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The Dead Church

Watch The Dead Church
August 26, 2019
27:30

Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah

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The Dead Church

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  • Dr. David Jeremiah: Revelation, it is known
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  • as a book of mysterious signs and wonders.
  • 00:00:06.160 --> 00:00:11.100
  • But the prophecy contained within speaks of more
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  • than just what is to come in the end of days.
  • 00:00:14.010 --> 00:00:19.210
  • Found near the beginning of the book, Revelation contains
  • 00:00:19.220 --> 00:00:22.240
  • a collection of seven letters, dispatches from Jesus, delivered
  • 00:00:22.250 --> 00:00:27.250
  • by Revelation's human author, John.
  • 00:00:27.260 --> 00:00:31.230
  • These letters aren't long.
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  • In fact, they're actually quite brief
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  • and straight to the point.
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  • The recipients?
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  • The early Christian churches.
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  • But while these letters spoke directly to seven churches
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  • of antiquity, they, like the book of Revelation,
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  • are prophetic, prophetic in that by them, Christ's words
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  • speak to all churches through all the ages.
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  • Seven churches, seven letters, seven messages
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  • for today's believers, relevant words of commendation,
  • 00:01:00.280 --> 00:01:05.000
  • tender encouragement, and of warning.
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  • So join me as we look into the Bible and discover
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  • Christ's timeless words
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  • to his followers through the seven churches
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  • of Revelation.
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  • Dr. Jeremiah: Hello, I am David Jeremiah, and welcome
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  • to "Turning Point."
  • 00:01:24.020 --> 00:01:25.220
  • Whenever I see a church building that is now being used
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  • as a restaurant, a community center,
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  • or an art gallery,
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  • I always wonder, what happened to that church?
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  • Why did it die?
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  • The better question is: what happened to the members
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  • of that church?
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  • Christ wrote a compassionate letter
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  • to a church in the city of Sardis that was hanging
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  • between life and death.
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  • He pointed out the things that were killing
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  • the congregation, and gave them a life-support strategy
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  • for keeping their church alive.
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  • Such a strategy is timeless, and it would serve
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  • any struggling church today.
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  • We'll study this church in detail in today's message
  • 00:02:10.250 --> 00:02:14.070
  • entitled "The Dead Church," number six
  • 00:02:14.080 --> 00:02:17.220
  • in our current series, "The Seven Churches
  • 00:02:17.230 --> 00:02:20.180
  • Of Revelation."
  • 00:02:20.190 --> 00:02:22.010
  • I hope you'll stay with me for today's edition
  • 00:02:22.020 --> 00:02:24.200
  • of "Turning Point."
  • 00:02:24.210 --> 00:02:26.200
  • male announcer: Revelation is a mysterious book full of signs
  • 00:02:27.040 --> 00:02:29.200
  • and symbols, portraying things seen and unseen
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  • in the world and those of the world to come,
  • 00:02:32.290 --> 00:02:35.240
  • especially appearing in numbers of seven.
  • 00:02:35.250 --> 00:02:38.240
  • Gain a clearer understanding of Revelation's mysteries
  • 00:02:38.250 --> 00:02:41.200
  • with Dr. David Jeremiah's, "The Revelation 7s."
  • 00:02:41.210 --> 00:02:45.030
  • Discover all 54 7s of Revelation in the order they appear
  • 00:02:45.040 --> 00:02:48.290
  • in the Scriptures, along with a correlating reflection,
  • 00:02:49.000 --> 00:02:51.270
  • plus featured 7s interspersed throughout
  • 00:02:51.280 --> 00:02:54.070
  • this 44 page handbook to help you further your study.
  • 00:02:54.080 --> 00:02:57.270
  • Use this reference tool in your personal or group study
  • 00:02:57.280 --> 00:03:00.250
  • of Revelation.
  • 00:03:00.260 --> 00:03:02.000
  • Utilize the topical index to search for and study
  • 00:03:02.010 --> 00:03:04.290
  • specific 7s, and find a renewed desire and excitement
  • 00:03:05.000 --> 00:03:08.220
  • to mine the riches of Revelation.
  • 00:03:08.230 --> 00:03:11.030
  • Also inside, the Seven Praises bookmark,
  • 00:03:11.040 --> 00:03:13.230
  • to keep you ever-focused on God.
  • 00:03:13.240 --> 00:03:16.020
  • This study handbook is yours when you give a gift
  • 00:03:16.030 --> 00:03:18.070
  • of any amount in support of this program.
  • 00:03:18.080 --> 00:03:20.230
  • And if you give $60 or more, Dr. Jeremiah will send you
  • 00:03:20.240 --> 00:03:24.190
  • "The Seven Churches of Revelation" Study Set,
  • 00:03:24.200 --> 00:03:27.140
  • which contains, "The Revelations 7s,"
  • 00:03:27.150 --> 00:03:29.220
  • all the messages featured in this current teaching series
  • 00:03:29.230 --> 00:03:32.130
  • on 9 DVDs, and a correlating study guide.
  • 00:03:32.140 --> 00:03:35.220
  • Support David Jeremiah and this program
  • 00:03:35.230 --> 00:03:38.120
  • and receive these compelling Revelation study materials
  • 00:03:38.130 --> 00:03:40.270
  • as a thank you.
  • 00:03:40.280 --> 00:03:42.070
  • Contact "Turning Point" today.
  • 00:03:42.080 --> 00:03:44.070
  • 00:03:46.040 --> 00:03:54.120
  • Dr. Jeremiah: Seven hundred years
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  • before John wrote this letter to the church, Sardis was
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  • one of the greatest cities in the world.
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  • It was situated in the midst of the valley
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  • of the river Hermus.
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  • And in that valley were the unusual spurs
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  • of Tmolus Mountains.
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  • On one of the spurs, 1.500 feet up, stood the original city
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  • of Sardis.
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  • The city itself was surrounded on three sides by huge walls,
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  • walls that were nearly perpendicular
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  • and almost unscalable.
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  • At the foot of the cliffs flowed the river Pactolus,
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  • and Sardis was famed for its strategic location.
