July 8, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.’ - Revelation 3:1.
How would you feel if your pastor told you that your church was dead, or almost dead? One pastor told his church, that they were so dead, he was going to preach their funeral service the next Sunday. As promised, the next Sunday as the people arrived, they found that a casket had been placed at the front of the church, and solemn music was being played. The pastor told the people who had dared to come to the service, that most likely some of them would not agree with him, that the church was dead. So, he invited them to come forward to view the remains. As the people walked forward and looked into the casket, they found that instead of a body, a mirror had been placed there providing them with a view of their own faces.
I wish I had thought of that, because I did tell the church I pastor Sunday morning (in 2002) that we have much in common with the church at Sardis. We are busy with many activities, and on the surface they appear meaningful. However, we are a powerless church, and I believe that this was the message for Sardis as well. The church at Sardis was told how to correct the situation, “Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you (Revelation 3:2-3).”
To strengthen that tiny spark of life still in you, remember what you have heard, which you have received from God. Hold fast to it and repent, turn away from that which is not of God. To strengthen the spark of life that is still within you, to increase the empowerment, the anointing upon you - be obedient to the Spirit when He speaks to you. Every time you resist the Spirit, every time you do what you know the Spirit would not have you to do, you are choking the life out of yourself. But not only are you choking the life out of yourself, but you are choking the life out of the church you are a part of. Our actions do not just affect ourselves, because we are all members of the body of Christ. What one member does, affects all the other members.
The good news for the church that I pastor is that as result of this message many did recommit their lives to the Lord (More than the total in the past year!). What about you? Has God spoken to your heart? What would He have you to do? Will you obey, and strengthen the spark of life within you? Every time you obey you have more life, and every time you disobey, you have less life. I pray you will choose life.