I. THE DEADNESS OF SARDIS
A. To Be Conquered in the Body Life
The first enemy is the deadness of Sardis (Rev. 3:1-2). This enemy is conquered in the Body life (Rom. 12:3-10). If you are not living in the Body, you are through. You cannot conquer deadness. Today’s Christians are dead because they do not live in the Body.
1. Presenting Our Bodies as a Living Sacrifice to God
Romans 12:1 says that we need to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. Our body includes our entire person. Our spirit and our soul are within our body, so if our body is presented to the Lord, our entire being is presented to Him. We may say that we have already offered ourselves to the Lord, but we need to repeat our consecration every day and even many times throughout the day. This may be likened to eating. We cannot say that we do not need to eat today because we have eaten yesterday. We have to eat three meals a day every day in order to stay healthy. Consecration also is not a once for all matter. It should be something continuous, without ceasing. Every day and every moment in everything, we need to stand on the ground of consecration.
2. Being Transformed from the Fashion of This Age by the Renewing of Our Mind
We also need to be transformed from the fashion of this age by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2). To offer our bodies to the Lord is to deal with ourselves. To be transformed by the renewing of the mind is to deal with this age, the practical world in front of us. We need to deal with ourselves, and we need to deal with our relationship with and concept concerning the practical world, which is today’s age. We are deadened because we do not present ourselves to the Lord and because we secretly follow this age. To present our body is to give ourselves to the Lord without any reservation. We should not keep any part of ourselves for ourselves. We must give ourselves to the Lord absolutely. Also, we should not secretly follow this age.
The age in front of us is very subtle. I have seen some of the saints unconsciously become deceived by the age to follow it. We cannot conquer deadness if we follow this age even partially. The age is not hidden, but our following of it is hidden. We may still have a pretense that we love the Lord to the uttermost, but actually there is an undercurrent within us to follow the age, to love the world. If we are being secretly fashioned according to this age, how can we be living in the Lord? In the United States today there are two very negative things: sin and the age. These two things are deadening the Christians in this country. Our mind needs to be renewed so that we will not be fashioned according to this age.
II. THE LUKEWARMNESS OF LAODICEA
A. To Be Conquered by the Seeking of the Riches of Christ
We also need to conquer the lukewarmness of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-16). We can do this by seeking the riches of Christ (Rev. 3:17-18, 20). We may be enjoying Christ to a certain extent, but we need to enjoy Him in a deeper, higher, broader, and richer way. We should tell the Lord that we want to have new experiences of Him. Some among us may be enjoying Christ in the same way that they did ten years ago. This means that they have become lukewarm and are self-contented.
1. Not Being Slothful in Zeal
Romans 12:11a says that we should not be slothful in zeal.
2. Being Burning in Spirit, Serving the Lord
Romans 12:11b says that we need to be burning in spirit, serving the Lord. We must seek the riches of Christ continuously. We should not be slothful, but we should be burning in our spirit. Then the lukewarmness will be swallowed up by the burning in our spirit.
(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)