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The Church At Sardis

Sunday Night 01/22/2023 – Pastor Eric Davis

Revelation, chapter three. Want to talk a little bit, but mention tonight those white garments that he’s given to us. We’ll get to that. Revelation, chapter three, verses one through six. We’re going to go to we’ve been dealing with the churches, the letters to the churches and God’s measures message to the churches and how that relates to our life today individually and how also relates to our church family and what we can learn from that. We’ll find out in this passage of Scripture we’ve been seeing where God would commend a church for something that they’ve done. He would praise them for their things that were praiseworthy. And then he would go into something. Most of the time he went into something that needed fixed, needed corrected. Here we’re going to notice a marked change that there’s nothing at the beginning that’s praiseworthy. A little bit later he mentioned something, but he goes right into the admonition. So let’s look at that. Before we do, though, let’s pray and ask for God’s help. Heavenly Father, we love you Lord, we thank you for your word that God’s us and directs us. And every bit of it is just as relevant today as it was when it was first pinned down. So Father, I prayed you’d open our hearts to receive what you’d have for us tonight. And Lord, help us, lead us and direct us. And father. I know that I’m nothing apart from you. So Father, I need Your help tonight and ask for your help. But thank you for all you’re going to do. In Jesus name, amen. Revelation, chapter three, verse one. Let’s read it and then we’ll discuss it. And to the angel of the church in Sardis, write these things, saith he that hath the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know thy works, that thou hast the name, that thou livest and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die. For I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And I will not blood out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, before his angels. He didn’t hath an ear. Let him hear with the Spirit saith into the churches. Not a very good description to start out with the church of Sardis, and we don’t know that there’s not much written about Sardis in this day and time. There was a lot of history before the birth of Christ, but that doesn’t necessarily concern us to this point. But what is known is that they had a prominent name in their community. The Scripture infers that it tells us that that they had a name that they were living, but Jesus said that they were dead. If you were to ask anybody in the community, what do you think about that church down to Sardis? Say, oh, that’s an alive church. That is a lively church. That that’s where you need to go. If you’re going to go down to Sardis, you need to go to that church. They had a name that they were alive, but the Lord saw through that. He knew the hearts of men, and he knew that they were dead. That’s not a very encouraging statement. I’d like to say I’m not the Lord, but I believe if I know us as a church family, I believe the Lord would say that we have not a dead church, but we have a living church. I would believe that he is pleased with us, have gathered here tonight on a Sunday night to worship the Lord, and we did so so we could learn from His Word. We could worship the Lord together. We’re a giving church. It might be said of us that we could say, he knows our poverty, but we’re rich. I think the Lord could say that of many of us. You’ve given and given and sacrificed to give to help the needs of others. But there’s a danger, even in a lively church, even in a living church, of allowing certain things to die off. And we don’t want that to happen. I don’t want that to happen. You don’t want that to happen in your life. So what was the problem? Well, first let’s start with start with what the name of Sardis means. It means escaping ones or those who come out. And for the church period that it stands for, it represents the time of the Reformation, around 1517, when Martin Luther tacked the 95 theses on the door, on the church doors. It’s about 1750. In the midst of all the spiritual darkness, there were those who came out and escaped the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. And there was a reintroduction of the doctrine of justification by faith, not of works. See, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that a man can be saved by the works that they do, but that’s not biblical. The Bible says that a man is only saved by placing his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. And there were a group of people all throughout this time that were still clinging to the Bible the way of salvation by grace, through faith. They were persecuted, and listen, they were persecuted by the Catholic Church, and they were also persecuted by many of the Protestant churches of this time. And I believe we could trace our ancestors back, baptist history back through that time. And that’s what one of those books does. The trail of blood by JM. Carroll. If you don’t have a copy of it, I have copies of it. I could give you one, could read it and trace it through. But there were those that came out and they were getting close to the Scripture, but they didn’t go far enough. AC Gabelon, I don’t know if I’m saying that name correctly. He’s a good writer. He’s what he said, he said we’ve traced briefly the decline during the first 1500 years of church history. The climax was reached in Tire Tarah prophetically during the time of the Roman abomination and apostasy in Sardis the progress of evil is stayed. Roman Catholicism has already mentioned is fixed and unchanging religious