Hope defined is to “want or expect something: to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely”. Yesterday I shared about the Phoenix as it rose to life out of the ashes. Many of our churches are declining or dead. Many church leaders have lost hope in the established church creating a mass exit like a fire in a mall at Christmas.
But I still hold out hope for the established church. Jesus shared strong words to the church at Sardis who had a good reputation but poor reality. Though they thought they were alive, Jesus said they were dead. All of the church’s man-made programs can never bring life, any more than a circus can resurrect a corpse.
When sin is confessed and church members get right with God and with each other, then the Spirit infuses new life—revival! If not?
Christ also controls the seven stars, the messengers of the churches (Rev. 1:20), referring most likely to the pastors. Sometimes God moves pastors. Sometimes God moves people. Sometimes God does both. Sometimes God does neither. The common thread through this is that God is sovereign. Sardis is dead because they have rebelled against the move of God. Churches are dead today because they refuse to follow God or move with God. We have taken a God-born organism and superimposed man-made structure, man-made policy, and man-made leadership decisions, and congregational voting. These things are not biblical. A reason churches are diminished, dying, decaying, or dead is because we have exchanged the immortal for the mortal, the eternal for the temporal, God for man.
The impression is that the assembly in Sardis was not aggressive in its witness to the city. There was no persecution because there was no invasion of the enemy’s territory. No friction usually means no motion! The unsaved in Sardis saw the church as a respectable group of people who were neither dangerous nor desirable. They were decent people with a dying witness and a decaying ministry.
I said I hope and I do. I have hope because Jesus is still head of the Church.
“Write to the angel of the church in Sardis: The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive but you are dead.”
I will explain this is more detail tomorrow.