Tuesday 17 November 2009

Bible Book:

"Wake up and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of God." (v.2)

Revelation 3:1-3, 14-22 Tuesday 17 November 2009


"Wake up" is the message to the Church in Sardis, and theculture of complacency there was one that was written in thehistory and culture of the city. Sardis was the capital of theLydian empire in 549 BC, a fortress city perched on a high cliffoverlooking a plain. There was only one point of entry from thesouth and that was heavily fortified. Croesus, the king of Lydia,was being challenged by Cyrus, the king of Persia, who was campedin the plain below Sardis. Croesus was not worried… Sardis wasapparently impregnable and not in any danger.

However, by night, Cyrus sent his forces up the cliff face using acrack that had been spotted there. His special forces took thecomplacent people of Sardis by night and many were killed as theyslept. One might think that Sardis would have learned their lessonthrough this tragedy but unfortunately this was not the case. Thecity recovered after Cyrus' attack and began to re-establish itsprominence and wealth until Antiochus the Great threatened the cityin 218 BC. The city fell in exactly the same way as it did some 300years earlier!

John, the writer of Revelation, records the words of the risen Lordchallenging the Church of Sardis for the same complacency that thecity had demonstrated earlier. The disease of complacency wouldhave the same outcome for the Church as it did those 500 years ago:death. The disease of complacency had terminal implications. Todaythe city, and so the Church of Sardis no longer exist.

What did Jesus say about complacency? He told a parable of a richman looking for further storage for his crops (Luke 12:16-21).The rich man thought about building bigger barns and relaxing in alife of leisure and plenty. He was looking at what he had achieved- he was self-reliant. God spoke words challenging theunderstanding that we can rest in our own self-reliance that canlead to complacency: "You fool, This very night your life is beingdemanded of you. And those things you have prepared, whose willthey be?"

God would have us, like Jesus, rest in God's own provision for ourlives but with an awakened life that centred on God's kingdom, notours.

To Ponder

To what extent is the Church in this countryasleep in self-satisfaction, as apparently hundreds leave theChurch each month?

Is there anything you or your church can do inresponse to this complacency?

The times of resurgence and revival in the waysof God have been labelled 'Great Awakening'. Identify the aspectsof your church which are awake and asleep.

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