We discussed in our last study, what a dead church is according to Jesus Christ. And even contrast a dead church vs. a living church. But the question remains… What do we do to remain to be a living, Church? The Lord titles His message, “Signs of A Living Church”
Opening Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-10 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Bearing Good Fruit
A living church is recognized by the fruits of activity. Whether it be good or bad or even no fruits at all. And in Sardis’ case, not at all.
Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
When we abide in Jesus Christ, we will bring forth good fruit. But apart from Christ we will bear bad fruit or no fruit at all. Bearing good fruit is a vital sign of a living church. When we continually abide (staying close) in Jesus Christ, we will remain to be a living church and we will bear good fruit
Consider the fig tree that bore no fruit at all. Jesus Christ was looking for signs of living activity of a tree afar off the path that had leaves. It looked alive, but it did not do what it was created to do and that was to bear fruit. It was a dead tree in a living place.
Mark 11:12-14 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And His disciples heard it.
Such as many Christians today. May we ever learn the Lords spiritual lesson from this fig tree what not to be. This tree teaches, that Christians far off from Jesus Christ and the path of righteousness, the highway of holiness, the narrow way that leads to eternal life; will bear no fruit. Such as the church of Sardis
Having Fellowship With Jesus Christ
Having fellowship with Jesus Christ daily is another vital sign of a living church. Do we bear good fruit on our own? We have no problem bearing bad fruit on our own. We have to learn how to bear good fruit. This is why read and study the Holy Bible faithfully, all the days of our born-again life in Jesus Christ.
Everything we will ever experience in life, our instructions come from the Word (The Holy Bible). Having active faith is another vital sign of a living Church. Staying close to the Lord and having also an active relationship with Him is vitally important for a living church;
because we never know when the Lord will call us to minister to someone at any given moment. Or pray for someone, making a difference in someone’s life for the kingdom of God on earth. This all part of having fellowship with Jesus Christ. The root in bearing good fruit, comes from our life in Jesus Christ; being one with Christ
John 15:1-11 I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I Am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
If you are lacking joy today, that’s a tall-tell sign that you need to draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. Because true lasting joy is found in Jesus Christ. Another vital sign of a living church is
Living As If Jesus Christ Is Returning At Any Moment
The Holy Bible teaches us how to live as if Jesus Christ is returning at any given moment. Being always ready for that day
Romans 6:1-15 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him.
For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
When a Christian sins against God, you walk out from under grace and walks away from God. Sin separates us from God (period). Severs our communion with God and Christ. And do you suppose that any Christ who continues in sin will be taken with the Lord in the rapture? The Lord answers that question in
Matthew 24:40-51 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming; And shall begin to smite His fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Lord Jesus Christ will only come and take His faithful and wise servants; the living glorious church who is ready for His appearing.