The AMI QT Blogs from June 5-11 are provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.) has just returned from E. Asia, where she served as a missionary for two years. Currently, she serves at Church of Southland and Kairos International University.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
Spiritual Sleep in Sardis
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.’”
There is a well-known saying, “It’s not about how you start, it’s all about how you finish.” The Lord gave the church at Sardis a spiritual diagnosis of their church body. He gave them the frightening truth that they have a reputation of being a lively church, but they are actually a dying church. They started with fervor and passion for the Lord, but they fell into a deep spiritual slumber, no longer awake to God’s voice. For this reason, God specifically said to them, “…for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” Those who study this passage will naturally ask, “What did these believers not complete?” One possibility is that it wasn’t like they did not fulfill a ministry or calling that the Lord specifically gave this church, but a more likely situation is that they “backslid” and became secular again in their beliefs and lifestyle. In this way, they did not finish the course of living holy to the Lord until His second coming. They were no longer living as the “pure bride” that Jesus Christ shed His blood for. This is not a church dwindling in number or failing at sustaining the “programs” of a church—from the outside they are “alive.” Yet this is a church dying in their spiritual fervor and walk with the Lord.
The voice of God came to them to awaken them, and to save them from their false illusion that they are doing well. The Spirit is calling them to once again remember what they have received freely by God’s grace, to keep walking in God’s plans, and to repent of their slumber. Most of all, He is telling them to be faithful to Him, knowing that He will return to reward them according to their faithfulness.
This morning, let’s boldly look into our hearts. Are there areas in us that are no longer awake to God’s voice? In what area is Jesus no longer the center (marriage, work, relationships, or even ministry)? In what areas of your life have you turned to look to yourself and your ambitions, instead of to God?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I confess today that I need You to spiritually awaken me, that I may be in tune with You again and be sensitive to Your leading in my life. Help me to be aware of my weaknesses and sins, so that I may overcome them with humility and faith. Help me to be fully alive in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 33
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Questions to Consider
- What do you notice about Paul’s statement about himself, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”?
- Paul says the Lord will award the crown to “all who have loved His appearing.” How does this impact how you should live today?
- What has encouraged you to persevere in your faith and what hinders you personally from being faithful to God?
- Serving Jesus is not necessarily about how many things you have built for the Lord and how much you have accomplished. Rather, it is about how well we have fought the spiritual battles as we did God’s work. It’s about being faithful to God through the whole course and keeping our faith. It’s about remaining steadfast and abiding in Christ.
- A key mark of a faithful Christian is someone who adores and longs for the appearing of Jesus Christ above other sources of satisfaction and joy.
- Personal reflection.
The greatest example of someone who finished well is Jesus Christ. He completed the work that God the Father gave Him, and we are all beneficiaries of His faithfulness to the Father. Reflect on the goodness of Jesus Christ and dwell on how He is the perfector of your faith. Through Him, you can finish well.
John 19:30: Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
Hebrews 12:1b-2a: Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith…