Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Morris » Robert Morris - Rise from the Dead

Robert Morris - Rise from the Dead

Robert Morris - Rise from the Dead
TOPICS: The Seven Churches of Revelation

So, we are going to continue our series. We are on the fifth church, which is the church in Sardis. I told Debby that, she said, "What church is it this week"? I said, "Sardis". She said, "Stardust"? I said, "No, I think that's a casino in Vegas". But anyway. But Sardis is the name of the church and we're starting Revelation 3, now we have three more churches, so I'll do the fifth church this week, next week and then the next week we'll finish this series. So let me just explain to you that in many Bibles, there are headings above the passages and the headings aren't inspired, they're written by the translators or by the publishing company that puts that Bible out. But they still tell you a little something.

The church at Ephesus where we started was called the loveless church, you know, "Return to your first love". The church at Smyrna was called the persecuted church. The church as Pergamum was called the compromising church. The church at Thyatia, which we did last week, was called the corrupt church because of the corruption that had come in. Smyrna, the title over it in most Bibles is "The Dead Church". Now, I don't know about you, but remember these letters are written to the seven pastors, and if I was the pastor of the Sardis church and got to that part, now to the dead church, you know, it would hurt my feelings personally. But we're going to talk about this and let the Lord apply it. So, remember, each week we let the Lord apply the truths from these passages to our lives, alright.

So Revelation 3, verse 1. "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God...'" Now this is a new salutation. We're talking about what each salutation means, so we'll get to that, "'...and the seven stars..." The seven stars we know are the angels and the seven lamp stands, which he doesn't mention here, are the churches. But the seven Spirits of God, what are they? "...I know your works," now watch this, "...and that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead". That's Jesus saying it. It didn't say you're like dead or close to death, but you're dead. "Be watchful..." I underlined that because I want to come back to the word watchful, "...and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die," In other words, you got a few things that are alive, but they're really close to death. "...for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch..."

We're going to come back to this word watch. It's the same as the word watchful in the Greek. "...I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names..." Now before he said, you have a name that is alive, and he said you have a few names. He's referring to people. "...even in Sardis who have not defiled the garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life..." a reference going all the way back to Moses praying that prayer. "...but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels". Remember he said, "Whoever confesses Me before men, I'll confess before My Father". This is a reference to that. And then the same verse that is in this line that's in all seven churches, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches".

Okay, so Sardis, as I a said is the dead church. Jesus said straight out, You're dead. Okay? But I want you to stay with me for a moment. The title of the message is Rise from the Dead. So we've talked about each church and the Lord's given me kind of an R for each one of them, you know like remember, Return To Your First Love, and Remember, and all these, so Rise from the Dead. I just want you to notice something that you might not have noticed. In the four previous churches, Jesus talks about either persecution or being attacked by the enemy, by Satan, and calls Satan by name. The church as Sardis was not being attacked or persecuted. Satan was not attacking them, according to this letter, and the culture was not persecuting them. Okay, you know why? Because they were dead. No reason for Satan to attack a dead church. No reason for the culture to persecute a dead church. Sardis was wealthy church.

As a matter of fact, Sardis built a synagogue that was the largest synagogue of that day. It was roughly the size of a football field. He said, "You have a name that you're alive". In other words, you're a big church and a lot of people hear your name and think you're doing great things, but you're actually dead. I mean, this is a really strong rebuke here from the enemy. And then he says, Watch. If you will not watch, I'm going to come on you as a thief. Okay, this word for watch is the Greek word... well, I'm not going to tell you the Greek word, but the meaning of it is "wake," if you will not "wake up". If you think about all the times when it talks about death in Scripture, many times it refers to death as sleep. When Lazarus died, Jesus said, "Lazarus, he's asleep". When Paul wrote about the Christians who had already died, he said I don't want you to be unaware of those who have fallen asleep. So they're dead, but Jesus said, I need you to wake up. Here is what you have to catch. Because of the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, even if you're dead as a believer, you can wake up. The Holy Spirit can wake you up. There's still hope for you.

