February 20, 2000 The Church Dressed in White. Rev. 3
By Ronald E. George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church
An artist was asked to put on canvas what he considered to be the picture best symbolizing a decaying and dying church. After several months, he returned and reported that he had finished the task. The hour finally arrived when the painting was to be unveiled.
Several people standing around the easel had already given their description of what they thought the church would look like. Some had said it would be a rundown building in great need of repair and paint. Weeds would be growing in the church yard, and there would be some broken window panes. Everyone in the group seemed to have the same picture in mind.
However, when the cloth was removed, a hush fell over the group. Everyone was stunned. Before their eyes was an absolutely beautiful church building. The grounds were well kept and the exterior of the building was in excellent condition. After a few minutes, one person stepped forward and said to the artist, "I thought we asked you to paint a dying church?"
The artist smiled and invited everyone to step closer to the painting. He pointed through the windows to the empty pews and to the collection plate on the table. There was nothing in the plate but "cobwebs."
The church that has cobwebs in its collection plate is a church that is decaying and dying. Without the giver, there is no giving. Without the giving, ministries cannot be conducted by the church. Without ministries being conducted, the mission of the church cannot be carried out. If the mission of the church is not carried out, the church is purposeless and dead.
Do you see the difference:
Scripture Text: Rev. 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
The Purpose of this message is to show us who we are and challenge to become who He wants us to be.
This message is from the King who has the seven Spirits of and the seven stars. He is the perfect one with all power and all knowledge. He knows and wants to give this message to us. The 21st century church will be the church that listens to the message and does his will because it wants to continue to be his church. Let's get back to the master's plan.
1. Who is the Church dressed in white? The earthly church is made of all different of all different people, but the Lord knows who is the true church. Christian is more than a name. You can call yourself anything you want. Who you are is who you are inside of your heart and head.
Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Who are the ones dressed in white? The white dressed people are the people who have had their robes washed in the blood of the lamb. Their clothing is pure and holy in the sight of God. . 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.This is a picture of the church who is the bride of Christ. She waits for him to return to take her to the place that he has prepared for them to enjoy their life together. These are the 5 wise virgins who have their lamps filled with the light giving oil. They are prepared for their soon coming King, and he is coming to get them. . If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Oh, can we say we are ready brother. Ready for the souls bright home? Are your robe white and pure in the eyes of the Lord? Is there hidden sin in your life? Is there anything that you need to confess today?
2. Who are those with dirty clothes? These are those who come to church, as they did at the church in Sardis, that have not decided to follow the Lord.V. 1 I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. They are coming to church but they are not perfect in the eyes of God. There is something missing in their life. The missing piece is the presence of the living God to make them complete. They are continuing to go their own way apart from going with the Lord.
Keeping up appearances and continuing to maintain a good name is not enough for the Lord. Does standing in a garage make you a car? Does coming to church and joining and being baptized make you a Christian? He wants to be in your life as your only God. The Lord has given us feelings that show us when we need to make a correction. Pain is an indicator of physical problems. Guilt and conviction are God's way of showing us that we need to make corrections in our lives. If we choose not to heed the feelings that show us the right way, then we will eventually arrive where we are going without God. God has made a place for everyone to be written in his book, but if we continue to live without him we have made the choice to not be included. He will blot out your name. People can come to church and pretend as the actors do, but that will not bring you into a right relationship with a holy God. He demands holiness. Purification of sin can only be accomplished through the blood of the Lamb. Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb?
3. How to get cleaned up for the God's Party? How do you prepare for someone who is coming whenever?