“Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die … 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” (3:2-3)
Although the letter was sent to this specific church in Asia Minor, it is relevant and applicable to the church today. These letters apply to all the original churches, as well as churches throughout the church age (which is the time since the first coming of Christ through to His second coming).
The church in Sardis was a small church… and very few of them remained faithful to the Lord, true believers.
They had killed the message and compromised the distinctiveness of Christ. They incorporated pagan cultures into the “church” and were happy to “get along” with other faiths and blend in. Much like the interfaith, ecumenical movement that is being promoted today. The distinctiveness of Christ no longer mattered or matters to the church of Sardis, then, and up today!
This church was dead!
The LORD counselled the church of Sardis to do 5 things which, if they’d obeyed, would have made them acceptable to Him:
- Be watchful
- Strengthen the things that remain
- Remember what you heard and believed at first
- Hold Fast
Today I want to concentrate on the first counsel the Lord gave this church … Wake up! Be Watchful!
Be watchful (Wake Up!)
The opposite of being watchful is being complacent.
The first thing Sardis needed to do was to stop being complacent and be on a state of alert.
The fact that the LORD had to tell them to wake up, be watchful, points to a serious deficiency in the teaching of the Reformation leaders. This deficiency was because they lacked instruction in Bible prophecy and separation.
The word “WATCH” is used by the Lord in several other passages of Scripture and indicate the attitude that should characterize His children in view of His promised return! Prophetically instructed Christians are very much more likely to be separated, consecrated Christians than those who are not aware of the promises of our Lord’s second coming and the imminency of the catching away (rapture) of the church, etc.
The church of Sardis represents some of the denominations today that are being swept along by compromise, sin and erroneous teaching. These 3 things kill a church.
We are living in days where people are deciding to pick and choose what they want to believe from the Bible. This is extremely dangerous!
Christ’s Warning to Sardis
“So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief” or as the New King James Versions puts it: “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” (Rev 3:3)
As is the case for Sardis, so it will be for those who have not heeded our Lord’s warning. It is very clear that they will be taken unawares when our Lord comes.
The Lord Jesus Christ warns Sardis of the consequences of “Not watching”. If Sardis does not watch they will be taken unaware by Christ’s appearing. Throughout the Gospels the Lord stresses the need for the believer to be careful and keep a watchful eye for His “Imminent return”
There are many evidences around that reveal the prophetic ignorance on the part of Reformation churches (AND, sadly, many of the evangelical churches today too!). An example of this includes the fact that they have people from within their midst who are leaders in the World Council of Churches ecumenical program – a program that aims to unite all Protestants, all Catholics and all religions. If they had any understanding of the prophetic Word of God, they would realize they are playing right into the schemes of the Antichrist. That One World Religion is his church during the Tribulation.
We all know the parable of the 10 virgins, five were prepared for the bridegroom and five were not. When the bridegroom came, the five foolish virgins rushed around trying to buy oil for their lamps. The five wise virgins were ready and went to the wedding. Sadly, the five foolish virgins tried to get to the wedding later, but were kept out, because the bridegroom did not know them. As it states in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 25 …“Afterward the other (foolish) virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’”
Christ warns His church to be ready.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13)
Through this prophetic foreshadowing, the dead churches are warned, that unless they WATCH they, like the foolish virgins, will be ushered into the Tribulation period. They will NOT be ready for the Lord’s return for His Church.
One can recognize a “dead” church in that …
- It doesn’t proclaim the Gospel
- It doesn’t uphold the Scripture (Bible)
- It doesn’t pursue holiness
So, I want to urge you to make sure you belong to a Bible-believing church. One that teaches that you are saved by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross. A church that believes “sola Scriptura” (that Scripture – the Bible – is the sole authority for faith). That the only way to get to heaven and be in a right standing with God is through the Lord Jesus Christ who clearly stated that: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. (John 14:6)
If you need further help or information, please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact form or one of the other options below