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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20160214 SPIRIT OF MERCY

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Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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Pastor Ray Scott

 

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SARDIS: THE SPIRIT OF MERCY
THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD
SERMON STARTERS
          I will never forget the burning challenge my mother-in-law gave me. She was responding to my bitter remarks about my employers,
"I'm twenty-five years younger than the business owners. One day I'll stand on their graves and LAUGH!"
Over the span of more than three years I had cultivated a deep hatred for my business owners and employers. They were cruel, hateful, crude, boorish men: two brothers. Each one seem to try to outdo the other in making hateful comments about my work and my crew.
          My mom-in-law responded with,
"Phil! You don't even sound like a Christian when you talk like that!
          I always hated it when my mother-in-law was right, but on that issue she was 100% accurate. That very night I began my personal journey of forgiveness by an in-depth study of God's Word. I found myself convicted and condemned on every Biblical page and on each text that I explored for deeper meanings of forgiveness and mercy.
          My study of forgiveness took me more than 7 years initially and in a sense, I'm on that same journey of obedience to God's Word and finding God's Mercy again and again. Forgiveness is "Letting go;" it is "Releasing" of the human heart bound by hostility and hatred. We are set free by Jesus' Amazing Grace and Mercy!
          Sardis is a church that very much needed Mercy and Forgiveness. A few believers found the Spirit of Mercy and the rest slumbered on with their delusions of wealth and the false promises of their resident idol goddess, Cybelle. This sermon explores the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world that divert many Christian converts away from the Kingdom of God and His amazing love and mercy.

Pastor Phil  <><<
February 14, 2016, Pastor Phil Roland
Sheepfold Ministries

THE SPIRIT OF MERCY
THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD
REV. 3:1-6 - MATTHEW 18:23-35
"Mercy is the most easily overlooked and ignored of the Spirits of the Seven churches. Wealth and its acquisition blind believers from the truth ”                                                           Pastor Phil

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” Matt. 5:7

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. . .” Luke 23:34

EPHESUS - The Spirit of First Love Poverty             
SMYRNA - The Spirit of Suffering   
PERGAMOS - The Spirit of Obedience       
THYATIRA - The Spirit of Righteousness
SARDIS - The Spirit of Mercy
PHILADELPHIA - The Spirit of Purity
LAODICEA - The Spirit of Completeness

I.  SARDIS WAS THE WEALTHY
            A. Richest of the Seven Churches of Asia
            B. Sardis was famous for dyed woolen fabrics.
                        1. The art of dyeing is said to have been invented in Sardis.
                        2. It was famous for its many colored carpets and mats
                        3. Only the wealthy could afford Sardis' goods
            C. Sardis artisans were famous producing Electrum
                        1. Electrum was made by alloying gold and silver
                        2. Sardis among the 1st merchants to mint coins w/Electrum
            D. Rich Gold Dust was found in the sands of Pactolus River
                        1. The river ran through the center of Sardis
                        2. Ancient miners must have profited from the River's sands
            E. Sardis is known as the birthplace of Money
                        1. For 100's of years the Merchants of Sardis minted coins
                        2. Their gold coins were highly valued

II.  JESUS KNOWS OUR DEEDS AND OUR MOTIVES - Rev. 3:1
1 "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.
            A. Sardis suffered from Pride and Arrogance
                      1. Pride is the first of the Seven Deadly Sins - Prov. 6:16,17
                             16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to
                      Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,
  

THE SPIRIT OF MERCY, cont. p.2

                     2. The Pride of Sardis led to her haughty Godless attitude          
            B. Sardis was Self-Sufficient - Matt. 19:24 
                23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard
              for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it
              is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man
              to enter the kingdom of God."
                        1. Rich man asks Jesus about gaining Eternal Life
                        2. Jesus said, ". . .go, sell what you have and give to the poor,                         and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Matt. 19:21
                        3. The wealthy have no need of God in their lives
                        4. Hyperbole - Wealth becomes the Load on the Camel's back
                                 a. Wealth yields the illusion of being in control
                                 b. It becomes a Camel's Burden when you follow Jesus
                        5. The wealthy become dependant on their material things
           C. Jesus discerned the heart of the young man's problem: His Money
                Hebrews 4:12
            12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-
              edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints
              and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
                        1. We stand vulnerable and exposed before God
                        2. He KNOWS our hearts
 
III.  SARDIS SUFFERED FROM SPIRITUAL SLUMBER - v. 2
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
 
            A. Dead, But Alive - “Suffered a Spiritual Coma”
                        1. Spiritually dead - Lights are on, no one's home
                        2. Sardis was reliant on money and what it buys
                        3. Basic Law of Physics
                                 a. No two physical objects can occupy the same space
                                 b. It is the same in the spiritual world
            B. Nominal Conversion to Christ - (Remember Laodicea?)