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  • And because it was built upon this elevation
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  • that was defended on three sides by cliffs,
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  • and because on the fourth side it was approachable
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  • only by an isthmus so narrow that a handful of men could
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  • actually defend it against hundreds of people
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  • that were coming against it, the city of Sardis was
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  • considered to be impregnable.
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  • In other words, it was safe.
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  • Nobody could ever do anything to assault the city.
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  • It was totally okay.
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  • When John wrote his letter to Sardis, it was a wealthy
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  • but degenerate city.
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  • Twice, they had lost their city because they were too lazy
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  • to watch.
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  • And the fact of history concerning the ancient city
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  • of Sardis is the key to understanding the letter
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  • that was written to the church that was located there.
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  • In other words, the history of the city is a picture
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  • of its spiritual downfall.
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  • Notice, first of all,
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  • the destination of the letter, "And to the angel of the church
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  • in Sardis write."
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  • Sardis, as I've mentioned, is the fifth of the seven churches,
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  • and the word "Sardis" means escaping ones, or those who
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  • come out.
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  • In a prophetic view of the churches
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  • that we are studying in the book of Revelation,
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  • Sardis represents the period of the Reformation.
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  • And if you know the Reformation, you know
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  • that during the Reformation, there were some who came
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  • out of the church and objected to what was going
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  • on in the church.
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  • Some of those who escaped or came out of the state church
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  • were Luther and Knox, Wycliffe and Zwingli.
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  • Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses
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  • to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany,
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  • and Luther's voice was heard throughout Europe.
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  • He found many who responded, and they came out of the church
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  • as well.
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  • The city of Sardis, the church in Sardis is a picture
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  • of the Reformation period.
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  • Now, notice how the Lord
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  • designates himself in this letter, verse 1,
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  • "These things says he who has the seven spirits
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  • of God and the seven stars."
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  • And what are the seven stars?
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  • One of the easiest things to ever discover
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  • in the book of Revelation because Revelation 1:20 says,
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  • "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand,
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  • and the seven golden lampstands.
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  • The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches,
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  • and the seven lampstands which you saw are
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  • the seven churches."
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  • Now notice, in the first verse, the Lord Jesus begins
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  • his denunciation of the church.
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  • And he says to them, "I know your works, that you have
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  • a name that you are alive, but you are dead."
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  • This letter of unmixed condemnation is
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  • a marked change from all of the previous letters.
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  • For the poor rich church in Smyrna, the Lord had nothing
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  • but words of praise.
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  • For the churches of Ephesus, Pergamus, and Thyatira,
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  • he had some words of praise, and some words of condemnation.
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  • Their letters are a mixture of praise and criticism.
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  • But the church of Sardis, he has not one good thing to say
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  • about this church.
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  • There were a few in the church who he commends,
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  • but to the church as a whole, the Lord Jesus doesn't say
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  • anything good.
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  • It's the first time this has happened.
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  • It's very interesting, especially in light
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  • of the reputation that this church enjoyed.
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  • What was that reputation?
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  • They had a reputation that they were alive, that they were
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  • vibrant.
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  • But the Lord Jesus looked down beneath the veneer
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  • of their church and said, "You aren't alive, you're dead.
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  • You're dead inside."
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  • It had a good reputation, but it is the first church in history
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  • that perhaps was filled with what we today call
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  • nominal Christians, people who said they were Christians,
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  • but were not.
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  • How many of you know that many of the nominational churches
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  • in our culture today, they're Christian in name only
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  • because the people who are in the church aren't Christians?
  • 00:08:20.100 --> 00:08:22.210
  • They're not Christians because they go to the church
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  • or don't go to the church.
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  • They're not Christians because they've never received
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  • Jesus Christ as their Savior.
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  • That's a very good description of what was going on
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  • in the church in Sardis.
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  • Outwardly, it was a fine church with a reputation.
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  • But inwardly, when you got into the reality of the church
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  • itself, it was a church that had no life.
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  • The Holy Spirit was not involved in this church.
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  • And many times, you and I run into things like that.
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  • We maybe have friends that go to churches like that.
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  • They started out in these churches years ago
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  • when they were fundamental, and over the years, they've
  • 00:08:54.210 --> 00:08:57.030
  • slipped away from the things of God, and they've just become
  • 00:08:57.040 --> 00:08:59.280
  • sort of a social organization,
  • 00:08:59.290 --> 00:09:02.000
  • where there's no spiritual life whatsoever.
  • 00:09:02.010 --> 00:09:05.020
  • Now, the Lord Jesus directs this church, and the direction
  • 00:09:05.030 --> 00:09:08.150
  • he gives to the church is in verses 2 through 4.
  • 00:09:08.160 --> 00:09:11.180
  • He says, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things
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  • which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found
  • 00:09:14.220 --> 00:09:19.160
  • your works perfect before God.
  • 00:09:19.170 --> 00:09:22.080
  • Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast
  • 00:09:22.090 --> 00:09:25.140
  • and repent.
  • 00:09:25.150 --> 00:09:26.210
  • And therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you
  • 00:09:26.220 --> 00:09:30.020
  • as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come
  • 00:09:30.030 --> 00:09:33.070
  • upon you.
  • 00:09:33.080 --> 00:09:34.130
  • You have a few names even in Sardis who have not
  • 00:09:34.140 --> 00:09:36.200
  • defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me
  • 00:09:36.210 --> 00:09:38.260
  • in white, for they are worthy."
  • 00:09:38.270 --> 00:09:41.240
  • Now, as you read that paragraph, let me unpack it for you
  • 00:09:41.250 --> 00:09:45.000
  • real quickly.
  • 00:09:45.010 --> 00:09:46.030
  • To this dead church, Jesus Christ gives
  • 00:09:46.040 --> 00:09:48.250
  • five exhortations.
  • 00:09:48.260 --> 00:09:50.220
  • Number one, the first one is be sensitive to the inroads
  • 00:09:50.230 --> 00:09:53.150
  • of sin in the church.
