To the church of Sardis in Revelation 3, Jesus said: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead!”
They had given themselves this name that they were living up to and declaring about themselves that they “live”, or were in right standing with Christ in the requirements of His salvation, but in reality they were dead, or apart from Christ and unaware.
They see themselves as living. They see themselves as actually living in God’s kingdom, functioning in a way that ‘they believe’ God would want them to. But Jesus brings clarity and correction to this church in these passages. Correction is of God. Without correction there is no true love.
They were compromising to the culture, embracing the aspects of the culture that had allowed them to gain in numbers of those who participate in their church. There are many churches today who are full of dependents who will not be saved, who have not been born again, and who have not submitted themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Their lives show no fruit of being set apart from the world. They put everything above him and before him.
Church success is not based on numbers if the numbers are not true converts who hunger to sit at His feet and learn. And Jesus has made clear in the writings to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 that compromise will end in destruction and Hell. Taking up our cross daily and following Him is the polar opposite of compromise. It is amazing how so many today are preaching a false salvation where our works earn no merit. But Jesus’ gospel says, “I know your works……you have this right, but I’m not pleased with how YOU ARE DOING, (OR NOT DOING) this or that. Either repent and fix it OR ELSE I will remove My Spirit from your midst!”