IV.  SARDIS LACKED MERCY - Matt. 18:23-35
            A. In context Jesus was teaching about Forgiveness, Mercy
                        1. A man owed the King 10,000 Talents / 75 Pounds of Gold
                        2. In today's money this was an insane amount of money
                                    a. A Talent was 75 pounds of Gold
                                    b. Gold today is $1100 an ounce - that's $1,320,000 lb.
                        3. Jesus is using Hyperbole again to drive home his point
                        4. The King, showing Mercy, forgives him the debt
                        5. The forgiven man's servant owes him 100 Denari
                                 a. A Denari is a day's wage
                                 b. The forgiven man is unwilling to show Mercy
                                 c. He has his fellow servant thrown into debtor's prison
                        6. King rescinds the unforgiving Servant his previous favor
THE SPIRIT OF MERCY, cont. p.3

                          a. The King gives the unforgiving servant the same                                                   punishment he gave the fellow servant with the
                                       minuscule debt
                                    b. The King calls the unforgiving, a "Wicked Servant"
                                    c. The Unforgiving one is turned over to the torturers
                        7. Jesus' point: Forgive your brother from your heart, or else!
            B. Treat others the way God has treated you
                        1. How does Sardis line up with our theme?
                        2. F. Scott Fitzgerald Quote
                            "The Rich are different from you and me. . ."
                        3. The rich are Indifferent to the needs of the poor
                                    a. They lack humanity, compassion, empathy
                                    b. Sardis' wealth made them rich, but lost their souls
                        4. Where's the profit? - Mark 8:36
                       36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses
                          his own soul?
            B. We are forgiven by the same measure we forgive others
                 1. The Lord's Prayer - Matt. 6:12
               “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
                 2. When praying, ought against anybody, forgive. . .- Mark 11:25

V.  SARDIS WAS WARNED TO WAKE UP - v. 2
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.
            A. "Watchful" - Greek meaning is to awaken - Romans 13:11
                11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of
              sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
                      1. Wealth and its compromise brought about Spiritual Slumber
                      2. Wake up and Strengthen what remains
            B. Remember what was seen and heard
            C. Repent and Obey

VI.  OVERCOMERS ENCOURAGED - Rev. 3:5
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.
            A. Overcomers have prevailed over world, flesh, Devil - Romans 8:37
                37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who
              loved us.
                       
1. It is only through His amazing Love and Mercy we prevail
                      2. Keeping our eyes on Him we succeed
            B. Overcomers are found worthy in Him

 

Closing Illustration:
The Spirit of Mercy
REPENTANCE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

In 2001, Tim Goeglein started running the White House Office of Public Liaison, providing him almost daily access to then President George Bush for seven years. Then it all ended abruptly on February 29, 2008. A well-known blogger revealed the startling fact that 27 out of 39 of Goeglein's published articles had been plagiarized. By mid-afternoon the next day, Goeglein's career in the White House was over.

Goeglein, who admitted his guilt, said that this began "a personal crisis unequaled in my life, bringing great humiliation on my wife and children, my family, and my closest friends, including the President of the United States."

Goeglein was summoned to the White House to face the President. Once inside the Oval Office, Goeglein shut the door, turned to the President and said, "I owe you an..."

President Bush simply said: "Tim, you are forgiven."

Tim was speechless. He tried again: "But sir..."

The President interrupted him again, with a firm "Stop." Then President Bush added, "I have known grace and mercy in my life, and you are forgiven."

After a long talk, a healing process was launched for Goeglein, which included repentance, reflection, and spiritual growth. "Political power can lead to pride," Goeglein later reflected. "That was my sin. One hundred percent pride. But offering and receiving forgiveness is a different kind of strength. That's the kind of strength I want to develop now."

(Warren Cole Smith, "Wins & Losses," World magazine, 10-23-10, p. 11. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Love and Longing, 5/13/2011)