And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, I know your works that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Rev3:1-2
A reputation of being alive
A living church breathes because it has God’s spirit. A living church is not insane because it has the mind of Christ. A living church stands because its foundation is built on Christ the solid rock. The church in Sardis had a reputation of being alive so it was living on past glory, old honour and expired anointing. When it was alive it had a relationship with God and was jointly fitted together as a part of Christ’s body. The instruction to the angel to write a letter to the church in Sardis reveals the high esteem and fondness God still has for it.
But you are dead
A dead church is one that no longer has life. It has lost its substance, its significance and is probably groping in the dark because it no longer understands why it exists. Before a church is pronounced as dead, it must have gone through the stages of death. It was probably sick and sickened by the activities and presence of clever pretenders, a questionable mixed multitude, politics and politicians, selfish ambition, offences, offenders, over ambition, ego, self, flesh, wickedness, pride, arrogance, attitude, broken relationships and further manifestations of carnality.
It must have shown signs and symptoms of sickness through exit of its members, the preaching and teaching of strange and false doctrine, gossip, envy, jealousy, bitterness, malice, unforgiveness, internal rancour, disputes and organised chaos in its leadership and direction. It could also have fainted a couple of times and brought back to life through persuasion, appeal and conscience. When it finally dies and its death is noted in heaven, God sends the angel assigned to each living church to have a word with it.
Why the Church needs to stay awake
When the church sleeps, it gets hijacked by dark forces. Dark forces capture the core substance of the church; it’s unity and pulls it apart brick by brick. Since every house divide against itself will not stand, the most effective onslaught launched will be lack of trust. If trust is broken, how can the body be jointly fitted together?
It is often said the church is the people and the people are the church. Perhaps you are sleeping or your church is sleeping, the angel sounds the warning; Wake Up! The time to arise is now because the old reputation must be regained and the lost glory recovered.
Strengthen what remains and is about to die
To resurrect a dead or dying church, a revival fire is needed to usher in a new dawn and a new awakening. Fire has the power to burn and to destroy the causes and initiators of death. Fire also has the power to give strength and bring back to life.
Incomplete deeds in the sight of God
We are quite aware that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory but the bible says Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. Rev 3:3 says “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you”. To those who have an ear, this is what the spirit is saying obey, repent and wake up. To those who do not have an ear, I wonder when they will get it. Probably when he comes like a thief.