June 16, 2024 | Kyle Bjerga

This sermon warns the church in Sardis against complacency and compromise, challenging them to truly live for God rather than just appearing righteous externally. It emphasizes the dangers of playing church rather than being awake to Jesus. The speaker encourages self-examination to strengthen one’s faith through repentance, remembering the gospel, and holding fast to Jesus alone. True life is found not in good deeds alone but in Christ’s perfect record and power.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Well, good morning. If you have your Bible, go ahead and turn to Revelation chapter three, you’ll find it on page 992. If you’re using one of the black pew Bibles in front of you. In reality television, there is a popular type of genre where they will have restaurant tours go into restaurants that are failing. And they will try to turn them around these places are not in a good position. And it’s amazing to hear the stories of these different restaurants and the people there because usually they have a reputation. They’ve been in a place for decades. And people know them by name. And yet, they’re at a place where they have bills piling up, and they have credit card debt, and they’re on the verge of closing their doors. So the question is, how is this possible? Like they’re a staple in the community, people know the name, people still go. But it’s really only the people who’ve been going for 50 years, who don’t care about the quality of the food anymore, because they have relationships. So they’re going to still show up, and they’re going to kind of make ends meet for a while. But what usually comes out when they’re talking to these owners of these businesses, these restaurants, they say like, we’re about two months, five months a year from closing our doors. So to them, they’re as good as dead. We can see the writing on the wall, we aren’t going to be in business much longer. unless they do something drastic, unless they change things. And what does it take to change things? Well, it usually means drastic measures tearing everything down and rebuilding from the ground up. Say, we’re not going to do things the way we used to do them anymore. We’re gonna do things a different way, we’re gonna go back to where it all started remembering the passion for which we got into this business, the passion for food, the passion for people. And it is a painful and necessary process to go through. There’s usually tears, arguments, defensive positions, there’s always that one person that doesn’t want to change. One person that just can’t see that maybe they’re the problem, that’s something they’re doing is the problem. And that is the story of the church and service. That is where we find this church this morning, the letter that we have to the church in Sardis, we’ll talk about this issue. If you’ve been with us, you remember Brandon a couple of weeks ago to kind of talk about the the layout of the seven letters. And if you think about it as a picture with a frame and a mat and a photo, those first and last letters are the frame, kind of some similarities between those letters and the churches that the written two letters two and six, same kind of thing. And then we get this photo in the middle. And we saw that there’s really this progression, actually this kind of slippery slope that happens in these three churches. So two weeks ago, we looked at the church in Pergamum. And Pergamum allowed a small group of false teachers to infiltrate the church to start teaching false things. Last week, we looked at Thyatira, that kind of had these false teachers, the people start to kind of listen to them, and they start to compromise on the truth. They start to live lives that look kind of like the rest of the culture. And then today, we get to service. And the slippery slope has taken us all the way down to a very dangerous and dark place. The difference between the church in Sardis and most of these restaurants is the church thinks that it’s okay. The church thinks it’s fine. So we’re going to read the whole passage, I want to read all of it three, one through six, because we’re going to jump around even though we’re going to follow the same outline we’ve been following the last few weeks, we’re going to kind of mention some verses as we go some things that connect. So I just want to read all of it for us. And then we’ll walk through that familiar outline this morning. So let’s look at chapter three, verse one, to the angel, the church in Sardis. Right. These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead, wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die for I found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore what you have received and heard, hold it fast and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief. And you will not know what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in startups who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me dressed in white fur, they are worthy. The one who was victorious will like them or