I was studying the book of Revelation recently, and was reading the passage that contains the letter dictated to the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). As I read, I could not help but see the parallels between them and the current American church. I encourage you to take a moment to read the short passage above to provide context to this post.
The American church has the reputation of being alive, as being a shining light in the darkness of the world. We send a lot of money to missionaries and ministries throughout the world. We produce an incredible amount of materials in many languages to equip and strengthen the body in various countries. With a large Christian population, it is easy to understand why many of the world’s churches look to America for leadership. But are we really alive or are we mostly dead, a mere smoldering of what we could be? Like the church in Sardis, I believe our reputation is bigger than our bark.
How can I make such a sweeping generalization? Consider this: it is estimated that American church attendees earn in excess of $X billion dollars per year. By most estimates it would cost between $40 and $45 billion dollars to eradicate hunger in the world. Do you see the disconnect here? In a single year, those of us who attend church make enough money to end world hunger X times! If we were truly alive and following the commands of Christ there would no longer be any hungry people in the world because we would be feeding them (Matthew 25:35)! If we were caring for the poor and sharing our possessions with one another so that no one was in need (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32), extreme poverty would be eradicated. Because poverty and hunger remain, it is clear that the American church (which certainly includes me) is not living up to its commitment to serve Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. We are not keeping His commands (Matthew 25:31-46) and serving as He served (Mark 10:45).
The Bible says that Jesus will return like a thief in the night (Luke 12:39-40; I Thessalonians 5:2-4; Revelation 3:3). Will we as the Church be found waiting or wanting? We must remember what we have been taught and what Christ has revealed to us. Beyond simple remembrance, we must keep His commands by doing the things He told us to do (Revelation 3:3; Matthew 25:31-46). By the grace of God, a few remain faithful in the American church, just as some remained faithful in Sardis (Revelation 3:4-5). I have seen a growing number of believers and leaders in the American church who are standing up for what the Bible teaches and refusing to be bystanders any longer. Those of us in America must stand together with them and dedicate ourselves to doing the work of Christ, being His hands and feet, and continuing His mission. If you are not in America, please pray that great revival would come to the Church here.
I don’t want to be found wanting when Christ returns; I want to be found diligently waiting, perusing the work He has given me to do. How about you? Will you commit to living a life fully devoted to Christ and His mission? The Church will not be stopped; I want to be a part of that. Let’s join together and change our world for the glory of our King.