RECAP: ALIVE, BUT DEAD based on Revelation 3:1-6
The church at Sardis had a reputation for being alive, but Jesus called them dead. This was a congregation that had fallen unfortunately into the trap of spiritual apathy. They were a church that looked like a church and did the functions of a church but had lost their heart, their why, their motivation, and ultimately went through the motions of being a people of faith. When we end up going through the motions, we end up losing our passion, and over time it develops into spiritual apathy. Apathy is the state of a loss of care or desire. In other words, they were a church that was more concerned about the status quo and remaining comfortable than doing any real work to make Jesus known.
The church at Sardis became a reflection of their city. Sardis at one point was very prosperous and successful, a crown jewel of Asia Minor. But after a great earthquake, the city was rebuilt to its splendor, but the city never returned to thriving. They simply existed. And that is precisely what apathy does–instead of thriving, one simply exists.
Spiritual apathy can be a very dangerous place to be. When spiritual apathy sets in, the desire to live for Jesus and the drive to become like him fades. One who becomes spiritually apathetic becomes “dead” and lifeless, no longer moved to change or deal with sin, but allows life to overtake them like waves over the beach. In time, one who is apathetic loses all which makes them distinctive, and they become overgrown by the world like a neglected house eventually become consumed by nature.
How can we overcome the temptation to fall into apathy?
1) Wake up! Jesus told the church to wake up in the same manner that Paul told both the Roman church and Ephesian church to awake from their slumber, or Jesus told Jairus’ dead daughter to wake and arise. We need to stop sleeping and become alert. That means doing whatever it takes to stay awake, setting off spiritual alarm clocks. If we don’t awake in times of danger, we won’t go to safety. The same thing is true spiritually; if we are not alert and awake, paying attention to our lives, we fall asleep, and then allow this world to consume us.
2) Strengthen. Jesus told the church to strengthen what is about to die. This implies the church knew something was off but did nothing to correct it. When we know something is not right in our faith walk, or we seem off, that means it is time to make adjustments. Do we need more time in prayer or worship? Do we need to reach out to a person of faith and have them help pray you through? Do you need someone to help keep you accountable?
3) Obey and act. Jesus told the church to remember their teaching and keep it/obey it. We can’t just rely on our knowledge; we have to act on it and put it into practice! Otherwise, we are no different than one who looks at the mirror and forgets what we look like (James 1). We deceive ourselves (James 1). Even the demons know the truth (James 2), but that does not mean they will see heaven! The way we can shake off apathy is to not just pay attention and strengthen but to actively follow what we have been taught through the Scriptures.
4) Clean up. Not everyone in Sardis has soiled their clothes. But when we are apathetic, we allow the world’s way to become our way. We become like salt that loses its saltiness, losing our distinctive flavor with the world. No one sets out to sin or become apathetic. But over time, apathy causes us to extend our stay in the world and eventually places us in a position where the world’s way of life takes over. However, if we clean up and remove those influences from around us, not just keep them at arm’s length but actually remove them, we won’t succumb to the pressure to give in.
5) Walk with Christ. The best way to keep growing in faith is to actively walk with Christ in the same way we would actively walk to remain in shape. Psalms 1:1 says the one who is blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. Notice the progression: if you stop walking, you eventually stand, and then ultimately you sit down. If we walk in the counsel of the wicked, we will eventually stop going the way of Christ, stand with sinners, and then sit down. Apathy pushes us to stop working and grow comfortable. But if we actively walk with Christ and make him our greatest priority, we don’t have to worry about falling into the way of sin, for we won’t stand for it or allow sin to remain around us!
Jesus warned Sardis of its apathy. Only those who wanted to shake it off would be able to shake it and overcome. Can we keep apathy at bay?
Questions for Reflection
1) Why is apathy so dangerous?
2) How do you keep yourself spiritually alert?
3) Who can help strengthen you in your faith when you are facing a weak moment?
4) What influences surround you that tempt you away from God? How can you shrink their influence in your life?
5) Is walking with God your highest priority? How can you increase your time on building that relationship?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “Cling to Truth,” based on Revelation 3:7-13. How can we cling to the truth when we are so worn out? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for August 30 – September 5
August 30: 1 Samuel 4:1-22 What are the results of spiritual apathy?
August 31: 2 Samuel 24:1-25 What are the results of spiritual apathy?
September 1: 2 Kings 20:12-21 What are the dangers of spiritual apathy?
September 2: Ezekiel 8:1-18 What can become the result of spiritual apathy?
September 3: Hebrews 10:19-39 Why should we be on our guard against apathy?
September 4: Genesis 39 How did Joseph cling to his faith?
September 5: Exodus 34 How did Moses cling to his faith? What was the evidence?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, September 4–return to normal hours!
Sunday, September 4–First Sunday Breakfast & Offering for Red Cross (local chapter)
Sunday, September 4–Worship Team Meeting @ 12 pm in library
Sunday, September 4–Chasing the Lions Bible Study @ McAvoy’s home (5509 Sagefield Dr)
Sunday, September 11–Instachoir practice begins
Monday, September 12–Pastoral Epistles Bible Study Begins @ 7 pm
Wednesday, September 14–Outreach Team @ Lynne’s house, 7 pm
Thursday, September 15–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, October 9–Love Feast
Saturday, October 15–Fall Festival
Saturday, October 22–Men’s Fellowship Chicken BBQ
Sunday, October 23–Chili/Soup Cook-Off & Council Meeting
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Bible Study Opportunities!
The Chasing the Lion Bible Study continues this Sunday at 4 pm. We will meet in the McAvoys’ home (5509 Sagefield Dr) this week. This study meets every Sunday at 4 pm.
Pastor Ryan will also start a new study on the books of 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul shared his heart with Timothy and gave him instructions for himself and the church after he was gone. Most of these letters are reflected even today. How can we live our faith? I encourage you to dig deeper into these two short books!
We will meet on Monday evenings beginning on September 12 at 7 pm. Location is still to be determined. We plan to meet for only one hour each week until 8 pm.
Take advantage of one of these two Bible studies today! If you would like to participate in the Timothy Bible study, please email Pastor Ryan or call the office.
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Dastoli family (COVID)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Meda McNett (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Denny & Diane Miller (COVID)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various & COVID)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee & COVID)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church