What Jesus Wants You To Remember About The Gospel

Bible Book: Revelation  3 : 1-6
Subject: Remembering; Christian Living; Church Life; Failing Jesus; Voice of God


Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names [even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

Today we come to a conclusion of a sermon series entitled, “What Jesus Wants You To Remember.” Jesus wants people to remember something that is a matter of protection and not simply a matter of humiliation. The purpose of Jesus is always loving, so when He tells us something that sounds like a put-down it is actually from His heart of concern for us.

When Christ sent the message to the people at the Church in Sardis, which we are considering today, He did so because He wanted the prod their memory and allow that to bring out the best in them.

Think about your memories for a moment. When we select memories, we may choose them for the wrong reasons. Sadly, many people are controlled by negative memories. Some people pet some evil and sinful memories. The memories that Jesus selects for us to recall are for our good and they are designed to bring us closer to Him.

When we began our series, we started with “Remember Lot’s Wife.” We were reminded of the importance of being ready in this world for the world to come, and that God brings judgment upon sin. God expects us to be obedient and He God means what He says. Secondly, we looked at the conversation Jesus had with His disciples regarding the miracles of feeding the multitudes. He wanted them to remember the joy they experienced in participating in the miracle, the sounds of people praising God for the miracles, but also the danger of negative forces that want to destroy what Jesus had accomplished. Then we looked at the Scripture where a servant is not above His master, and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You can depend upon whatever Jesus says, He will not shrink the truth nor stretch the truth. He is the Truth! Then we looked in Revelation at the Church of Ephesus. Jesus examined this church to see if they took on the characteristics of Christ or the characteristics of the city in which they lived. We learned that the people in that church had lost their first love – their love for Jesus.

Now we are at the church of Sardis. Look with me at the scripture for today – Revelation 3:1-6.

All seven of the churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 were real churches with real people, just like you and me. Jesus reached out to each church in a specific and accurate manner. He did this by sending a message through John, the Apostle.

Now, in our day and society we have cell phones for rapid communication. The most aggravating part of a cell phone is what are known as “robo-calls.” These calls come from people who don’t know but claim to know you and to also know exactly what you really want or need. I block those calls when I can. If they don’t leave a message and if I don’t know who is doing the calling I certainly will not answer the phone. I far too busy as a pastor to be spending time talking to someone from who-knows-where about who-knows-what when I’m busy doing what God wants me to do.

We also receive communications through mail delivered to our homes. Honestly, if it wasn’t for junk mail most of us would not get much in the way of paper mail these days. When junk mail arrives it is usually addressed to “Occupant.” Let me share something especially important with you. When Jesus speaks to you, it is never a robo-call, nor is it ever addressed to, “Occupant.” He knows you by name and He knows everything about you. It is important to never ignore a message coming from the Lord.

So, Jesus communicated with the people in the Church at Sardis and He said, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard: hold fast and repent Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (v. 3)

Let’s focus on this passage for a moment today …

I. How the Gospel Message is Heard

A. God’s First Message

Let’s begin with how a person receives a first message from the Lord. Always, the first message you receive from Him is one that lets you know that He loves you and that you are lost. You are in sin and in danger, and He wants to be sure you hear a warning and an opportunity for escape. God desires to save you, to redeem you and to remove you from your terrible situation. That is God’s message to the human heart. It is a message of love and grace that is available through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Someone here today may be hearing that call coming in your heart-line right now. Do not neglect that divine call.

B. God’s Forceful Message

Since most people do not accept God’s first call, He attempts to reach you again. He tells you that you are not getting better, your sins are piling up and your danger is increasing with each hour that you reject His call.

C. God’ Final Message

In the end, God let’s you know that you are facing judgment for your sin and that you are heading for hell – a place of separation from God forever. His message is not hateful but loving. It is a warning to help you turn around – to repent and come to the salvation and forgiveness He alone can supply.

1. The lost are living in deception

Many people who receive God’s call reject it because of deception. What kind of deception? They believe the following:

I’m just as good as anybody else and I don’t need Jesus

All roads lead to the same place

My eternity is already decided, I’m just playing a part

There is no way to know whether I’m going to heaven or hell

If I do more good than bad, I will go to heaven anyway

I will always have tomorrow to make my decision

These are just a few of the ways the devil will deceive you

2. The lost are living under conviction

Some lost people are living under conviction. What is conviction? It is saying the following about yourself before God …

I know that I am a sinner

I know that I cannot save myself

I know that I will answer to God

I Know that I need Jesus!

A person living under conviction has a chance to turn to God through His Son, Jesus, and be saved.

Sadly, the Church a Sardis had ceased to share faithfully the message of God’s love in Christ, so very few people were placed under conviction or had an opportunity to know Christ. Listen, we are a church here at First Baptist, Cherryville, N.C. We must never cease to hold forth faithfully the Word of God and the Son of God. It has been said that organization has four stages:

  • A Man who beings it

  • A Movement that grows it

  • A Machine that organizes it

  • A Monument after it dies to recall what it once was

The Church at Sardis had turned into a monument. That must never happen to us. So, I want you to know today that Jesus is Lord, He still saves and it is the responsibility of every member here to know Him, follow Him, serve Him and make Him known to others. We must never turn into a monument at this church.

Now, note secondly …

II. How the Gospel Message is Heeded

One may hear the message of Christ at work, at church, in the home, through a friend, on television, through the internet, or just about anywhere. The place where you heard it is not really that important, but the condition of your heart when you heard message was critical.

A. The Heart must be Open to Conviction by the Holy Spirit

One must be willing to hear the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of personal sin.

B. The Heart must be Open to Individual Accountability for Sin

You can’t make excuses for your sinful actions, words and thoughts. You can’t blame mama or daddy, your friends or your hardships. To hear God’s contract with you, you must accept personal responsibility.

C. The Heart must be Open to Accountability to God rather than Man

You see, our sin is against God. It doesn’t matter what people say about you, it matters what God knows about you. We answer to Him!

Salvation came to all of us that are saved today because we our hearts were open to conviction, to individual responsibility and because we knew that we were accountable to God. God is seeking to contact someone here today who has not made such a decision and today is the day for you to hear Him, answer that call and receive Jesus as your Savior.

Now, let me speak on the third point and this is directly to those who are redeemed – those who are saved.

III. How the Gospel Message is Handled

Listen closely – we are to “Hold Fast” to the gospel. The problem for the Church at Sardis is that they failed to hold on to the gospel and to live it out in front of the world around them. They forgot their responsibility regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sure these people had heard the message and they knew they needed Jesus in order to be saved. They called upon the name of Jesus; the only name given among men whereby a soul can be saved. But they failed! How can that happen? Understand this – they did not lose their salvation, but they failed. How did they fail?

A. Some Things They Did Not Do
  • They failed to be the people God had saved them to be
  • They failed to share the message that God had so graciously given them
  • The failed to live godly lives before an ungodly world
B. Some Things We Must Do

What caused that failure? Can that happen to us? Can that be happening to some of us right now? We must remember the following to keep from becoming nothing but a cold monument of what a Christian and a church is supposed to be:

  • We must remember that we need Jesus after we are saved as much as when we were Saved

That is something the people at Sardis forgot and it turned them into a stone-cold congregation.

  • We must not listen to other people telling us how wonderful we are

That is what the people at Sardis did, and they believed it when they heard it. It was a fatal mistake.

  • We must not get caught up in the machinery of the church and think that can take the place of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives

That is what happened to the people at Sardis. The activity of the church became more important that the work of God in their lives and the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through them.


What can we do to ensure that we don’t fall into a Sardis Church hole?

  • First, repent individually

We are not called upon to answer for others but we can do what is right in our own hearts. We can bow before God and ask Him to forgive us when we just get caught up in the machinery of church life. We can’t make someone else do right, but you can correct yourself, that is what repentance is all about.

  • Second, ask Jesus to renew the joy we had when we were first saved.
  • Third, ask Jesus to guide us so our decisions are heavenly and not worldly.

We needed our Lord to be saved, we need Him now … we need Him forever!