be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before My Father and His angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. So first, we learned something about Christ, as we have every week and why he’s writing this letter to this church. We sit right there in verse one. These are the words of him who holds the seven stars, the one who has the seven Spirits. So we’re gonna see that he is power and life, that Christ is power and life. Now a little background on Sardis, though it would be helpful. Remember, these letters are going in this kind of circle route where they the person bringing this letter is kind of moving from Thyatira 30 miles south east to Certus. There’s a couple of important things about startups and its history that we need to kind of know and hang on to for a little bit later. And that is first that it was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 ad and emperor Tiberius kind of forgave so a season of taxes so that the people could actually rebuild the city. But the city was never actually completed, and never returned to what it once was, in fact, the temple to the god Artemis, so they worshiped wasn’t ever finished, after that, kind of stayed half finished. And it was also famous for being this impregnable fortress that nobody could actually get into service. But it was attacked and destroyed by the Persians at one point and the Greeks at another Well, how was that possible if they had this great position in this great fortress? Well, like anything, it was human error. They had people who basically fell asleep on the job that thought they were just overconfident, they thought nobody’s getting in here. So we don’t really need to pay attention. And they were careless, and allow the enemy to attack and defeat them. Now, these two things, there’s unfinished city and this kind of the cost of laziness, and not taking things seriously will come back in our letter, so hold on to those for now. And so it’s to this Church that Jesus writes this letter. And he says, he has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. And in chapter one, we learn about the seven spirits, we talked about this already, that this really means seven fold spirit, the number seven, being completeness. And so Jesus is saying, I have the Holy Spirit, the full power and life in the Spirit are mine. I hold it, and I hold it for you. There’s something they need to hear about this. And now that we know that the spirit is also life, power and life, the two things that people in Sardis need. And then he holds the seven stars. And the chapter one, verse 20, we learned that these stars are the angels, the messengers to these churches. And so he says, I have the power and the life, and my words matter. So he’s got the power life, he’s holding the messages for these churches. So that’s also important. These are not just messengers that are coming to deliver a message on their own, they’re coming with the very words of Jesus. If he has the power in life, and he has these messages, that means we need to take it seriously. They need to listen. And we see the people in SARS that they don’t listen, there is a grave outcome for them. If they don’t take his message seriously. So Jesus discloses himself in this way. And to these peoples, they read this letter, it should bring two things, it should bring terror and comfort at the same time. Because terror because God actually knows their hearts, he can look past all the things they’re doing. But if they humble themselves, and listen to his words, there is power and life for them. There is an opportunity for true revival. Now, it’s worth noting here that as we read that letter, you saw that the church as a whole was not commended for anything. There’s only two churches in the seven letters that are not committed for anything. It’s Sardis and Laodicea, which we’ll look at in a couple weeks. It’s a rebuke. It’s a warning to the people. So we need to ask what is the reality of the church in Sardis. And so let’s look at the church, that second point there and we’re gonna see kind of perception and reality in that second part of verse one. Because it says, I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. So the people of service those not in the church, the people have started the community itself, know the church. They know the Christians. They see the Christians, they probably been served by the Christians. They see the poor and the sick, and the down and out being taken care of by the church. The church is always running programs. There’s always something going on at night. There’s always somebody there. And they think this is good for the community. The church is doing good. It’s taking care of the people. And so they have a good reputation. When they hear people hear the name like oh, yeah, that church, they do a lot of good things. It doesn’t mean they necessarily believe what the church stands for. That’s important. But they do have a reputation of doing good. So it’s good to have them here. Right. It’s good to have them in the community.
And can’t help but think like last nine years that I’ve been here at Cityview I’ve heard from a lot of people about this church who don’t attend this church. People who I’ve talked to have said things to me like, it sounds like things are really going well at Cityview. Or it looks like things are going really well at Cityview. And why do they say this? Well, they literally see the new building, right? They drive and they see it being done. And so like, oh, things must be going well, you have enough money to pay for a building. The parking lot is full. We have banners outside with things going on. We provide free clothing. On the first Saturday of every month, we walked to the Memorial Day Parade, everybody saw us. It’s a great thing. And I hear this and and then we’ve actually had people come here who say like, well, so and so recommended that I come here, I was like, I’ve never met that person in my life. And like, well, they watched online, or they know somebody else that goes there. And so people are sending people here who have never actually been here. That’s a reputation. That’s a name. And can I tell you that feels really good? It feels really good. Because what’s the alternative? Yeah, you don’t want to go there? Or that’s the alternative. If people hear our name, that’s what they say. But that’s not the reputation that we have. So how can the church and start does not feel good about having a good reputation in the community? Because here’s this letter, and it’s delivered from John the Apostle. And there’s the words of Jesus. Now, we just had recall, back in May, if you’re not familiar with recall, is one of our annual meetings every year, we’ll be looking back on what the Lord has done in our church. We look at the finances, how healthy are we in our financial situation? We have testimonies from many of you that say, Here’s how the ministries of Cityview are impacting our lives. And we worship. We’ve seen how Cityview has been a blessing. Now imagine at the end of all that Joe gets up the chair of our elder board and says, Hey, by the way, I have a letter from Jesus. And he says, Cityview I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive. But you’re dead. Like how deflating would that be. That’s what the church is artists got. You look like a great church. But I see you. I see your hearts. And there’s nothing there. There’s no heartbeat. Because the assumption for many of us is if things are growing, and things look nice and new, and people are coming, then spiritually, we must be doing something right. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. This is the danger for the church. It’s the danger for a church like ours. It’s been here for a long time that has a great history. We can very easily start to play church, and we do a really good job at it. And the outside world might never see anything different. But Jesus does. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for in his ministry? Look at Matthew 23. And the woes the Pharisees, one of them he says, Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside, you appear to people as righteous, but in the inside, you are full of hypocrisy, and wickedness. These are the Pharisees, the teachers of law, the reputation of being the holy ones, the learned ones, and yet Jesus says they are whitewashed tombs, full of death. It’s important to note here parents that having good kids that listen to you that listen to the law that do good things that don’t get into trouble, too much trouble, the wrong type of trouble. That’s not enough to say they’re alive. We would love it. If it was if there was a checklist, we can just say they did that today. They’re good. That’s not how it works. It’s not how it works. Being the good church kid who treats people nicely might be all you’re ever known for. And Jesus might look at that and say, You look alive. But you’re dead. We have to be really honest, when we’re asking these questions of our lives of the lives of our kids of others in our life as well. The truth is the reputation that we want the reputation that we think we have, the good reputation we might actually have in the community is not enough. People smile at us in the parade. Right? They take our stuff from us. And that’s a good thing. It’s not something we shouldn’t be doing. But is there life in us? Are they actually seen that life does Jesus see that life because the community of Elmhurst will not stand up at the end of time before God and save that church fulfill Let’s mission that church loves Jesus. At the same time, there’s only one opinion that matters. The opinion of the one who holds the seven stars, the seven spirits of God. What he says about our church is the only thing that matters. What he says about the church and service is the only thing that matters. Now, as we read this, you might be a little bit confused, because it’s been pretty obvious in the other letters, what the churches were being warned about, or rebuked for, and we don’t really get a whole lot here in this letter, like what’s causing this death in Sardis. If they’re doing all these good things? Well, we get a couple hints. But Jesus says in verse two, that their deeds are unfinished. Before God, their deeds are unfinished, which means they’re insufficient. Okay, they’re insufficient. So we can make some educated guesses from the letters surrounding it, as well as verse four on to what the actual issue is here. So first, the other letters, we get in these three in the middle, those false teachers, and then we get the compromise of the truth. And if you have false teachers, who kind of sway you a little bit to start living like the world, pretty soon you just look like the world, but you keep doing all the good things you’ve always done as the church. And so that’s that slippery slope that we see these false teachers get in you compromise the truth, you’re like, hey, we’re gonna do good. I’m not going to take care of my sin. And that’s where we find ourselves. That’s for starters, finds itself a dead church. Second, verse four, if you look at that talks about this small