So let me read you this verse, chapter 3, verse 3 in the New International Version. "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up," see that's where the word we read a moment ago, watch, "...if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you". Now, we need to talk about this just for a moment, 'cause I just want to clear up some stuff. A lot of people are just very, very enthralled with the end times, and I believe strongly, obviously, Jesus is coming back, but I also believe that nobody knows when. And Jesus said that very clearly himself. But I think you can get so caught up in it that you are kind of waiting for the bus and you don't win anyone to Jesus Christ while you're waiting. and you set a date every year, and then that date goes by, so you set a date for the next year. And the next year, and the next year.

And what I need to let you know is that there are a lot of verses that you think are referring to the second coming that are not referring to the second coming, and this one of them. There are verses referring to the second coming that talk about him coming as a thief in the night. There are verses that do that, but every time you see that, you can't just suppose that because here's what this says: You're dead, and if you don't wake up, I'm going to come as a thief. And if you don't repent, he tells another church, I'm going to come to you quickly. Okay, well, if that's the second coming, then shouldn't we just not repent and not wake up and then he'll come quicker. And he's talking to a first century church. He's talking to a church in 95 AD and he says, if you don't wake up, then I'm going to come as a thief. Well, I wish they wouldn't have woken up. This doesn't refer to the second coming. It refers to him coming as judgment, in judgment. He's says I'm going to come and judge, because when he told them if you don't repent, I'm going to come quickly, he said, and remove the lampstand from you.

So, just don't go there every time you read something and say well I already know what that means. Let the Holy Spirit show us what it means and let biblical hermeneutics help us to understand when we, if you don't mind, contextually exegete a passage. But this doesn't mean the second coming. It's just that clear. So he's just saying, Listen, you need to repent, and you need to wake up, and you need to watch. You need to stay awake and watch. Now, let me tell you why this had significance to the church at Sardis. They were built on an acropolis. An acropolis is a Greek word for a high city. That's what it means. A necropolis is a low place, but it's a cemetery. It's outside the city and it's a low place. An acropolis high, and a necropolis low. Okay, let me show you a picture, by the way, of an acropolis that's outside of Athens, Greece to this day. These are the ruins, but do you see the precipice and how steep the walls are, how high it is? Okay, that would have been similar to Sardis.

So Sardis didn't think that anybody could ever crawl up this precipice, but in the sixth century, Cyrus did it. And Cyrus and his men came up that precipice and there was a trap door and they came through and captured the guards, and then they took those guards to the city and they took their uniforms, you've seen stuff like this in movies, pretended to be guards, and they went and opened the gates and let their guards in and their soldiers in and took the city. 300 years later, let me remember and make sure I get his name right, Antiochus, Anti, Antioch, a hard-named guy... He was reading about Cyrus, about how he did it, and he did the same thing. And here's why they were able to take the city. Because the guards were sleeping on that end of the city. They weren't watching. By the way, remember this, I said watch? This word watch means wait. Here's one you might remember. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane comes back to the disciples and said could you not watch one hour? That word means, "stay awake". Could you just not stay awake just one hour?

Here's what I'm trying to tell you. If there are places in your life that are dead or dying, you can still wake up. And you better wake up in those areas. Why wasn't this church not only being attacked by the enemy, but persecuted by the culture? It's because Sardis was a wealthy nation, and they had decided, a wealthy city, they had decided to not make waves in the culture. This could represent some things that are going on right now. Let's not go against the culture, and sometimes we don't go against the culture for economic reasons. In Nazi Germany, when the Aryan clause was passed, the Aryan clause was a clause that said that Christians, people, members of churches who were of Jewish descent could not work in the church anymore or hold a position in the church. When that clause was passed, there were 18,000 pastors. Only 7,000 opposed it. Why do you need to fight against a church like that, because they become so much a part of the culture.

Now I'm not talking about... My burden today is not dead churches, but we've probably all been to churches that were different than what we were raised in. When I was about eight or nine years old, I went with my aunt to a Pentecostal church. I'm sure I stood there like... 'cause I had never been to a church like that. When Josh was about eight or 10 years old, he went to church with my grandparents who went to a church that wasn't Pentecostal. It was a church like I grew up in. You know, you got your bulletin. Right? And you went to your seat and you didn't say anything. And you just sat there. So they're walking down the aisle, his grandparents, and they all of a sudden realized that Josh isn't with them, they turn around and they see Josh going like this... Because he'd been raised in a church that didn't act like that. But I'm not talking about, my burden today is not that you'll go to some church in a small town or somewhere or a first church somewhere and judge them. We're the church. My burden is, is there something dead of dying in you? And you need to wake up.