  • 00:09:53.160 --> 00:09:55.070
  • Revelation 3:2, "Be watchful."
  • 00:09:55.080 --> 00:09:57.180
  • The Greek word for "watchful" conveys the idea of someone
  • 00:09:57.190 --> 00:10:00.180
  • who is intent upon something.
  • 00:10:00.190 --> 00:10:02.210
  • It literally comes from two words which mean
  • 00:10:02.220 --> 00:10:04.180
  • to chase sleep.
  • 00:10:04.190 --> 00:10:06.210
  • In other words, he's saying to the people in this church
  • 00:10:06.220 --> 00:10:09.140
  • if you want to maintain your vibrancy in the church,
  • 00:10:09.150 --> 00:10:12.140
  • you'd better stay awake.
  • 00:10:12.150 --> 00:10:14.050
  • It's no time to go to sleep in the culture in which we live
  • 00:10:14.060 --> 00:10:16.210
  • in the church.
  • 00:10:16.220 --> 00:10:17.290
  • Ephesians 5:14 says, "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead,
  • 00:10:18.000 --> 00:10:21.270
  • and Christ will give you light."
  • 00:10:21.280 --> 00:10:24.080
  • So, churches die like that.
  • 00:10:24.090 --> 00:10:26.190
  • They die spiritually because here's the first thing:
  • 00:10:26.200 --> 00:10:29.160
  • they allowed doctrinal error to slip into the membership.
  • 00:10:29.170 --> 00:10:33.230
  • So, in the church in Sardis, what happened was they had
  • 00:10:33.240 --> 00:10:37.000
  • no restrictions.
  • 00:10:37.010 --> 00:10:38.060
  • If you came to church there, perhaps the first Sunday you
  • 00:10:38.070 --> 00:10:40.130
  • walked on the property, you could start teaching.
  • 00:10:40.140 --> 00:10:42.250
  • And little by little, doctrinal error begun to slip
  • 00:10:42.260 --> 00:10:45.260
  • into the church until, after a while, they had
  • 00:10:45.270 --> 00:10:48.210
  • no creed whatsoever.
  • 00:10:48.220 --> 00:10:50.210
  • It was whoever and whatever, and the church was dead.
  • 00:10:50.220 --> 00:10:55.210
  • Be sensitive to the inroads of sin in the church.
  • 00:10:55.220 --> 00:10:58.080
  • Here's the second exhortation: be supportive of those
  • 00:10:58.090 --> 00:11:01.050
  • who remain true to Christ in the church.
  • 00:11:01.060 --> 00:11:03.170
  • The second verse says, "Strengthen the things
  • 00:11:03.180 --> 00:11:05.150
  • which remain, and are ready to die,"
  • 00:11:05.160 --> 00:11:07.260
  • but they haven't died yet.
  • 00:11:07.270 --> 00:11:10.050
  • Verse 4 says, "You have a few names even in Sardis
  • 00:11:10.060 --> 00:11:13.120
  • who have not defiled their garments, and they shall
  • 00:11:13.130 --> 00:11:15.260
  • walk with me in white, for they are worthy."
  • 00:11:15.270 --> 00:11:19.140
  • Here, we see the way of the few and the way of the many.
  • 00:11:19.150 --> 00:11:23.290
  • There is never a day so dark but that God has his stars,
  • 00:11:24.000 --> 00:11:28.210
  • his men.
  • 00:11:28.220 --> 00:11:29.280
  • For instance, in the antediluvian period,
  • 00:11:29.290 --> 00:11:31.280
  • God had righteous Enoch and righteous Noah.
  • 00:11:31.290 --> 00:11:35.000
  • In the days of universal idolatry,
  • 00:11:35.010 --> 00:11:37.010
  • there was Abraham of Ur.
  • 00:11:37.020 --> 00:11:38.230
  • And even in Sodom, there was Lot.
  • 00:11:38.240 --> 00:11:41.250
  • Christ is literally saying to this church, "You have some
  • 00:11:41.260 --> 00:11:44.280
  • who have not yet capitulated to the times.
  • 00:11:44.290 --> 00:11:47.240
  • They are the faithful remnant."
  • 00:11:47.250 --> 00:11:49.150
  • And his instruction to the church is to strengthen
  • 00:11:49.160 --> 00:11:51.280
  • those faithful few, and encourage them.
  • 00:11:51.290 --> 00:11:54.120
  • Here's the third exhortation: be submissive to the control
  • 00:11:54.130 --> 00:11:57.020
  • of the Holy Spirit in the church.
  • 00:11:57.030 --> 00:11:59.090
  • He says in verse 3, "Remember therefore how you have received
  • 00:11:59.100 --> 00:12:02.180
  • and heard."
  • 00:12:02.190 --> 00:12:04.080
  • This instruction takes us back to the designation
  • 00:12:04.090 --> 00:12:06.250
  • of the Lord as the one who has the seven spirits of God.
  • 00:12:06.260 --> 00:12:10.240
  • When Christ challenges this church to remember
  • 00:12:10.250 --> 00:12:13.020
  • how they received and heard, he is reminding them
  • 00:12:13.030 --> 00:12:15.260
  • of the importance of the Holy Spirit.
  • 00:12:15.270 --> 00:12:18.090
  • Every believer receives and hears the same way,
  • 00:12:18.100 --> 00:12:22.150
  • through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
  • 00:12:22.160 --> 00:12:25.090
  • Just as physical death is the result of the separation
  • 00:12:25.100 --> 00:12:27.290
  • of the spirit from the body, so spiritual death is
  • 00:12:28.000 --> 00:12:31.020
  • the result of the separation of the Holy Spirit
  • 00:12:31.030 --> 00:12:33.120
  • from the body of Christ, which is the church.
  • 00:12:33.130 --> 00:12:36.110
  • And once again, we need to remember that a church dies
  • 00:12:36.120 --> 00:12:40.120
  • when the spirit is no longer allowed to have control
  • 00:12:40.130 --> 00:12:43.280
  • in the church, when the Spirit of God becomes
  • 00:12:43.290 --> 00:12:46.240
  • an absentee Spirit of God.