system. It will not change. We saw in thy tyre it’s going to go through the tribulation period. And if you keep on reading in Revelation, you can see the Bible refers to it. He goes on to say that she will yet get back her place as the mistress of the nations. But in Sardis there’s a reaction. It’s the Reformation period. It’s a movement which produced Protestantism. Now they still brought in some of their doctrine over into their churches, some of the corrupt doctrines, the infant baptism. That’s why some of the churches around today still practice that some other things. And they also sought the help of government to exercise authority over the churches. It’s why you had the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. They were Protestant, but they were still seeking to force church membership. And you can’t force salvation, you can’t force church membership that’s we believe in individual, soul, liberty, amen and the separation of church estate. Kings and rulers can never appoint to office in the church. They they sought to do that. That’s God’s business and he does it through a local assembly. So it was good that they come out, but they they overall, generally they didn’t come out far enough. But but what does that have to do with PAX Branch Baptist Church? We’re not part of a hierarchy, anything like that. I believe for us it has the application of let’s watch and see what we have checked individually. Is there something that may be gone that was once there? Is there something that has died in your life? Maybe the fire has grown cold. When you’re camping and you’re going on a hunting camp or anything like that, somebody has to stay awake and feed the fire. Is that right? Ask Brother Bill. I tell you, brother Bill knows a lot about my illustrations. I don’t know why that is, but somebody’s got to constantly feed that fire. That fire grows dim, grows cold. Same is true with our lives. We got to constantly feed that spiritual flame, make sure it’s kindled or it could be at the point of dying. I believe, I honestly believe with God as my witness that we have a wonderful church here at PAX France Baptist Church and if I knew there was something that wasn’t right or if we didn’t have a great church, I wouldn’t say that. I’m being honest with you. I believe the Lord is pleased, but I don’t want to rest in that and allow things to slip by. We got to be vigilant, got to be watchful, not let those things die. Make sense. So let’s start at the at the beginning. Under the angel of the church and Sardar’s, right? These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God. And the seven stars. We’ve looked at each letter. Jesus is referring to Himself in a special way to address the church. He has the seven spirits of God that was mentioned in Sunday school. I don’t know if how many of you caught that? And that’s not talking about seven spirits. I know it says seven spirits, but seven is a number of completion. You see the capital S in spirit. You see that? That’s referring to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit part of the Godhead. And you can cross reference that through the rest of Revelation, and I believe you’ll find it consistent. But it’s talking about the complete work of the Holy Spirit in each and every church. I wrote this down. I want to make sure I say this correctly. One only through the operation of the Holy Spirit can a dead church be made alive. And I believe that, and I’m not finding where I wrote. There it is the fullness, the completeness, and the diversified attributes and actions of one Holy Spirit. All right, we’ll say it again. The fullness, the completeness, but the diversified attributes and actions of one Holy Spirit. See, we remember when we went through First Corinthians, way back when I think it was last year some time we talked about the gifts that God gave to each individual. He gives different gifts, but it’s the same spirit, right? One Lord, one baptism, one faith, one spirit. So it’s one Holy Spirit, but he’s working in each church. By the way, who is the head of the church? The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the head of the church. He’s administrating the church through the Holy Spirit, who is indwelling each and every one of us, right? That’s how he’s working through the church. So he has in his right hand the seven stars, and he has the seven spirits of God. And that has everything to do with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit working together through the church. And he says, I know thou works every letter. He said that. I think it’s amazing. Even in the haulers of West Virginia, he knows our works. He knows the sacrifice that was given today to help this need in the church. He knows your works and that thou hast a name, that thou livest and art dead. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain. See, Christ is the head of the church. We belong to him. He appoints. Not a hierarchy, not the government. The government doesn’t appoint. We don’t answer to a sister church down the road or a mother church. There is no Mother Church. Our headquarters are in heaven. We answer to the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t answer to a church in Beckley. Now, we can work with the church in Beckley or Oak Hill or Fayetteville, wherever it may be. They’re like faith and like practice. We can work together for a common cause, believe the same thing. We can fellowship with them, work together with them, but we don’t answer to them and they don’t answer to us. We answer to directly to our Lord the Savior Jesus Christ. Okay? That’s our responsibility. The God, through the Spirit of God, administers through the church. And it’s interesting to note that there’s