group of people who have not soiled their clothes, which seems to mean the rest of the church has. Right? This is who you are, as a church, you’re dead. Hey, there’s a small group of people. The church is not being commended. But there’s a small group of people who have not soiled themselves. So what does that mean? In the Bible, a lot of times, it just means they look exactly like the world. And so they’re hypocrites. They say one thing, and they do another. They continue to live in sin, an unrepentant sin, and still do good things in the name of Jesus, of course. And the church today still has this danger, we can let things go in our life, continue to serve Him, keep letting that sin sit there, keep giving into it, keep doing good, and think we are okay. And this church probably started off strong. But remember, this city was never completed once it was destroyed. And so it seems that they have never really returned to that former glory that they had as a church. That reputation that they once had, is in danger. They’re in danger. Warren weirs, B says this about the church in Sardis. As he’s commenting on this passage, he says the unsaved people in started saw the church as a respectable group of people who are neither dangerous nor desirable. They were decent people with a dine witness, and a decaying ministry. The church was not dangerous, meaning they were liked by the community, but they’re liked because the church never actually called the people into something higher, never pushed back, never called them to a higher standard. Never told them about their sin and then brought in the grace of God at the same time. So they’re not dangerous. They’re also not desirable. Like my neighbors look exactly like me. They do some good things. But other than that they do everything else I do. So why would I want to be a part of a church like that. So they’re not dangerous, they’re not desirable, either. Nobody sees anything really different. The nonprofit down the street does the same thing. My neighbors across the street, who don’t follow Jesus do the same thing. But the Christians here live the same way I do, while still doing all those good things. So they’re decent people, nice people, with a dying witness and a decaying ministry. And if that’s the case, Jesus loves the church too much to let that continue. He gave his life for the church. So he does not want to see that continue. But in His grace and patience, he comes after us. Because he’s in the business of bringing dead things to life. Remember, he has the power and life in his hands. So that’s where we see the charge for the church next, can move on to that third point there. Here’s the charge, quit plain and get real, quit plain and get real. That’s what we see in verses two through three. Now really here that that point, that charge is just trying to summarize what Jesus is saying here in verses two and three, which are really five imperatives, these five commands that he just rattled off for the church, to show them you need to stop playing church.
You need to come back to life. And here’s how that happens. Remember, he’s got the power and the life in his hand. and they’re available to them. So kids, as you saw Jacob here, and he kind of removed that flower, shake off that dirt, set it to the side, it’s not going to be live for much longer. But if you leave it in there and you keep watering it, it’s going to keep going. And it’s going to keep going. What does it look like to truly be alive in Jesus and not just go through the motions? Well, not to be done by Jake, I’ve got my own little object lessons up here for us. Since I didn’t get to do Kids Corner today, so five imperatives, and I’m really hoping that these help us connect, what does it look like? What does it mean, to actually be alive as a church as Christians, the first thing is wake up. So this the the alarm clock in my son’s rooms, this nice little Lego alarm clock, the alarm goes off, and you keep hitting it, you keep hitting the snooze, over and over and over again. Guess what has to happen, eventually, somebody has to come in, take you by the shoulders and say Wake up, you got somewhere to be, you need to go. And you need to get up. And you need to act what this looks like in our home. And this is purely for fun. So don’t judge me for it purely for fun. There’s some ice cubes and cold water involved. For one of my sons in particular, and it just started as a fun joke. And it’s continued. But, and not only that, he wakes up and then the other two wake up because they think it’s hilarious. But I have to get him up. And so I want this thing to shock him. I want it to shock his system. And that’s what Jesus is doing here. He’s saying wake up. This matters. It matters. Because when you think about it, remember the city when they were taken by the Persians and the Greeks, why? Because they slept on the job. They got careless, and overconfident and thought they were fine. And Jesus said, just like the city should have done, you need to wake up to what I’m saying. The second thing is you need to strengthen. That’s what he says in verse three, verse two there, you need to strengthen what remains sorry, bursts to strengthen what remains and is about to die. Now, many of you have noticed my finger has a splint on it. And it’s been pretty annoying to have this on. But I know it’s doing something. Okay. I know it is. There’s a little bit of strength in my finger, but not enough I ruptured a tendon. And so if I was to take this off, my finger would be absolutely useless to me. But that tendon is still there. There’s a little bit of strength. And I need to just let this sit in it for 12 weeks, while it strengthens. While the body does what it’s supposed to do. And it nurtures itself back to health, the way that the Lord created it to, there’s a little bit of strength, not much. It needs to be strengthened, it needs to be nurtured. And eventually I’ll do PT, and I’ll start to squeeze something to get that strength and that movement back in my hand. And that’s what the church though that small group of people are in