  • 00:12:46.250 --> 00:12:50.070
  • John Stott, one of the great expositors
  • 00:12:50.080 --> 00:12:52.200
  • of our generation, said, "We administer great projects,
  • 00:12:52.210 --> 00:12:57.000
  • and we create impressive committees, but we
  • 00:12:57.010 --> 00:12:59.280
  • often leave the Holy Spirit out.
  • 00:12:59.290 --> 00:13:02.230
  • He has rightly been called the forgotten member
  • 00:13:02.240 --> 00:13:04.290
  • of the trinity.
  • 00:13:05.000 --> 00:13:06.200
  • Only when the church of Christ is filled with the Spirit
  • 00:13:06.210 --> 00:13:09.190
  • of Christ can spiritual death be banished and a name
  • 00:13:09.200 --> 00:13:13.190
  • for life have any reality behind it."
  • 00:13:13.200 --> 00:13:16.120
  • If you go to a church and the Spirit of God
  • 00:13:16.130 --> 00:13:19.040
  • is not present, that church is either dead or it's
  • 00:13:19.050 --> 00:13:23.090
  • in the process of dying.
  • 00:13:23.100 --> 00:13:26.010
  • Let me tell you what I've observed.
  • 00:13:26.020 --> 00:13:27.210
  • And I don't know that this is an absolute rule, but if you
  • 00:13:27.220 --> 00:13:31.030
  • visit around in churches, maybe someday you'll move
  • 00:13:31.040 --> 00:13:33.150
  • and you'll have to go to a new place and try
  • 00:13:33.160 --> 00:13:35.200
  • to find where to go to church, the first thing you should watch
  • 00:13:35.210 --> 00:13:38.170
  • is this: how do these people worship the Lord?
  • 00:13:38.180 --> 00:13:44.090
  • Do they do so in a dead, ritualistic way, or is there
  • 00:13:44.100 --> 00:13:47.180
  • vibrancy and life in their worship?
  • 00:13:47.190 --> 00:13:49.290
  • I'm not talking about the style of worship, that's
  • 00:13:50.000 --> 00:13:51.270
  • a whole different deal.
  • 00:13:51.280 --> 00:13:53.020
  • But when you walk into a church that really knows
  • 00:13:53.030 --> 00:13:55.130
  • how to worship, the first thing you realize is the Holy Spirit
  • 00:13:55.140 --> 00:13:58.220
  • is alive and well in this body because it's
  • 00:13:58.230 --> 00:14:01.140
  • the Holy Spirit who causes us to worship the Lord.
  • 00:14:01.150 --> 00:14:04.030
  • What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
  • 00:14:04.040 --> 00:14:05.210
  • For us to glorify God.
  • 00:14:05.220 --> 00:14:08.020
  • And what is worship?
  • 00:14:08.030 --> 00:14:09.000
  • It is glorifying God.
  • 00:14:09.010 --> 00:14:10.120
  • And when the Holy Spirit is alive in the church,
  • 00:14:10.130 --> 00:14:12.250
  • you can tell by the worship of the people.
  • 00:14:12.260 --> 00:14:15.290
  • That's usually the first sign.
  • 00:14:16.000 --> 00:14:18.250
  • So, the Word of God says when you're in a situation
  • 00:14:18.260 --> 00:14:21.150
  • where it may be that the church is dying, be sensitive
  • 00:14:21.160 --> 00:14:24.170
  • to the inroads of sin in the church.
  • 00:14:24.180 --> 00:14:26.280
  • Be supportive of those who remain true to the Christ
  • 00:14:26.290 --> 00:14:29.080
  • of the church.
  • 00:14:29.090 --> 00:14:30.110
  • Be submissive to the control of the Holy Spirit
  • 00:14:30.120 --> 00:14:32.250
  • in the church.
  • 00:14:32.260 --> 00:14:34.000
  • Number four, be subject to the authority of God's Word
  • 00:14:34.010 --> 00:14:37.010
  • in the church.
  • 00:14:37.020 --> 00:14:37.260
  • Notice verse 3, "Hold fast."
  • 00:14:37.270 --> 00:14:42.000
  • This is a very interesting word of instruction, for it is traced
  • 00:14:42.010 --> 00:14:45.260
  • through the Bible, and specifically
  • 00:14:45.270 --> 00:14:48.020
  • through the book of Revelation.
  • 00:14:48.030 --> 00:14:49.090
  • And it is always used, when it is used
  • 00:14:49.100 --> 00:14:51.230
  • in the book of Revelation, of keeping the Word of God.
  • 00:14:51.240 --> 00:14:56.120
  • Now, I have a whole lot of these references,
  • 00:14:56.130 --> 00:14:58.160
  • and I had to pare them down because I don't want to bore you
  • 00:14:58.170 --> 00:15:01.010
  • with all of them, but let me just give you some of them.
  • 00:15:01.020 --> 00:15:03.090
  • You see if you can figure out what it means to hold fast.
  • 00:15:03.100 --> 00:15:06.030
  • The word itself means to keep, it's the same word.
  • 00:15:06.040 --> 00:15:10.160
  • "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words
  • 00:15:10.170 --> 00:15:13.080
  • of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written,
  • 00:15:13.090 --> 00:15:17.250
  • for the time is near," Revelation 1:3.
  • 00:15:17.260 --> 00:15:20.230
  • Revelation 3:8, "I know your works.
  • 00:15:20.240 --> 00:15:23.080
  • See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can
  • 00:15:23.090 --> 00:15:26.050
  • shut it, for you have a little strength, and you have
  • 00:15:26.060 --> 00:15:29.080
  • kept," what?
  • 00:15:29.090 --> 00:15:30.120
  • "My word."
  • 00:15:30.130 --> 00:15:32.050
  • Revelation 12:17, "And the dragon went to make war
  • 00:15:32.060 --> 00:15:35.050
  • with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandment
  • 00:15:35.060 --> 00:15:39.050
  • of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
  • 00:15:39.060 --> 00:15:42.040
  • Revelation 22:7, "Behold, I am coming quickly!
