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In chapters two and three of Revelation, Jesus appeared to John and told him to write letters to the seven churches of Asia. These churches were all in the general area of   Ephesus and Colossae in Asia Minor. Today I’d like to focus on Jesus’ message to the church in Sardis.  

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write…I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you…”         Revelation 3:1-6 ESV    

Jesus’ words were direct and straight to the point… To me, a keyword in His message to the Sardis church is repent. As I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, the book of Revelation was written to show us a risen Jesus, Who sits at the right hand of God. I’ve also written about the way these churches were suffering for Jesus and being persecuted intensely for their faith. Yet, Jesus tells the church of Sardis to “wake up” and “repent”! Is it possible the only way to experience Jesus is to humble ourselves and repent?     

So what, specifically, was Jesus calling them to repent of? I’m glad you asked… Jesus said, “You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!” He said, “Strengthen   what remains and is about to die.” It’s important to notice that they hadn’t abandoned good teaching or embraced false teaching. They hadn’t departed from the truth they were taught.   They were just “a little bit alive”, as in not growing and fulfilling the mission of God, meeting the needs of people in the community, or representing Jesus well.     

He called them out for being dead. “Dead” is an accurate description for religion in our country today. Sure, many churches look great on the outside. They are still doing the right things. They’re studying and praying, but I think Jesus is saying to American churches, “You  are great at doing Christian things, but something is off.”     

Jesus said the Sardis church had “heard and received” the Gospel of Jesus, BUT they were dying in spite of hearing and knowing. I wonder…is Mountainview filled with people who have neglected what they have heard and received? Have the people of Mountainview fallen asleep? Have we forgotten what we were planted to do over 50 years ago? Have we forgotten what we were created to do?     

Revelation describes churches as lampstands. A lampstand is something that holds a   lamp.     

Let me be clear. The cities where we live and where our church exists — the people in our cities should look at our church and say, That’s what Jesus looks like.     

We must be diligent not to fall asleep. We must repent. We must continually go back to the purpose and reason and meaning Mountainview exists in the first place. It is likely you could be the only Christian at your workplace, in your neighborhood, where you work out, or anywhere else you spend your time. Are you someone reflecting the light of Jesus?     

Please join us this Sunday at 9:00 or 10:40 am as we explore another challenge that keeps us from loving our cities. We will continue to build a Biblical and logical foundation for loving our cities, and look at the challenges that actually keep us from doing so.     

Grace & Peace,   

Pastor Tom