“WAKE UP!” Rev. 3:1-6
INTRO – (YouTube video of kids falling asleep eating spaghetti)
While watching these kids might be cute & funny, being spiritually asleep is no laughing matter. And this is exactly what Jesus said to the church at Sardis – “You need to WAKE UP!”
THE SARDIS SCENARIO – The city of Sardis was one of the oldest & best-defended cities in the region, & was the capital of the ancient k’dom of Lydia. It was an important city due to its military strength, & its geographical location on a major highway in the region. Here’s a picture of the ruins of Sardis, which is now the modern-day village of Sart in Turkey.
4 realities of the Sardis Scenario:
Their Reputation was false – v. 1 – “I know your deeds. You have a reputation of being alive…” – To the average person, the church at Sardis gave the appearance of being alive.
- Maybe they had a dynamic preacher or a great music program
- Maybe they had people who were active in the community
- Maybe they gave a lot of money to different causes
- Maybe they had a beautiful building or met in an impressive home of one of their members
How many times do we get more concerned about our reputation w/ people instead of our relationship w/ Jesus? We need to pray that our reputation of being alive is a true picture of the condition of our heart…which leads to the 2nd reality of the Sardis Scenario:
Their Reality was sad – v. 1 – “…but you are dead.” – Wow! What a blunt statement – “You. Are. Dead.” – “You are a lifeless corpse.” A corpse may be beautiful, but it’s still dead. Dress it up in the finest clothes. Put makeup on its face. Spray perfume on it. Do everything possible to make it look nice & smell nice, but inside, it is still full of one thing – death. This church was filled w/ people who thought they were saved, thought they were alive, but they were dead. They were lost. It was a zombie church! Ray Stedman preached sermon on this passage – “The Church of the Zombies.”
Their Repentance was necessary – v. 2-3 – Their only hope is the only hope for anyone who is dead or whose fellowship w/ Jesus is dying:
- WAKE UP! They needed a sharp slap in the face to realize the awful place they were in. “Wake up! Face the truth of the condition of your heart!”
- STRENGTHEN YOUR INCOMPLETE WORKS! They were working only to gain the praise of men, rather than the for the glory of God.
- REPENT! They had heard the Gospel & knew what they needed to do. The choice was theirs to make: Turn to Jesus Christ. Cry out to Him. Trust Him.
Their Redemption was secure – v. 4-5 – Even in this dead church, there were some – a remnant – who were still faithfully following the Lord. To them, He gave His wonderful promise that their redemption was secure. White garments in Scripture always signify redemption. What a blessing to hear the Lord say, “I’ve got you! You belong to me! Your names are permanently written in the book of life!” It was sad that He was only able to say that to a few of them. Question: How many of us who are here today can honestly say that we KNOW that this is what Jesus would say to us right now? And if you say that this is true, what do you base this on? A prayer you prayed at some time in your life? Your church attendance? Your good works? Or on the fact that you are pursuing a growing relationship w/ the Lord today, not at some point in the past, but right now?
All of us need a spiritual WAKE-UP CALL from time to time, one of those “come to Jesus” moments when we take an honest look at the condition of our heart. I had one of those just this week. Those wake-up calls come in different forms & at various times:
- From a friend or family member – my wake-up call happened this week when I met a friend for b’fast & he challenged me to go deeper in my walk w/ Christ.
- During a sermon or worship service
- While having personal quiet time
- When a crisis hits our lives
- Other opportunities – (“War Room” movie is a perfect example)
Maybe some wake-up calls are happening around this room today. Maybe there are some folks hearing Jesus say this to them today:
“WAKE UP!” – Here’s my wake-up call each morning (iPhone alarm). Anybody else use that same sound?
There may be different sounds we use to wake ourselves out of our slumber each morning, but there’s only 1 wakeup call that comes to all of us from the Lord. His call to all of us is to wake up out of our spiritual sleep & come to life in Him, through Him, & for Him.
What causes us to go to sleep spiritually?
- Stillness – Some folks go to sleep as soon as they get still. Happens a lot in here! There are certainly times that we need to rest spiritually. But that doesn’t mean that we stop working & serving the Lord. It happens so often that when a person moves into a state of spiritual inactivity, spiritual sleep soon overtakes them.
- Weariness – Some folks seem to think that it’s such a burden to be committed to Christ. Mission trips – make you SO tired, but it’s a “good tired.” But if you want to find out what it’s like to truly be spiritually weary, move out of fellowship w/ the Lord & w/ His family. Sin brings a heavy weariness to our souls that will drag us into spiritual sleep.
- Sickness – Physical illness can cause us to sleep a lot. Our body is telling us that it needs to rest to get better & recover. But when we are spiritually sick w/ sin, the sleeping that follows does not lead to recovery, but to more sickness, more weakness, more failing spiritual health.
- Laziness – Sometimes we just need a lazy day to take a nap, get some extra sleep, & recharge the batteries. Unfortunately, when we get spiritually lazy, the sleep that comes w/ that doesn’t recharge our spiritual batteries, but drains them even more.
No matter what the reason is that we’ve gone to sleep spiritually, the call from Jesus is the same: “WAKE UP!”
WHY DO WE NEED TO WAKE UP?
There’s a WORD to study – “Remember…what you have received & heard…” (v. 3)
There’s WORK to do – “…obey it & repent.” (v. 3) “Strengthen what remains…” (v. 2)
There’s a WAR to fight – “…is about to die.” (v. 2) – Satan wants to steal, kill, & destroy (John 10:10). If we are spiritually asleep, he will overtake us in the fight.