verse for that small group of people who have not yet soiled their clothes, they have something there. And she is saying, take that strengthen what remains in you. And so that’s what it looks like. We need to keep pursuing Jesus. Let him do that work and like strengthen what remains. The next thing is remember, these are one of my favorite inventions in the entire world. The Post It note. Like we write things on this kids, you probably seen these probably seen at school, you probably have them on your desk, your teacher uses them. And we’re constantly writing things down to say I need to remember this thing. And so what does Jesus say here in verse three, Remember therefore what you have received and heard. In chapter ORS are in the first letter to Ephesus, we heard the same thing. Remember, your first love, you need to remember you forgotten. And here he’s saying you forgotten you need to remember what you have received and heard from me. So if we want to be alive, you know what we need to remember. We need to write down. I am a child of God. And put it down, see it and remember it. I am a sinner saved by grace. I serve the living God. And you just keep writing these things down to remind yourself every single day, this is who I am. If you don’t, we’re forgetful people. And we forget and then we compromise the truth and we start living our own way. We need to keep coming back. Remember what we received at first. If you remember those things, you start to turn your life around. Remember the restaurants? What do they need to do? They need to remember why they got into business in the first place. I love cooking. I love seeing people happy when they’re eating food. And somewhere along the line they lose all that passion. And the church can happen the same way if we just think we just need to do doo doo We need to remember what we received. At first what we heard and received from Jesus. The fourth thing, it says that we need to then hold it fast. And so I’ve got this climbing rope here. And you’ve ever seen climbers and they hook these things in, and then they start to climb up these ropes, they’re eventually going to hold really tightly to this. We’ve seen kids at camp, get up on the climbing wall, and they look terrified. And guess what they don’t want to do let go of this thing. Right, they want to hold it tightly. And so what he’s saying here is what you’ve received and heard, you need to hold tightly to these things. The gospel is not something that we hold with an open hand. And I know a lot of times, we’re like, there’s some things that we need to have an open hand with, when we’re with other people, some of our thoughts and opinions on certain things in Scripture, the gospel is not one of them. We hold that tightly, we hold fast to that. And when you compromise the truth, you start to see your fingers, let go of the rope. We need to hold it fast fight against the slippery slope. At one point, if you’re a believer in Jesus, at one point, you said I’m going to die to myself. I’m going to I’m going to take up my cross and I’m gonna follow Jesus, and I’m gonna hold tightly to him. Then five years down the road, we’re like, where did that rope go? Something happened along the lines, we started to open up our hand, we need to hold fast to the truth. Hold fast to Jesus. And then finally, the U turn sign that we see when we’re driving kids, you probably see this when your parents are driving sometimes says do not and they do it anyways, just there’s only certain times we’re supposed to do the U turn. But this is what repent kind of looks like. You’re gonna think about it as a street sign. You take this, you turn like I’m going this way. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to go that way. And so you turn. So if you continue to do the good things, because you think other people are gonna like it, you need to turn from that. Repent, I’m gonna turn and go the other way. If you’re like, I’m gonna keep doing good things, even though I know there’s a cinema life I need to deal with, I’m gonna just keep doing the good things. Because maybe that’ll that’ll make up for it. No, you need to take a U turn. You need to repent and say, I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna ask for forgiveness. I’m going to seek out Jesus, I’m going to pursue Him. And so that’s what it looks like these five things that Jesus tells us is what real life in him looks like. It’s not that we’re going to be perfect. We’re not so we repent, right. And we go back to what we first received and heard. Now, there is an urgency in Jesus’s words here that he has for the church, he says, but if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief. And you will not know what time I will come to you. And Jesus saying you don’t know when those bad things are gonna happen, right? Like a thief coming to your house. And he says you don’t know when I’m going to come? Right? Not because he’s a thief. But because he’s just trying to say, hey, you need to pay attention. You don’t know when this is going to happen. But in this moment, what is he doing? He’s saying you have time, because you have a letter right now. So repent, this might be the only time but you have time. Because God keeps giving them this letters. That’s his patience and His grace. He could have sent the letter and said, it’s over. I’m removing your lampstand from you. But he doesn’t. He says, Listen to these words. And in this moment, repent and come back. It’s so easy to say I’ll deal with that one day. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? I’ll take care of that said at some point. It’s a really busy time, got a lot of things going on. I’ve got time. And Jesus saying, Do you? Do you have time? We don’t know that. So repent, turn, strengthen what remains? Right? We need to wake up to the warnings that Jesus gives us so that we can persevere in our faith, but he keeps giving them all some of these churches that are getting these letters as a warning and as a grace to them to make a change. Because Jesus does not say in this letter, you are dead and hopeless.
