Sardis: Dead Orthodoxy
Reformed Free Publishing Association
This article was written by Rev. Audred Spriensma and will be published in the May 1, 2021 issue of The Standard Bearer.
Dead orthodoxy: Following the church of Ephesus who had lost their first love, Sardis continued in this sad state. Unless she would repent, she would continue downwards to the state of the church of Laodicea, whom the Lord said He will spew out of His mouth. From all that men could see, Sardis might have been a model church. The Lord did not charge her with any special sin. Her liberality and charity, her adherence to sound doctrine and morals, and her observance to the sacraments were all such that the mere superficial observer could see nothing to censure, but very much to praise. A visitor from poor and persecuted Symrna or from weak, tired, laboring Philadelphia might arrive and go home to their suffering saints and speak of what great things Sardis was doing. She was liberally supporting her pastor, as well as caring for the poor. What a fine and beautiful building they had. Even the heathen around them seemed to respect them and were quite friendly with them. Christ in His message did not say a word about the defects censured so severely in other churches; about divisions or heresies; about eating meat in idol temples or fornication; about Balaamites or Nicolaitans, or a Jezebel, or even about any failure in discipline. The church’s whole state was described in these words, “a name that thou livest, and art dead.” It is the sin of apathy, lack of zeal and earnestness for the Lord.
For a little while this church might still fight over words used in a sermon. They might speak loudly about other churches that are forced to deal with false doctrine. They might be quite proud of their own theological understanding. But sadly, all this proceeded from head knowledge rather than from love for God in their hearts. The pastor of the church was guilty of this, and the church was like the pastor. They do not manifest the life of Christ!
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