It’s Time To Wake Up
Rev. 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars:
“I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. 2 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 my God. 3 Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. 6 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
The church in Sardis had been vibrant and alive but something had happened. Somehow the people had been lulled to sleep by by their wealth and comfort. The city of Sardis had a reputation of being lulled into complacency. Their acropolis was considered unconquerable. So much so that there was an ancient saying about their acropolis that basically meant something was impossible. But at the same time eventually their acropolis was overrun five times, twice by simply not guarding the place because they thought it was impregnable.
This same thought process had evidently infused the minds of the church. They had loved the Lord and been alive and vibrant in their faith but then they began to believe that they had built the best church there could be and nothing could destroy it. They had grown complacent and now, in their ignorance had no comprehension of the dangers which lurked outside while they slept.
The word to the church in Sardis was, “Wake Up!” You might look good on the outside but there is no growth on the inside. Passion for the faith and evangelism had evaporated and even maintenance of that which they had fell behind. There was no outreach beyond their own walls, no service to others and no unity nor love. The church was overcome with sounds of snoring as she napped herself into oblivion.
One of the things that we enjoy in our tradition is the Sunday afternoon rest — or fondly referred to as, “the Nazarene Nap.” My problem with naps on a Sunday afternoon is that they tend to result in a very deep sleep with crazy, vivid dreams. Sometimes, in my dreams, I have a hard time separating the dream from reality. I am so heavily asleep that I’m not sure whether I’m awake or not. There have also been occasions where I have realized that I am asleep and I am fighting hard to wake up. It feels as if I am in a very deep, dark fog and it takes power and concentration to finally awaken. I want to get back to reality!
The only way the church can wake up from napping is to realize she is actually asleep. The church in Sardis received this news that they were asleep, but whether or not they accepted that news is another story. We don’t know. But what if we are receiving the message today to “wake up?” Would it not be prudent to examine ourselves and determine whether or not we are in our Sunday afternoon semi-comatose state?
This is the time when God’s people need to be wide awake and alert. We don’t have the luxury of napping. There is too much to do for the kingdom and that means reaching out beyond ourselves and ministering to others.
An awake church is one that touches the community and ministers beyond their own walls.
An awake church brings the transformational news of Jesus Christ to the people and doesn’t expect the people to come to them.
An awake church ministers to their own neighborhood in ways that would make the neighbors grieve if they ever left.
Wake up! We are not safe sitting behind our walls, but must be vigilant, awake and in active service to the Lord.
Lord, help me be awake and alert in service to you every day. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.