Following Jesus 109

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 and also provides an accurate evaluation.  

What are Jesus Christ’s commands to the dead church? Jesus’ first command to the dead church is for the pastor and its leaders to wake up. Secondly the pastor and the redeemed remnant with the dead church must obey. The remnant may be ready to leave this earth. They may be ready to physically die. However, their work is not yet done in God’s sight. They still have much to accomplish. 

Jesus then commands the church to remember what they had originally received and heard from Him. This may well refer to the gospel. Finally, Jesus calls the church to repent. It is to turn from its wickedness and evidence a complete change of though and attitude toward sin and righteousness. 

Jesus then gives the pastor and the congregation of the dead church a warning. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief.” The phrase “wake up” was the first command He gave to the dead church. It may refer to all the subsequent commands from Jesus to the dead church. 

Jesus says that if the pastor and the remnant of the dead church will not wake up and become spiritually alert and to adapt a state of readiness, Jesus will come to the church like a thief.  The church will not know when or at what time He will come, but He will. When He comes, Jesus will be against the church. He will oppose the church and bring judgment. 

Finally, Jesus encourages the believers in the dead church: the remnant. Vs. 5-6. 

Jesus refers to them as those who have not soiled their garments. He calls them the remnant.  Jesus also calls them righteous referring to their walk with Him in white. They are His radiant ones. 

Jesus also calls them “valuable.” They are worthy. Jesus acknowledged that the majority of the church was dead. However, He recognized a godly remnant and these were the glorified who are conquerors. Jesus promises to never blot out their names from the book of life. They possess a blessed assurance that Jesus will declare their names before the Father in heaven. 

As before, Jesus encourages the remnant to hear what He has to say and to apply its truth in their lives. 

In what way(s) has compromise in your life led to becoming dominated by sin and living in such a way that you do not resemble the Lord Jesus Christ? Would Jesus identify you as dead? 

Jesus commands His followers to continually remember their covenant relationship with Him, to repent of sin and to righteously live. Are you willing to submit to this commandment from Christ? 

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