What appeared to flourish was actually dead
Today’s Reading: Revelation 2:18-3:6
Key Verse: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.” Revelations 3:1
Sardis was one of the great cities of the ancient world, the capital city of a great empire. The Greeks referred to it as the greatest of all cities. It was a city of great strength, but it was a city of the past. It was a city that lived on its reputation. It was a city of failure, living off its past strength.
Sardis expresses unfulfilled promises. It painted one picture by its reputation, but another in reality. It was a city that spoke of life but really lived in death.
The church at Sardis holds a tremendous warning for us today. In the previous letters, “I know thy works” had been a comforting phrase. When he spoke to the churches, they were comforted by the fact that Jesus knew all about their working and striving for him. Here, however, it is no comfort. It is a condemnation of their evil acts.
Man’s evaluation is not always the same as God’s. We need to consider what Jesus says about something rather than what men say. We are too prone to be concerned about what we think of each other rather than what the Lord thinks about us.
Notice the reality concerning the church at Sardis. Outwardly everything appeared fine with the church at Sardis but spiritually that was not the case. Christ declared that He knows their deeds. The life and testimony of the church and the individuals who make it up are an open book to the Lord. Nothing is hidden from His gaze. He sees beneath the surface and into the heart and mind.
Sardis had a reputation among the other churches as an alive church with an effective ministry to those within and without the church. But their reputation was no longer deserved.
What appeared to flourish was actually dead. The church gave every evidence of growing and moving forward. But Jesus said they were dead. Here was a church that was dead and didn’t know it. Jesus is not so concerned about the activities we engage in, the promises we make or the things we do, rather he looks at the heart.