The Dead Church
Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:” [Rev 3:1]

One of the interesting things to observe in these Revelation letters is the different ways that Jesus reveals Himself. To Ephesus, “He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” [Rev 2:1] To Smyrna, “the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life.” [Rev 2:8] To Pergamos, “He who has the sharp two-edged sword.” [Rev 2:12]. And to Thyatira, “the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass.” [Rev 2:18]

To each church Jesus revealed Himself in a specific and Personal way. Yet His whole revelation in Chapter 1 provides a full message to His church; which includes several commendations, exhortations, rebukes, and promises.

Notice, too, that at the end of each letter there is His free-will offering: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Churches [plural] can either hear and yield, or ignore and rebel. The choice is theirs; and ours!

This morning we will study our Lord’s message to the church in Sardis, oftentimes called “The Dead Church.” Notice how He appears to Sardis: “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” [Rev 3:1]

This reminds me of Ezekiel’s prophecy to “these dry bones” [ref. Eze 37:4]. The dry bones were Israel, a people who were physically alive but spiritually dead. Ezekiel went on to prophecy that there would be a time when Israel would come alive again [spiritually]. “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.’” [Eze 37:5]

It is a similar message to Sardis. They are dry and about to die. They have a form of godliness [“you have a name that you are alive”] but they are spiritually dead; but not all of them [ref. v.3:4].

Notice the digression of Compromise [Pergamos]; Corruption [Thyatira], and now Death as exemplified in Sardis. Spiritual death doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that begins with compromise.

God is merciful. Yet His mercy is not forever. When mercy concludes, judgment begins. Mercy continues through compromise, and even corruption, but ultimately the unrepentant heart will be judged.

The good news is that we can repent and receive Jesus as our Lord today, without having to experience that Day of Judgment. The choice is ours.