It is indeed fascinating that the so called "Sardis Church" aka The Church of God 7th Day, has more than 250k members, who meet in unity, peace and harmony, whereas the Philadelphian era COGs , with supposed "brotherly love" have as a combined total, no more than 25k persons between them all, and who are at each others throats with splits, controversy and chicanery. Hierarchical church government, with centralized control, centralized money gathering, and unelected ministry and leadership is the main reason for the disparity IMHO. ht:ConnieThe Church of God has a rich history of maligning other Church of God movements, particularly those that Herbert Armstrong stabbed in the back decades ago. They were labelled as Sardis churches. One of the more self-righteous splinter groups has this to say about Sardis:
If we consider only the Church of God, Seventh Day that Herbert Armstrong affiliated with, nothing in its name or reputation indicates life. Herbert Armstrong saw it had most of the basic doctrines correct, but judged the organization as not really doing a work. Hence, he called it dead, not alive. Perhaps it did have a Sardis approach, but since neither its official name nor reputation indicates life, we must look elsewhere for a larger fulfillment of Christ's words.Somewhere within the church of God are people who—either by name or reputation—appear to be living, yet whom God judges essentially spiritually dead, save a few names. How easy it is to deceive ourselves about our true standing with God!
God first addresses their "works." While they may still have the truth, their dead works indicate a lack of living faith. This indicates a people who perceive themselves to be alive, but who apparently are basically standing still, spiritually catatonic and comatose. They may exist as stones in the Temple, but not as "living stones." Perhaps this is why Christ says "not one stone will be left upon another"! Church of the Great GodLiving Church of God has to get in on the act too:
In contrast to the other churches on the mail route, Philadelphia was not a wealthy, sophisticated or influential city. Located on an easily defended hill beside a major highway, it functioned as an outpost for spreading Greek and Roman culture (and later Christianity) to the surrounding region. The city was destroyed several times by earthquakes, but each time was rebuilt. It still exists today. Its name means "brotherly love." The Philadelphia era appears to have begun in the 1930s—about the time radio became popular and just before the age of television. In the last 75 years, the Church of God has used mass media to reach millions of people—proclaiming the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God, and warning the world to watch for the signs of the end of this age and the return of Jesus Christ. This was the mission Jesus gave to His Church (Matthew 4:23; 10:6–7). This message was to be prominent at the end of the age (Matthew 24:14). Understanding the identity of modern Israelite nations—a key to understanding Bible prophecy—was restored to the Church of God during the modern Philadelphia era.
God promised to provide the Philadelphia era with an open door—a door no man could shut—for preaching the Gospel. God commends this small church for its persistence in fulfilling its mission, and for holding on, without compromise, to His precious Truth (Revelation 3:7–8). For faithfully doing a Work and holding onto the Truth, not just attending a church of their choice, Philadelphian Christians are promised protection from the coming Tribulation (Revelation 3:10). The lesson of Philadelphia is simple: Remain faithful to Truth—do the work of preaching the Gospel, love the brethren and let no one take your crown. We cannot afford to "drop the ball" at this vital moment of history! Our salvation and our reward are at stake if we do! Living Church of GodUCG has this to say, which they surprisingly do not realize is an exact description of their very own church! COG7 is growing a vibrant and UCG is stagnate and starting to putrefy.
The people in a dying church begin to imitate society around them so much that they look just like them, the society around them. If you were to have gone to Sardis they would not have been worshipping Zeus. I am not saying that. But it wouldn’t have been that much different in terms of personal conduct than some of the pagans around them. I am saying that these people would have promoted adultery but they would have accepted adultery. They would not have promoted idolatry. But they wouldn’t have really been against it, either. They exist and they have a name and they appear to be a live church. But they are really not. And so what happens is that they simply begin to decay. Remember, it is a decaying city, a decaying church. Everything inside is stuck somehow. There is no growth. There is no vibrancy. They get together every Sabbath and they hear the same sermon they have heard for years. And they say the same things to each other that they have said for years and they sit down and have the same pot luck that they have had for years and then they say good bye and they all go home and live the same way they have. In this sort of dead emptiness for maybe years. Somewhere along the way, you remember, he says you are ready to die. You are a decaying place.
You want to know some of the problems that the Roman church had. Well, let’s see. Revelry and drunkenness. Partying spirits. Lewdness and lust. Sexual sins. Strife and Envy. Some of the problem that they had was drunkenness, sexual problems, strife between members, and people being envious. Yeah, sort of like church today. And some of the same problems. “ You know what he was telling these people? They weren’t dead. The church at Rome had problems but it wasn’t dead. It was a live church. What he tells them to do is strengthen what you have. The problem with looking like the world is that you forget to strengthen what God has given you. When you start looking like the world start doing what God says to do. Strengthen what you have.
So, a dying church is not aware of Christ’s return, they are not preparing for Christ’s return. So, watch. I dying church is sliding into the world. So, what do you do? Well, just what Christ told them to do. You strengthen what you do have. Take what you do have and work off of that. Work off of what you have.Decades ago when Herbert Armstrong and others smeared the COG7, it all sounded logical and accurate to us. Then the one true church imploded and fractured into hundreds and hundreds of irrelevant little groups who are next to dead, while the COG7 grows and is alive and vibrant preaching the gospel.