Let me say it another way. We don't like to say, "It's dead". We don't like to say, "My prayer life is dead". But here's a question for you. Is your prayer life as alive as it once was? Or is it dying a little bit? We've been looking again at the salutation, and we have to look at that. When we get the points, the points are pretty short today, but the salutation is, he who has the seven Spirits of God. Well, the salutation here about the seven Spirits of God, let me just talk about it for a moment. There's debate about the seven Spirits of God. There are some people that say I know exactly what they are and where they are and, you know. Okay, let me just give you, though there are some different views. One is that the seven Spirits of God are the seven motivational gifts of the Holy Spirit in Romans 12, and those are the seven Spirits of God given by the Holy Spirit. The most popular is that the seven Spirits of God are in Isaiah 11. The only thing about that is that there are only six really listed. One of them is the Spirit of the Lord and then they say, "Well, that's one of the seven". And that's okay. If you believe that, it's okay. Okay?

But one aspect of this that every person agrees on, every conservative theologian I know, is that the seven Spirits of God represent the Holy Spirit because he's the fullness of God. Jesus is the fullness of God. God is complete within himself. So the reason I say that is because if you've got something dead or dying in you, the only way to resurrect it is by the Holy Spirit. Romans chapter 8:11 says, "The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you". So, I think that it represents the Holy Spirit and he's talking about being dead and coming back to life. You're dead and you need to wake up, and I think the only way you can wake up is by the power of the Holy Spirit, and I think that's why there's that salutation there. Okay?

So, as I thought about the power of the Holy Spirit and I thought about how the Lord wanted to direct the message to us, I thought about the fruits of the Spirit. And there are nine fruits of the Spirit, but we're going to just touch on the first three and then we're going to do something completely different in this message than I can ever remember doing. And I'll tell you about that in a moment, alright? So, the first three are love, joy and peace, right? So here's point number one: Love. Here's the question I have for you. Is your love more alive or less alive today than at any time in your past? Because of it's less alive, then it's closer to death. See, it's easy for us to judge a church that might not look like us and say, "That's a dead church". but I don't want us looking outward, I want us look looking inward. Is there something in me that needs to be resurrected, brought back to life by the power of the Holy Spirit?

Matthew 24:12 says, "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold". I don't know if you ever noticed this, but your love can actually grow cold. Those are the words of Jesus. Your love can grow cold. So when we think of love, most of us think of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, right? The only problem I have with that is that on all the posters and all, they always start with verse four, "Love is patient..." Right there I got nixed out of the deal right there. "...and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way". Now I'm not going to read the rest of it, but as it goes on, I feel worse and worse about myself. But I want to show you the importance of love before we tell you what love is. So let's look at the first three verses, alright? Verse one, "If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal".

I'd just be making a bunch of noise, not helping anybody. "If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body..." And this is a reference to martyrdom, by the way, because in the original Greek, it would say, "And gave my body to be burned". "...I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing". Now I want us to really assess this. How much do you really walk in love? Alright, let me go down the road for a minute, 'cause some of you I'm going to really get with this. Have you you ever had someone say something to you like this?

Now I'm going to use my name for this, "Pastor Robert, I want to share something with you and I want to share it in love". What do you immediately do? 'Cause you know what's coming, right? They're about to blast you. "But it's in love, brother. It's in love". You know what I've figured out? If it's really in love, you don't have to tell me it's love. I can feel love. I can recognize love. I know if you really love me or if you have to give me that as a statement 'cause it's not love. And then they'll say something like this, 'cause you can tell them, "You know, I'm not really feeling the love right now". And they'll say, "Well, I just have to speak the truth in love". Well, you're definitely speaking what you think is truth, but there not much love to this. And then I think to myself, "And what about the other fruits of the Spirit? What about kindness and gentleness? And what about some self-control"? So love, that's the first one.

