The Church of Sardis: “Put Me In Coach”

Hello Friends,

How are you doing? Can you believe the beautiful weather that we have been blessed with these past few days? The sun is shining! The birds are singing, flying around, and eating all my bird feed! The limbs on the trees are swaying in the breeze! God’s creation is showcasing its winter colors under blue skies! We have certainly been blessed to be witnessing such beautiful weather in the winter month of February. As singer and song writer Frank Sinatra famously sang in 1941, “Blue skies, smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see.” I hope you continue to see blue skies in the days ahead.

Today, we continue our journey of visiting the seven Churches of Revelation by stopping by the city of Sardis. The Church of Sardis looked alive outwardly, but inwardly was spiritually asleep. Sometimes we are the same way: we are walking around doing things, but sometimes we look like zombies and are tired when we do those things. We aren’t committed to what we need to do. We are going through the motions. Before we get to the Church of Sardis, though, let me remind you of what we talked about last week.

The Church of Thyatira was in trouble. Jesus caught the church following the ways of a lady named Jezebel. Jezebel was a mean person: causing believers of God to not believe in God, persuading people that she was always right, and mistreating others in her life. Jezebel wasn’t a nice person and those in Thyatira were following in her ways. They were sinning and getting in trouble. We must remember, in times of trouble, being misguided, not doing the right thing, and sinning, Jesus is there wanting to guide us back to him.

Jesus said, “I know your works: your love, faith, service, and endurance. I know that your latest works are greater than the first” (Revelation 2:19). Jesus sees who we were, who we are, and who we need to be. Jesus needs us to be someone who is willing to do some work: to find ways to work for and with Jesus in our life. Jesus needs us to show love. With love we learn more about Jesus and how Jesus loved everyone, which we need to do. Jesus wants our faith to grow. When we are faithful we remember that the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus needs us to be involved in service. When it comes to service, we need to find ways to serve others instead of always wanting to be served. We have to be there for others. Lastly, Jesus needs us to have patience. Sometimes, things don’t always happen right away: we need to be patient and trust in the ways of Jesus and know that Jesus will take care of us in his time. The Church of Thyatira, just like us, forgot how what Jesus calls us to do will save us and bring light into our life. But, we must be willing to do what Jesus is calling us to do if we want to no longer be in trouble.

As I stated earlier, the Church of Sardis looked alive outwardly but was inwardly asleep. The city of Sardis was famous for three things: 1) military might, 2) its place on a trade route, and 3) its command of the plains of Hermus, which were very fertile in the region next to the Aegean Sea in modern-day Turkey. The city was known for its dyed wools and carpets and fabulous wealth. In addition to dyed wools, Sardis was known to have invented coins in 660 B.C.

Sardis had a lot of good things going for it, but Jesus saw how the Church of Sardis had some room for improvement. Jesus informs the church that if it wants to be spiritually alive both inwardly and outwardly, it needs to do four things: wake up spiritually, strengthen what remains, remember what you were taught, and obey and repent.

-First, Jesus needs us to wake up. Sometimes in life, we find ourselves simply going through the motions, simply going through life on autopilot, and simply living out our faith like it isn’t important. In those moments, we are asleep and need to wake up. Jesus needs us to be awake and stay alert. Remember what happened when Jesus’ disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane? Jesus was captured by the religious authority. Jesus needs us to be awake and to live out our faith in ways that reflects the messages and mission of him so that we can protect him Jesus is telling us to wake up and follow him.

-Second, Jesus needs us to strengthen what remains. Every day, we will be challenged, but every day we have the opportunity to lean on Jesus. Every day, we need to strengthen our love for Christ, our faith in Christ, our belief of Christ, and our trust in Christ. Jesus needs us to strengthen what really matters in life: our relationship with him.

-Third, Jesus needs us to remember. Sometimes we remember a lot of things, but other times we remember very little. Sometimes we remember the good things, and sometimes we remember the bad things. Jesus needs us to remember him: all that he has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us. Jesus needs us to remember him.

-Fourth, Jesus needs us to obey and repent. Once you are awakened to the truth of the Gospel; once you recall the truth of the Gospel of grace; once you put into practice what you know is the truth of God, you only need to repent and begin to obey the word of God in your heart. Jesus needs us to obey his teachings and to ask for forgiveness when we do something wrong. Jesus needs us to obey–follow him–and repent–seek forgiveness.

The Church of Sardis was not perfect, but Jesus was willing to help them become perfect. Jesus is doing the same thing with you; and he has given you instructions to follow. When we wake up, have strength, remember, and obey and repent, we find ourselves on the road that leads to Jesus Christ. And this road is filled with love and acceptance and new beginnings and God’s protection. On this road, we get to experience “nothing but blue skies!”

As you live out the word of God in your life this week, remember that Jesus is with you and he is willing to guide you to him every day, but will you follow him?

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!


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