As Christians, our ultimate goal is to reach a state of perfection before God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father, who is in Heaven is perfect. The Christian life is not just about reading the Bible, praying, fasting, evangelizing and church growth. It also involves moral values, attitudes and other ethics all pushing us towards the ultimate goal, PERFECTION.
God requires of us total purity and holiness. He expects us to fully adhere to his precepts, statutes and commands. In Leviticus 19:19, God says, “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you”. God does not want us to inculcate worldly practices into the Christian faith. He expects us to fully keep His statutes as they are. Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lest anyone spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ”. This scripture reveals that we are supposed to be after Christ. We must not allow philosophy; traditions and the ways of the world pervert our Christian faith. Compromising our faith by spoiling our Christianity with the things of the world renders our works before God as DEAD.
God considers those who do not keep His word just as it is as people whose works are dead and do not serve Him with a loyal heart. In 2 Chronicles 25, the author writes about King Amaziah, who did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart. This king followed the commands of God correctly but after his victory over the Edomites, he brought their gods and set them up to be his gods and bowed down to them. Even though he followed God, he did not do it with a loyal heart hence his works were rendered DEAD before God. He spoiled his service to God by following the traditions of other men. One of the reasons for our imperfection as Christians is down to the fact that we follow the traditions of men. Tradition is what made the works of the Pharisees dead to God.
In Matthew 15:1-2, the Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples transgress the tradition of the elders because they did not wash their hands when they ate. Jesus replied saying, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” The Pharisees obeyed the traditions of the elders and hence did not obey the commandments of God. Tradition is the one roadblock on the road to perfection. We need to forsake tradition and follow the commandments of God as they are. King Amaziah followed in the ways of his fathers and this rendered his service to God useless. We, 21st century Christians, need to forsake tradition and serve God and Him alone with loyal hearts.
The Church of Sardis (in Asia Minor) is an example of a church which did not serve God with a loyal heart. Let’s take a look at Revelation 3:1-6.
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
The above scripture is about a church which had a reputation of being alive but Jesus considers them to be dead. They really did work for God because Jesus said that He knew their works. They served God, the evangelized, they went on missions, they contributed to church growth but Jesus said to them that He has not found their works to be perfect before God. This means that this church was working but their works weren’t perfect before God. They did not serve Christ with a loyal heart. They had forgotten the truth they received and had fallen prey to vain philosophy, deceit, the traditions of men and the rudiments of the world. They were not vigilant (watchful) of their Christian faith. They allowed practices of the world and traditional concepts to pervert their way before God. Their disloyal hearts rendered their service before Christ as dead.
Paul told the people of Colosse to beware lest anyone spoil them in a manner which is not after Christ. The church of Sardis compromised their faith and gave into tradition, vain philosophy, deceit and the traditions of men. This made them unworthy to walk before God therefore, Jesus said that they should “remember how they received and heard, and hold fast and repent.” Remembering the statutes of God and keeping them just as they were/are given is what will reinstate us. It will bring us back to being alive and wearing white raiment with Christ.
A disloyal heart is a heart which cannot produce good fruits worthy of harvesting by Christ. After all, a bad tree cannot produce good fruits. A dead church or Christian is one whose service to God counts for nothing because it is done with a disloyal heart and this will block us from achieving perfection. We need to revisit our Bibles with the Holy Ghost so that He can teach us His Holy word to discontinue our fellowship with perverted philosophy and traditions.
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