Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Seven Churches Part 6 – Sardis

The Seven Churches
Part 6 – Sardis
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
This is the revelation of Jesus Christ to John.

John is told to record what had seen, is seeing, and will see, which is the key to the Book of Revelation. John saw Jesus and his description defines and sets the foundation for the rest of the book. Jesus IS Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and the Alpha and Omega.

John then records the letters to the pastor's of each of the seven churches, or, what is taking place NOW, and then record what WILL take place in the end.

Chapters 4-22 of Revelation is for those who will be left behind after the rapture.

Last week we took a look at the first of the seven churches, Ephesus, the apostolic church, and read what was good, and bad about the church. The end of the letter states, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says unto the churches.”

In other words, these things apply to US today, as The Church and Body of Christ.


SCRIPTURE REFERENCE
Revelation 3:1-6

To the Church in Sardis

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, 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.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

I.       I KNOW YOUR WORKS
a.      Dispensationally speaking
i.       Sardis represent the “Reformation Church” age. Beginning in 1500AD, and continues to this day.


b.     Jesus first establishes His authority in the beginning of the letter.
i.       These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars."
a.      The "Seven Spirits of God" are mentioned by John in Revelation 1:4, in his salutation in the beginning of Revelation.

b.     "...to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and Peace, from Him which is, which was, and which is to come and from the seven spirits which are before His Throne."

c.      This is given to us in this manner to emphasize the sevenfold aspect of the Operations of the Holy Spirit, which are found in Isaiah 11:2.

d.     Isaiah 11:2 "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—(Holy Spirit)
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—"

1.      These are the seven operations of the Holy Spirit, by which we operate as followers of the Lord.

ii.    The Lord begins the letter to Sardis, establishing His authority over the operations of the Holy Spirit, and the seven stars, which represent the pastors of the seven churches.

iii. In other words, the Lord is the one who pours out the Holy Spirit, and all it blesses us with, and the Lord knows to where it goes, because He alone walks among the lampstands (churches), and holds each pastor in His hand (the stars), and decides where the Holy Spirit will be given, and in what manner, because all of its operations are in His hand alone.
a.      He is in full control of the operations of the Holy Spirit.


c.      I KNOW YOUR DEEDS
i.       Why does the Lord open this letter to the Church of Sardis with establishing His authority over the operations of the Holy Spirit?
ii.    Because He establishes His authority in the arena He is about to speak in.
a.      Look at how the Lord finished verse 1, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead."


iii. ...I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead."


d.     What makes a church "alive"?
i.       The presence AND operations of the Holy Spirit!

ii.    The seven operations being mentioned shows that NONE were being exhibited in the church of Sardis.

iii. Even though, they had a "reputation" of being alive!

iv.   This is dead spirituality...the moves, the motion, the appearance, but no Spirit of God.

           
II.    WAKE UP!
a.       Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
i.       The Church is told by the Lord to "Wake up!", and look into the real condition of itself.

ii.    They need to return to the way of the Lord, relying on the Holy Spirit, and allowing the operation of it in their Church, before they die completely, never returning to the Lord.


b.     Why has the Lord found their deeds unfinished in the sight of God?
i.       Because their "works" were based in dead faith...which always produces bad works...regardless of your "reputation" and what men say.

ii.    It only matters what God says.

iii. Let the world say what it will, and God call us alive in the Holy Spirit!


c.      The Lord then tells Sardis, "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent."
i.       There is still hope in the dead church!
ii.    REPENT!



III.  OUR WARNING AND REWARDS
a.      In verse 4 we are told by the Lord
i.       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.

ii.    If Sardis does not wake up, and allow the Holy Spirit to be active in their church, they will continue to be "dead", and "asleep", and will be rudely shocked when the Lord returns.

iii. Judgment will come, but Sardis will not see or hear because of spiritual deafness and blindness.


b.     The promise to the individual
i.       Remember, the Lord is speaking to the Churches, however, judgment comes to the individual.

ii.    The Lord stated that there were those who were doing right by God at Thyatira, and they would not suffer the punishment the rest of the church would receive.

iii. The same goes for all churches, verse 4 "Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes."
a.      The Lord always has a few!


c.      To the few in Sardis who have NOT soiled their clothes
i.       They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

a.      We are made "worthy" only through the operations of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which happens through our faith in Christ.

b.     We are clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, gained only by faith in Christ.
d.     Listen to what the Spirit says!
i.       The Spirit is saying, true Righteousness cannot be obtained through "your" works, regardless of how good of a reputation you may have, rather, the Righteousness of Christ (the white garment), can ONLY be obtained through works done BY the operation of the Holy Spirit in your life, and in the Church.

ii.    This Righteousness can only come by faith in a spotless sacrifice.




CONCLUSION
We must be sure that our "works" are works of Righteousness, done by the operations (the seven-fold spirit of God, the Holy Spirit), otherwise, though we may appear to the world as "alive", we will be dead.

Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.



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