Yesterday, we saw part 1 of a church’s wholeness. Today, we look at the last 3 characteristics of a whole church.
The best way to characterize the Sardis church is sleepwalking. They look like they are alive and well. However, they are dead. Like a sleepwalker. They look awake. Sleepwalkers even perform some pretty amazing tasks! But they’re asleep. Not aware of the world around them.
And Jesus wants them to repent of their sleepwalking nature. Because we go through the same ritual weekly, this is an easy sin to get into! We come to church. We sing our songs. On the week of our rotation, we serve. Check. Check. And check.
And we’re now in a rut and not in a relationship. What makes this sin so dangerous is that it doesn’t feel like a sin. Certainly not like the sexual sins of the two churches prior! But because we’re not relying on the relationship of Jesus, we are in sin.
Reject ruts. Repent of forming a rut. And find something fresh about your relationship with Jesus.
Philadelphia is the other church that had nothing to repent of. And like Smyrna, they weren’t the most flamboyant church. In fact, Jesus says they have little strength. They’ve been hammered with persecution by the synagogue of Satan. Jews who took it upon themselves to have the personal mission of persecuting the local church.
The churches who had to repent all probably looked good on the outside. But the two churches who had nothing to repent of looked poor and weak to outsiders. Why would people go there?!
Because it is in our weakness Jesus can be strong. It is in our patient endurance we are able to find the strength of Jesus. Jesus even promises for this church to become pillars of God’s kingdom. The weak church is what is holding up God’s kingdom! What an imagery!
The church in Laodicea is rich. And their riches have led them to be lukewarm. Or, in other words, totally useless in God’s kingdom.
But they don’t see themselves as useless! The area was known for their eye salve and clothing. But to Jesus they can’t see and are naked. Just because we have doesn’t mean we have. If we’re relying on what we do have, we have ceased to rely on Jesus for what he wants to give.
He wants to give us a gold that is beyond the riches we have. And we see that gold through the relationship Jesus wants to have with us. He knocks at our door. And he knocks at the door so we can sit and enjoy a meal with him. It isn’t that Jesus doesn’t want us to have nice things. Jesus wants us to enjoy what we have because we have a relationship with him! A “sit down at the dinner table, laugh and enjoy what we have” relationship with him.
From yesterday, love God, love people. Focus on what is before us. Repent. And beware of consequences. From today, stop sleepwalking. Patiently endure. And enjoy the relationship we have with Jesus. This is what a whole church looks like.
Throughout this year (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017), CrossPoint will be reading through the New Testament. We are doing this because we’re learning about the Church and the New Testament is the handbook for the church. Therefore, join us as we follow this reading plan. Today’s reading is from Revelation 3.