Tuesday, July 26, 2011
THE CHURCH AT SARDIS: THE DYING CHURCH
Reverend Douglas just came back from a retreat with a bunch of leaders in a famous hill resort. His church was growing leaps and bound, many of them were mainly Christians from other denominations. He reckoned that believers were free to change churches as they like to get the most of what they felt was best. Introducing the latest technique in media ministry and state of the art sound system, services were jam packed with people. Douglas and the board had started two services on Sunday and thinking of a third. Turnover of staff was great as pressure to be successful went up several notches. Preaching must centred on prosperity as Douglas believed in financial health to influence people of his generation. That was also the in message of the masses!
As he sat down, after his wife and three children had gone to sleep, Douglas was excited having a sermon propped up on his mind. “More is good as God is more than enough!” screamed his head. Grinning, he felt this title should excite the church even more. Although he had ‘success’ as far as he was concern, there were some people who felt he had gone far off from the original vision of the church. They had forgotten when was the last time he spoke of the danger of sin and the wrath of God. He paid no attention to them as he felt these days were different from years ago. As he shrugged off the thought of those ‘old-fashioned’ ones, a bright light shone on his face. He quickly knelt down and shivered in the presence of God.
A strong voice spoke…
“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 not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, 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. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”*
Douglas felt a chill up his spine as those words were spoken. He was stunned. Embarrassed, he lifted up his hands to ask for forgiveness. Deep in his heart, he knew pride and success had gone into his head. God reminded him of the simple vision given to him years ago of doing the Great Commission.
That Sunday, he changed his title of his sermon to, “More or Less, give All Glory to God!”
*The verses above are taken from Revelation 3:1-6
NEXT: THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA: THE PERSERVERING CHURCH