CCLXXXIX. True Church Life.

REV. iii. 1.
“I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest,
and art dead.”

THE Church to whom this statement was made was that
of Sardis, and the remarkable thing is that this strong
condemnation is pronounced while yet no flagrant vices are
charged upon its members. They appear to have been
sound in creed, and respectable in conduct, yet after all
they were dead.
I. There are certain things which secure for a Church a
good name, which yet are no sure indications of spiritual
life.
1. Numbers may give a name to live while yet there
may be death.
2. Wealth may give a name to live.
3. The absence of immoral conduct is no sure indication
of life.
4. A sound creed is no indication of a Church’s life,
because it may have been departed from, or a Church may
put the creed in place of the Saviour, or its members may
have gone soundly to sleep upon its sound creed.
II. A sure indication of life is the fruit. “I know thy
works.” The threefold test of a Church’s life is
1. Works of faith.
2. Works of love.
3. The patience of hope.
The patience of hope is the work of hope. “If we hope
for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
This patience is not simply quiet waiting, it is also active
perseverance. Hope is the mainspring of effort, and a
hopeful Church will be a persevering Church, with no such
word as weariness in its vocabulary.
W. M. Taylor, D.D.

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