  • 00:15:42.050 --> 00:15:45.110
  • Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy
  • 00:15:45.120 --> 00:15:49.140
  • of this book."
  • 00:15:49.150 --> 00:15:50.150
  • What does Jesus mean when he says "hold fast"?
  • 00:15:50.160 --> 00:15:53.030
  • He means keep the Word of God.
  • 00:15:53.040 --> 00:15:55.160
  • Follow the Word of God and keep it.
  • 00:15:55.170 --> 00:15:57.120
  • What does it mean to keep it?
  • 00:15:57.130 --> 00:15:58.170
  • It means to obey it, allow it to be that which governs
  • 00:15:58.180 --> 00:16:01.080
  • your life, not only the life of the church, but the life
  • 00:16:01.090 --> 00:16:04.000
  • of the people who go to the church.
  • 00:16:04.010 --> 00:16:05.180
  • Let the Word of God be the center of everything
  • 00:16:05.190 --> 00:16:08.270
  • that goes on in your life.
  • 00:16:08.280 --> 00:16:10.210
  • So, be sensitive to the inroads of sin in the church.
  • 00:16:10.220 --> 00:16:14.140
  • Be supportive of those who remain true to Christ
  • 00:16:14.150 --> 00:16:17.000
  • in the church.
  • 00:16:17.010 --> 00:16:18.010
  • Be submissive to the control of the Holy Spirit
  • 00:16:18.020 --> 00:16:20.090
  • in the church.
  • 00:16:20.100 --> 00:16:21.150
  • Be subject to the authority of God's Word in the church.
  • 00:16:21.160 --> 00:16:24.030
  • And then finally, be sorry and repent for the sin
  • 00:16:24.040 --> 00:16:26.080
  • of the church.
  • 00:16:26.090 --> 00:16:27.130
  • Notice again in verse 3, all of these instructions are
  • 00:16:27.140 --> 00:16:30.020
  • from one verse, it says repent, which means to turn
  • 00:16:30.030 --> 00:16:33.110
  • around and go in the other direction, to stop
  • 00:16:33.120 --> 00:16:36.140
  • where you're going, do a 180,
  • 00:16:36.150 --> 00:16:38.270
  • and go back to where you started when you were doing
  • 00:16:38.280 --> 00:16:41.040
  • the right thing.
  • 00:16:41.050 --> 00:16:42.110
  • Repent, ask God to forgive you for abandoning the Word of God.
  • 00:16:42.120 --> 00:16:46.010
  • And this is true for our lives as well as for the church.
  • 00:16:46.020 --> 00:16:48.280
  • Maybe you started out on fire for the Lord as an individual.
  • 00:16:48.290 --> 00:16:52.130
  • And something in you feels sort of dead.
  • 00:16:52.140 --> 00:16:55.020
  • You're not alive to Christ, and the Word of God
  • 00:16:55.030 --> 00:16:57.110
  • and the church is not what it once was.
  • 00:16:57.120 --> 00:16:59.120
  • If you look down these things that are on this list,
  • 00:16:59.130 --> 00:17:02.000
  • these things that cause churches to die, they're almost always
  • 00:17:02.010 --> 00:17:05.050
  • the same things that cause Christians to lose the vibrancy
  • 00:17:05.060 --> 00:17:08.280
  • of their faith.
  • 00:17:08.290 --> 00:17:10.110
  • Go back and put the Holy Spirit in control of your life.
  • 00:17:10.120 --> 00:17:13.110
  • Find some time every day to get the Word of God in your heart.
  • 00:17:13.120 --> 00:17:17.040
  • Repent of where you've been, where you shouldn't be,
  • 00:17:17.050 --> 00:17:20.010
  • and watch how God begins to bring new life
  • 00:17:20.020 --> 00:17:22.200
  • into your life, just as he will do in any church
  • 00:17:22.210 --> 00:17:26.060
  • that will follow his pattern.
  • 00:17:26.070 --> 00:17:28.220
  • So we've seen the destination of this letter,
  • 00:17:28.230 --> 00:17:30.230
  • and the designation of the Lord, and the denunciation
  • 00:17:30.240 --> 00:17:33.180
  • of the church, and the direction to the church.
  • 00:17:33.190 --> 00:17:35.240
  • Now, notice verses 5 and 6 at the end of the letter,
  • 00:17:35.250 --> 00:17:38.160
  • the declaration to the church.
  • 00:17:38.170 --> 00:17:40.280
  • Jesus says, "He who overcomes.
  • 00:17:40.290 --> 00:17:43.280
  • shall be clothed in white garment,
  • 00:17:43.290 --> 00:17:46.040
  • and I will not blot out his name from the book of life,
  • 00:17:46.050 --> 00:17:49.030
  • but I will confess his name before my Father
  • 00:17:49.040 --> 00:17:51.290
  • and before his angels.
  • 00:17:52.000 --> 00:17:53.100
  • He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
  • 00:17:53.110 --> 00:17:56.220
  • to the churches."
  • 00:17:56.230 --> 00:17:58.020
  • To those within the church of Sardis, who are true
  • 00:17:58.030 --> 00:18:01.050
  • to Christ, there is a threefold promise that is
  • 00:18:01.060 --> 00:18:04.150
  • given.
  • 00:18:04.160 --> 00:18:05.220
  • The overcomers mentioned here are the few who have not defiled
  • 00:18:05.230 --> 00:18:09.040
  • their garments, the ones in the church who haven't
  • 00:18:09.050 --> 00:18:11.060
  • gotten caught up in the dying of the church,
  • 00:18:11.070 --> 00:18:13.210
  • the ones that the church is supposed to encourage
  • 00:18:13.220 --> 00:18:16.020
  • because they still are alive in Christ.
  • 00:18:16.030 --> 00:18:19.170
  • The Lord Jesus says to those, and he says to all of us who
  • 00:18:19.180 --> 00:18:23.000
  • will follow the same pattern, first of all, they shall be
  • 00:18:23.010 --> 00:18:25.150
  • clothed in white.