Now what do I do if my love for the Lord and love for others is not as alive as it used to be? Now, this is where we're going to do something that I don't remember ever doing before. I'm not going to tell you yet. Because the answer to all three of these, Jesus answers. Remember, every one of these has a commendation, a correction, and counsel. So the correction is, you've got a name that says you're alive, but you're actually dead, and then he gives counsel. So I'm going to show you how to get your love resurrected and awakened. Alright? I'm going to show you, but we're going to hit point two first. Point two: Joy. How can I resurrect my joy? What if you've just gone through a sad season? What if you're in a sad season right now? And you know scriptures like this, Nehemiah 8:10, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." but you still can't get your joy back even though you quote it. John 15:11, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full". 1 John 1:4, "These things we write to you that your joy may be full".

I know those scriptures in my head, but there's some times I can't get my joy resurrected. So what do you do when you need to get your joy to wake up? I'm not going to tell you yet. Point number three: Peace. We know that Jesus gives peace, but have you ever not been peaceful? You ever been stressed or anxious or worried? What do you do if you're in the middle of the storm and Jesus is still asleep in the boat? What do you do? I love that statement, "He always calms his child before he calms the storm". You know what? I don't think I do love that statement. 'Cause I'm a child and I think the way to calm me, would for him to wake up and calm the storm, don't you? "Just calm the storm and we'll be okay, Lord". So what do you do when you can't get your peace straightened out, when you can't get something that's dead come back to life? And by the way, can something dead come back to life? Sure, the Valley of the Dry Bones, and by the way, it's the Spirit that brings them back to life.

Here's a good one that you'll want to go home and look this one up. Elisha died, they put him in a tomb. Another man died. They were burying him, and some thieves came along, so they just threw him in the tomb with Elisha, and when his body touched Elisha's bones, he came back to life. That's pretty cool. So how do you do it? Well, Jesus gives the key in all seven letters to whatever he's telling you to correct. The key is in verse three. "Remember therefore how you have received and heard". Boy, when you think about it, that's a strange statement. Remember how you have received whatever you've received from God and how you've heard a word from God. He didn't say, remember what you've heard; he said, remember how you've heard it and how you received it. Now it's important to remember what you've heard. Even 1 Timothy tells us, "Hold fast to what you've heard". Okay.

So it is important to remember what we've heard, but when you need to get your joy back or your peace back or your love back, you've got to remember how you got it in the first place. And the way you got it in the first place was you got a word from God. You spent time in his presence and in his Word. Here's a good one, Psalm 16:11, "In Your presence is fullness of joy". In your presence. And by the way, the New Testament quotes this just a little differently, Acts 2:28, "You will make me full of joy in Your presence". So it's very simple if you have an area of your life that is not as alive as it used to be. So let's just list a few others, other than love, joy and peace. What about relationships? What about your relationship with God? What about marriage? What about family? What about finances? Some of you would say, "Yep, my finances are dead and what I have left is dying". What about your health? So there's a lot of areas that you might need the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the only one that can bring back to life. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, dwells in you and will quicken your mortal bodies.

So how are you going to get it back? Alright, so I'm going to share an illustration with you, a story, it's not an illustration, it's from my own life that I really told the Lord I didn't want to share it because I just thought... I don't know, it's something about me that I, "God can I help, can I really help people by sharing this"? So just give me a little grace in that, alright? So when I planted Gateway Church, I knew it would become large. There was no doubt in my mind because God had given me some numbers and I knew it would be large. And I knew I was supposed to be on television and I knew I was supposed to write books, but I didn't know how the enemy was going to come against me and how it would kind of mess with me and the insecurities that I had. So one day when the church was starting to really take off and we were starting to get some recognition, I should say, because I want you to know, fame or being known, it's just being recognized.

Everybody has a degree of recognition, everybody. If you're a doctor, you go to restaurants, movie theater, you can get recognized by your patients. If you're a teacher, you can get recognized by your students. If you're in some sort of construction, electrician, you know, plumber or whatever, you can get recognized by your clients. So we all get recognized. Even the guy at the grocery store that takes your groceries out, you might be somewhere and recognize him. But does that mean he ought to act all uppity because he got recognized? Does that mean that people who get recognized a lot are better than others, or more spiritual than others? So the Lord was trying to prepare me for what was going to come.

