The Call To Overcome (Part 17)
The Dead Church*
I 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, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast 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. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Revelation 3:1-4 (NKJV)
I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone-dead. Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears--grasp it again and turn back to God.
If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I'll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night. You still have a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven't ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world's ways. They'll walk with me on parade! They've proved their worth!
Revelation 3:1-4 (The Message)
A dead church is a church without passion: hearts not into worship; hands unwilling to lift; mouths refusing to praise; ears deaf to the sermon; eyes cast down upon phones; wallets too tight to tithe; thoughts drifting here and there; knees not touching the floor, and prayers missing their Mark.
Still, I can relate to the Dead Church. I have suffered from depression, wondering if anything mattered. I have languished in boredom, living through shows on TV. I have held back in shyness, reluctant to be seen as a Christian.
But through it all, I looked quite normal--even successful. Such was the state of the Dead Church in the prosperous city of Sardis. They were form without substance, show without tell and smoke without fire.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: what can you do for a dead or dying church? Consider: When paramedics see a heartbeat stop, they begin resuscitation. They don't walk around a lifeless body and pretend not to notice.
Here's what you can do: 1) Awaken church sleepers with passionate praise; 2) Kneel down and reach high; show them how to move; 3) Greet your brethren with interest; people are dying to be noticed; 4) Offer them Nourishment: the Fruit of the Holy Spirit;
5) Pray for revival: that God might strengthen the weak; 6) Step up on the stages God provides. Sparkle and shine with joy. Meet people you never knew, and invite them to meet you. Because passion is contagious. In this way, you, too, can help 'Strengthen the things which remain' (Revelation 3:2).
To Be Continued...
* Letter to The Dead Church: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation+3%3A1-6&version=NKJV
* Previous AMTC Devotion on The Dead Church: http://www.amtcdevotions.com/which-church-are-you-part-7-the-dead-church
* Additional brief article on The Dead Church: http://www.gotquestions.org/church-in-Sardis.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Call To Overcome series.