Intro: The harsh realities of life are numerous! For instance, there are times when decisions about a loved one's death must be made. There are
times when these bodies can become so ill and damaged that there is no hope for life. Many families will decide to deny their loved ones access to medical care during those times, giving them the right to die. Absolutely, this isn't willful extermination, however it is confronting the way that there are times when you should acknowledge the obvious issues! When recovery and quality of life cannot be restored, the best gift you can give a loved one is to "pull the plug," so to speak, and let them die with some dignity. Naturally, not everyone has this opinion. There are those who wish to use medical technology and machines to extend the lives of loved ones. This also does not denigrate that strategy.) This holds true not only for the human body but also for churches! The church dies! Churches that once exuded God's glory and power are now thriving on their previous success. There are some churches whose existence is solely supported by the organizational machinery. That church would quietly vanish into oblivion if someone happened to walk by and cut the power. This is the church in our morning's reading. Although they appeared to be alive, the Great Physician detected their pulse and declared their death! Jesus is telling this church that if certain signs of life do not appear, He will pull the plug on them and let them go forever. I would like us to keep an eye on Gilead Baptist Church as we listen to Jesus' words to this congregation. This morning, let the Great Physician examine us and inform us of our true state of life. We may or may not like what we see about ourselves and our church, but no matter what the diagnosis is, there is no treatment until we understand what is going on. It's possible that our perception of our church is false! When we are not, we may believe we are something. Let Jesus reveal our true condition to us and prescribe the appropriate treatment. This is the subject of my morning sermon, which will last a few minutes: Doctor, When Should We Say Goodbye? Let's find out if we will survive or if the Lord should pull the plug on us as I do. I. V. 1 THE COLD REALITY OF THE CHURCH'S CONDITION A. The Reviewer - We need only look back to 1:16 to identify the speaker in these verses. We are informed there that Jesus is the one who possesses the seven stars. He comes to this church to inform the members of their predicament. This demonstrates that Jesus is deeply involved in the activities of His churches. He is keeping an eye on the events and is concerned. And when He arrives, He will correct all records! 1. He Holds God's Power: The Holy Spirit's abundance is in His hands. This serves as a reminder to the churches that we are to function under the incredible power of the Holy Spirit, not human skill, leadership, or organization. We will undoubtedly fail as a church when we walk in the flesh's power, but when we walk in the Spirit's power, we will succeed. Instead of being dead and ineffective, there will be glory, power, and life! (Ill.) Astonishing outcomes are possible when the human spirit exercises control over the body. For instance, a pianist can sit at a keyboard and produce beautiful music by performing thousands of delicate, precise movements. However, if the pianist sustains an injury that renders the arms paralyzed, the mind will no longer have control over the pianist's hands, fingers, or arms. Then, attempt as it would, the human soul can't will the hands to make music. Also, when the church's members are led by the Spirit of God, great things can be done. In any case, when He isn't, loss of motion is the outcome and nothing can be achieved for God.) 2. He Holds God's Preachers: This serves as a reminder that even God's men are in the Lord's hands. It is His longing that He be in charge of the Minister, as well as the participation. The Lord cannot grant the church the blessings He desires if the preacher refuses to submit to God. The man of God must yield to the Lord just as the church as a whole must! 3. "I know thy works!" He holds God's perception. The Master lets this congregation know that He realizes everything to be familiar with them. He is aware of both their successes and failures. He is aware of their motivations and priorities. He is aware of his position in relation to their plans. He has complete knowledge of them. God is still aware! He is aware of our activities at Gilead. He understands what He wants us to do. He is aware of both our obedience and our disobedience. He understands our motivations. He has complete knowledge of us! He is aware of our works! "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth," says II Chronicles 16:9. (Ill.) This information ought to make us pause for a moment and reflect on our church's activities. Are the things we do pleasing to God? Could it be said that we are completing His will successfully in this world? Does the information He has about us make Him happy or break His heart?) B. The Reputation: Jesus informs this church of their reputation. They seem to be alive in God's things to everyone who knows about this church. Their moniker suggests that they are a church with a burning passion for God! This was certainly not a sluggish church! They were active and occupied. They were respected by the other churches! (Ill.) Every church ought to be ablaze with devotion to God. A congregation that witnesses and wins souls ought to be present in every church. Each congregation should be a very busy place for the magnificence