This morning I spoke on Rev 3:1-6, the letter to the church at Sardis, the city that had twice been conquered because the inhabitants were too lazy to keep watch. Jesus said to the church there 'Wakeup, Remember & Repent, Walk with me, and hear'. I noted that Jesus desired that none have their name blotted out of the book of life; this was a timely warning to them ... and us.
However, given the time constraints of the kids being in, I simply didn't have time to expand my thoughts on application, so here are few:
I guess many of us have areas in which we have started well but have become over-confident or over-familiar with, and now leave our battlements unguarded. We start well in 'taking every thought captive, making it obedient to Christ' but after a while allow all thoughts to settle in our minds. We start well in our 'Bible in a year' but by April have lost our way. We can leave our battlements unguarded in preference for a few minutes extra in bed / TV / web surfing.
Sadly we all seem to go through seasons of spiritual catnapping (albeit to a lesser or greater extent), but how did they arrive at Jesus' diagnosis of spiritual death (especially given their bright reputation)? Presumably sin, habitual sin, was involved. Sin is brutal & ruthless, we mess with it at our peril. Pride has a thousand faces, greed and envy can masquerade as progress. Sin unchecked, will always lead to death, sin repented of will bring life.
Finally, Jesus knew the condition of this flock (as should church elders) but we also have a Christian duty to watch out for one another. Occasionally, I hear of sleepers (or those slipping into a sin coma) whose friends watch from the sidelines, not wanting to risk the friendship. In my sermon illustration Ed slept through the alarm but I woke him and brought back into the congregation. So the question remains, who do you need to lovingly shake, or who needs to lovingly shake you, before it is all too late?