Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sleeping Church

Sleeping Church
Jan 26, 2009
Rev 3:1-2 " have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up..."

A few nights ago, the Lord gave me a dream, a vision, representing the state of the church. The Lord has pressed on my heart the need to share it in a Devotional Byte with you. In the dream I was in the near future, visiting a church I had previously attended for years. Because I wasn't a regular member anymore, I was locked out until someone I knew let me in a side door. At first, I only knew the church because it was in the same location as before, but I soon began to recognize all the old church members from years ago. The church had doubled in size since I had been there last and the improvements to the property and building were amazing. The church service was beginning and I kept my eyes opened, surprised to see some unusual things.

I looked around and saw the stage took up half of the sanctuary; it was elaborate and the number of people on the worship team was many. It was an impressive show of talent, musical and theatrical, with a great degree of emotion. I glanced around at the congregation and was disheartened by the peculiar sight. Instead of pews or chairs, the congregation members were reclining in beds, sitting against pillows with the covers pulled up tightly. They were simply resting on their backs, watching the theatrics on the stage, being entertained by the sound and light display.

I looked around further and in the wings of the sanctuary were still other members of the congregation on the side lines. These people were standing behind tiki bars, sipping intoxicating beverages and smoking cigarettes. They were mingling in social conversation with a few of them dancing to a separate source of music. A sign hung above these people, suggesting they were standing in the seeker sensitive section. I became disgusted with what I saw and determined to leave the church service at once. Then I awoke from my dream.

Though I do not consider myself a prophet, after praying about the dream, the Lord has lead me to a passage in the Bible, describing exactly this church. This church was written about by the apostle John in the book of Revelation, a church called Sardis. He describes a church who is asleep, refusing to awaken to what is going on in the body of Christ or the leading of the Lord. The Lord is clear to pronounce judgment on this church for allowing themselves to fall into such a state. It is apparent that this church is an example of what some churches will look like in these last days, coming to the end of times.

While none of us goes to a church where the things in my dream literally happen, it is a wake up call to keep ourselves on guard to what could happen and will happen in these last days. The dream was about a church who clearly fell asleep to the leading of the Lord but had determined to grow in size and membership (obviously, in the wrong manner). It is possible to grow and sustain a church while being asleep to the leading of the Lord, but the end result will look similar to the church of Sardis. We must be careful to always submit ourselves to the leading of the Lord in our churches and determine to grow our churches in the correct manner: preaching the good news of Jesus while training through the scriptures, constantly challenging everyone to become Christ-like.

1. What does your church look like?
2. What safeguards have you set in place to avoid falling asleep?
3. Determine that you will not stay in such a church.

Additional Scriptures for Study: Rom 13:11, Eph 5:14, Rev 2, Rev 3

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