Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
It is truly sovereign of the Lord that the situation and condition of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 match the stages of church history. The history of the church from the first century to the present is clearly divided into seven stages: the initial stage, the suffering stage, the worldly stage, the apostate stage, the stage of Reformation, the stage of the recovered church, and the stage of the degradation of the recovered church. In this message we must consider the church in Sardis, the church in reformation (3:1-6).
Sardis in Greek means the remains, the remainder, or the restoration. As a sign, the church in Sardis prefigures the Protestant Church from the time of the Reformation to the second coming of Christ. The Reformation was God’s reaction to the apostate Roman Catholic Church, signified by the degraded church in Thyatira. It was accomplished by a minority of the believers, the remainder. Hence, it was the restoration by the remainder.
In 3:1 the Lord says, “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” The seven Spirits of God are for the church to be living intensely, and the seven stars are for her to be shining intensely. To the church in Ephesus, Christ is the One who holds the seven stars and walks in the midst of the seven lampstands. The initial church needed the care of Christ, and her leaders needed His keeping grace. To the church in Smyrna, He is the One who became dead and lived again. The suffering church needed the resurrection life of Christ. To the church in Pergamos, Christ is the One who has the sharp two-edged sword. The degraded, worldly church needed His judging and slaying word. To the church in Thyatira, He is the One who has eyes like flaming fire and feet like shining brass. The apostate church needed His searching and judging. Now to the church in Sardis, He is the One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. The dead reformed church needs the sevenfold intensified Spirit of God and the shining leaders.
If we examine the situation of Protestant Christianity today, we shall see that it lacks the seven Spirits. Their deadness is due to the lack of the seven Spirits. Because of their organization, they also need the shining stars. This is all they need—the intensified Spirit and the shining stars. However, they do not pay attention to the seven Spirits. The seven Spirits are the full intensified realization of Christ as the Spirit. This is not a matter of the so-called Pentecostal or charismatic movement, but of the indwelling sevenfold intensified Spirit. This is what dead Protestantism needs today. It also needs the shining stars, not the positions or the organization. Their leading ones must be shining ones.
To the messenger of the church in Sardis the Lord says, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are living, and you are dead. Become watchful and establish the things which remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your works completed before My God.” These two verses present a full picture of the so-called Protestant Church. The reformed Protestant Church has been considered to be living, but the Lord says that she is dead. Hence, in her dead condition, she needs the living Spirits and the shining stars.
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