Following Jesus 105
Following Jesus: What kind of church are we?
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. 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 churches.’ (Revelation 3:1-6 ESV)
Jesus Christ must come to the dead church in order for it to be raised to new life. In so doing, Jesus Christ critically evaluates the dead church. Vs. 1b-2.
He rebukes their false reputation. Vs. 1b. He is aware of their works, which may refer to the church in general or to the pastor in particular. Regardless, He indicates that the church has a reputation of being alive by their peers and the culture in which they live.
Jesus also provides an accurate evaluation. 1c. However, in spite of how man may evaluate a church Jesus clearly and accurately diagnosis’ the church’s core condition: it is dead. It is lifeless. There is little to no evidence of a covenant relationship with the author of life: Jesus Christ. The pastor and the church is identified as existing in this condition. While the church was evaluated by others as being alive and in covenant relationship with God, God says the pastor and the church does not have a relationship with Him. Therefore, both the pastor and the church is dead.
Like the Pharisees, their outer appearance was a facade hiding their lack of life (cf. Matt. 23:27–28). Like so many churches today, the church that has compromised with sin and therefore become corrupted, they are characterized by inward decay and populated by unredeemed people playing church.
What are the danger signs that a church is dying? The church becomes content to rest upon its past. The church becomes content to conduct ministries and services with no spiritual life. When it becomes concerned with social issues and no longer the life changing gospel. When it becomes more interested in material things like money and numbers than spiritual and biblical truth. When it becomes more interested in what men think than what God thinks. When it becomes more interested in cultural relevant ministries than the Word of God. When it denies that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.
“No matter the attendance, no matter how impressive its buildings, no matter what its status in the community, such a church, having denied the only source of spiritual life, is dead.”
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