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Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.

Jesus has a cleaning service he can

clean you up from your sins he can clean

you up from your Rebellion he can clean

you up for your resistance he can clean

you up from your unrighteousness and let

me tell you about his cleaning service

he does pickups so he will come to where

you are and pick you up and give you the

cleaning so that you can be unspotted

from the



we are studying Overcomers as John the

Apostle writes the seven churches of

Asia as a template for all the churches

that would would come today

we we take a

tour to Sardis Sardis Bible

Fellowship located some 50 miles east of

Smyrna and some 30 Mi Southwest of thy


we come to a place a City built on a an

acropolis on a on a mountain called

Sardis Sardis was the Church of What’s


Now it was the end place to

be it was the the hot location in town

for folk who wanted to go to church if

you wanted to go to

church you went to Sardis Bible

Fellowship cuz that place was

smoking that that place had it going

on in fact he says in verse

one you have a name that you are

alive if we were to ask the folk around

town about your church they would say oh

they know what they doing over there

they got it going on over there oh they

serious over there he says you got a

name meaning you got a reputation yes

your reputation Sardis is

Stella the problem comes in verse one

when he

says but what I say about you is not

what folks say about

you what I say about you is not the same

as the reputation that you have around

the city of

Sardis he says because when I look at

the church I see a bunch of dead folk

walking he says but you are dead

so that means it’s possible to look like


alive dress like you alive Walk Like You

Alive talk like you alive carry your

Bible like you alive dress Sunday

morning like you alive and be

comos he says you are

dead there is no life working with

you now obviously they’re physical

alive they’re still going to

church what does he mean that they are

dead well we find the explanation in his

introduction because he says the angel

to the angel of the church at Sardis wri

to the pastor of the church at Sardis

Wright he who has the seven spirits of

God and the Seven

Stars remember that the number seven

means completeness or fullness or

wholeness in the Bible so when you read

sevens a seven is a number of

completeness God created seven days he

finished his work on the seventh day

it’s it’s God finishing

something when he says the one who holds

the seven spirits he’s referring to the

completeness of the Holy

Spirit Sardis had a program Sardis had

people Sardis had a preacher

sist had some kind of

music but what they didn’t have was

life so you can have a church that that

has no life and the reason it didn’t

have life is that the spirit of God was

missing a program without the spirit is


activity that has no

life the Bible says everybody who’s in

Christ is a new creation

chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians says if you

belong to Christ he’s made you brand new

cuz he’s given you a brand new spirit

that is to infuse the soul and the soul

is to infuse the body he says that you

have a

reputation one of the worst things in

the world is for God to say something

about you that’s different than what

folk are saying folk is saying you got a

name we know who you are we know where

you are the job of the Holy Spirit like

a dimmer switch is to raise the Light of

Christ in our lives in the Old Testament

God the father was the Superstar he’s on

every page in the gospels Jesus God the

son is the Superstar he’s on every page

but once you hit the beginning of the

church in Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit

becomes the Superstar the father sent

the son the son sent the spirit so if

there is no relationship to the Holy

Spirit you won’t experience much of

Jesus and if you don’t experience much

of Jesus you won’t have much of God so

if you want more of God you got to have

more of Jesus if you want more of Jesus

you got to have more of the holy spirit

because without them you don’t get the

full orbed experience of the

godhead so the one who holds the seven

spirits that is the completeness of the

Holy Spirit which is why the Bible says

walk with the spirit be filled with the

spirit and in order to do

that you and I must be operating what’s


spiritually see once you bring a


perspective you no longer are plugged in

once you bring a perspective that the

Holy Spirit does not agree with then now

you’re trying to make your equipment

work on your own and it’s not designed

to work without an outlet and that

outlet is the spirit of God which means

you must operate spirit or what the

Bible calls in 1 Corinthians 2 a

spiritual mind that is you must think

like God thinks and respond like God

wants you to respond in order for the

spirit to get kicked in so that the

parts work because the parts the new

nature only works by that which the

spirit quickens in the life of a

Believer 1 Timothy 35 says you have a

form of

godliness you you got a you you you got

