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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Remnant, #5
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (Revelation 3:2)
The warning to the Christians of the Sardis-type assembling is to begin watching in prayer in order to regain the mind of the Holy Spirit. Whatever remains of worship, of holiness, and of the unadulterated Word of God, strengthen this; for all that is of God will be choked out and die when the success of the assembling is being brought about by the ability and industry of human beings.
One principal difference between the human-oriented churches, and the living remnant of those churches, is the amount of prayer that is exercised. The human-oriented, Sardis-type assembling will crowd out prayer in favor of any number of religious activities. Such a church will not set aside a centrally located room for the purpose of prayer. Prayer will not be a primary concern of the church. Although the importance of prayer always will be mentioned, in actual practice intense prayer and praise will not predominate in the services and activities of that church.
Of late there are assemblings in which there is a great amount of praise. Such services are attractive to people and sometimes there is a large attendance. Care must be taken, however, that the worship of God does not stop at this point. The Spirit-empowered praise of our day is comparable to the hailing of the Lord as He entered through the gates into Jerusalem. Immediately He went into Herod's Temple and cast out the moneychangers. So it is true that the blowing of trumpets heralds the solemn Day of Atonement, the period of judgment and repentance.
High praises are being restored today along with many forms of worship, including dancing and banners. In order for all things to be done decently and in order, and result in the building up of Christ in the saints, the high praises of God in our mouth must be accompanied by the two-edged sword in our hand (Psalms 149:6). If it is not, immorality will follow because of the sensuous aspects of prolonged worship.
The remnant live on their knees, so to speak. To them, prayer is everything. Prayer is the way they think and act. They have been taught by the Lord to pray over all matters great and small. The remnant are pleased when the Divine service is dominated by Holy Spirit-inspired prayer and worship. The Sardis-type church would consider such activities to be impractical and ineffective in terms of the true work of the church. Also, there would be a fear that people would be driven away by "excessive" spiritual activity.
A Sardis-type assembling would never place fervent and prolonged prayer and worship, on the part of the congregation, in the forefront of its main services. It is easy to see why the Lord Jesus (and His remnant) would consider such a large growing assembly to be dead.
To be continued.