of the Master. It is great when a congregation has such a standing. It's even better when it lives up to its name!) C. The Reality: Jesus knew the truth, regardless of what other people thought of this church. He informs them that they are dead even though everyone thinks they are alive! The definition of this word is correct! The church in Sardis lacked "force or power" like a dead man. They failed to accomplish anything." They had perished! Activity occurred, but it was not spiritual in nature. They were conducting business, but they were not bringing anything eternal to fruition. Despite their preaching, neither sinners nor lives were being transformed. They were busy, but they were working with the power of the flesh rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. Their lives were discussed as everyone looked at them. They were declared dead by Jesus, who at the time knew more than anyone else! (Ill. I wonder what He would say about Gilead Baptist Church's reputation and the truth? Would He say, "You live up to your reputation! You are indeed alive and doing great things for me, as everyone believes!" Or would He respond, "Oh, you have a good reputation in the community and with other churches, but I have felt your pulse and I feel no life in you at all?" This morning, what would He say to us? What is He expressing to you, as a singular today?) I. The stark reality of the state of the church II. V. 2-3 THE UNMISTAKEABLE SOLUTION FOR THE CHURCH'S REPAIR (Ill.) This church has a real problem, but they can get better! They hear the good news from Jesus that it's not too late to end things! They can live, yet there are a few things they should do. He is forced to end them for good if He refuses to carry them out.) A. They Are Instructed to Watch They are instructed to "be watchful." This translates to "chase sleep" in English. This church has a long and illustrious history. However, they have allowed their previous accomplishments to lull them into spiritual slumber and complacency. They are urged by Jesus to wake up from their sleep. They must wake up and realize that the victories of yesterday are insufficient for this day, according to his order! (Ill. This occurs so frequently in churches that it is absurd. For a church to survive, its founding members will need to work, pray, witness, give, and yield to God. A church will struggle at first. However, as time goes on, more people visit. More cash arrives. Good services are enjoyed and buildings have been constructed. However, amidst these beneficial things, something awful occurs. The vision that gave the church its strength in the beginning begins to fade. They become content to relax and take pleasure in the results of their efforts. And while we absolutely ought to be grateful for what the Lord has done for us, there is no time to pause! There is no time to reflect on the past! Our vision ought to encompass both the present and the future. Go around! Age is upon us! Who will step in for us? Go around! Despite our capacity, our vision has vanished! Go around! We are content with what we have, but the fire that made us strong is gone! (Ill.) The Sardisians would have fully comprehended what Jesus was saying. The city of Sardis was perched atop a mountain. In the past, the only way to enter the city was through a single entrance on the southern side. Consequently, all that Sardis needed to do was to put a detail at that one spot to watch the city. However, the guard had fallen asleep on the job on two occasions when their enemies invaded them because they felt safe and believed the hill was impregnable. Cyrus' Median soldiers scaled the parapet in 549 B.C., and Antiochus the Great captured Sardis again in 218 B.C. after a Cretan slipped over the walls while the guards were careless. We will be conquered by the enemy, 1 Pet, if we allow ourselves to sleep because of what we have enjoyed in the past. 5:8.) B. The Lord Gives This Church Four Tasks to Complete: The Lord gives this church four tasks to complete. Any church that has been found to be lagging behind on Jesus will benefit from these things! 1. Revive: He informs them that not all of them have died. There are still a few things that are still alive. Before they die out, these things need to be brought back to life. Ill. The literal translation of the expression "that are ready to die" is "that are knocking on death's door.") This is an appeal to them to get excited once more about God's things! It is an appeal for rebirth! "For I have not found thy works to be perfect before God," (Ill.) Their "works are incomplete and do not reach Heaven" as a result of this. They have some good things in their midst, but they need to be revived before they can make a lasting difference. It is feasible to be occupied in the things of God but to fail to help God. Our works will never reach Heaven, and the church will not bring God any glory unless they are finished. Revival is what these kinds of churches require! to be sparked into new life and activity for the glory of God by the Spirit of God!) 2. Remember: These individuals are advised to keep in mind their origins and the things the Lord has done for them. They are supposed to think back to the times when they gladly served the Lord and wanted to do His will above all else! They are supposed to keep in mind what it was like to walk in the power of God while the glory of God was burning in and around them! (Ill.) Memory can be harmful, especially when it causes us to dwell on past glory and live in the present. However, memory serves a significant purpose if it awakens us and brings us back to the present! Moreover, what do you recall regarding this church's past? What do you recall about yourself?) 