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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Remnant, #2
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Revelation 3:1)
Christ is being formed in us today, it is true, and some have been so occupied with this thought they have lost sight of the Lord Jesus who is at the right hand of God in Heaven. Christ at His pleasure stands aloof from the churches. We pray to Him and look to Him always. He is the Lord. He works with us as well as in us when we are obedient to Him, taking up our cross and following wherever He leads us.
Each time Christ appears to us it is in a form that is instructive and helpful to us. The manner in which He presents Himself to each of the seven churches in Asia is corrective and helpful with regard to the weaknesses and sins of the particular church.
There were a few believers in Sardis, a remnant who had not soiled their garments with sin. They are worthy to walk as companions of Jesus.
The majority of the believers in Sardis had a serious spiritual shortcoming we shall be describing as the Holy Spirit helps us. Because of this shortcoming Christ presented Himself as the One who has the fullness of the Spirit of God, as the One who holds the seven churches in the right hand of His power.
Whoever would be a conqueror in the midst of a Sardis-type assembling of believers must come to know Christ as the One who lives in the Spirit of God and as the One who is Lord of the churches; for it is in the realm of the anointing of the Spirit, and of the lordship and power of Christ, that the Sardis-type church comes short of the Glory of God.
"I know thy works." Christ makes this statement to each of the seven churches in Asia. Sometimes we are so busy in the ministry or in the various activities of our church that it seems the Lord Jesus is a million miles away. Let us never forget that He knows our works. Christ instantly is aware of each of our deeds, our words, our motives, and our imaginations.
"Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." What was the problem with Sardis? It appears that the church in Sardis had a reputation among Christian people for being a living, active, growing assembly. We can assume the teaching was fundamental, members were being added, and the believers were happy and prosperous.
How could a Christian assembling of believers have a reputation for being alive and yet be regarded as dead by Christ? The word dead signifies that life has gone and a corpse remains. In scriptural terminology, life is the Substance of Christ that comes to us in the Holy Spirit. The church in Sardis was dead. It possessed none of the Life of Christ in the Holy Spirit. Sardis was an active, growing corpse to which members were being added daily.
If the church in Sardis had a name that it lived, and yet the Holy Spirit was absent, the apparent life of Sardis was the life of human endeavor. The church was being administrated with skill. There was concerted, diligent action on the part of the committees and members of the assembling. The programs of the church sparkled with talent. The church in Sardis was an attractive, exciting place to go on Sunday morning. The size of the congregation was increasing with each passing week.
To be continued.