No Easter Bunny jokes or infomercial for Holy Week. I will simply and gladly invite you and yours to experience the four days remaining in what we call Holy Week. The Last Supper, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. To be honest with you, Easter Sunday is best understood when you have participated in what Jesus and the disciples experienced in the days just before.
I am fascinated by Jesus’ letters to the Seven Churches in The Book of Revelation. In these letters, which are more like report cards to the churches in Asia, the Lord commends what is commendable but doesn’t spare the leather – He tells them where they are missing the mark and need to repent. In an American Church culture that is relatively affluent and has consumed a hyper-grace message, we too often ignore personal holiness and walking in those Good works Christ has prepared for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). While all 7 letters challenge the reader, it is the Lord’s word to the Churches in Sardis and Laodicea that I most take note of and am convicted by. They may seem long for an Enews, but actually they will only take about 4 minutes to read. (if you are in a hurry, read what is in blue and skip to the last paragraph.
1 “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.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
If you hung with me through those brief “report cards,” congratulations.
I wonder if you might take these report cards to these Churches and ask the Lord if any of this applies to you. Surely he does not want to apply them to dead people!!
Lord, search me and try me! Do I have a reputation for being spiritually alive, but the reality is I am spiritually dead or at least lukewarm?
Because the Lord loves us he disciplines us.
That is what loving fathers (and mothers) do.
Lord, use these two passages to bring us to a place of recognition and a Spirit inspired desire to repent and invite God more fully into our lives and serve Him gladly and with great love and passion.