3. Resolve: The church is instructed to hold on to the living things in their midst. They are to determine before the Master that they won't permit those things to bite the dust also. (Ill.) Concentrating our attention on one thing always carries risks. One thing must not be revived while another must die. We would be back in the same situation if we did so. We want a complete transformation that keeps the living things and brings back the dead ones!) 4. Repent: In this verse, their sin is brought to light. The church can only turn to repentance when Godly things are allowed to perish. (Ill.) Many people today are unfamiliar with the concept of repentance. It seems like everyone thinks that doing whatever they want is fine and should be accepted by everyone. Friends, God is not obligated to accept your actions! Before there can be restoration and revival, a person who has committed sin must first repent. A church is the same way. The only thing a church can hope for is repentance when they have allowed themselves to fall asleep. What does repentance entail? It indicates that we reach a point where we experience a shift in perspective regarding our sins that leads to a shift in direction. We turn away from our transgressions and toward God. Repentance is a shift in perspective that leads to a shift in behavior! How long has it been since we as a church and as individuals confessed our sins to the Lord for our laziness, complacency, apathy, wickedness, and other sins? C. They Are Told to Wait - This church is told that the Lord Himself will enter their midst, take away the things that are still alive, and that church will be completely and completely dead if they do not seriously work on changing themselves. (Sick. Many houses of worship are in that very condition today! They ignored the Lord's call to repentance, and He swiftly pronounced judgment on them. Presently, they capability equivalent to continuously! Services are provided. Preaching is available. Outreach ministries exist. They support missions. But they have perished! They are useless! They are merely performing routine tasks! In their midst, there is no life. Jesus has ended their lives and declared them dead! (Ill. Friends, prevent that from occurring at Gilead! Allow us to notice the advance notice from the Master and atone before Him with a genuine heart! Let us answer His call and follow Him into a brand-new life and genuine revival! I. The stark reality of the state of the church II. The Simple Solution to The Church's Third Cure V. 4-6: THE COMFORTABLE REWARD FOR THE CHURCH'S COOPERATION (Ill.) There is still hope despite the dire circumstances in Sardis. In spite of death, there are members of the church who cling to life. There are other people who can apologize and be reestablished by the Ruler. These concluding verses address both groups.) A. V. 4: A Promise to the Remaining: It is recommended that those who are following the Lord's example and living a godly life continue. Their steadfastness to Him will be rewarded. They will walk alongside Him in Heaven on that day when they will join Him there. Why? Since they are commendable! They are saved, not because they are trustworthy! Their lives have been transformed by His righteousness, and they will spend all of eternity in His presence. (Ill. Friend, you might still be a believer who is enthusiastic about Jesus. If that's the case, I challenge you to stick with it! You will be protected by God even in the deadness that surrounds you because He is watching. You will join Him in His heavenly kingdom after this life is over. Then, it will have been certainly worth the battle!) B. V. 5 A Guarantee To The Contrite - The people who abandon their deadness are guaranteed by Jesus that He will transparently admit their names before the lofty position of God. Why? "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven," they confessed His name before men as a result of their repentance. Matt. 10:32. (Ill. Friend, it's possible that you're one of the people who have let the fire in your life die out. Assuming that is the situation, you really want to atone before the Master toward the beginning of today! You must reconcile with God! He will proclaim your name to the Father as one of His own if you openly confess Him to men. That needs to be done by some of you right now!) Conc: There will be no more hope after these bodies pass away. We will never return to this world. However, there is still hope after the demise of a church. There may be remorse. Reconstruction is possible. There may be a day of beginning again. A genuine revival is possible! Jesus is currently keeping an eye on this church. I'm curious about His diagnosis. Are we in good health? Are we steadfast in God's ways? Are we active and vibrant? Or, are we allowing ourselves to deteriorate into a weak and ill state? This morning, are we knocking on the door of death? Does Gilead Baptist Church have a chance? Or, is it time to end the relationship? Nobody can respond to that inquiry except for you! After all, you are the church, and what you do will decide whether we run to the winner's circle or are taken to the cemetery. While I was preaching, our own pulse was constantly being monitored. What is your assessment of Gilead Baptist Church's situation? Will we survive and glorify God, or should we simply pull the plug to end our misery and suffering? You answer as the Master has managed your heart!

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