Sardis - The "dead" church
It's sad to see that Jesus has nothing good to say about this church. Even more sad that He says, "you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead". Can you imagine? To have a name that you are alive means that others thought great things about you. I'm sure the church of Sardis had something going on every night of the week; maybe every morning too, you know:
Monday Night - Worship Night
Tuesday Night - Acheive Better Business as a Christian Seminar
Wednesday Night - Bingo!
Thursday Night - Family and Potluck Night
Friday Night - Aerobics and Workout Night
Of course, I'm making this up but you can only imagine the nonsense they had going on in their church. The services were packed and everybody was having a grand ol' time. Their Pastors were amazing, as if never weary, always smiling and shaking hands. But Jesus says, "You are Dead"!
Scholars and Commentators go on and on about what may have been the problem but the letter doesn't say anything specific. Maybe they allowed one of the weaknesses of the first four churches to take over their congregation. Maybe they allowed all the weaknesses to take over. I personally believe it had something to do with the Holy Spirit.
You see, there are certain churches today that hold fast to doctrines, they believe in teaching verse by verse, they have read almost every commentary known to man; and these things are good when the motive is pure. But sometimes as men grow in their own wisdom they become less dependant on the Spirit and more dependent on their own abilities and sources. These churches seem to dismiss the invisible force within us all, giving gifts as He so desires, and transforming lives deep inside where no man can see; He is the Holy Spirit. They believe in Him but have somehow dismissed that He is the source for everything. Instead they believe its knowledge or money or some other tangible nonsense.
But let us not think of us so strongly for we are just servants and even if we fill these waterpots to the brim, it is still only water; it takes the working of The Holy Spirit to change that water into wine. (John 2:1-11)