3 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
“ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 3:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Men have a habit of resting on their laurels. Like Ozymandias, they say, “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” But then nothing remains.
Churches, made of men, and Christians themselves can get like this. Look at the church. It sent out so many missionaries. So many preachers came from it. Its average weekly attendance is in the thousands. And it rests on those accomplishments.
There are many a small church more alive and awake than some of the largest mega-churches in America. People go to the small church and feel God while others go to the massive church to feel good. Christians cannot rest on prior accomplishments. They cannot rest on the tally of number of souls saved. They must always be in the business of saving souls not just giving good speeches and homilies.
The church must also be in the business of strengthening its congregation and preparing its congregation for the journey ahead. The young who will go into the world and the old who are seeing a world around them increasingly alien and hostile to them need preparation and strengthening. Churches cannot rest on baptisms performed, children christened, weekly income, and weekly attendance. They must continually advance, continually push, and continually go forth into the world. The work is not over and there is no Sabbath rest for the church until the last day.
The Christian too must persevere. The Christian too must not say, “Look what I did last week or last month or last year.” The Christian too must wake up and strengthen what remains because our work here is not yet done. March ever forward into eternity. You must wake up.