Misguided religion has outward righteousness by lack inward transformation
Read Revelation 3:1-6
“You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”
The hardest thing to do in the Christian life is, to be honest about our own spiritual health. If we have any desire to be a Christian, we inevitably see ourselves as a “good” Christian. However, reality does not often match the perception. The greatest tragedy is that in our quest for spirituality and a relationship with God, we can hide our true spiritual condition through our religious activities.
Such was the case at the church in Sardis. If this church existed today, it would be regarded as the banner church of any denomination. It would be the church that people flock to for its programs, activities, vibrant worship and eloquent preachers. The pastor would have multiple books on church growth and would be the frequent speaker to tell others how to effectively develop dynamic programs. In verse 1 we find that this church had a reputation as vibrant and alive. Nevertheless, while we look at the glamour and activities as the mark of a heart, and her the church of Sardis is found wanting. Of the seven churches mentioned in Revelations 2-4, the churches in Sardis and Laodicea both receive failing grades. While the church at Laodicea was lukewarm, the church at Sardis was dead.
The danger we have in our Christian life is that we can reduce our Christianity to outward activities which hide the inward heart condition. Our faith becomes superficial rather than transformational. Throughout Scripture, we find numerous warnings against shallow faith. Just because a person claims to be a Christian and even outwardly acts like a Christian does not mean that they are genuine disciples (See Mt 7:13-14, 21). A superficial Christian has all the outward appearance of a Christian and even makes a profession of faith, but never has a genuine relationship with Christ. Emotionalism hides disobedience as we focus upon external activities and behavior rather than the inward transformation of the heart.
To avoid this self-deception, we need to vigilantly watch over our soul by always going back to Scripture and allowing the message of Scripture to reveal our true condition. Perhaps the most significant indicator of our true state is our love or neglect of the Bible. Authentic faith begins with a passion for God’s word.