a form of godliness you look in the

part it’s a Christian Halloween

mask where you put on a mask that makes

you look like

Jesus you’ve got a vocabulary that makes

you sound like

Jesus but there is no reality of Jesus

at work he says you’re dead I don’t care

what the people

say you have faked it to make it sorry

this Bible

Fellowship you’re not

authentic you’re not for

real but when Jesus the Risen ascended

Christ comes he says I’m looking for the


thing I’m not looking for fake not

looking for plague

Christianity I come and I’m looking for

the real

thing authenticity full commitment so

that’s his

complaint you got a reputation but


dead verse two wake

up is there an echo in the house wake

up wake up he

says well if he’s telling you to wake up

you sleep

so he’s not talking about folk who

physically dead he talking about they’re

spiritually dead they’re spiritually

asleep wake

up you ever had folk in your house that

don’t want to get

up he tells them in the second line of

verse two he says wake up and strengthen

the things that remain which are about


die the things that remain

here’s our problem the problem at Sardis

Bible Fellowship with the church and

with many of its members not all as

you’ll see but with many of them is they

had become spiritually

asleep so they got started but wouldn’t

keep going the things that remain they

began following Christ but then they got

used to it they began serving the lord

but then they

quit so they were not

continuing to build on the

faith they were getting so comfortable

being a

Christian that there was

no aggressiveness to

complete what it meant to fully follow

Christ you see you can get used to being

saved you can get be used to being

forgiven when you first get saved all

your sins for given you’re on your way

to heaven and you’re excited to be with

the Lord to spend time with the Lord to

read his word to pray to witness for the

Lord but after a while you can get used


it and so you can get sleepy and I don’t

want to be fully

committed Jesus Christ paid full price

on the

cross his words on Calvary was it is

finished the Greek phrase tasi means

means paid in full he paid a full price

but he didn’t pay it for half a

Christian he didn’t pay it for half a

commitment he didn’t pay it for half of

dedication he says whether you eat or

drink or whatever you do do all to the

glory of God I paid a full price for a

full commitment what are you doing

giving me half a

Christian he says give me the things


remain yeah I know you go to church and

I know you know you say grace and I know

you do that but I I I paid for a little

bit more than

that I paid for your Eternal Destiny in

heaven and for you to follow me as a

disciple of Christ on earth that is what

I paid for give me give me what I paid

for he says that’s not what you’re

doing you’re not plugged into the spirit

and that lack of commitment is keeping

the spirit from operating in your midst

he says for I have not found your Deeds

verse two to be completed in the sight

of my God you you you don’t finish you

you make a commitment to me but you

don’t complete it you don’t follow it

through no I want all of you y and so he

tells them to do three things in verse

three he says remember what you have

received heard and keep it and

repent he said

remember remember what remember what you


heard he’s referring to the Bible

teaching they had gotten from the

apostles what you had heard they had

learned some things that they were not

applying they had had enough Bible to

know how to do something that they


doing remember the things you have

heard because the spirit responds to the

word kept not just the word word heard

known amened appreciated valued and when

I or you or we collectively as a

church don’t do that we just become a

church of a

reputation without a

reality because the spirit is not

moving and then he says

repent repent of what repent means to

turn turn from what you’re not doing

that the word word says to do and start


it because that’s the order because

remember the spirit’s like a dove he

real sensitive that’s why the Bible says

grieve not the holy spirit because

he’ll Fly Away real quick when he’s not

comfortable in the


so he tells them to remember to obey and


repent because if you don’t he

says you don’t know the hour that I will

come to you like a

thief to let you know how serious this

is if you gonna stay comos I might as

well pull the plug yeah if you’re gonna

stay comos you’re gonna stay dead then I

have just have toci because you know

when people pull the plug on somebody

the person who the plug is being pulled

on doesn’t know it don’t even know cuz

they cuz they in a sleep state they’re

in a com state so somebody’s going to

come at a time they know not and pull


plug because he can’t he can’t use you

he can’t do anything with you because

you’re useless

because he is not the focus the meaning


drive he says but there are a few people


Sardis verse

four there are a few people who have not

soiled their


H there are a few folk there who I can


use he says I’ve got a few folk in

Sardis who’ve not sold their garments so

