March 2, 2024

Sardis or Laodecia?

Prayer-is-the-language-by-Leland-Francisco.jpgIn my recent Bible reading I found myself in Revelation 3 considering the churches that are presented there.  I believe that I’ve only ever heard of this present age being Laodecia for a couple of reasons.

First, many in the circles I travel are pre-tribulation1 , pre-millenialists2 , and these people hold to the idea that the ordering of the churches in the book of Revelation has significance to the time periods before Christ’s return.  Therefore, to be in Laodecia– the last of the churches mentioned– means that the Lord’s return is not just imminent but soon.

Secondly, much of what is described in this church could be attributed to our time– people that are not hot or cold, but who are lukewarm and Christ will reject. Many in our day in these circles believe that the church today is neither hot nor cold– it’s not out winning the world, but it’s also not that apostate.  This is clouded by the idea that American Christianity is in view rather than world-wide Christianity, which colors this assessment.

When I read this passage with fresh eyes having not looked at it in a while, I began to wonder whether or not Sardis is actually the right assessment.  See what you think:

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

That first part is ominous to me.  “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”  For all my experience in American Christianity (here I admit my bias too), we seem to want the reputation of being alive, we have mega churches where they say much is happening, and we talk as if we’re all growing closer to God, but what if it’s as Paul said to Timothy, we have the appearance of holiness, but not the power?

We are those that have more truth available than ever before, and many have a good reputation, but is that all we have?  May we take inventory of ourselves to make sure our faith is powerful, that it is more than words, and that it shows God to all.

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  1. The Rapture of the saints will come before the 7 year tribulation of the Earth. []
  2. There is a real tribulation before a literal 1,000 year rule of Christ on the Earth before the final judgment []

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