Bible Society of South Africa

Big problems - 9 June 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

The Message to Sardis

1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

“This is the message from the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know what you are doing; I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead!

Revelation 3:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Message to Laodicea

14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

“This is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the origin of all that God has created.

Revelation 3:14GNBOpen in Bible reader

Does it always go well with all churches and their members? Unfortunately, not. We do not like to hear when things are wrong in the church or in our own lives. The idea of sin is not a popular concept. We all want to have peace and joy in our religious experiences, and attempt to evade the subject of sin and punishment. However, Jesus does find it necessary to tell us and the churches when things are seriously wrong.

We saw that Jesus found many positive attributes at five of the seven churches, but at two of them, Sardis and Laodicea, he could not find anything to be grateful for. Jesus, therefore, addressed them in no uncertain terms.

His words to Sardis in Revelation 3:1b are rather stern, “I know what you are doing; I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead!” This is a very serious accusation. On the surface, this church looks like a lively and busy group, to the point of being known as alive. However, on the spiritual terrain, nothing is happening; on the contrary, they are spiritually dead. Where do we stand?

At the church in Laodicea, it is not going any better. In Revelation 3:15, Jesus said to them: “I know what you have done; I know that you are neither cold nor hot.” This lukewarm attitude is so distasteful to Jesus that he says, “I am going to spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:16b) When we talk about faith, there is no place for fence-sitting, you are either for Jesus or you are against him.

The wonderful thing is that, to Jesus, no church or individual believer is ever beyond redemption. The message to Sardis is in Revelation 3:3: “Remember, then, what you were taught and what you heard; obey it and turn from your sins.” To the people of Laodicea, Jesus promised in Revelation 3:19b-20: “… Be in earnest, then, and turn from your sins. Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me.”

Jesus never stops knocking at people’s doors. His knock can even raise those who are spiritually dead.

Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus that you kept knocking at my door until I opened it. Amen

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