  • 00:18:25.160 --> 00:18:27.130
  • "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments."
  • 00:18:27.140 --> 00:18:31.010
  • Christ was reminding the believers in Sardis
  • 00:18:31.020 --> 00:18:34.080
  • that they would walk one day in triumph with Christ.
  • 00:18:34.090 --> 00:18:37.270
  • They would wear white.
  • 00:18:37.280 --> 00:18:39.170
  • They would walk in the triumphant procession
  • 00:18:39.180 --> 00:18:42.120
  • of the victorious Lord.
  • 00:18:42.130 --> 00:18:45.010
  • They shall be clothed in white.
  • 00:18:45.020 --> 00:18:46.220
  • Notice number two, they shall be continued in the book.
  • 00:18:46.230 --> 00:18:49.150
  • "And I will not blot out his name from the book of life."
  • 00:18:49.160 --> 00:18:53.140
  • Literally the text says, "I will never, by any means,
  • 00:18:53.150 --> 00:18:57.100
  • blot out his name."
  • 00:18:57.110 --> 00:18:59.030
  • This is not talking about the possibility of a name
  • 00:18:59.040 --> 00:19:01.270
  • being blotted out of the book in heaven.
  • 00:19:01.280 --> 00:19:04.000
  • It is an absolute statement that it won't happen.
  • 00:19:04.010 --> 00:19:06.230
  • He will never, not ever, under any circumstances allow
  • 00:19:06.240 --> 00:19:10.080
  • his name to be blotted out.
  • 00:19:10.090 --> 00:19:12.030
  • Jesus said, "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this,
  • 00:19:12.040 --> 00:19:15.170
  • that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice
  • 00:19:15.180 --> 00:19:18.130
  • that your names are written in heaven."
  • 00:19:18.140 --> 00:19:22.210
  • I hope your name is written in heaven,
  • 00:19:22.220 --> 00:19:24.210
  • that your name is written in the Lamb's book of life.
  • 00:19:24.220 --> 00:19:28.050
  • Because if it is not, you have missed the register that is
  • 00:19:28.060 --> 00:19:31.130
  • necessary for you to be admitted to heaven.
  • 00:19:31.140 --> 00:19:35.030
  • And the only way you get your name
  • 00:19:35.040 --> 00:19:36.150
  • in the Lamb's book of life is to allow the blood of the Lamb,
  • 00:19:36.160 --> 00:19:39.020
  • of the Lord Jesus Christ, to wash away your sin.
  • 00:19:39.030 --> 00:19:41.160
  • When you do that, he puts you in his book, and your name is
  • 00:19:41.170 --> 00:19:44.270
  • there, indelibly placed, and it will never be erased.
  • 00:19:44.280 --> 00:19:49.280
  • They shall be clothed in white, they shall be continued
  • 00:19:49.290 --> 00:19:52.050
  • in the book, and then it says they shall be confessed
  • 00:19:52.060 --> 00:19:54.180
  • before the Father.
  • 00:19:54.190 --> 00:19:55.260
  • "And I will confess his name before my Father and before
  • 00:19:55.270 --> 00:19:58.250
  • his angels."
  • 00:19:58.260 --> 00:20:00.120
  • When you stay true to the Word of God,
  • 00:20:00.130 --> 00:20:03.000
  • when you demonstrate that you have
  • 00:20:03.010 --> 00:20:05.110
  • the real Christian faith,
  • 00:20:05.120 --> 00:20:07.140
  • this is what you can look forward to.
  • 00:20:07.150 --> 00:20:09.160
  • This is the promise to the overcomers that we get
  • 00:20:09.170 --> 00:20:12.160
  • from Jesus.
  • 00:20:12.170 --> 00:20:14.100
  • Now, we're trying to find out why this church died.
  • 00:20:14.110 --> 00:20:18.050
  • When you do an autopsy, the first thing you do is you
  • 00:20:18.060 --> 00:20:20.110
  • rule out things that are not the cause of death.
  • 00:20:20.120 --> 00:20:23.160
  • So, let's do a little bit of that.
  • 00:20:23.170 --> 00:20:25.090
  • We can rule out death from an outside enemy.
  • 00:20:25.100 --> 00:20:28.090
  • It is impossible to kill a church from the outside.
  • 00:20:28.100 --> 00:20:31.030
  • Think back to the history of the church and you will
  • 00:20:31.040 --> 00:20:33.050
  • discover this to be true.
  • 00:20:33.060 --> 00:20:34.170
  • In the very first days of the church, when the church
  • 00:20:34.180 --> 00:20:36.180
  • was turning the world upside down, the Jews set
  • 00:20:36.190 --> 00:20:39.000
  • themselves to destroy the church through persecution.
  • 00:20:39.010 --> 00:20:41.170
  • And instead, every time they tried to persecute the church,
  • 00:20:41.180 --> 00:20:45.090
  • the church grew.
  • 00:20:45.100 --> 00:20:46.170
  • The seed of the martyrs was the growth of the church.
  • 00:20:46.180 --> 00:20:49.040
  • Every time they persecuted the church, the church
  • 00:20:49.050 --> 00:20:50.260
  • broke out into greater growth and greater vibrancy.
  • 00:20:50.270 --> 00:20:54.020
  • There was nothing they could do from the outside.
  • 00:20:54.030 --> 00:20:56.130
  • When we're trying to figure out how this church
  • 00:20:56.140 --> 00:20:57.240
  • died, we can rule out death from an outside enemy
  • 00:20:57.250 --> 00:21:01.090
  • because there's no such thing as an outside enemy
  • 00:21:01.100 --> 00:21:04.010
  • that can kill the church.
  • 00:21:04.020 --> 00:21:05.160
  • Number two, we can rule out death by suicide.
  • 00:21:05.170 --> 00:21:10.060
  • The church did not die on purpose.
  • 00:21:10.070 --> 00:21:12.080
  • There was no definite or deliberate break
  • 00:21:12.090 --> 00:21:14.120
  • with Jesus Christ.
