“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea…He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches'”
Revelation 1:9-11; 3:22 NKJV
In my opinion the scariest condition among the seven churches in the book of Revelation was found in the city of Sardis. Remember the negative progression of the overall message I pointed out to you yesterday, which started in Pergamum (where Jesus said the “seat of Satan” was located in this region), and got worse in Thyatira (where Jesus said they knew the “depths of Satan”).
Pergamum crossed the threshold into doctrinal error then Thyatira descended to a further level by embracing an erroneous leader. This is important when examining the distinctive climate found in Sardis. Whenever we believe wrong teaching or the teacher himself, we are still primarily dealing with an issue of ignorance that can be resolved if the eyes of our heart continue to remain fixed on Jesus. He will enlighten the mind of one whose ear is inclined toward Him, giving grace to those who choose to hear the Truth above all else.
However, when we begin to closely follow a person teaching error, we subject ourselves to the influence of the spirit behind their words and actions. The Thyatirans had given authority in their church to one who masqueraded as a prophet but through the use of insight that came from evil spirits, rather than the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminded them that He is the One “who searches the minds and hearts,” knowing the real condition of not only the church, but of each individual. He then promised the power to rule the nations to those who were guiltless, if they dealt with the guilty properly!
It is crucial to confront sin in our churches. If we do not, our enemy will see to it that the wrong people rule over us even in the church that Jesus has built!
Sardis stands as a signpost on the road leading to a Christian ministry “Dead End”. Because of their compromise and corruption they had no doubt failed to overcome, they were left only “alive” in name. For them, “Wrong Way” was written for the entire church age to read where it should have said, “One Way!”