Sunday, Nov 5, 2017PM Service
God's People in Sardis: The Church of the Walking Dead (Part 2)
Speaker: Jerry Wragg
Passage: Revelation 3:1-6
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Last week, we saw that the church in Sardis had a spiritual problem. They had become complacent. Where there is complacency in the body, there is vulnerability. They had become over-confident and self-sufficient. We examined the nine signs of complacency in the church:

  1. Theological sophistication (1 Cor. 8:1)
  2. Making particular sins respectable and being soft in repentance (Acts 24:16)
  3. Confrontation without restoration (Galatians 6:1)
  4. Majoring on the externals; this is the sin of Pharisaism (Matthew 23:23ff)
  5. A love of earthly comforts (Luke 6:26)
  6. A fear of persecution and reproaches for Christ (Luke 9:26)
  7. The love of worldliness (Ezekiel 33:31)
  8. Idolatry of reputation (Romans 12:3)
  9. Grumbling and complaining (Romans 2:12-14)

Pragmatism is the path toward complacency. When a church becomes pragmatic, the end goal is window dressing. They want to be culturally attractive to the world and everything substantive moves to the background.

  • Preaching becomes entertainment.
  • Body life becomes easy and common without the depth of confronting sin and working hard on repentance. And, that body life is no longer sacrificial service.
  • Spiritual leadership is about personality.
  • Evangelism becomes social acceptance as the ministry is devoid of the Spirit.
  • Prayer becomes:
    • Mystical by communing with God without trust and dependence.
    • Egotistical by demanding God serves your needs.
    • Ritualistic as to feel better about your spirituality.

Christ told the church in Sardis to repent and laid out four desperate and immediate needs:

  1. Christ says, “Wake up!” (Rev. 3:2)
    • He is commanding that they confess their sin of complacency.
    • Be alert and watchful; dutiful in the work of turning from this sin.
    • The Lord says that they are dead --- this would have stunned them and should have woken them from their stupor and self-sufficiency.
    • The complacent church actually hears directly from their Lord and they should be terrified at their own blindness.
    • Are we heeding this warning too? Are we broken of our trajectory toward complacency?
    • In this confession, we must cry out for God’s mercy.
  2. Christ says, “Strengthen the things that remain.” (Rev. 3:2b)
    • This is Christ’s command to forsake the sin and turn in repentance.
    • The starting point is the leadership of the church; they are commanded to publically repent of their guilt and/or the complicit behavior.
    • Then the congregation sees their guilt and repents.
    • Unqualified leaders step aside and qualified leaders come.
  3. Christ tells them to restore faithful preaching (Rev. 3:3)
    • The requirement in a faithful church is clear expositions where truth is spoken in convincing ways.
    • Expositions get the man out of the way, his personality and style is not important. The importance is the text.
    • Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).
  4. Christ commands them to nurture faith and obedience in others (Rev. 3:3b)
    • It requires becoming a discipling church that nurtures the faith of those who are not spiritually mature.
    • The day is drawing near; there must be urgency, fervor and zeal for the discipling of the brethren in the church.