And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2“ Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 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. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3.1-6
Ouch. Lesson learned: If you are praised and adored for being awesome as an ambassador of the Kingdom, you might want to think twice. That has always been true. The Bible, remember, is a minority witness. As a general rule, the Scriptures tell of those rare few who stand firm as the majority around them cave, compromise or cower before other gods.
A sure sign there are problems is if you’re standing on the side of the praise and adoration of the powers that be. It’s bad enough if those powers simply lend lip service to, or exploit, the Gospel for their own purposes. It is disastrous if those powers are arrayed against the Gospel with their sole purpose being at war against Christ and His Church and causing as many little ones as possible to sin and fall away from the Faith. If your big selling point is that these are the ones who consider you to have a reputation of being what a Christian should really be, it might be time to reevaluate your strategy. After all, there is some buckshot in that phrase ‘blot out his name from the Book of Life’.
Note again, however, that an olive branch is put out to those who haven’t caved and have remained faithful. That is an ongoing theme here, isn’t it? Something to ponder on this Holy Thursday when the main exercise of the disciples was insisting they weren't the traitor, but would boldly stand by Jesus even unto death.
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