  • 00:21:14.130 --> 00:21:15.200
  • And thirdly, it does not die by abandonment.
  • 00:21:15.210 --> 00:21:19.070
  • The church did not die because it was abandoned
  • 00:21:19.080 --> 00:21:21.020
  • by God or by those who were true to God.
  • 00:21:21.030 --> 00:21:23.170
  • We know this because there was a remnant in this church
  • 00:21:23.180 --> 00:21:26.160
  • that remained true to the Lord.
  • 00:21:26.170 --> 00:21:28.040
  • We just read about it.
  • 00:21:28.050 --> 00:21:29.220
  • They did not defile their garments,
  • 00:21:29.230 --> 00:21:32.000
  • says the Word of God.
  • 00:21:32.010 --> 00:21:33.100
  • They were alive even though they were surrounded by the dead.
  • 00:21:33.110 --> 00:21:37.270
  • You can rule out death from an outside enemy,
  • 00:21:37.280 --> 00:21:39.240
  • you can rule out suicide, you can rule out death
  • 00:21:39.250 --> 00:21:42.120
  • by abandonment.
  • 00:21:42.130 --> 00:21:44.120
  • Here's how the church died.
  • 00:21:44.130 --> 00:21:45.270
  • The church died through the death
  • 00:21:45.280 --> 00:21:48.100
  • of its individual members.
  • 00:21:48.110 --> 00:21:51.110
  • That's how it died.
  • 00:21:51.120 --> 00:21:53.110
  • There is no such thing as a church that is alive
  • 00:21:53.120 --> 00:21:56.110
  • without a church full of living members,
  • 00:21:56.120 --> 00:21:59.140
  • people who live for Christ.
  • 00:21:59.150 --> 00:22:01.030
  • The church died little by little, one by one,
  • 00:22:01.040 --> 00:22:03.290
  • as the vibrancy of Christ disappeared
  • 00:22:04.000 --> 00:22:06.090
  • from its individual members.
  • 00:22:06.100 --> 00:22:08.250
  • and the church died because it relied on its past reputation.
  • 00:22:08.260 --> 00:22:13.120
  • Do you see the parallel?
  • 00:22:13.130 --> 00:22:15.170
  • The church was taken captive in exactly the same way
  • 00:22:15.180 --> 00:22:19.160
  • that the city was taken captive.
  • 00:22:19.170 --> 00:22:22.010
  • How instructive is this letter.
  • 00:22:22.020 --> 00:22:24.080
  • Through a heavy dose of overconfidence--
  • 00:22:24.090 --> 00:22:27.040
  • overconfidence is a familiar road to defeat,
  • 00:22:27.050 --> 00:22:29.290
  • and many churches have died while the members were
  • 00:22:30.000 --> 00:22:32.190
  • congratulating each other on their abundant life.
  • 00:22:32.200 --> 00:22:36.170
  • And the church died because it let sin creep
  • 00:22:36.180 --> 00:22:39.000
  • into the membership.
  • 00:22:39.010 --> 00:22:40.140
  • In verse 4, the people who had not capitulated to the death
  • 00:22:40.150 --> 00:22:44.060
  • of the congregation are described as people
  • 00:22:44.070 --> 00:22:46.230
  • who had not soiled their garments.
  • 00:22:46.240 --> 00:22:49.290
  • Apparently, part of the death of this church was the dirt
  • 00:22:50.000 --> 00:22:52.280
  • in this church.
  • 00:22:52.290 --> 00:22:54.160
  • Beneath the polished reputation of the Sardian church was
  • 00:22:54.170 --> 00:22:57.170
  • secret sin.
  • 00:22:57.180 --> 00:22:59.150
  • The church died because it was not sensitive to sin
  • 00:22:59.160 --> 00:23:02.090
  • in its membership, and because it was not sensitive
  • 00:23:02.100 --> 00:23:05.040
  • to its own spiritual condition.
  • 00:23:05.050 --> 00:23:07.210
  • Do you know what the church in Sardis was like?
  • 00:23:07.220 --> 00:23:10.170
  • Just like Samson, do you remember Samson?
  • 00:23:10.180 --> 00:23:13.020
  • Samson, who lost God without even being aware that he
  • 00:23:13.030 --> 00:23:16.140
  • had lost him.
  • 00:23:16.150 --> 00:23:18.180
  • And when danger threatened, he rose up with his old confidence,
  • 00:23:18.190 --> 00:23:21.170
  • saying, "I will go out as before at other times,
  • 00:23:21.180 --> 00:23:24.180
  • and shake myself free," but it was not to be this time.
  • 00:23:24.190 --> 00:23:28.080
  • The Bible says, "But he did not know that the Lord had departed
  • 00:23:28.090 --> 00:23:32.180
  • from him."
  • 00:23:32.190 --> 00:23:35.110
  • This statement concerning Samson could have been the inscription
  • 00:23:35.120 --> 00:23:38.060
  • on the tombstone of the Sardian church.
  • 00:23:38.070 --> 00:23:41.100
  • They did not know that the Lord had departed from them.
  • 00:23:41.110 --> 00:23:47.070
  • And once again, I want to remind us all that we have
  • 00:23:47.080 --> 00:23:49.210
  • a responsibility as God's people to make sure
  • 00:23:49.220 --> 00:23:52.060
  • this church is alive and well, and serving God
  • 00:23:52.070 --> 00:23:55.260
  • with all of our hearts, and giving to missions
  • 00:23:55.270 --> 00:23:58.080
  • with great generosity, and reaching out to the lost
  • 00:23:58.090 --> 00:24:01.050
  • in our community, and touching the lives of people
  • 00:24:01.060 --> 00:24:03.160
  • who don't know Jesus Christ, and worshiping God
  • 00:24:03.170 --> 00:24:06.000
  • with vibrant testimony to his greatness, and listening
  • 00:24:06.010 --> 00:24:09.230
  • to the Word of God with hunger in our hearts,
  • 00:24:09.240 --> 00:24:12.000
  • so that we might grow in grace and in the knowledge
  • 00:24:12.010 --> 00:24:14.220
  • of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • 00:24:14.230 --> 00:24:17.010
  • announcer: Dr. Jeremiah will return to close today's
  • 00:24:21.140 --> 00:24:23.270
  • program right after this.
