If we can learn anything from the first-century churches of Asia Minor, it is the tendency of Christians and churches toward decline. As you read Revelation 2-3, you see churches that were started in the days of the apostles already seeing sharp spiritual decline in that first generation. But if there is one other thing we can learn from these churches, it is that Christ cares about the condition of the church and that he desires to revive His church. Notice these instructions the Lord gave to the church at Sardis through the Apostle John:
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:2-3
These are words of hope. They speak of God’s willingness to revive Christians and local churches that were once vibrant in their faith but are now faltering in their love and loyalty for Christ. To the church at Sardis, Christ laid out the path to spiritual restoration in five specific commands that would bring revival:
In other words, “Wake up!” Confront sin and indifference. Refuse to say, “It’s okay” when it comes to sin.
“But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, Ephesian 5:13-15
STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THAT REMAIN
Fan the flame of the dying embers. Awaken the spiritual graces within.