourages them not to grow sluggish.
    • True believers always persevere and pay attention to God’s commands as they grow in obedience.
    • Being obedient to the commands of Scripture is the means that the believer grows in faith and becomes more discerning of the things of Christ.
    • Scripture clearly warns that those who are not diligent in this means of faith may prove to be an apostate and will not inherit eternal life.
    • The gospel of Christ calls all of us to heed the warning not to become complacent, dull, and unbelieving.

How does complacency happen?  There are at least nine signs of spiritual complacency requiring repentance.

  1. Theological sophistication (1 Cor. 8:1)
  • Knowledge can cause people to build an attitude of conceit and thinking that they are more spiritual and thus reason to boast.
  • It is an attitude of spiritual superiority looking at others with arrogance, condescension, and inferior.
  • All knowledge is a grace gift to an undeserving sinner.
  1. Making particular sins respectable and being soft in repentance (Acts 24:16)
  • All sin is an offense against God. 
  • None of these can be tolerated or permitted as regular patterns in our lives: anxiety, frustration, selfishness, pride, discontentment, lack of self-control, worry, impatience, irritability, envy, jealousy, unwholesome speech, etc.
  1. Confrontation without restoration (Galatians 6:1)
  • We find other peoples’ problems and we confront them, but our motives can become an air of superiority, or retaliation, or exposure, and we could be secretly rejoicing in their downfall.
  • We must not glory in the weakness of others.
  • Instead our heart must be toward pouring out ourselves to help the brethren be restored to a God honoring walk.
  1. Majoring on the externals; this is the sin of Pharisaism (Matthew 23:23ff)
  • We appear spiritual on the outside without dealing with the heart behind it.
  • Obedience to the externals is easier. The gospel of Jesus Christ requires obedience to the specifics from the heart with a desire to always please Him.
  • We please Him in the public spaces of our lives, as well in the private areas and thought live that no one, except the Lord, can see or know.
  1. A love of earthly comforts (Luke 6:26)
  • Instead of enjoying the common grace of God, we develop idolatries.
  • We think we cannot be satisfied, unless we are comfortable.
  • If it is not the material things, it can be the comfort of the culture’s good opinion of us. This can be idolatrous when we desire to be liked over the desire to share God’s truth with those in need of it.
  1. A fear of persecution and reproaches for Christ (Luke 9:26)
  • Have we become ashamed of Christ and His words?
  • When the ideologies of the world come against the Truth of scripture, are we willing to pay the price to name the name of Christ?
  1. The love of worldliness (Ezekiel 33:31)
  • Complacency develops when a person loves the world’s philosophies and pleasures. Their cravings match the culture, without being jettisoned.
  • These people think, act, and speak like the culture.
  • They store earthly treasures for themselves, not spiritual treasures.
  1. Idolatry of reputation (Romans 12:3)
  • We become complacent when we believe as Sardis did in our own reputation. We think of ourselves more highly than we ought.
  • It is only through God’s Word and the study of it that we can renew our minds. This is a command for us to be active and on-going in the process.
  • 1 Cor. 3:18ff shows those who are not wise are those who are morally bankrupt.
  • The idolatry of reputation can happen corporately as a body and personally.
  • Jesus warned not to seek glory from one another, but only from God (John 5:44).
  1. Grumbling and complaining (Romans 2:12-14)
  • Have you come to the full place of gratitude for all that God has done to save you?  If not, you may be complacent.
  • Without gratitude and thanksgiving, we can slip into sinful disputing and grumbling against God for His providences and sovereignty.
  • Scripture passages on the sin of grumbling include: Exodus 15:24, Exodus 16:2, Numbers 14:2, Numbers 16:41, Joshua 9:18.
  • Psalm 106:24-25 is very instructive on the true nature of grumbling. Grumbling is not listening to His word and not humbling yourself under it.
  • And what about our thought lives? Are we complacent by thinking that God is unjust when pressure comes? This is an offense to God and evidence of a lack of gratefulness.

Next week, we will examine the church in Sardis and why they are known as the church of the walking dead. Let’s heed Christ’s warning and not grow in complacency.