Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dead or Alive

677.  "Dead or Alive"            January 23, 2013
Revelation 3-Part 1
But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.  Revelation 3:4-5

City of Sardis:
Sardis was about 27 miles due south of Thyatira. It was one of the oldest and greatest cities of western Asia. Its primary industry was harvesting wool, dying it, and making garments from it. The patron deity of the city was Cybele. She was represented as half-human and lion. She supposedly had power to restore the dead.
Once a wealthy and prominent city in Lydia, Sardis was devastated by an earthquake in AD17. They never regained their former wealth and power, though its residents continued to live there. They were once on top of the world.

Church of Sardis
This church had the external marks of a busy, productive congregation, but decay was taking its toll internally. There were memories of what had been. It was a church of empty profession-dead.  Like the city, the current reality no longer matched its former glory. This dead church had its autopsy conducted by the Great Physician, Christ Jesus. Shall we see what He found?


God always preserves a remnant to carry out His will and to bring forth fruit (2 Kings 19:30-31, Is. 10:20-21). This remnant can serve as the seed for a boutiful revival. The church of Sardis had a remnant who remained faithful to the Savior, loyal to their Master.

Charles Swindoll says there are three promises the Christ gives to the church of Sardis in the Scriptures above:
  1. They will walk in white with Christ. They will be among the large multitude of saints gathered in heaven who "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). The white robes represent the cleansing from sin received by faith in Christ. The image of "walking in white" is a promise of eternal, unblemished righteousness. 
  2. Their name will remain in the book of life. Christ promises not to remove the believer's name.The biblos, or "scroll of life," is a symbol of permanent security. Our future blessings are certain, as if God has written our names in a great registry of the citizens of heaven.
  3. Jesus will confess the believers' name before God, His Father, and His angels. If we confess Jesus before men, He will confess us to God. (Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8) On the day of judgment, Christ will vouch for those who belong to Him.
Yes, I'm going to trade in my old sin-stained clothes for a white robe, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. I have confessed knowing and believing in Jesus as my Savior, so my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. How about you, dear friends?


I have shared this before, but to our new readers, I want to tell you about my experience 11 years ago.
My surgery went well and I was awake, but groggy in my room. I remember the nurse explaining to me about the pump of morphine, the pain killer, was available when I needed it. My mind was still foggy and I thought she told me to push the button. I did and it put me back out. By the time my husband came into the room, I was turning blue, not breathing. Needless to say, Jesus, through the doctors, revived me. I was near death, and Jesus extended my life, breathed new life into me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve Him.

Christ sought to breathe new life into this dead congregation. He shouted five orders, like a doctor in a trauma unit:
  • Wake up.
  • Strengthen the things that remain. Good deeds were only done half-heartedly.
  • Remember what you have received and heard. The Good News of Jesus' payment for sins was the Truth.
  • Repent. Admit the sins committed, confess them to Jesus, and ask forgiveness. Plain and simple.
Swindoll gives us five marks of a dead church:
  1. It worships its past.
  2. It is inflexible and resistant to change.
  3. It often has carnal and lazy leadership.
  4. It neglects children and youth.
  5. It lacks evangelistic and missionary zeal.
Yahweh, YWHW, is the sound of breathing. The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. (Lawrence Kushner)

Are our churches like that? Perhaps it is time to take the test. Christ is the Life-giver, the one who came to give us abundant life. He is the Life. It is time for churches to wake up and share the hope of Jesus. Take a stand for God's Word. Are we ready for the challenge? Are we will to endure the consequences?


Be alive in Jesus. Let Him live in and through me.

Let go of the past, wake up.

Love God, His Word, and others.

Let Jesus breathe in me, giving me new life every day.

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