The dead church

Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

“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.’” — Revelation 36:1 (NKJV)


It is a statistical fact that a large percentage of our denominational churches are losing members and experiencing declining attendance, and as a result are becoming less and less effective at evangelizing the lost. There are perhaps many reasons for this loss of effect. I contend that among the most prevalent of these reasons is the turning inward of the church’s focus. No longer are these churches intent upon reaching the lost for Jesus. They have made the comfort of their congregations and pride in their facility their first priority instead of spreading the gospel to the lost.

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Jesus commanded the Apostles to “Go,” meaning just that — to go out from their home base and to “preach,” to tell others about Him, to “baptize” them into His kingdom, to “teach” them to obey His word. Nowhere does He command them to build shrines to themselves, nor to their ancestors. Jesus did not die for a building, no matter how ornate and comfortable. He did die for the lost of this world and it is our duty as Christians to continue His quest for their salvation.

If we are to impact the world for Him we must regain our focus and concentrate upon Him and not our facilities. We, the people saved by Christ, are the Church; the building is merely a church house.

Can it be that we have so misunderstood Matthew 28:19-20 that it has lost its power? Have we put our personal comfort ahead of reaching the lost for Jesus? Have we become “dead” like the Church in Sardis? If this is not the case, where then are those whom we have rescued from eternal damnation?

Our churches should be buzzing with activity as we develop ways to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus. We exist as a Church for no other purpose than to minister salvation to the lost of the world, so that they might continue this ministry themselves. There are too many “I”s and not enough “He”s in most preaching today. Hurting and broken people do not come to Church to hear about what we’ve done. They come to experience what God is doing!


Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired preacher.