Beware the Sardis Syndrome (3 Sep 2017)

Recently, our government initiated actions to build more inter-generational facilities. One such project is the shared playground where the old and young can mingle and where socio-emotional learning can take place.

The Bible talks about the church as the body of Christ with the living Lord Jesus Christ as the Head. Hence, the body of Christ is viewed as a living organism  where all parts work together in an interdependent way, edifying one another and building up the body.

The Word of God also warns about the ‘Sardis syndrome’ spoken in Revelations 3:1-3 (Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you).

Renowned pastor Ray Stedman happened to have adopted “ To know Christ and to make Him known”, as his church mission statement. In his first message to the newly started congregation, he spoke from Ephesians 4:11-16 in a little room to a group of about 90 men, women and children. (And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.)

The people listened and took to heart the message of God. They were bonded together spiritually for Bible Study, fellowship and prayer. The nucleus of believers grew into outreach home Bible study and from a small number, it grew to a large congregation.

What can you and I do to heed the word of God in our responsibility in contributing to body life in the church as spoken in Ephesians?  Can we do more to play a part in keeping the body alive and growing?

I would like to focus on one important aspect of body life : that of inter-generational socio-emotional interaction and learning. How can this be improved and cultivated? One important first step would be to make less of the so called generation gap. This perception and thinking causes people to stay away from others from a different generation. The result is segregation in the body as a result of lessen interaction across generations. In fact, God gave His wisdom on this in 1 Tim 5:1-2 and Titus 2:2-6.

Therefore, let us reach out and foster more inter-generational interaction and involvements so we can learn and grow together as a community of believers, pleasing the Lord and honouring His instructions.


Elder Andrew Lim