nothing here that he can praise them. With this church, there was a form of life, but they were lifeless. Second to me, 35 says this having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof. And if you’ve traveled at all, been to any other churches not every building that has the name Church on it is alive inside when you go inside. And that’s sad to say. We don’t say that with any joy. We wish all of them were living. How does a church get that way? They’ve let some things grow cold. They’ve let some things go. If you were to look at the Church of Sardis, you would say that they were a beehive of activity. There was activity here, activity there. They were busy doing things. I think it was Dr. Clarence section said this, that busyness is no substitute for spirituality. Something along those lines just because you’re busy doesn’t mean that you’re a spiritual person. Right? In fact matter of fact, that the busier you are. The more time you need to spend with the Lord. Because the more you give out, the more you need to take in from God to replenish what you give out. So anyway, it’s interesting. I was reading through George Mueller’s biography. Somebody wrote about it’s. A biography. Autobiography is when you write it yourself, right? This was a biography. Somebody else wrote it. And he was saying that he noticed a time in his journals. He wrote this that he was busy about the work of the Lord. But he was so busy, he neglected his time with God. And he took a trip and he had no liberty to pass out a track. He couldn’t hardly speak to anybody about the name of the Lord. I mean, this is the great man of faith, George Mueller. He said he got so busy, he neglected his time with God. He let that fire grow cold. It can happen to any one of us. It can happen in our homes and our families. We got to be careful. A living church will be the conscience of the community and will have many wishing to silence it. The Bible says it this way. Luke 626, woe to you when all men shall speak well of you. If we get along with everybody in town, then something’s wrong. We’re not taking a stand here’s. Why? They rejected our head. They rejected our authority. This world did. This world system does not appreciate one way of salvation, not appreciate standing on the old past. The King James Bible doesn’t appreciate any of that. So we will make enemies. We don’t try to, but that’s just going to happen. But this one, he says, be watchful. Verse number two. Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain. That would be my message to you, church as watch. Be alert, be aware, and let’s strengthen what remains what we have. Let’s let’s count the good things and bless the Lord form, but let’s continue on and strengthen the things that we have. Be alert. Be watchful means to chase sleep. Brother Jeremy has said a couple of times he’s been riding with Brother Bill and it’s been a long day of work. And again, illustration. I don’t know where they come from, but and one or the other, after long days of work and you lock ride in the car a long ways, what happens? You get a little bit tired, right? And you got to be able to chase sleep. So I’m glad they ride together so they can help one another stay awake, aren’t you? I tell you, there’s been times I’ve been driving. Matter of fact, I think when we were on our honey coming back from my honeymoon, we were trying to get back in time for church service on Sunday morning. We left Saturday. Twelve hour trip from deeper Peninsula, Michigan. Something like that. And we were getting back way late. It was like two, three, maybe even 04:00 in the morning, too. Okay, I’ll make it sound worse than what it was. It was late for us. And my wife, who likes to she helps, she helps keep me awake, keep me going. She was in the middle of a conversation, in the middle of a sentence and fell asleep. And thankfully she wasn’t driving. But I was driving. I could feel myself knocking off a little bit. You’ve been there, you’ve done that. And you’ve got to do everything you can to chase sleep. You switch positions, you try to keep eating, Eminems whatever it is, chips. You keep drinking sodas. And after a while, nothing works. Best thing to do is just pull over and get a few minutes of sleep. But to be alert, be a watch, will chase sleep. It’s natural to go to sleep when you’re tired. We get weary. Here’s what I mean, spiritually, we get weary in this journey, don’t we? Doing right? We’re going against the grain. I mean, our eyes are heavenward, but we’re still going against the grain in this world. We get weary and it’s easy to go asleep, get comfortable, let things slide a little bit. And God says, I want you to be watchful, be alert, because there are spirits of warfare. Ephesian 618, episode six, talks about our warfare. Who we wrestle with the praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit and watching there, and to with all perseverance and supplication for saints. Let me ask you a question. Who’s out there running about seeking whom he made of our? The devil. And the Bible says he is our what adversary. He would like to stop the work of the church. He doesn’t want us to continue to be a light in his community. He doesn’t want us to go out in the highways and hedges and compel them to come in. So he would like nothing more than to stop us from going out. He’s walking about. We have a spiritual warfare. We got to be alert, got to be aware of that. The souls of men are at stake. There’s a possibility of false teachers coming in just like the other day. They had false teachers in packs going around the neighborhood telling people that Jesus was not God. Why should we be alert? Because our Lord is returning. The Bible says in Mark 1333, take your heed, watch