And so one day I'm reading Genesis, I read Genesis 12:2, it says, "I will make you a great nation;" And I felt like he was speaking of Gateway in the fact of influencing and being large, "I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing". And he said, "I'm speaking this to you". And I said, "Lord, I believe it, I receive it, I believe that you're going to bless Gateway and Gateway's going to be a blessing". And he said, "No, I'm speaking this to you". And I said, "You're saying, I'm going to be a blessing? You're going to bless me and I'm going to be a blessing". He said, "You keep missing a part of it and that's what I'm speaking to you today. You keep passing, I'll be a blessing, I'm going to bless you and you'll be a blessing. I'll be a blessing, but what's in the middle? It says that I'm going to make your name great". And then the Lord said to me, I have a Bible program, and he said, "Read it in the New Living Translation". And I went to the New Living Translation, it says, "I will bless you and make you famous," And he said, "I'm speaking this to you".

And I said, "Why are you telling me this"? He said, "Because a whole bunch of problems are going to come with this and you need to strengthen some areas of your life". This is what he said to them, he said, "You need to strengthen these areas that are weak". He said, "You need to strengthen areas of your life 'cause you're not going to be able to handle if you don't strengthen them". And God began to do things, and I started realizing that areas of my life started slipping. My time with God, my time in the Word, not studying to prepare messages, but just as a Christian. And pretty soon I lost my joy, and I lost my peace. And I didn't know how to handle what all happened. I don't see myself as different than other people, but I was being treated differently.

And so one day I'm telling the Lord, "Lord, I don't love you like I used to. I don't have joy, I don't have peace. I need you. I need you". So the Lord said, "Do you remember the word that I told you in Genesis 12"? I said, "Yeah". he said, "What'd I tell you"? I said, "You told me you were going to make my name great. You told me you were going to make me famous. I know all that". he said, "Uh-huh". He said, "Now tell me the rest of the verse". And I said, "And you will be a blessing". And then he said to me, "Son, I made your name great so you could make my name great. And so you could be a blessing to people". He said, "This was never about you, it's always been about me. It's always been about my kingdom". But I needed a word from God, now listen to me carefully, and the way I got the word from God that took me to the next step was the way that I'd gotten the word from God 15 years before that took me to the next step. I got in his presence, and I started spending time with him.

This last week, I have extended times of worship, normally once a week, about two hours where I just spend time in the presence of God. This last week, I had three of those. And the more I spend time in his presence is fullness of joy. The more I spend time in his presence, these areas of my life that are dead, that are wrong, that don't bring glory to God, that's when the Holy Spirit comes in and speaks something to me that brings life to me and sets me free. And by the way, in that time, I had actually done a teaching right before that on recognition and fame to our worship team because our worship team was getting recognized a lot. And I said to them, "Guys, it's just recognition". I told them, "Everyone gets recognized". I said, "Even the guy that takes groceries to your car". Remember I said that? So I told them that. And that day in my quiet time when the Lord said, "Son, it's not about you, it's about me".

Here's what he said, "Son, all you do is take groceries to people's car every weekend. That's all you do. You just take my Word, which is spiritual food, and you just deliver groceries". And he said, "But now you do it to a whole lot of people". What I'm trying to tell you is, I don't know what area of your life is not alive as it used to be, but if you go back and get in his presence and in his Word, the Holy Spirit can resurrect that area of your life. I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes.

And I just want you to ask the Holy Spirit, "What are you saying to me through this message"? Just take a moment, just ask him, "What are you saying to me through this message"? What area of your life needs to be resurrected? What area of your life... How do you need to wake up and watch so that the enemy doesn't come in that way? What's the Holy Spirit saying to you? And I want to encourage you, not just on the weekends, on the weekends, every service we have worship and the Word, worship and the Word. I want to encourage you to spend time in the presence of God on your own and spend time in his Word on your own and let the Holy Spirit bring life to you, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

Lord, I want to tell you, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you that no matter where we are in our journey, if we just come into your presence and hear your Word, if we remember how we received and heard and implement that again, then you can resurrect the dead places in our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.

Are you Human?:*