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April 10, 2023

Sardis and the Snare of Reputation

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

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Read Revelation 3:1-6.

We live in a world obsessed with outward appearances. Many of us spend countless wasted hours worrying about what others think of us. But there’s only one opinion that matters. It is God who gives us eternal purpose and consequence. Only God can reward our faithfulness to Him and His Word.

The believers in the church at Sardis were focused on their reputation—they looked good to their neighbors—so good, in fact, that they essentially gave up on the mission Jesus had given them. As a city, Sardis had a reputation for laziness, and the church in Sardis had adopted that culture, satisfied with their image.

People can misjudge you—mistreating you or even praising you when you don’t deserve it. They can’t see what Jesus sees. The church of Sardis was in a condition of spiritual bankruptcy, but everybody on the outside was saying, “Oh, isn’t that a great church?” But not Jesus. He sees who we really are—to the very depths of our hearts. He knows what we need and how to care for us the way no one else can.

To the church at Sardis, Jesus said, “I see through you. I know who you really are. I know where your priorities lie. Now, repent before it’s too late.” There are many believers today who need to hear this same message. They need to wake up and see their true spiritual condition, that they might, through prayer and godly sorrow, repent of their sins. They need to return to Biblical Truth. The hour is late, but there is still time.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to remember that I am a citizen of Your eternal Kingdom, that I am called to a purpose—to work as though serving You without seeking the praise of man. May I live such a good life out of my delight in You that others might see my good deeds and glorify You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Letters from Jesus: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW

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