We cannot become complacent; we are not invulnerable to trials and temptations.
[Darris McNeely] There's a danger that every one of us can fall prey to. It's called complacency. When we think we're on top of the world, when we think we're the strongest, when we think that everything is going for us and nothing could get us down, the tendency to be complacent can get to every one of us.
Jesus Christ spoke to His church a message about complacency. It's in the Book of Revelation 3 and it's among the messages to the seven churches that Jesus talked about there in the Book of Revelation and to the church that was located in the ancient city of Sardis. Christ gave a very important warning to wake up, to be alert, to not let their strength think that they will never fall, never fall down and be in trouble or in trial. Let me read just a portion of the message to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3, beginning in verse 1, it says, "I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive." But He says, "You are dead. Wake up. Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God."
Now, this is a picture of Ancient Sardis. I was just there recently on a study tour of all of the seven churches of Revelation. The hill in the background that you see beyond those standing pillars from the ancient city of Sardis tells the story of a place that thought it was impregnable, couldn't be conquered by an army. That hill is over 1,500 meters high. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. And to top it was a portion of the city, the fortress, and where people would go in a time of war for safety. They thought they couldn't be beaten. But you know what happened? Twice in its history, it was defeated. The first time by Cyrus the Great, the figure mentioned in the Bible. The second time by a later Greek king. By the time Jesus writes this message to the church that existed in this city, He tells them to wake up. He says, you have a reputation of being alive, of being strong, and that city did at one point. But two invading armies found the weak spot and were able to climb the hill and defeat the city and subjugate it. And so, when the members of the church in the late-90s AD heard this message from Jesus, they took it as a warning and they understood exactly what He was referring to in terms of this historical connection to their past. A city thinking that it was impregnable, and yet, it was defeated twice.
Jesus says, and the spiritual application is for you and I, "Wake up. Strengthen what remains and is about to die. Our works are not complete in the sight of God." It is a message of warning to not be complacent. Not feel that we cannot fall to temptation, succumb to a trial and become bitter, become envious, go into spiritual problems and weaknesses. That's the message. That's one of the key thoughts that Jesus wanted to get across to the church at Sardis.
The danger of complacency, when you and I may think we're the strongest, that's the time to beware, so that we are not overcome by trial, by sin, by Satan himself. It's an important lesson that Christ gave to the churches. The history and culture of the place teach us things for application in our own life today.
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