Mar 20 2012 - E100.97b – Revelation 2:18-3:6, Sardis
The church at Sardis had a reputation for being alive, but Jesus, the Lord of the church, declares that it is dead, or all but dead (Revelation 3:1). He issues them with a wakeup call to strengthen what remains before there is nothing left alive (3:2).
How was it that such a church had a reputation for life? It is difficult for us to offer any answer from the perspective of nearly two thousand years. But it does challenge us to consider the reputation of our own churches and whether that reputation is deserved. What reputation does our fellowship have? What reputation does it have among Christians? What reputation does it have among the community where it is placed? Is that reputation a reflection of what the church has been, or of what it now is? Is its reputation deserved? How do we assess life?
There are many ways of assessing the quality of a church. Some would ask about the soundness of its doctrine – the church at Ephesus would have done well on such an assessment. Others may look at the liveliness of its worship. Others still might judge a church by the range of its activities, while others might look at the strength of its evangelistic programme and its impact upon the community. But how do you measure life?
The life of a church is the presence of the risen Saviour in the power of the Spirit. I'm not sure that this answers the question of how life may be measured, but it is certainly the only way that life may be genuine.
Lord, give us more than a reputation. Give us life.