The Walking Dead Church: Revelation Church of Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6)

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In the world of movies today, the portrayal of dead people were liven up in all forms. It may be their way of showing the reality of the other side of a condemned life. A dead people that’s walking, mingling while grabbing to eat anyone who got closed to them. These pictures are shown to warn the prey of the great dangers of being with such dead yet hungry people. Could these be present in every churches? Apostles John had just heard how Jesus knew one church living with these walking dead people. Does your church has a walking dead congregation?

The City of Sardis:

At the time Jesus spoke these words to John, the ancient city of Sardis had seen its best days and had started to decline. It was a wealthy city, situated at the junction of several important roads and trade routes. The connection between Sardis and money termed: “easy money” was well known in the ancient world. Known for its softness and luxury, it had a well-deserved reputation for apathy and immorality. The combination of easy money and a loose moral environment made the people of Sardis notoriously soft and pleasure loving. The first city of the world that was converted by the preaching of John; and, some say, the first that revolted from Christianity, and one of the first that was laid in its ruins, in which it still lies, without any church or ministry. The softness, lack of discipline and dedication, was the doom of Sardis.

“The great characteristic of Sardis was that, even on pagan lips, Sardis was a name of contempt. Its people were notoriously loose-living, notoriously pleasure-and luxury loving. Sardis was a city of the decadence.” (Barclay)

The Walking Dead Church:

“And to 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 thou art DEAD.”Revelation 3:1 ASV

In the eyes of the world, this church had gained a great reputation; it had a name, and a very honorable one, for a flourishing church, a name for vital lively religion, for purity of doctrine, unity among themselves, uniformity in worship, decency, and order. We read not of any unhappy divisions among themselves. Every thing appeared well, as to what falls under the OBSERVATIONS of men, under the EXPECTATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE WORLD! THIS IS WHAT MONEY CAN DO IN THE CHURCH! This church was not really what it was reputed to be. They had a NAME TO LIVE but THEY WERE DEAD! There was a form of godliness, but not the power, a name to live, but not a principle of life, not to a standard of God.

There was not a complete HOLY SPIRIT CONTROLLED life, so there was a great DEADNESS in their SOULS and in their SERVICES. 1…A great DEADNESS in the SPIRITS of their MINISTERS: a great DEADNESS in their MINISTRATIONS, in their PRAYING, in their PREACHING, in their CONVERSE. 2… A great DEADNESS in the PEOPLE in hearing, in prayer, and in conversation! What little life was yet left among them was, in a manner, EXPIRING AND READY TO DIE. With a reproof, and a very severe one: “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” Hypocrisy, and a lamentable decay in religion, are the sins charged upon this church, by one who knew her well, and all her works.


“Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have found no works of thine perfected before my God.” Revelation 3:2 ASV

Jesus advises them to be upon their watch. The cause of their sinful deadness and declension was that they had let down their watch. Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground, and therefore must return to our watchfulness against sin, and Satan, and whatever is destructive to the life and power of godliness. When the people were living in luxury they’re contented in their worldly life and so their FAITH IN GOD BECOME DEAD!

Jesus wants them to strengthen the things that remain, and that are ready to die. Some understand this of persons; there were some few who had retained their integrity, but they were in danger of declining with the rest. It is a difficult thing to keep up to the life and power of godliness ourselves, when we see a universal deadness and declension prevailing round about us. To recollect themselves, and remember how they have received and heard the MESSAGE. To hold fast what they had received, that they might not lose all, and repent sincerely that they had lost so much of the life of religion, and had run the risk of losing all.

In this end times generation; Jesus saw what the Churches really were! “But you are dead” : shows that a good reputation with “easy money” is no guarantee of true spiritual character.When the faith is dead there’s no visible fruits it can offer. Despite their good appearance, and reputation of life Jesus saw them as dead. To be Dead: indicates no struggle, no fight, no persecution. It wasn’t that the church at Sardis was losing the battle , but there was no battle with the enemy! A dead body has lost the battle, and the fight seems over. Being dead, the church in Sardis presented no significant threat to Satan’s domain, so it wasn’t worth attacking. Watch out! In the absence of SPIRITUAL BATTLE THE ENEMY MIGHT BE IN CONTROL AND YOU ARE ON HIS SIDE! FOR ONLY GOD’S VOICE CAN SILENCE THE ENEMY IN YOUR LIFE! Guard what’s left in you and strengthen your FAITH!

Sardis was “A perfect model of inoffensive Christianity.” (Caird cited in Mounce) Their problem was not scandalous wickedness, but a decent death. Their image said “alive,” but in substance they were dead. “The church of Sardis was at PEACE— but it was the PEACE of the DEAD.” (Barclay)

Do you know of any Churches today that mistakenly think they are alive but are really dead?

Do you know of any believers that need to wake up before death could consume them?

References: David Guzik Bible Commentary and Matthew Henry Bible Commentary.

Pictures credit: Getty online images, David Avocado Wolfe channel and Revelation

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