Rev.3:1,2 – To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
This is probably the most terrifying message to the church to me. They had obviously experienced the power of God in years gone by but time had passed them by. There was no longer the passion for His presence, the fire had seemed to go out in the preaching, the singing was good but something seemed to be missing, and when was the last time they had seen an ingathering of souls? The funny thing is, everything seemed to be right on the outside. Have you ever been to a church like that? They sang the right songs, the messages seemed solid, but something didn’t seem to be quite right. Could this be what Paul meant by a form of godliness with no power? Here is what Matthew Henry says about the church in Sardis.
“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…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. If there was not a total privation of life, yet there was a great deadness in their souls and in their services, a great deadness in the spirits of their ministers, and a great deadness in their ministrations, in their praying, in their preaching, in their converse, and 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, ready to die.”
This could easily be written to churches that had a Pentecostal/charismatic flare 15 or 20 years ago but had somehow slipped into the modern culture; you know trying to be relevant and hip and never offensive. What is the answer? Wake up, the morning star is announcing the new prophetic day.