“I will build my Church” – Phase 5. ‘Sardis, the dead church’

For over a thousand years and more, under the oppression of the holy roman empire and its clergy, the bible was not made available to the people. In some instances, the bible which was still in Latin was chained to the pulpits and to be read only by the clergy! With the true Word of God being kept hidden, other doctrines were preached and placed upon the people. Doctrines such as the papa being head of the Church, that he was infallible, the only voice of God and that people were to pay penances for sins and for indulgences. There were many others and as history confirms the holy roman regime killed thousands and acquired much wealth! The very same characteristics of Jezebel whom Jesus refers much to in the letter of Thyatira!

However, there were many who studied the Bible and stood against the papcy regime and its life of indulgence. People like Francis Assisi, John Wycliffe and John Huss! These and many others were bold and courageous to challenge head-on the false doctrines of the papcy and many would pay for their lives as they were charged as heretics and burned! The reformers were now coming thick and fast including many in England such as William Tyndale. After reading the writings of Martin Luther and the famous thesis of 1517, William Tyndale translated much of the Bible to be read for the people. For this he would pay for his life as he was burned at the stake.

These reformers had discovered a ‘hidden treasure’ – the truth of God’s Word. Jesus WAS the Head of the Church, that salvation is through Jesus and Faith in Him! It is not about paying penances and earning salvation, it was all paid at the cross! Jesus says in Matthew 13:44 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Indeed – parable no.5 is true of church no.5 – true treasure has been found!

But Jesus rebukes the church of Sardis! Why? They had received such a treasure, but they are not completing the works as they had started! We see in this era that many denominations that were birthed out from the reformation with a new revelation of the bible and bringing a new reform, are now not as they were. Jesus says that “you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead”.

When we give our lives to Christ and are betrothed to Christ, we have a new identity in Christ. We have a new name. Our new name in Him should mean we are alive in Him and not in name only!

We have found and received a most beautiful treasure! In that we are to live out from inception to completion the new identity we have in Christ! Our new name in Jesus is written in the book of Life. Let us live out that new name, lest that name be blotted out. Jesus says in the letter to Sardis in Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

“Lord, you are the precious treasure we have. May we live out each of our days that we are afforded, well for you. May we live upto the ‘name’ that we have in you, for you and for your Glory. Amen.”