Sunday, 6 April 2008

Wake Up!

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?

1 comment:

Richard Walker said...

Hearing about the overconfidence of Sardis this morning reminded me of the LORD's words to his people in Ezekiel 16:49-50

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

In Genesis, the city of Sodom appears to have been destroyed for its rampant homosexuality, but these verses reveal the sexual sin was only a fruit, born from a root of pride.

C J Mahaney has written a short but very helpful book on killing pride and nurturing humility. (Anyone interested can browse it by clicking here.) He has also done two free sermons which follow the outline of the book. Anyone interested in downloading them should click here.