He says you are dead. And guess what I have power and life for you. Resurrection power for individuals, and churches. So if we’re going to take this charge seriously, we need to remember who we are what we received and heard from the very beginning. So what is true of the church, look at verses four through six. This is that cheer section we’re going to look at our reputation and the future. And as we look at this, let me just read I just want to read these because it’s a little bit longer. First of all, yet you have a few people in startups who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me dressed in white fur, they’re worthy. The one who was victorious will like them be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life but will acknowledge that name before My Father and His angels. Whoever has ears let them hear With the Spirit says to the churches. So as mentioned before, it kind of looks like He commends the church, but he’s really just kind of highlighting there is a small group of people in the church who have not given into a life of sin, without repentance, a small group of people who have not compromised the truth, a small group of people who are actively killing sin in their life, and actively pursuing Jesus. And this is the group they need to look to. These people have not soiled their clothes, they’re not living ungodly lives, while also trying to do good, they are living out the purity that they have received in Jesus, the purity, the righteousness that he has purchased for them. So what do they get? They get to walk with Jesus, dressed in white fur, they are worthy, not because of their perfect lives, but because of his because of his victory. They have victory, too. So here’s what Revelation 19 says about people like this. Hallelujah. For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory. For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. Listen to this fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear. fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people. These righteous acts are not what saved them. But instead, what they do because they have been dressed in Christ. They’ve been dressed with the righteousness of Jesus. And so they live that out. These are righteous acts not done with sin, living in the background, but actually killing sin and pursuing Jesus trying their very best to not live a hypocritical life. So what we have here is the good news. This is what we need to remember that we heard and received at first, that we have first been declared righteous. This is declared righteousness, we’ve been given fine linen bright and clean. We’ve been given perfection, a perfect record that we could never earn ourselves. And then second, we showed that we are declared righteous by living it out. And that’s what we call demonstrated righteousness, declared righteous demonstrate that righteousness in the way that we live. And I like Man, that sounds like a really big concept that I should understand. Join journey groups, gospel foundations, one whole week, we just spent talking about what is this declared righteousness? And what does this demonstrate your righteousness? And we look through and say, What is Christ has done? And what are we supposed to do now. And so I would recommend joining us for all sorts of reasons. But even just for that one class that will change the way that you look at your life, when you understand what Christ has done, and what he calls you to. These people that he mentioned verse for not going through the motions, but living lives worthy of the gospel that they’ve been called to worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In just a few minutes, we’re gonna sing one of the greatest songs that we have now on our rotation that is all sufficient merit. And I know there’s a lot of words in that song. And some of you are still getting familiar with it. So I want you to listen this morning to the declared and demonstrated righteousness that we have in this song. Things that are very much talked about in our passage today, the perfect record accomplished by Jesus. Here’s what it says it is done. It is finished. No more debt I owe paid in full, all sufficient merit. Now my own that’s the declared righteousness that has been given to us it has been done by Jesus. And when that is true of us, we now live out that truth and demonstrated righteousness. The song goes on to say I lay down my garments, any empty, boast. Good works now all corrupted by the sinful host. I’m dressed in my Lord Jesus, a crimson robe, made white, no more fear of judgment. His righteousness is mine. If the church comes back and repents, they too can join this small remnant, being closed in the righteousness of Jesus. When that happens, we gained the reputation we’ve always wanted. We get that we get a name that is written it says in the Book of Life. Revelation 21 talks about this book. And it also serves as a warning for us to look at Revelation 21. When it comes to the kingdom of God, it says nothing impure will ever enter it. nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful. That’s the church and start us right now. A reputation of being live but they are dead. These