Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Church at Sardis or The western Church

For those of you who read my blog, you probably are getting the correct understanding that I enjoy reading. I love God's Word the most, but have also been edified by men and women of God as they pen exhortation to the Body of Christ.

As I was reading through Because the Time is Near, by John MacArthur, it struck me that the church of Jesus Christ in the western world mirrors the church at Sardis. Listen to what Dr. MacArthur writes:

"The Command: Rev. 3:2a,3 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die....So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
Christ addressed the command to the faithful remnant at Sardis. If their church was to survive, it desperately needed life. Christ laid out for them the path to spiritual restoration by giving them five steps to follow.
First, they needed to 'wake up'. There was no time for indifference. The believing remnant needed to look at what was happening in their church, evaluate the situation, confront sin, and make a difference.
Second, they needed to 'strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die'. 'Things' here in the original language does not refer to people, but to spiritual realities. Christ exhorted the true Christians at Sardis to fan into flame the dying embers of the remaining spiritual graces in their church.
The third step was for the faithful remnant to remember what they had received and heard. They needed to go back to the truths of God's Word, remembering the gospel and the teaching of the apostles. By this time, Paul's letters were in circulation (2 Peter 3:15-16) and the rest of the New Testament had been written. The believers at Sardis needed to reaffirm their belief in the truth about Christ, sin, salvation, and holy living.
Fourth, having gone back to the truths of Scripture, they needed to keep them. Correct beliefs apart from obedient lives would not bring about the necessary renewal.
Finally, they needed to repent. With great sorrow, the believers at Sardis were to confess and turn away from their sins. These five steps, if diligently practiced, would bring about revival.
The consequences if revival did not come would be severe. Christ warned them 'if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.' The picture of Jesus coming like a thief always carries the idea of imminent judgment (Matthew 34:43; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2,4). The threat here is not related to His second coming, but that the Lord would come and destroy the Sardis church if there was no revival."
- taken from, Because the Time is Near, by John MacArthur, page 84-85

Oh, how the body of Christ needs to hear this exhortation. Christ demands holiness! Paul was not writing about the Western Church, and yet, we can look at this passage and be warned....

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