The Church At Sardis: The Autopsy Of A Dead Church (10 of 39) by James Merritt

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THE CHURCH AT SARDIS: THE AUTOPSY OF A DEAD CHURCH (10
of 39)
THE KING IS COMING
DR. JAMES MERRITT
REVELATION 3:1-6

INTRODUCTION

1. OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES TO WHICH JOHN WROTE LETTERS,
THERE ARE TWO OF WHICH NOTHING POSITIVE IS SAID. ONE
OF THE CHURCHES WHICH HAD NO COMMENDING QUALITIES
ABOUT IT WAS THE CHURCH AT SARDIS. IT WAS A DEAD
CHURCH IN A DEAD CITY.

2. HAVE YOU EVER GONE INTO A CHURCH AND COME AWAY WITH
THE FEELING THAT IT WAS JUST A DEAD CHURCH? HAVE YOU
EVER HEARD SOMEONE ELSE REFER TO A CHURCH AS A DEAD
CHURCH? WELL IT IS ONE THING FOR YOU TO THINK THAT A
CHURCH IS DEAD. IT IS ONE THING FOR ME TO THINK THAT A
CHURCH IS DEAD. BUT IT IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MATTER
WHEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CONDUCTS AN EXAMINATION OF
A CHURCH AND FINDS IT TO BE DEAD.

3. THERE ARE REALLY THREE KINDS OF CHURCHES IN ANY
CHURCH BUILDING. THERE IS THE CHURCH THAT THEY THINK
THEY ARE. THERE IS THE CHURCH THAT OTHERS THINK THEY
ARE. BUT THEN THERE'S THE CHURCH THAT GOD KNOWS THAT
THEY ARE. WHEN JESUS CALLS A CHURCH DEAD, YOU MAY AS
WELL CALL THE CORONER AND MAKE FUNERAL ARRANGE- MENTS,
FOR THAT CHURCH IS TRULY DEAD.

4. THE CHURCH AT SARDIS WAS NOT A WEAK CHURCH THAT
NEEDED RESTORATION. IT WAS NOT A SICK CHURCH THAT
NEEDED REJUVENATION. IT WAS A DEAD CHURCH THAT NEEDED
A RESURRECTION, SOCIETY HAD WRITTEN "GREAT" OVER HER
DOOR. THE DENOMINATION HAD WRITTEN "SUPER" OVER HER
DOOR, BUT GOD HAD WRITTEN "ICHABOD" OVER HER DOOR.

5. THIS CHURCH REALLY HAD TWO PROBLEMS. FIRST OF ALL,
IT WAS NOT THE CHURCH THAT THE WORLD THOUGHT THAT IT
WAS. BUT NEITHER WAS IT THE CHURCH THAT GOD WANTED IT
TO BE. DR. VANCE HAVNER SAID THAT EVERY MINIS TRY
BEGINS WITH A MAN. IT THEN BECOMES A MOVEMENT. IT THEN
BECOMES A MACHINE. BUT IT THEN BECOMES A MONUMENT.
WELL THIS CHURCH WAS IN THE MONUMENT STAGE OF EXIST-
ANCE. IT WAS LIVING ON A PAST REPUTATION, BUT IT WAS A
SHADOW OF ITS FORMER SELF.

I. THE STERLING REPUTATION OF THE CHURCH

1. "I KNOW YOUR WORKS, THAT YOU HAVE A NAME THAT YOU
ARE ALIVE. (v.1) THE CHURCH OF SARDIS HAD ACQUIRED
QUITE A NAME. IT HAD A TREMENDOUS REPUTATION. IT WAS
CELL RESPECTED IN THE CITY, IT WAS WELL KNOWN BY ALL
OF THE OTHER SIX CHURCHES FOR ITS VITALITY AND ITS
VIGOR. IF YOU HAD LIVED IN PERGAMUM OR EPHESUS OR
THYATIRA AND YOU WERE MOVING TO SARDIS, YOU COULD HAVE
SAID TO ANYONE "DO YOU KNOW A GOOD CHURCH IN SARDIS?"
AND THEIR REPLY WOULD BE "THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH TO
GO TO IN SARDIS AND THAT IS THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.
I HEAR THAT CHURCH IS JUST BRIMMING WITH LIFE AND
ACTIVITY."

2. AND HAD YOU MOVED TO THE CITY OF SARDIS ANYBODY AND
EVERYBODY WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU, IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
A CHURCH YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT THE FIRST BAPTIST
CHURCH. I HEAR THAT THINGS ARE REALLY POPPING DOWN
THERE. ALL I HEAR ABOUT THAT CHURCH IS GOOD."

3. THERE WAS NO FALSE DOCTRINE TAKING ROOT IN THE
FELLOWSHIP. NO ONE WAS TEACHING THE DOCTRINE OF
BALAA ...


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