Check Your Pulse
One of the first things the first responder is taught is how to take the pulse of a victim of an accident and the importance of so doing. Perhaps there are multiple victims and some do not have a pulse. What to do? The obvious answer is that those without a pulse are likely dead and do not need medical attention while those who do have a pulse can possibly be relieved of their pain, suffering and discomfort.
This is perhaps the intent behind the letter to the church at Sardis in Rev 3:1. Here the Lord warns against becoming a “dead” congregation. 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. This is indicative of the fact that churches (congregations) can and sadly do, sometimes die. What if the Lord was to “take the pulse” of the congregation where you worship? Would He provide the same warning we find to Sardis in Rev 3:2? Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
We know that these letters found in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation are to the seven churches in Asia Minor and are specific to them in the events that were unfolding in the destruction of Jerusalem. This would remove Judaism as a major deterrent to the spreading of the gospel, and foretold that the persecution which the church would suffer at the hands of Roman leaders would be great, but from which the church would emerge victorious. Sadly, during this time some churches (congregations) died.
But God is good! He has provided for us the remedy if our pulse is weak and we begin to falter. This too is found alongside the warning Sardis received. Revelation 3:3 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.
There is also a situation in which one is passing from this life, and barely has a pulse and therefore could be described as “good as dead”. This is an appropriate description of Sardis as in Rev 3:4 there were only a “few names” among them that were worthy. This verse and the one following also explains that only the “worthy” or faithful are those who will not have their names blotted out of the book of life. Rev 3:4-5 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.5 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.
Because congregations consist of individuals, the “pulse” of a congregation is dependent upon the individuals that make up the congregation. If the congregation has a “weak pulse” it is because the members do. Take your spiritual pulse. One cannot do that by placing a couple of fingers alongside the neck or on the veins of the wrist. It can only be checked with the “pulse monitor” the Lord provided; His Holy Word. Remember what Sardis was told so that their “spiritual pulse” could be strong. These Words apply to all Christians. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. Rev 3:3 Those who are not Christians (have not obeyed the gospel), do not have a spiritual pulse. 1Cor 15:22 helps us see that only those “in Christ” are alive. That means one must be in Christ to have a spiritual pulse. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Check your spiritual pulse.