Saturday, November 19, 2016

To Sardis: ‘I know the things you do.’

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Friends,

As pointed out yesterday, My words to some of the disciples in Thyatira were harsh. However, My strongest words were reserved for My church in Sardis:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive — but you are dead.”

A church’s reputation can be deceiving. However, I know what is going on in a congregation, and I know the hearts of her people. I know the truth about a congregation’s faithfulness.

Sardis was once a great military city. It had the reputation of being an impenetrable citadel. That citadel fell three times over the years because of carelessness. Rather than posting guards, the people slept in their beds thinking they were safe. While they slept, the enemy scaled their walls and overran their city.

The community of Jews built an impressive and influential synagogue that gave the city a reputation for being very religious with people dedicated to the Father. However, a closer look revealed that they had sold out to the culture around them, mixing elements of idolatrous religions with their faith. They lost their single-minded devotion to truth and holiness.

Unfortunately, these flaws in their city’s past — a lack of wakefulness and a willingness for spiritual compromise — seeped into and permeated the heart of My people in Sardis. Their heart disease killed authentic and vibrant faith. A little life remained, but not much. They urgently needed to repent. They didn’t need just to feel sorry regarding their sin, but instead they needed to turn truly from their sinful behaviors and give their hearts back to Me.

Sometimes change comes from the inside out. For healthy disciples, this is the way the Holy Spirit transforms them (2 Corinthians 3:18). However, when a person’s heart is dying (Hebrews 3:12-14), emergency measures must be taken, and immediate changes must be made in medication, diet, and exercise if the heart is to heal. Notice the five commands that I gave My disciples in Sardis to correct their spiritual heart disease:

  1. Wake up!
  2. Strengthen what little you have left of your faith.
  3. Return to what you first believed.
  4. Hold firmly to that first faith.
  5. Turn your heart back to Me.

While many were spiritually dead in Sardis and received My harshest rebuke, some of My disciples received My highest words of praise. Notice how they were:

  1. Unsoiled: “don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes.”
  2. Pure: “will walk alongside Me in white.”
  3. Worthy: “they have been proven worthy.”
  4. Alive: “I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life.”
  5. Praised: “I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.”

Rather than just having a reputation for being alive, these disciples were fully and wholeheartedly alive in Me!

Verses to Live

Which of the two lists above is applicable for you? As you read My letter to the disciples at Sardis, the Spirit will help you know. Either you need a work plan to restore your heart and to come back to Me, or you are walking in the life that I give and that no one can take from you. I urge you to make sure the latter list is true of you!

The One [Jesus]:
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis.

“These are the words of the One Who has the seven Spirits of God, the Perfect Spirit, and the One Who holds the seven stars:

“I know the things you do — you’ve claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead. Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it’s time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways. If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief — you will have no way of knowing when I will come. But there are a few in Sardis who don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes. They will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy.

“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments, and I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life. I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

(Revelation 3:1-6)

Response in Prayer

O righteous Father, purify My heart. Strengthen my will as I seek to live wholeheartedly for Jesus, in Whose name I pray. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

© 1998-2016, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus‘ is part of the Heartlight Network.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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