Dead or Alive?
“Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” Revelation 3:4-5 NLT
Within the church of Sardis was a remnant (a small remaining amount) of believers. Only a few. The majority of the church population were spiritually dead. The church had religious form without the flow of the Holy Spirit. In all reality, there were dead men walking. Every person who doesn't truly know the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is nothing more than a walking dead man. When we are lost in sin, death is our state of life (see Ephesians 2:1). Without the person of Jesus alive within us, we are corpses. Without the saving grace of Jesus, we are simply existing. With the true knowledge of Jesus Christ and repentance of sin, we are made alive. Sardis had a place to worship, a form of worship, but no fire burning within. Why? Because sin had its stranglehold on its members. They knew the theological doctrines, but didn't have a relationship with the One they intellectually acknowledged. John MacArthur has stated it like this: "Any church is in danger of death when it begins to worship its own past, when it is more concerned with forms, when it is more concerned with liturgy than life, when it is more concerned about social ills than salvation, when it is more concerned about systems than it is Jesus Christ, when it is more concerned about material issues than spiritual things, when it is more committed to building up its own theology than accepting the Word of God. This church was dead because this church denied the source of spiritual life. We don't know exactly how, but they did. And they were dominated by sin. And so the church carried on with a reputation but it was being operated by men being spiritually dead." Many of our churches across America, and around the world, are going through religious motions that deceive men into believing that they are Christian. Sitting on a church pew, singing the songs, and dropping a few dollars in an offering plate does not equate salvation and a relationship with God. Head knowledge does not equate heart transformation. We need the person, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit to blow through our churches like He did on the day of Pentecost. We need a baptism of the Holy Spirit to purge, purify, and empower us. Only under the conviction of the Holy Spirit can a mans heart be brought to a place of repentance and regeneration. Being "born again" is an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ that transforms us from religious sinners to saints of God. The church across this land is filled with people who profess but do not possess. We are in trouble! The church of Sardis no longer exists. The city lies in ruins. Will we, like Sardis, simply continue to decay until we are left in nothing but historical ruins. Don't think for a moment that just because we are "Americans" that God is somehow going to show us partiality. ABSOLUTELY NOT! God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; and James 2:1). Are you spiritually dead or alive? Are you part of the remnant of true believers or are you simply playing church? If your spiritual fervor is passed to the succeeding generation, will they be on fire for Jesus or will they be nothing more than ashes? Something to think about!
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Rev. Curtis Norris