A glimpse behind the curtain
Have you ever wished that there were more to life than the junk of everyday? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to deal with guilt and danger and doubt and death? Well, that’s what this Sunday is for — to remind us that we won’t have to deal with any of that one day. This Sunday is known as Saints Triumphant Sunday in the church year, when we get a glimpse behind the curtain of every day. I realize you’re reading this the day after Thanksgiving — and our text makes a great fit there too. We have plenty to be thankful for as we see this scene from the Revelation Jesus gave to the apostle John to give to us. Really, in God’s word here, just for a moment, he is pulling aside the curtain between time and eternity, pushing back the barrier between earth and heaven, and he is showing us our future and our reality.
If you read the text, you’ll see an amazing scene going on around the throne of God with the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, at the center of it all. People of every kind and color united by one common trait — those white robes — the purity, perfection, and glory that is a requirement for admission to this victory celebration of the lamb.
So that puts us out, right? I mean — I know I’ve plastered plenty of stains on my spiritual robe. Before God, there’s no covering up my heart that is so often filled with unloving thoughts and unthoughtful words — and then you add the mistakes I’ve acted on — and there’s no way I have a white robe. And the same goes for you. Until you take a closer look at our text. Look at how that elder in the vision explained those white- robed worshippers. “ These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Their robes hadn’t been white either, but had been made white ... by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of Christ. Jesus shed his blood in that atoning death on the cross to wash our robes clean in God’s eyes. Then he rose to take his place on that throne we’ll be surrounding someday soon. That’s why we sing, “ Jesus, your blood and righteousness, , my beauty are, my glorious dress. Mid flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.” Although the earth is being destroyed and society is going to pot, we will be in that scene, with all those saints around the eternal throne when our time here is done.
I know, we still have to deal with junk here, all those affects of sin on our world, our relationships, our lives. But with these glimpses behind the curtain, we can make it. You see here, in God’s word, in our fellowship with all these saints- in- waiting, we are reminded what life is really all about. So join us soon for another glimpse behind the curtain that inspires us all to join the song of the saints. Pastor Jonathan E. Scharf Abiding Grace Lutheran
The Church of Sardis, then and now
We have been studying the seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor. We move now to the fifth church, the church of Sardis. Christ’s letter to the church of Sardis is recorded in Revelation 3: 1- 6.
Christ introduces himself as the one who holds the sevenfold spirit and seven stars in his hand. The number seven is a number of completion and perfection in the Bible. Christ was telling this church that he held, not only the church and its messenger in his hand, but that He alone is able to send his life- giving spirit to resurrect this dead or dying church.
The church of Sardis looked good and attractive on the outside. The church was living its reputation of days gone by, but Christ said they were dead. How often does our assessment and Christ’s differ?
It is indeed tragic for a church to die, especially when they think they are still alive. Christ does not judge by outward appearances. He is not impressed with that with which we are impressed. He looks at the heart; the motives; the faith; the love with which we serve him.
Many churches seem to be attractive and growing, yet it is possible that they are dead, much like the church at Sardis.
Christ gave this church five sharp imperatives: Wake up. Strengthen. Remember. Obey. Repent.
Many Christians and churches of today would be told the same thing.
We need to wake up and be keenly watchful. As a city, Sardis had been defeated twice in their history because of their self- confidence and lack of watchfulness.
Christ warned this church that if they did not repent, he would come like a thief, when they least expected it, similar to the way their city had fallen in defeat.
Even in Sardis there were a few who had held true. For those who overcome, Christ promised that they would walk with him, would be clothed in white, would never have their name blotted out of the book of life, and would have their name acknowledged by him before his father and the angels.
Christ is looking for spirit- filled, alive churches today. His warnings, as well as promises, hold true for us as well. The Rev. Wayne Rutherford LifePointe Church of the