The Church of Sardis
This church gives us a picture of our Lord waiting for His praise and worship, waiting for our obedience and faith that He has given us so we can be proactive and put them into action in our daily lives, both inside and outside of the campus where we worship. As we go, goes the church; we are the church, whether at home, work, or at play. Where there are two or more of us, there is the church, and there He is with us. He is pleased when we show our faith to one another within our fellowship, and ecstatic when our faith and Christian life spill over to those who do not yet know Him. He wants us to be alive in Him-alive with our faith and living it out with our obedience. But, here in this church of Sardis (as with many churches today), what often shows is a mere façade. This church was mostly just a veneer, a fake, and a forgery that looked good at a distance but not in reality or close up. Jesus called them to wake up, get it right, and not be fake. He told them to take what little they still had left of faith and rebuild it, become devoted to Christ, and show it with sincerity. He wants us to hold firmly to our faith so it matures, continuing to grow and be used.
This church was being told that Jesus knew about their wayward ways, but He wanted them to become strong in Him again as they were before. However, if they refused, they would continue their downspin into sin and darkness. Their own deeds and refusal to repent was the evidence of the judgment that was at their front door. Faith must be developed and used. If we try to “fake it,” there will be nothing there other than a church with no reason to exist and no One to lead it. Only pride and strife will fill its pews.
This Church of Sardis had a good reputation among other believers as being a place where faithful people stood the test of obedience, growing in, and worshipping Christ. However, what was currently in the people’s hearts and the practice of their faith did not measure up to that reputation. Under the veneer of a seemingly healthy church was one that was about to die because of their concession to the ways of the world and the refusal to live out their faith and make it real. Refusal to live the life of faith creates complacency. This is the sin that lures most Christians, and is at the heart of what destroys churches, as they forget their first Love (Christ) and substitute things of the world for Him (2 Cor. 6:14-18; James 1:27).