The Letter to the Church in Sardis in a Nutshell:
Jesus the one who has the seven spirits and seven stars tells the church in Sardis that while they have a reputation for being alive the truth is they are dead. If they do not strengthen what they do have He will come and remove them. They need to remember what they received, keep it, and repent. He also knows that not everyone in Sardis is like this and the victor will be dressed in white.
The problem I am going to have with this letter is as someone who loves to teach and preach a topic like this one floods the brain with possibilities. However, we are trying to be brief and keep these where we live so… Sardis, by and large, was dead spiritually, but what does that mean? Jesus says, “”Remember…what you have received and heard,” I think we could infer that they were forgetting what they had received and heard. If we go into the history of Sardis a little we see that the area had been conquered twice in the past because the people did not watch out for invaders. If we put these together we get a bigger picture that they got complacent and forgot what happened. Instead of letting the past (both good and bad) give them wisdom they just forgot all about it, and the truth is we can do that too.
It is pretty easy to forget about the past especially in our day. Here is an example I am sure most people can relate too. Have you ever seen something on Facebook and then went to scroll back to it only to not know who posted it? You search and search but you don’t remember enough about it to find it. Or how many times have you looked at your phone to see the time only to realize you didn’t even see the time (you probably did see your notifications though).
What if we go a little deeper. Why did your last relationship fail? Why did your last job not work out? What about that best friend from high school or worst enemy from high school? These things might be long gone for you but the lessons learned can still be used now. What about this, do you remember what it felt like to carry your own guilt and shame before you found out Jesus carried it to the cross for you? All of these things are important and some like the cross are extremely important. If we forget the important things and just become complacent in today then we run the risk of becoming dull and dead.
I have known spiritually dull Christians. Some are very good at pretending to be alive but they are not. They do a good job of looking the part but it is all an act. Jesus sees the heart and He knows what is for show and what is real. He cannot be fooled into thinking you are alive when you are not. Sometimes we have to go back to the basics and that is ok. We have to remember what we have received and heard to make sure we are on the track we should be on. It is easy to get off track but thankfully we serve a gracious and forgiving God who loves to get us back to where we should be. Whenever you get thrown off track just stop and ask God to remind you of what He gave you in the first place.
Just a thought,