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. Rev 3:1-3
Imagine that. This is a church that was in a place called Sardis, and the summary of them was this: they had “a reputation of being alive”, but in actual fact they were dead. The Message Bible puts it this way: “I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigour and zest, but you’re dead, stone-dead. Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God. If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I’ll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.”
So these guys knew how to tick the right boxes. They were busy doing things, going through the motions. To anyone observing them, they were doing well. But in actual fact, they were dead, they didn’t know the depth of relationship with Jesus and see the fruit that comes from walking with him. In 2 Tim 3:5 Paul warns Timothy about the last days where people will be “having a form of godliness but denying its power”.
I wonder if you can relate to any of this. As individuals and as Churches, it’s very easy to ease into this kind of life, where it becomes more about what we do than about Who we are doing it for and has given us the ability to do through His amazing grace. We do because we are obligated or simply because we have always done and not because we are responding in reverence and gratitude to the Word, works and worthiness of our God.
We need God’s power in our lives and our Churches. Enough is enough! Enough of the form of godliness, it simply will not do. Let us pursue Jesus Himself. Let us allow the giver of life to permeate our hearts with His power so that the things we think, say and do come as an overflow of forgiven souls. Jesus’s command to us is simple: Wake up!