  • 00:24:23.280 --> 00:24:25.270
  • announcer: Revelation is a mysterious book full of signs
  • 00:24:28.280 --> 00:24:31.140
  • and symbols, portraying things seen and unseen
  • 00:24:31.150 --> 00:24:34.220
  • in the world and those of the world to come,
  • 00:24:34.230 --> 00:24:37.180
  • especially appearing in numbers of seven.
  • 00:24:37.190 --> 00:24:40.180
  • Gain a clearer understanding of Revelation's mysteries
  • 00:24:40.190 --> 00:24:43.140
  • with Dr. David Jeremiah's, "The Revelation 7s."
  • 00:24:43.150 --> 00:24:46.270
  • Discover all 54 7s of Revelation in the order they appear
  • 00:24:46.280 --> 00:24:50.230
  • in the Scriptures, along with a correlating reflection,
  • 00:24:50.240 --> 00:24:53.210
  • plus featured 7s interspersed throughout
  • 00:24:53.220 --> 00:24:56.010
  • this 44 page handbook to help you further your study.
  • 00:24:56.020 --> 00:24:59.210
  • Use this reference tool in your personal or group study
  • 00:24:59.220 --> 00:25:02.190
  • of Revelation.
  • 00:25:02.200 --> 00:25:03.240
  • Utilize the topical index to search for and study
  • 00:25:03.250 --> 00:25:06.230
  • specific 7s, and find a renewed desire and excitement
  • 00:25:06.240 --> 00:25:10.160
  • to mine the riches of Revelation.
  • 00:25:10.170 --> 00:25:12.270
  • Also inside, the Seven Praises bookmark,
  • 00:25:12.280 --> 00:25:15.170
  • to keep you ever-focused on God.
  • 00:25:15.180 --> 00:25:17.260
  • This study handbook is yours when you give a gift
  • 00:25:17.270 --> 00:25:20.010
  • of any amount in support of this program.
  • 00:25:20.020 --> 00:25:22.170
  • And if you give $60 or more, Dr. Jeremiah will send you
  • 00:25:22.180 --> 00:25:26.130
  • "The Seven Churches of Revelation" Study Set,
  • 00:25:26.140 --> 00:25:29.080
  • which contains, "The Revelations 7s,"
  • 00:25:29.090 --> 00:25:31.160
  • all the messages featured in this current teaching series
  • 00:25:31.170 --> 00:25:34.070
  • on 9 DVDs, and a correlating study guide.
  • 00:25:34.080 --> 00:25:37.160
  • Support David Jeremiah and this program
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  • and receive these compelling Revelation study materials
  • 00:25:40.070 --> 00:25:42.210
  • as a thank you.
  • 00:25:42.220 --> 00:25:44.010
  • Contact "Turning Point" today.
  • 00:25:44.020 --> 00:25:46.010
  • announcer: And now, with one last word for today's
  • 00:25:48.200 --> 00:25:50.280
  • program, here is Dr. Jeremiah.
  • 00:25:50.290 --> 00:25:53.110
  • Dr. Jeremiah: Because churches are made up of people,
  • 00:25:54.070 --> 00:25:57.070
  • and they are a lot like people, they go through seasons of life.
  • 00:25:57.080 --> 00:26:03.000
  • But the source of any church's life is the head
  • 00:26:03.010 --> 00:26:06.080
  • of the entire church, Jesus Christ himself.
  • 00:26:06.090 --> 00:26:10.220
  • When a church's members are living in Christ, the church is
  • 00:26:10.230 --> 00:26:15.100
  • alive and fruitful.
  • 00:26:15.110 --> 00:26:18.170
  • Attending church without knowing Jesus Christ personally can be
  • 00:26:18.180 --> 00:26:22.160
  • very unfulfilling.
  • 00:26:22.170 --> 00:26:25.110
  • To encourage you to contribute to the life of a local church,
  • 00:26:25.120 --> 00:26:29.000
  • I'd like to send you two Turning Point resources,
  • 00:26:29.010 --> 00:26:32.250
  • a booklet called you "Your Greatest Turning Point,"
  • 00:26:32.260 --> 00:26:35.150
  • and our monthly devotional magazine,
  • 00:26:35.160 --> 00:26:37.190
  • "Turning Points."
  • 00:26:37.200 --> 00:26:38.270
  • Through them, you'll discover how to know Christ
  • 00:26:38.280 --> 00:26:41.220
  • and contribute to the life and health of a church
  • 00:26:41.230 --> 00:26:44.150
  • in your community.
  • 00:26:44.160 --> 00:26:45.230
  • We'll gladly send both gifts to you free of charge if you
  • 00:26:45.240 --> 00:26:48.230
  • will contact us here at "Turning Point" today.
  • 00:26:48.240 --> 00:26:52.000
  • announcer: Next time, on "Turning Point."
  • 00:26:53.170 --> 00:26:55.200
  • Dr. Jeremiah: And this promise to the church
  • 00:26:56.040 --> 00:26:57.140
  • at Philadelphia, which represents
  • 00:26:57.150 --> 00:26:59.000
  • the church of the last age, is an incredible moment.
  • 00:26:59.010 --> 00:27:02.220
  • Because just before the tribulation starts
  • 00:27:02.230 --> 00:27:05.020
  • in the book of Revelation, here in this verse we're given
  • 00:27:05.030 --> 00:27:07.290
  • this wonderful promise that Almighty God has made
  • 00:27:08.000 --> 00:27:10.180
  • provision to keep us from the hour of testing.
  • 00:27:10.190 --> 00:27:15.160
  • announcer: Join us next time for Dr. Jeremiah's message,
  • 00:27:17.130 --> 00:27:19.260
  • "The Faithful Church,"
  • 00:27:19.270 --> 00:27:22.180
  • here on "Turning Point."
  • 00:27:22.190 --> 00:27:24.180