let me tell you why he’s bringing up

clothes garments you see Sardis was a

garment district it made clothes that’s

what it was known for so he uses what

they did as a city to describe these

faithful people in the church now you

know what it is to soore your garment it

means to get dirt on your clothes you

know we’ve D we’ve dropped grease or or

or drippings or barbecue or ketchup or

whatever it was on our we’ soiled our

garment he said there are a few people

who have not soiled their garment now

what does he

mean James 1 127

says that we are to keep ourselves

unspotted from the

world unspotted from the

world that means to be soil to be to put

spots on your

clothes so here’s the problem with

Sardis and the problem with so many

Christians and Christian churches


worldliness okay let me put it another

way trying to accommodate the culture

compromise with the culture rather than

commitment to Christ within the culture

am amen we want to be so acceptable for

the non-Christian world will compromise

our Christian values so they will like

us that’s why you don’t read about any

persecution in Sardis you don’t read

about anybody coming against them in

Sardis cuz everybody was applauding

Sardis even the Pagan un Christians why

because the Christians were so

secularized so culturized wanting to be


popular that their commitment was

missing so they would just do


see you can do enough just to make folk

think you love

Jesus let me Define worldliness again


means it is that system headed by Satan

that leaves God out that’s

worldliness when you have to push God to

the sideline cuz you don’t want to

offend anybody when you have to push

Jesus Christ to the sideline because

what they gonna think about you how they

gonna feel about you whether they gonna

like you whether they’re going to accept

you whether they going to date you

whether they g whatever you that it is

if you have to push Jesus to the

sideline in any category you just became

worldly if you got to hide the

fact Jesus says If you deny me before

men I will deny you before my father if

you confess me before men I will confess

you before my father not not I believe

in God that’s vague and generic no I am

a follower of Jesus

Christ like Paul said I am not ashamed

of the Gospel it is the power of God and

to Salvation to everyone who believes

starting with the Jew and going to the

Greek this is not time this is not time

for we Christians you know

why cuz you with the way the culture is

going now you can’t hide no more see

there used to be a time when Christians

could hide cuz everybody was religious

and everybody kind of respected the

Christian faith and everybody kind of uh

went to church but now you can’t hide

anymore cuz your kids in public school

are going to confront things that you

didn’t have to confront they things

coming across social media that you

didn’t have to use to deal with that

there they their viewpoints out there in

the public now that that would they’ll

knock you back on your heels so now the

culture is going to force you to put up

or shut

up he says but there are some at

arst who is not acquest to the culture

and don’t get me wrong I’m not talking

about being foolish I’m not talking

about being irresponsible I’m not

talking about being mean or

mean-spirited no but I am talking about


clear being clear about Jesus

Christ because that’s what gets the

spirit’s attention because the holy

spirit says I’ve come to glorify the

son and so look at what he says he’s

going to do for the

Overcomer he ends verse four by saying

and they will walk with me in white for

they are worthy he who overcomes will

thus be clothed in white garments so he

uses the word white

twice what’s what’s this white thing I’m

going to get white cloes cuz you back to

the clothes thing cuz they’re in Sardis

that makes

clothes okay let me give you another

word to help you out with white

garments tuxedo and a

gown okay white garments was Formal Wear

to special

occasions that’s what white garments

were so if I would put it in everyday

contemporary language he says to the one

who overcomes overcomes complacency and

gives me full commitment I will dress up

him up in a tuxedo and her up in a gown

why cuz only those people will be

invited to my Formal

Affairs remember what I explained when

we did our 40th anniversary event down

at the Omni one of the requirements was

tuxedo and gown okay it was our 40th we

were doing Special okay there are a lot

of people in the hotel but we were the

only ones walking around there with

Tuxedos and a gown because we were in

the ballroom for a speci event all those

other folk in the hotel they couldn’t

come to that event one they w’t invited

and number two they wouldn’t have been

dressed appropriate to the event God

says for those people who are willing to

be fully committed to

me who get this thing straight finish

what they remain full commitment not

play Church fully identified with

me when we meet he going to walk with me

he not going to just be in the

neighborhood he going to walk with me

with his tu

with her gown cuzz they will be the ones

invited to the Formal Affairs because

