Study Lesson 5
A So-Called Dead Church
A Few Faithful Followers Of Jesus
Scripture To Consider:
“And to the angel [messenger] of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He [Jesus] who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars…’” Revelation 3.1a
Something To Consider:
Jesus, in the introduction of His letter to the church in Sardis revealed Himself as He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. There is much controversy over just what the seven Spirits of God are, but should not be any controversy as to who has possession of the seven Spirits. Also, according to Jesus, He has in His personal possession the seven stars or messengers of all seven of these 1st century churches written to here in the book of Revelation.
Jesus, in chapter 1 verse 20 of Revelation, was and remains very clear as mentioned in an earlier lesson in His declaring that the seven stars are the seven angels or messengers, or spiritual leaders of the seven churches John is writing to in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Therefore, the stars or spiritual leaders in Jesus’ possession are the seven spiritual leaders of the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It is important to realize according to Revelation 1.20, that Jesus holds these and all true Christian leaders in His right hand of power and authority.
More Scripture To Consider:
“I [Jesus] know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die [spiritually die], for I have not found your works [activities] perfect before God.”
“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast [cling to the truth of the Word of God] and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Revelation 3.1b-3
Something Else To Consider:
The church of Sardis in all of their outward actions appeared to be alive because of their many works or church activities, functions, or programs. Does that sound remotely familiar with the churches of this 21st century? The church of Sardis was a busy church, but were they busy about their heavenly Father’s business, or their own earthly business of enlarging church attendance and possibly the increasing of the religious financial coffers of the church? Spiritually, according to Jesus, the church at Sardis was dead. Also, according to Jesus, even that which remained was on life support and awaiting cardiac arrest.
How many churches in this 21st century have already died, or are on the verge of dying, according to Jesus? It appears also according to Jesus, that just being busy and known as a church of works is not enough to receive the praise and approval of Jesus. What does impress Jesus is when churches or individuals that make up churches remember the Word of God, become watchful, strengthen the things that remain, attempt to endure to the end, and right along side of all these things, is the willingness to repent of their sin!
But, if spiritually dying churches and or individuals refuse to repent, Jesus warns them of His coming in judgment as a thief when He is least expected. So why do we human beings not repent the moment we are made aware of our sin or our coma-like spiritual condition? The longer we put off true repentance the more our consciences become seared and more foolishly resistant to the truth of God’s redeeming and instructional Word! Why therefore do we postpone or put off indefinitely our decision to repent of our sins?
More Scripture To Consider:
“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He [or she] who overcomes [endures to the end] shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his [or her] name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his [or her] name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3.4-5
Something More To Consider:
Thank the Lord Sardis had a few true Christians in their midst who had not defiled their garments with the stench of spiritual death. Jesus, as mentioned in an earlier lesson, declared while alive upon planet earth that few will enter the gate that leads to eternal life; while many, because of their lack of repentance and unwillingness to abide in Christ and to continue in His Word, will enter the very broad gate that leads to eternal destruction. How sad it is that things have not changed after so many generations.
The few faithful of every church in every generation, according to Jesus, will walk with Jesus in white garments, a symbol of Christ’s righteousness, and will be counted as worthy by Jesus. What will the few faithful in every generation be counted worthy for? According to Jesus in Luke 21.36, speaking of end time events, He instructed, “Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things [the end time wrath of God] that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man [Jesus].”
To those who overcome by enduring to the end rather than succumbing to sin and refusing to repent of their sin, Jesus promises to not blot out or to not remove their names from the Book of Life. Now, just how big of an eternal deal is this promise to not remove certain names from the Book of Life? It should be a tremendously huge deal to those teaching the false doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved! Trust me when I say that this blotting out of names or not blotting out of names from the Book of Life is a monumental deal according to God.
In the somewhat obscure book of Exodus in chapter 32, we are given a personal invitation to a private conversation between God and His servant Moses concerning a great sin committed by the people of God against God. In verse 31 Moses admitted to God, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You [God] will forgive their sin, but if not, I [Moses] pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” This was no doubt a most honorable gesture on Moses part. He was willing to place his eternal life inheritance on the line for these hard-core, most rebellious, and very discontent children of Israel and so-called children of God.
But, God answered Moses in verse 33 of Exodus 32, by emphatically stating for the biblical record; “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot [remove] him [or her] out of My book.” These are the words of Almighty God confirming His willingness to judge sin not repented of by the solemn removal of individual names from the Book of Life. How then can so many so-called religious leaders and church denominations declare in total opposition to God’s clear and distinct proclamation the Once Saved Always Saved doctrine of demons? God help us!
A Few Final Words:
“He [or she] who has an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit says [is saying] to the churches.”
The question to be asked of all who name the name of Christ is, have we become hearers only of the Word of God, and not doers of the Word of God? Or, how can we hear the Word of God in such clarity, and approve of that which is in stark opposition to the Word of God? Jesus warned, “Take heed [be watchful, be warned] that no one deceives you.” Man-made religion is full of deception! Christianity, on the other hand, is the observing of all that Jesus Christ commanded, no matter what the many proclaimers of deception claim.
Speaking of end time events in Matthew 24, Jesus predicted in advance in verse 11; “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” But even in the midst of deception Sardis had a few faithful enduring to the end individuals who were found by Jesus worthy to escape the coming judgment which will be due to the refusal to repent of sin. Many false prophets have deceived many into succumbing to sin and therefore they justly deserve the coming judgment of God. Will we be among the many deceived or among the few faithful? If proven in the end and finally by God to be wrong, where will Once Saved Always Saved and or enduring to the end according to Jesus lead us and leave us for all eternity?
Is there a negative effect to believing Once Saved Always Saved if proven wrong in the end by Jesus? Is there a negative effect to believing the enduring to the end gospel according to Jesus if proven incorrect by Jesus? The truth is that one option leads many millions to the eventual expansion of hell and its occupants, while the other leads a few faithful to following in Christ’s footsteps which ultimately always leads us to the foot of the cross at Calvary, a very safe place to be found!
Which eternal gate are we willing and ultimately going to enter into? Of which of these eternal gates are we willing to stake our eternity on and the eternity of those who are looking on at our lives and at our decisions? There is no greater choice for true Christians living in these last days then the choice of being obedient to God’s Word and rejecting the deceptive words of men, demons, and all that is in opposition to the Word of God!