“Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
This passage in Revelation is written to the church in Sardis, also known as the dead church.
A few years ago, my husband and I had a heart to heart conversation about the condition of our hearts! After some soul searching and time, we took a deep look at our lives and realized…we were just like the church at Sardis! We looked good on the outside. We went to Church every Sunday. We participated in a small group. We had our 3 children with us and in their respective classes. But…we were spiritually dead! We had no spiritual life beyond these few practices. Sadly, this went on for about 2-3 years. We let all the things of life get in the way (work, opening a small business, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, a new puppy, school). We had good intentions, but lost our focus.
This is what happened to the church in Sardis. They looked good. Sardis was a city on a hill. Literally, the city was built on a hill some fifteen hundred feet above the valley floor, which made the city very secure. The hill on which Sardis was built had nearly perpendicular walls on three sides and the city could only be approached from the south by a steep, difficult path. The people of Sardis became overconfident in the secureness of their city and on two occasions the city was conquered. Overconfidence and complacency led to defeat as they let their guard down.
God cared about them so much, that He sent a messenger to them with a warning!
The phrase, wake up, means to be watchful, awake, and to prevent oneself from falling asleep. How do I wake up? First, I need to search my heart. Are the things I am doing for the glory of Christ, or for my own glory? Whom do I want to get the credit for what I am doing, Jesus or myself? Not only must I wake up, but I must stay awake and be watchful. I must keep a careful guard of my heart.
“and strengthen the things that remain”
This second part of verse two is encouraging to me! God has begun a good work in me and does not want it to die. Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is saying to me…”Get the flame burning again!” There is hope! Don’t just look good and go through the motions.
Go back to the truth of God’s Word, the basics. Jesus Loves Me! He wants a true genuine relationship with me.
This is a huge reminder to me that going through the motions and checking things off the list is not good enough! God does not care if I show up at church or my small group. He cares about my heart. He wants me to be awake and listening. He wants me to hear His message. Just like this call to Sardis to WAKE UP…He is telling me to WAKE UP! Do not let the works I have begun in you die! His message is for us to be alive for Him and not dead in our own works. His message is for us to repent and confess our sin to Him. He wants to clothe us in white garments. He wants us to confess our sin to Him so that He can forgive us of our sin. He wants us to be righteous, and holy before Him. He wants our name to be in the book of life. He wants to walk with us.
Do we want the same thing? He gives us the choice. God wants to use me and you…it is up to us to WAKE UP and have a relationship with him. That is His deepest desire.
I am thankful for this warning! God does not want us to die spiritually. He is reaching out with limitless chances to begin again (and again!) and reach out to Him! We daily need to WAKE UP and talk with Him. Yes, it is important to be involved in a local Church and have community with other Christ followers, but what does your heart look like today? Is it time for you to WAKE UP?