they were an overcomer and then he

throws an interesting phrase in verse

five and I will not erase his name out

of the book of

life now that poses a little problem

doesn’t it what does he mean he will not

erase the name first of all I thought we

believe eternal security that you

couldn’t lose your salvation yeah that’s

what the Bible teaches once saved you’re

saved forever okay but he says you’re

going to erase your name out of the book

of life isn’t The Book of Life where

saved people’s names are registered yeah

the Book of Life is where save people’s

names are registered but he says I’m

going to erase your name out of the book

of life so doesn’t that sound like I’mma

lose my salvation if I’m not an

overcomer well it sounds like it but

that can’t be true because that that

would be a contradiction of Eternal

salvation so what does it mean so let me

give you one rule of Bible study one

rule of Bible study is when you see a

phrase or a word that doesn’t makes

sense see if the phrase or word is used

in the same context if the phrase or

word is used in the same context see how

it was used previously to determine what

it means now if you go back to verse one

you see the word name in verse one what

did he mean by name in verse one you

have a name but you are dead well he

means reputation in verse one he’s

talking about you have a reputation with

no reality so when he uses the word name

he’s talking about their identity or

their reputation so when he says I will

not erase your name out of the book of

life he doesn’t mean they going to lose

their salvation he means they’re not

going to lose their identity and

reputation it means that they will be

recognized eternally for their

commitment in history why does that

matter let me tell you why because

nobody may know your name now nobody may

be appreciating you for what you’ve done

now nobody may be calling you up front

and giving you a plaque now but Jesus

says if you are an overcomer and you are

committed to me I will not forget your

name watch this and I will not let

anybody else forget your name because I

will advertize your name ongoingly it

will never be erased you’ll be invited

to every event every affair because you

will be in that special class of

Overcomers look if Beyonce came in

church right now service would be half

over I know service would be half over

if Beyonce came in here or somebody of

her caliber in entertainment or Sports I

know what would happen people would

pretend that they’re listening to me

people would pretend that they’re paying

attention to me but really what they

would try to do is catch a glance so you

sitting here she or somebody of notice

sitting there

you any opportunity you could get a

glance you try to get a glance then

other folk would be looking at their

smartphone pretending that they reading

their Bible verses when actually click

click click click click click they

taking a picture you know why because

somebody of notoriety has walked through

the door that has captured your

undivided attention he says to the

Overcomers who are committed to me when

you strut out in your tuxedo and gown

and you cross over Gold Street and

silver Boulevard everybody’s going to

know oh that’s Ruth oh that’s Betty oh

that’s butch or that’s Ralph oh that’s

one of those overcoming folk cuz look at

how they are dress God is going to

recognize in perpetuity those who are

committed even through difficulty and

even though you didn’t get the

registration or recognition that others

got on Earth and so he concludes and he

says in verse six I will confess his

name before my father and before his

angels and he going to advertise you you

going to be a billboard so here’s the

question we got to ask in

closing do you want to be a

mortuary where dead folk

live do you want to be a

melim which is a monument to where dead

folk hang out or do you want to be a

Ministry that God can

use to bring glor glory to him good to

you and benefit to others do you want to

give him the whole deal so that he can

work all the good that he has in your

life well you say but wait a minute my

garment’s already

soiled I’ve already I’ve already gotten


up well I I’ll close with

this I know a

cleaners I know a

cleaners last time I checked the job of

cleaners is to clean up soil clothes

when clothes get soiled you take them to

the cleaners so that they can laundry

them or they can wash them so that they

can give you back something zestfully

clean you take it to the cleaning so

they can fix up what you’ve messed up I

know a fountain filled with blood drawn

from Emmanuel’s vein and sinners plunge

beneath the flood lose all their guilty

stain so I’ve got some good news that if

you’ve got a little dirt on you Jesus

has a cleaning service he can clean you

up from your sins he can clean you up

from your Rebellion he can clean you up

for your resistance he can clean you up

from your iniquity he can clean you up

from your unrighteousness cuz he’s got a

cleaning service and let me tell you

about his cleaning service he does

pickups so he will come to where you are

and pick you up and give you the

cleaning so that you can be unspotted

from the