The church of Sardis in the Book of Revelation 3:1-6 was known as a dead church according to the words of Jesus Christ. They weren’t doing anything. They had a living Christian label, but were dead.
And Jesus Christ had promised not just to the church of Ephesus only (Revelation 2:5), but to all churches that if they do not repent, He will remove their candlestick from its place standing before the thrown of God. And apparently Sardis did not repent, and were completely destroyed.
Now we know through Sardis What a dead church is. But what are the other signs of a living church? Recapping the past 2 parts in this series:
- Making our call and election sure
- Bearing good fruit
- Living just like Jesus Christ is returning at any moment
- Having living and active faith
In this message from the Lord, we will be covering:
- Operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
- The five-fold ministry in operation
- Being always watchful for the appearance of Jesus Christ
Operating In The Gifts of The Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:1-12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
Another vital sign of a living church is going from one level of faith to a new level of faith. Faith is like a muscle. In order to build muscle, there has to be resistance. Same thing with our Faith. Standing against the oppositions of the world, the flesh and the devil help build faith. And keeps it active.
Jesus Christ leads His sheep (Christians) through trials; tribulations and testing’s to strengthen our faith muscles (Psalm 23). Putting you into situations, testing our faith. And while we go through these testing’s, are we going to remember what the Lord instructs us and resist the devil until he flees? Or are we going to kick against the goad of God’s word and do things our own way?
When we go by the way of the Lord, there will be some serious opposition. But as long as we stand in Christ, with the full armor of God on (Ephesians 6:11-14)… that… builds our faith muscles.
And why does the Lord do things this way? It takes faith to operate in the gifts of the Holy Ghost. And if our faith is weak or dead, then we are not a living church. And if you can get through the most difficult places and be victorious, then you can believe and do the impossible things the Holy Bible says we can do.
As powerful as faith is, did you know faith can also be destroyed? Yes, it can. Faith can be destroyed in three ways:
- by sin (shipwrecked) (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
- by fear (Revelation 21:8)
- by laziness (Matthew 25:1-30)
satan always attacks faith, because if he can shipwreck your faith, contaminate your faith, causing your faith to be inoperable; then the church will be dead and powerless. And if your faith is dead and powerless, you cannot stay saved because it takes faith to be saved.
You see, it’s the same faith that operates the gifts of the Holy Ghost is also the same faith that saves the soul in Jesus Christ. And without it, we are dead spiritually. So, living and active faith is a vital sign of a living and active church.
Laziness can also destroy your faith, by not exercising faith, keeping faith active. As a spiritual saying goes, “Faith not tested, is faith that cannot be trusted.” And laziness is exactly what the church of Sardis was because they were doing nothing. And Jesus Christ says they are a dead church. And were destroyed completely.
Five-fold Ministry In Operation
Another vital sign of a living church is the five-fold ministry in operation. But it doesn’t stop there. The Holy Bible continues to tell us that miracles, gifts of healings, the ministry of helps, governments and diversity of tongue speaking (the heavenly language of angels mentioned 1 Corinthians 13:1) are also vital signs of a living church. As it is written,
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Being Always Watchful For The Appearance of Jesus Christ
Mark 13:24-37 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in Heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left His house, and gave authority to His servants, and to every man His work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
It’s not just operating in one or a couple of these attributes that shows us a living church. It’s having all the above:
- Having a close fellowship/relationship with Jesus Christ
- Lives like Jesus Christ is returning at any moment
- Operating daily in living and active faith
- Walking always in the Spirit of God (The Holy Spirit)
- Operating in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- An active church with the five-fold ministry
- Always watchful for the appearance of Jesus Christ
All this combined, shows us the vital signs of a living church in Jesus Christ our Lord according to the Holy Bible. Are you a living church today?