SE7EN SERIES: Thriving or Dying? Sardis Revelation 3:1-6


 

SE7EN SERIES: Thriving or Dying? Sardis Revelation 3:1-6

INTRO> Review.  I worked part time at a funeral home for close to 4 years (weird i know) My father in law is part owner at the funeral home, he is a professional mortician for close to 30 years and is really great at what he does. Let me explain. I get to see him meet a family need at often times the worst time in their live he also takes their loved one and prepares them for burial. I hear compliments all the time “Mom looks so good, just like she is sleeping” “Its so good to see them so peaceful after a life of pain”

TRANS> Why do I tell you this? Because that’s the same description that Jesus gives to the church in Sardis. They looked alive, but they where in fact dead. We need to know about the city of Sardis.

CONTEXT>

    • located at a junction of five important trade routes in ancient Asia Minor.
    • famous for its dye, textile and jewelry industry. (currency began here)
    • one of the wealthiest commercial centers of the ancient world. (gold rush)
    • built on a 1500 foot plateau, surrounded by steep cliffs (making it safe from attack)
    • known to be very comfortable, self-confident and lax.
    • The Temple of Artemis in Sardis was the fourth largest Ionic temple in the world. Originally built in 300 BC by the ancient Greeks, the temple was renovated by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. During the Roman period it served also as a temple of the imperial cult.

TRANS> How can a church located in such a place like this, with everything that it needs, appear to be alive but in fact be dead?

Big Idea> Is my relationship with Jesus dying or thriving?

APP> How can we answer this question? *ILL> This week i had a doctors appointment, they asked me a bunch of questions . If I said certain things where going on that’s fatal and  they took some “vital” signs.

      • Lets take a look at some Fatal signs and some Vital signs to answer that question.
  1. Fatal Signs. v2-3

(In these verse’s we see 5 main verbs that Jesus uses, its helpful to look at the opposite of those verbs to understand what’s going on)

    1. Rejecting Reality. “wake up…” The church is Sardis is asleep… they think they are okay but they are not. they are focusing so much on what the towns opinion is of them rather that what Jesus’ opinion is of them. *ILL> Restaurant impossible. Reality always beats reputation. APP> are you asleep?
    2. Resisting Change. “strengthen what remains..” The word “strengthen” is the greek word στηρίζω (stērizō) which is where we get the word steroid. Steroids change things they cause growth! *ILL> My kids are growing.. and changing. APP> Are you allowing Jesus to change things? That means you have to give up control.
    3. Forgetting the Gospel. “remember..” the word remember is used 166 times in the Bible. 166 times! That means something… that we forget things! APP> You know that you are forgetting the gospel when you start relying on yourself.
    4. Losing Focus. “keep it”  this word mean to keep it in front of you. APP> How easy it is to forget what this thing is all about. It’s all about Jesus, it’s not about me, you, it’s about Jesus!
    5. Hardening your heart. “repent” this has been THE theme and remedy from Jesus. Turn around!

Big Idea> Is my relationship with Jesus dying or thriving?

2) Vital Signs. v4-5

(Notice how the text is broken up, there are some people who are dying but there are some people who are doing well.

    1. Activity of the Spirit. “the seven spirits of God” What is that about. Most scholars agree that this is a mention the the 3rd person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit. (Pic) The word seven is massively important, meaning totality. “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” Isiah 11:2 The Holy Spirit birthed the church! “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 APP> What gas is to a car, what blood is to your veins is what The Holy Spirit is to the Christian!
    2. Purity of the Heart “white garments” This is a symbol of purity, but it also means something to the Christians in Sardis. The people in Sardis worshipped the Greek goddess Cybele (Pic), who was the goddess of fertility. The people of Sardis worshipped Cybele and held almond and pine trees in reverence, while also holding fertility festivals . In these celebrations, all the people of Sardis would wear white robes, and the worshippers and priests of Cybele (called ‘galli’) would parade down the main street of Sardis, cutting themselves in ectasy until they reached the shrine of Cybele (later integrated into the temple of Artemis in the Third Century B.C.), where a few of the worshippers would castrate themselves and offer their severed parts to Cybele. Those along the parade route (or within the parade, itself) who had the blood of the worshippers sprayed upon their cloaks were said to be favored by the goddess. APP> Don’t you see the difference with the Gospel? “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7
    3. Security in the Gospel. “I will never blot out his name from the book of life” This is very mysterious language about a book that God has. One author put it this way, “Practically every city of that day kept a role or register of its citizens … one who had performed some great exploit, deserving of special distinction, was honoured by having his name inscribed in golden letters in the citizens’ roll. Our Lord’s emphatic statement, therefore, implies not merely that the name of the overcomer shall not be expunged, but per contra that it shall be inscribed in golden letters in the heavenly roll. – J. William Fuller APP> It’s not about the size of your faith but the object of your faith!
    4. Community with the Father. “i will confess his name” Jesus also mentions this in Matthew 10. APP> Dr. Tony Evans tells a story: “A brilliant young pianist was giving his very first concert. As the final chord of his flawless performance reverberated in the hall, the audience rose to its feet and broke out in thunderous applause. Only one member of the audience remained seated, clapping politely, but without particular enthusiasm. Tears welled up in the young pianist’s eyes. His head dropped slightly as he left the stage in utter defeat.The stage manager in the great hall was a sensitive and observant man who had noticed the lone gentleman and saw how this cool response affected the star performer. “Son,” he said, “you’re a hit! Everyone was overwhelmed. The critic from the Times was in tears. By morning you’ll be famous. Don’t let one guy get you down.” “You don’t understand,” the dejected young man replied. “That man was my piano teacher. It only matters what he thinks.”

Big Idea> Is my relationship with Jesus dying or thriving?

APP>

What fatal signs do you see in your life?

What vital signs do you see in your life?