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Sardis: A Delusional Church. 522. Mar 21, 2024


KEY SCRIPTURES:  Revelation 3:1-6

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


The continuous thread and theme sewn through each letter to these churches is precisely what the Lord demands of us: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

If we all listened astutely to what the Holy Spirit said to us, we would grow quickly in His presence, be shrouded in His joy, be calmed by His peace, and be energised by His knowledge and understanding. It is always easier to lead someone who runs when you run, climbs when you climb, descends when you descend, and remains on the path at your heels. 

But because Christ's journey is long, some of us wander off in our lukewarmness, seduced by the quasi-spiritual clear-toned song of the Sirens beckoning us to their rocky shores. We fall too far behind the Holy Spirit, and His path becomes unclear amidst the other tracks running parallel to deceive us. 

Sardis was nearing the rocks except for the few righteous standing firm whose prayers were heard by God. Thankfully, not all congregants were lured away from the strait gate and narrow pathway. However, the minds and bodies of their fellow parishioners resisted such constraints, ever suggesting alternatives to self-denial. 

Didn't Jesus say for a reason that few find that strait gate? And wasn't this why His Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 to be transformed by renewing our minds so that we might discern the narrow path? Isaiah also gave us an understanding of the straitness of the way when he prophesied, And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

An issue within every Church is that not all followers desire holiness, cleanliness, or remain on the path of a wayfarer, and not every church leader preaches these things. Such tight constraints seem foolish to the world and even other Christians, but they only seem that way to those who are loose. Sardis had its own minor civil war between those who had no intention of soiling their garments for the flesh's sake and those whose flesh ran their lives. The majority of that church ended up living a spiritually confused existence. 

God had nothing good to say about Sardis except that it retained a fine thread of life. Put another way, if Jesus is the vine and they were branches, they were hanging on by the strength of a narrow tendril of hope. That was the small team of righteous believers who chose to stay in this church for whatever reason.     

Sardis had developed a name for being lively—alive with the Spirit. However, from God's perspective, the Holy Spirit was only with the righteous. He had already left the others, including the leadership, as they had left Him. 

We see this by the way the Lord uses some interesting phraseology in this discourse. He suggests they are dead but also says to strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die, which is strange. Backsliders fit easily into this statement. When we look at a human body in a coma, the only component working is the beating heart. Sardis was in such a delusional state of spirituality that it was comatose as far as Heaven was concerned and useless to the living world. Yet from the outside, it still appeared vibrant and worth attending.A heart that beats without the rest of the body functioning according to purpose is pointless, except that it provides hope for the living that it might revive. Those living were the righteous. God sent Sardis a message to regain consciousness or die. 

This comatose church had revival within its grasp, as we all do, through repentance. The answer is in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

The message tells us that any backslidden church or person—any one of us—can revive as strongly as ever through repentance and a straitening of our walk with Jesus Christ. But it's best if we are not lured away in the first place.  


Dear Lord, Satan is hard at work, enticing believers away from God's set path. The lure is inviting to the flesh, so please help us discern and resist those sirenic songs of false doctrine and fleshly church.   

Photo by Mihail Tregubov

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