impure actually shameful and deceitful things. They’ve soiled their clothes. They’ve lived as hypocrites. They appear live but are dead. So who can enter Oh, Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, those who have the fine linen given to them by Jesus and live out that truth through the righteous acts, and Jesus promises not only that our names will never be erased from that book, they will never be erased, but he will stand with us to he will stand with us. And what is said to the people and start as he says to His disciples, in Matthew chapter 10, verse 32, where he tells them, Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven, like how great of a promise is that you acknowledge me in this life, I will acknowledge you before my Father and His angels in heaven. So here’s the question hanging over our head this morning. Are we service? Do we have a reputation of being alive, but are actually dead? I don’t know. As I said, I don’t stand before the Lord and say whether or not we have accomplished our mission. That Jesus is the only one that can see truly what’s going on in our hearts, what’s going on in our church. But I do think there’s some things for us that we can point to some ways that we can assess quickly, I want to give you just a few of those questions. And I want to look at him through the those five imperatives that we already talked about. Because taking these three weeks together, this kind of photo in the middle of this, we need to ask some hard questions, probably. And maybe you’ve already been asking some of those hard questions. And maybe this morning is what you needed. So the first question is, are you awake? Are you awake? Maybe for the first time, maybe you’re here this morning. And you you’ve heard the message of Jesus, maybe you haven’t heard the message of Jesus. But today, you hear it. And you’re like, I want that fine. Clothing, that bright, and clean linen, that perfect record that Jesus offers. And you want that. And we want you to have that. And so all you need to do is repent, turn from what you’ve been doing, and come back to him. When you confess He’s faithful, to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So we repent and follow Him. For some of you. There’s something in your life right now that you know, this is that ice bath kind of moment, you need to wake up and deal with something in your life if you want to see your life change if you want to see life be known for having life not only by other people, but by Jesus. So that’s the first thing are you awake? Second thing? Are you strengthening what you have? Are you daily in the word and in prayer and in community stretching and challenging yourself taking what is there and building it up more and more doing the hard work of putting sin to death and walking in holiness? Third, are you remembering the good news of the gospel? are you preaching the gospel to yourself? Does the enemy’s guilt come in? Or instead of just saying no, I am righteous because of Jesus. Don’t let the enemy get in? Remember the good news of the gospel? And then are you holding fast not letting go of your grip of Jesus? Not moving an inch when it comes to the gospel? Holding on to what he has done not giving into those false teachers, not giving into the compromise, but holding fast to him? And finally, Are you repenting? Because the Christian life is one of repentance? You want to know if you are alive? How quickly do you repent? Because if you repent quickly, there is life in you. Because you take that sin, you confess it. And you say I don’t want this to be part of my life. And I repent and Jesus forgives and we keep living out of the power and the life that he gives us. So don’t think being alive means sinless. Don’t think being alive means doing all those good things being alive means I’m in Jesus. That’s what being alive is. And the quicker we repent the more we show that we understand that know that and believe in the gospel. Because all of us here today, all of us can be dressed in white all of us walking with Jesus
all have a saying he finished it on the cross. And when we do that that is a church that is truly alive. A church this truly life let’s pray
Lord, we we know this letter is one that’s just got a lot of challenging things in it. Things that we all need to hear. Maybe we’re not going through these things. Now we feel like we’re alive but we know that temptation is always there to choose other things we always know that pull back to the old life. So Lord, I pray that these words this morning your words from this book would get into our hearts and our minds. And we pray Lord more than anything this morning that we would wake up. We would wake up we will be honest, we would listen to you. We would see if there’s anything in our life that we need to bring to you right now. And we know is working to sing that we can come to you and claim our victory because you are victorious. So in these moments, Lord challenged us and encouraged us through the gospel, the good news of Jesus, what he’s done for us, and what we receive, we believe in Him. Jesus, we love you. We pray this in Your name, amen.

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