The incomplete church

40 blogs of Lent – Day 22

The incomplete church

Messages to the churches – Day 18

Sardis – Day 2

‘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. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

Sardis

Not a lot to say here. This is the first of the churches to have only things that Jesus condemns, and nothing commended. Not good from God’s viewpoint. Not good at all.

When looking for an image, I found slides saying things such as, “In a live church people bring their Bibles, in dead churches they do not. This is a good example of thinking you are alive when you may not be. Not good.

From a human viewpoint, though, it looks very good. They had a name for being alive. Jesus says they are dead. Almost. But it is hard to say what this means from this perspective, we are not told what the marks of a living church would have been back then. It is probably not the same as it is these days.

These days a church that is alive would be on with a fantastic music ministry, it could be a great organ and professional standard choir, or a great rock band to lead, or maybe folk music, but done well. It would be well attended and the congregation would have every sign of joining in with the service. This alive church would also have an effective children’s and youth work and work with the older people too. This sort of church has the name of being alive these days. But what is God saying? Is this what God’s standards are?

Jesus has only two things to say, firstly that despite having the appearance of being live they are dead, and secondly and more specifically that their work is not complete. They are not carrying things through to being finished, which shows a lack of faithfulness, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit? If God’s Spirit was taken from the churches, this church would carry on with what is is doing and would still look alive.

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield

Between 1994 and 1995 our church was re-ordered. The old pews were removed, and seats put in, but the main reason was that the heating had broken down, one Sunday black smoke had poured into the building, and it was clear that something had to be done before the winter. More here.

But a few years on the money was getting tight, giving was slowing down and some who had given interest free loans were wanting their money back. A message was delivered to those looking at how to raise the money, it contained this passage and two others.

To be continued in the blogs of 15th March and 20th March

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

‘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. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Revelation 3:1-6


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Seven Churches – Day 1

2 thoughts on “The incomplete church

  1. Pingback: The self-reliant church – Making an ass of myself

  2. Pingback: A suffering church – Making an ass of myself

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