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Rev. 3:1-6                       THE CHURCH WITH A REPUTATION
 Intro: Imagine you are crawling, scorched, near-death, across a hot burning desert.  You are dying 
of thirst and close to perishing. But, ahead, you see a sign that reads ,"Cool, clear, life-giving water 
- only five miles ahead". This sign gives you renewed energy, new hope and you continue your 
tormenting crawl across the parched sand.  As you arrive at the promised place, you see a 
magnificent building, radiant in its beauty, the sign outside invites you in, even beckoning you with the
 promise of life-giving water.  So you crawl through the entrance into a glorious building and there 
before you is the promised well, with the bucket ready to be let down and filled with water to 
quench you thirst and to pour life back into your body.  With the last bit of your strength, you 
lower the bucket into the well, expecting a splash as the bucket hits the water, but it never comes.
  The only sound is the dull thud of the bucket hitting the bottom.  You  think that perhaps you are 
delirious so you reel in the bucket only to find it full of dust. Dust that cannot wuench, but only 
deepen the thirst and destroy all hope.  Sound far-fetched? This is the experience of many people 
who go to God's house expecting to filled and fed with the water and bread of life, only to find 
all the trappings and rituals, but no help or hope for all those who've made their way there.  
Tonight, we want to look at a church with a false reputation.  Our church can learn from this one. 
 If we must have a reputation, let it be a true one, not one of death, but of life.  One that 
fulfills its promises.  Ill. the city of Sardis, Capital of Lyda, a center of commerce, coins first 
minted there, carpet and woolen industry located there.  Noted for immorality, a term of contempt.
  Only a shell of its former self.  Ill. the church had taken on the characteristics of the city.  Had
 become a thermometer instead of a thermostat.  Lessons are to be learned here.  Christ came 
with what the church needed, the power of the Spirit and His man.  Notice the church with a 

  A. Had a reputation (Ill. what people think)
  B. Christ speaks of reality -(What He knows to be true)
     1. Great Physician felt pulse and pronounced dead. (Heb.4:13)
     2. Do not be deceived in outward appearance. (Ill. flowers and
         funeral home.) (Matt. 23:27)
   C. Jesus shows the reason 2b
     1. Works not complete - (Ill. do not reach Heaven) (Ill doin' and
     2. Good on starting, poor on finishing (do you works reach
     3. Signs of life (Growth, harmony, emotion)

    A. Spiritual Alertness - chase sleep (Ill. Dorothy and friends in the Wizard of Oz)
       1. Ill. guards and Sardis
       2. Ill. frog in kettle
       3. Keep the good things alive (Strength)
     B. Spiritual Brokenness - self - judgement
       1. Remember, hold fast , repent
       2. Need to practice self judgment ( ICor 11:31)
       3. If we don't judge ourselves, Jesus will, v.3b

    A. The Faithful Few
       1. Clean Garments (Col.3:5-10) Christians need to be clean
           (Ill. surgeon )
       2. Ill. the difficulty of the day
    B. The overcomer
       1. Clothed in white (share the glory
       2. Book of life
       3. Confessed before God (Matt.10:32)
Sermon By Alan Carr 

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