Revelation 3:1-6: Reputation and reality.
‘To the angel of the church in Sardis write:These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” NIV
There is often a difference between reputation and reality, and Jesus knows what the difference is. He knows how great the gulf is between the two.
There must be many well-taught churches in the west (3a). But the question for us, as for Sardis, is ‘what are we doing with all we know?’ Are we obeying the truth? Is it leading us to repentance? Have we started out on good works but not completed them? Bible-teaching per se is not a mark of a live church, but Bible-living is. The call goes out to be doers of the Word and not just hearers (James 1:22-25).
‘Of what use was the fig tree to abate his (Jesus’) hunger, when it bore leaves but no fruit? Amid all this disappointing formalism, there were a few live souls who fulfilled their works and did not defile their robes.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.637.
PRAYER: Lord help us not to fall into the Sardis trap; we want to live what we believe.