October 26, 2015

Almost Dead Church

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 26, 2015

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. Revelation 3:1 

Sadly, I have visited churches that once preached the gospel but are now closed, boarded up and deserted. I have visited churches that are still open, but spiritually anemic. Only a shell of cold religion with a handful of attendees. I have visited other churches half full in a big beautiful building. They are endowed with man’s wealth—but not endowed with heavenly riches—they are spiritually bankrupt. Thank God, many churches are still alive. Better to be a church alive that disturbs the world than a dead church, ignored by the world. Christ gives life to His bride!

The church at Sardis was spiritually asleep. John’s dramatic letter was a wake up call. God’s spokesman called out the local church for its conformity to the culture and society’s mores. The Christian community as a whole—instead of being a vessel of transforming grace—had lost its influence on the world. Moral distinctiveness had eroded into moral relativeness. The Sardis church had a past reputation for faithfulness, but now was found faithless. Like a separated couple once admired for their model marriage—the church struggled with separation from God.

“This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).

How can we as sincere followers of Jesus be a solution to a slumbering church? One way is to lead our church to pray. Before the work day begins—perhaps a few of us gather at the church to pray. Pray for our own hearts to walk in humility, mercy and justice. Pray for our church leaders to grow in their love for the Lord, their families, the faithful and love for the lost. Pray all who name the name of Christ to experience an awakening of the Holy Spirit’s fire.

The same fire of God that fell in answer to Elijah’s prayers is the fire from heaven that will startle our souls to attention. The Holy Spirit’s fire that immersed the masses at Pentecost so thousands were saved, is proof of the gospel’s life-changing. The Spirit’s influence burns brightest where Christians worship unashamedly, witness freely and thoroughly repent of their sin. Like a comatose body that suddenly becomes conscious—our almost dead churches will be revived when we as individual believers come alive. Ask Jesus to breathe His Spirit on His bride.

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, awaken me by Your Spirit and use my prayer for a spiritual awakening.

Application: How can I support the prayer effort at our church?

Related Readings: Isaiah 26:19, 60:1; Malachi 4:2; John 5:25; Romans 13:11; 1Timothy 5:6

Post/Tweet this today: Better to be a church alive that disturbs the world—than a dead church ignored by the world. #almostdeadchurch #wisdomhunters

Worship Resource: 3 minute video- Mumford and Sons: Awake My Soul

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  1. Tournez says:

    Hello Boyd, I really enjoy Wisdom Hunters, but when I see in a write up “we are sinners saved by grace…” it goes against the fact that we are no longer sinners. Again, I forward Wisdom to my email lists, but have not when this is stated in a write up. Can you please give me a scripture or two that supports this claim?

    Thank you

  2. Gwynne says:

    Dear Tournez,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us with your question. We also appreciate your kind and encouraging words about the Wisdom Hunter’s devotionals. Thank you for forwarding them on to your friends.
    What a great question! I have a feeling that this is also a question many in our Wisdom Hunter’s family were pondering, too. Are we still sinners once we are saved by grace? I believe the answer is yes, we are. But, the good news…no, the GREAT news is that even though we are still sinners, God’s forgives us when we repent and ask for forgiveness! Praise God!
    You asked for a few scripture verses that supports the claim and I thank you for that request because it gives me an opportunity to dig deep into His Word for His Truth.
    Romans 5:8 states “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us.”

    And then in 1 John 1:8-9 we learn this: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

    Tournez, I rejoice in the fact that while we still are sinners, we are forgiven! Because we live in a fallen world, there will be sin. But our Heavenly Father is right there waiting for us to ask Him to “wipe our slate clean”. What an unbelievable gift we have!
    If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at gwynne@wisdomhunters.com. We are so thankful for you, Tournez, and look forward to hearing from you again. Blessings to you and yours.
    Believing and trusting.

    “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
    Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
    Romans 4: 7-8

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