and pray, for you know not when the time is Romans 1311, and that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent. The day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. Let us put on the armor of light, let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof. High time to wake out of sleep, for our salvation is nearer than when we believed. I believe that, don’t you? Like I think it was Brother McBride said Sunday, a week ago. He said the signs of the times are not for the Lord’s coming, but it’s for the end of the world. And we see what has to happen before in the end of the world. It’s for Jesus to come. And the stage is set. You can see it all around. I believe he’s coming. Be alert, be watchful. Our enemies are out there. The devil, the world, this flesh this flesh will take advantage of any weak moment that it has. You got to be alert, be watchful our Lord’s return. The coming of the Lord is no secret to those that are watching. We don’t know when he’s coming, but it shouldn’t take us by surprise if we’re watching. If you’re watching for something, it’s not going to take you by surprise. We are not of the night. The Bible says we must guard against temptation. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. Temptation waits for unguarded moments. He said watch. Be watchful, be alert, be aware and do what? Strengthen the things which remain. Might say, Well, Brother Eric, my Bible reading is waning a little bit. And I try to encourage you to say, strengthen that which remains. Get back in the Bible. Get back in daily time in your Bible reading and Bible devotions. Maybe the prayer life is waning a little bit. Listen, it happens to every single one of us. Strengthen what remains undergirded get back there. So maybe your home life, maybe your communication between husband and wife’s, not what it used to be, that affects your spirituality, too. Get back. Strengthen that which remains. Maybe you’re witnessing not what it should be. Strengthen what remains. He said, Strength of the things which remain that are ready to die. There was still a little bit of hope in Sardis. There were a few there, and we’re going to read about that. And they could have turned things around. But God says, I have not found that works perfect before God. The works aren’t complete. Isaiah 20 913 said this. He said, These people draw near me with their mouth, but with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me. It’s one thing to talk about the Lord, another thing to love Him with your heart. You know what it is? We probably cast off on the politicians, maybe a little too much so, but I think much of it is rightly deserved. But anyway, they can speak and smoke. Said, how do you know a politician is lying when you see the mouse move? I guess I don’t know if it’s the right thing to say or not, but sometimes it’s hard to trust what they say, because what they say and what they do are so far apart from each other. May that never be said of us. Amen. We pray and tell the Lord we love Him. I pray that it’s from our heart. If things are not pursued to completion, they tend to decline. It’s a writer that said that. I think I agree with that. If we don’t pursue that to completion, they’ll tend to decline. So what does God tell us to do? He said, Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard. You know, there was another church that had to remember where they were. There was one that left their first love. He said, Remember where you came from. Remember that first love. God says here, remember, therefore how thou hast received and heard. And hold fast. Keep on remembering. There are memory markers in our life, memory marker in the life of me and my wife, our wedding day where we got married. And when we go through that area, we’d like to go by that place and just visit that place and see it. And it brings back memories. I get nervous all over again and get butterflies in my stomach all over again. What if you don’t go through with it? But there’s memory markers. There’s special things that happen in your life. There ought to be a time we ought to visit Calvary every day. That’ll be a memory marker in our life. As we read the pages of God’s word, god brings memory markers back to our heart. We sing the songs that we sing and it does something in our heart, in our mind, and it brings back to mind those memory markers. It reminds us of what God has done for us. That’s what we need. We need to remember constantly what God’s done for us. Keep on remembering. You remember where Job was when he sat down among the ashes? It was a place where he formally offered the burnt offerings into the Lord. That was the last place that he knew where to find God is where he sat down. If you’re going through a desert place like we’ve talked about this morning, go to the last place you know where God is and just sit down there. Spend time with him. He said, remember. And then look. He also said, hold fast, keep the fire burning hot and bright. Don’t fall asleep. Brother Bill right, if the log needs put on the fire. And of course, I don’t know that it was Brother Bill’s fault. I think some of the others he was fine, everybody else was cold. Yeah. So it’s the person that’s cold that should put the fire the logs on the fire start a division tonight. But we got to keep the fire burning. So what are you going to do to keep the fire burning hot and bright? Stay in the word of God. Stay in church, be faithful. Give out gospel tracks. Renew that dedication to the Lord. They’re sitting in your life that will kill your fire quicker than anything. Get it confessed, get it under the blood. Hold fast and repent. He said, if you have become dead, spiritually dead, repent. There is a way back. Repent. Turn around. It’s a change of mind leading to a change of direction. Don’t stay in that. Get out of it. Come back to me. Here’s his warning. We’ll keep on going. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. There are those that profess to be saved, but they’re not watching for the Lord to come. And whether or not they’re saying that’s between them and the Lord. But God said he’s not going to take us and we’re not to be surprised as a thief in the night when the Lord comes, because we’re not of the night. We’re saying we’re looking for his return. If you’re looking for his return, you’re not to be surprised when he comes. I want to be looking and ready for his return. You remember what Paul said about being self judged, judging ourselves. He said, when you come to the Lord’s table, he said judge yourself. Look, examine yourself, check yourself, get everything confessed. I would rather take care of it myself than to have God have to take care of it. Wouldn’t you? So do that thou hast a few names. Verse four. Even in sardis which have not defiled their garments and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. It’s like the song was sung tonight. We’re not worthy in ourselves, but God has made us worthy in the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. There are faithful maybe few, but there are faithful few. Be faithful. God approves of being faithful. He knows look, he said thou hast a few names even in Sardines, which have not defiled their garments. The few names God knows. God knows everyone by name who’s faithful to him. Be faithful. White is pictured as purity. There used to be a clothing or a collar of victory that they would wear. You and I will have victory will be pure. We’re washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ or we’ll have white raymond on in heaven. Say White is not my collar, it will be in heaven. Amen. We’re invited guests to the banquet of God and we’ll have our wedding garments on them. What a blessing. They are worthy. He that overcometh the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And I will not blow out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, before his angels. He that hathaner let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches we mentioned the order is changed. He that hathener comes after the one that he that overcometh. Not everybody here’s the point there not everybody that claims to be a Christian is a Christian. I hope you know that. It can discern that. We all know the verse and the verse gets thrown at us. Judge not that to be not judged. But Bible also says judge. I can’t think of it, but judge righteously. You have a discerning spirit about you. But those we’re not concerned about them, we’re concerned about us. I want my life to reflect the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t you? I don’t want to let those things slip. I don’t want to become cold and indifferent on the Lord. Nothing that is of God can ever be lost. Another writer wrote that. So whatever we do in this life, whether it’s known by mankind or not, whether it’s spoken in great admiration by the public or not, if we do it for the Lord, it’s worth it all I know thou works thou hast name that thou art that thou livest in art dead. I don’t want that said about me. Don’t want that said about you, about our church. What do you do to keep that from happening? You remember what you’ve received and heard and hold fast, strengthen. The things that remain that maybe they’re wavering, maybe they’re waning. Strengthen them, get them back. Get back in there. We can’t go through this life without our time with the Lord in his word, without our time praying we got a witness for the Lord. Be faithful to the church house, support the work of the Lord, and we’re doing that. That’s good you’re here tonight, and I know there’s some watching that couldn’t be here tonight. But strengthen that, hold that fast and keep it going. Amen. And let’s be faithful until the Lord returns. Amen. We will all rejoice together in our white raiment, singing holy, holy, holy unto the Lord God Almighty. And we’ll have a wonderful time in heaven. All right, let’s stand head mount, an eyes closed. And maybe, I don’t know, maybe there’s somebody here tonight. I’d say, Brother Eric, there is something that has I feel like has died in my life. You don’t even have to tell me. Would you tell God? Saltar is open? You come and ask the Lord to help you. Those things that have wavered, Lord, rekindle that fire like the church of Ephesus. Bring back that first love if you need to come. The salt is open. Won’t you come? A church that’s led by the Spirit of God means individuals in the church are led by the Spirit of God. Are you allowing God to lead you? Father in heaven, we love you. Lord, thank you for your word. Lord, I thank you for the truth in your word, even if it’s uncomfortable to us. Father, I pray that you’d search us, as uncomfortable as it may be, and show us what may be wavering what may be about ready to die. Lord, help us to undergird it, to strengthen it, to hold it fast, not let it slip. What I think, I think of those that are coming up behind us and are looking to us and looking to see if what we have will stand the test of time. And, Lord, if it’s in us, I already know it won’t last. But, Lord, you’re faithful and you’re true and you can help us. So, Lord, I pray that you’d help us. Think of the souls of men that are at stake, that are looking to find something worthwhile. Think of all that you have delivered unto us, Lord, to help us to be found faithful. We love you, Lord, just because you first loved us. In Jesus name we pray. We ask for your help. Amen.

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