The Church That Needed The Spirit of God
It appears that complacency is a problem. We get in a place where the temperature is just right, the seats are soft and comfortable, there is no trouble to speak of, and we fall asleep. Suddenly, we awake and we find ourselves plagued with problems, or we may not awake, because the enemy has crept in on us while we were unaware and kills us. If a friend does not wake us up, then, death is inevitable.
That friend of course is Jesus. In this Scripture text He reveals Himself through another one of His characteristics. He had to go away, in the ascension, before he Spirit came. Now the Spirit of God in all His fullness can dwell and habitat in the life of every believer.
Jesus’s message to Sardis is one to “WAKE UP!” to your true situation. There was still hope for Sardis, but it was by the resurrection power of the Spirit. They could have life and power with God in no other way.
Jesus is the “GIVER OF THE SPIRIT” who is the giver of life and power to live a clean, holy and endless life.
I. JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF AS THE ONE WITH THE SEVEN SPIRITS AND THE SEVEN STARS IN HIS HANDS (v. 1; 1:4, 16)
* We need to remember that Biblically, the number seven is used as a number for fulness or completion
1. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is seen here as being the fulness of Jesus Christ.
* As the One who has the seven stars in His hands, and since these stars represent pastors of the churches, Jesus seems to be speaking directly to the pastor of Sardis.
1. It is as though He may be saying, “I am watching you, and you are slipping”; repent.
2. If the pastor is the source of the church’s problem, then, Jesus will remove him and put in a replacement.
3. It could be the people of Sardis was blaming their pastor.
a. Accusing him of not doing his job, or the church’s lack of growth, its complacency, its dying or death.
b. They could have been saying, “These sermons you have been preaching are irrelevant to our need. There is no threat from without. We are not near dying”.
4. The pastor on the other hand may have just blended in, became one of the neighborhood. “When in Rome do as the Romans do”.
* The Church of Sardis needed to be filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit.
1. The apostle Paul writes, “…Be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
2. We are to “walk in the Spirit” Galations 5:16, 25.
II. THE CHURCH OF SARDIS NEEDED A GOOD WAKE UP CALL (v. 1b – 2).
* They had a testimony of being alive, but were truly dead.
* Their works were not commended by Jesus, but acknowledged as works of death.
* They were truly in need of Resurrection/Revival.
1. They had fallen into a state of lethargy -sleep.
2. They had grown comfortable with the society in which they lived becoming unwatchful, complacent, proud, and protected.
3. They had most likely adopted the ways of the people of the city, rather than setting the temperature
III. THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE SEVEN STARS RECOMMENDS WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE (v. 2a, 3).
* First of all Jesus says, “Be watchful.
1. “WAKE UP!!” is probably the meaning here.
2. Sleeping for the guards to the city was its downfall several times.
a. It is so for the spiritual city as well.
b. We must remember the Spirit of God never sleeps.
* Secondly, Jesus says, “Strengthen the things that remain, but are ready to die”.
1. There were a few believers in Sardis with whom there was hope.
2. Those who were with hope needed to come out of their lethargical mindset, and realize the urgency needed, and then do it with great speed and diligence.
* The things they had and that were strong.
1. A believing remnant.
2. They had the Holy Spirit.
3. They had these words of Jesus.
* Like Peter, James and John at Gethsemane this church needed to stay awake (Matthew 26:40-41).
* What the Church of Sardis needed to do.
1. Remember what they had received – the Greatness of grace of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ;
2. Hold fast to those things.
3. Repent of your lethargy – drowsiness, lazy and indifferent.
WE NEED REVIVAL.
1. Jesus will come like a thief
a. Speaking of sudden and unexpected judgment.
b. This is not speaking of the rapture or second coming of Jesus.
2. This judgment is unknow as to the time – It can take place at any time or place in the history of the Church.
IV. JESUS GIVES ENCOURAGEING WORDS TO THE BELIEVING REMNANT OF SARDIS (vv. 4-5).
* Though the majority of the Church of Sardis may have been unregenerate, there were some who were “Clean”.
1. They had a Christian witness.
2. Their walk was right
* They have the promise of our Lord that He will not blot their name out of the “book of Life”.
1. Note – Nowhere in the Bible does it say that anyone will have their names blotted out of the Book.
2. There are several references in the Old and New Testaments to the “Book of Life” Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; Exodus 32:32; Psalm69:28; and Phillippians 4:3 to give us a few.
* CONTRAST – Is there a difference between the “book of life” and the “Lamb’s book of life”?
The “Lamb’s book of life” will be the names of only those who have received Jesus Christ as the God/man sent from heaven, as the dying, suffering Lamb of God, for the sins of the world; buried carrying our sins away as far as East is from West, casting them into the depths of the sea; rising again to prove the power of the cross was victory over death, Satan, the grave and all sin.
* Jesus the risen Lamb will not be ashamed to call your name before His Father and the holy angels.
V. THE ADMONITION FROM THE LORD TO “HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS”, IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR SLEEPY CONGREGATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS (v. 6).
* The local Church of Jesus Christ is to operate by the power of the Spirit of God – “”This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6).
1. If the church is to be the Church it must operate in the presence of God.
2. The Holy Spirit must be a continued welcome and wanted guest within the local church, and the total Body of Christ.
* To “Grieve the Spirit” is to make Him an unwanted guest.
1. Unwanted guests do not feel like staying very long, and begin to pull away any influence, and make themselves absent.
2. God gives His people a commandment not to grieve the Spirit; “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30).
3. The Holy Spirit will never leave a born again person, but when we pay Him little or no attention; ignore His teaching, leadership, comfort, convictions, righteousness, and judgment we will certainly be without His powerful influence.
* The church must stop grieving the Holy Spirit; the church must depend on the Spirit, not the promises and promotions of the flesh and man; the church of the 21st century must wake up out of its comfort, and lethargy, and live for God.
1. The church must experience revival.
-Tim A. Blankenship
For further reading on the Church of Sardis you may read Giver of the Spirit.
What happens to a people, a Church that will not repent?