Title:  Satan’s Tactics – False Peace

Focus:  Sometimes the Devil uses tactics that are subtle.  He may appear to be an ally rather than an enemy.  That is why it is necessary for us to stay alert, be true, and grow spiritually.




2.  Satan’s Tactics often are subtle, as can be seen in the letter to Sardis


I.  The Letter to Sardis (3:1-6)

            A.  Unlike most of the other letters, there was no commendation

                        1.  They had a good “reputation”

                        2.  Probably looked like a vibrant, active church

                        3.  Many of members in Sardis may have been in disbelief over this

                        4.  Some may have even been offended

            B.  Symptoms of the problem

                        1.  Sleepiness – They were told to “wake up”  (1 Thess 5:6-8)

                        2.  Laziness – Deeds were not completed (2 Tim 2:15)

                        3.  Syncretism

                                    a.  Synchronize = Make 2 things alike

                                                - Synchronize watch, tell same time

                                                - If in sync, you are in harmony, in step with

                                    b.  v.4 – Implies they soiled their garments

                                    c.  Jas 1:27; 4:4 – We need to stay unspotted by world

                        4.  Lowered immune system

                                    a.  No mention of persecution

                                    b.  No mention of pressure to conform to paganism

                                    c.  They may have seen it as a blessing

                                    d.  In reality, it was the biggest challenge ever

            C.  ILL:  The church appeared to be a reflection of the city around them

                        1.  Sardis used to be capital of Ancient Kingdom of Lydia 560 B.C.

a.  Original City on top 1500 ft. spur

b.  Only access was a narrow causeway easily defended

                        2.  Cyrus offered reward to anyone who could find a way in

                                    a.  Persian soldier noticed helmet falling down cliff

                                    b.  Later noticed a Sardian soldier appear at bottom to get it

                                    c.  Marked spot, informed Cyrus, army went up by night

                        3.  Caught the city completely by surprise

                        4.  City had grown lax, living in past glory

            D.  When start to grow lax, start making costly mistakes

                        1.  When we grow lax spiritually, we forget we at war

                        2.  May even think there is peace in this world

                        3.  Peace makes syncretism easier


II.  A Picture of Syncretism (Rev. 13:11-18)

            A.  Purpose of this beast, to induce conformity

B.  The second beast in original context

                        1.  Method to ensure loyalty – Emperor worship

                                    a.  Once a year and a temple or bust of Ceasar

                                    b.  Had to say “Ceasar is Lord”

                                    c.  Given a certificate (the mark) (participate in guilds)

                                    d.  Concilia – Enforced emperor worship

                        2.  Rome’s religious policy rather lenient

                        3.  Of course, Christians not do that

                                    a.  Accused of cannibalism – Ate flesh and blood

                                    b.  Accused of orgies – Love feast

                                    c.  Accused of Atheism – Not worship local deities, no image

                                    d.  Social misfits – Not participate in a lot of daily life (pagan)

                        4.  Add to all that the suspicion of treason

                                    a.  Threat to Pax Romana

                                    b.  Therefore everyone hated them

            B.  Do we have beasts and marks being given out today?

                        1.  Gangs – Initiation rites

                                    a.  Involve stealing or some other illegal activity

                                    b.  Go through with it, become one of them = mark

                        2.  Desire to not be misfit at school

                                    a.  Hide Christianity

                                    b.  Swear, curse, pick on the geek, drink at parties

                                    c.  You become accepted = there is your mark

                        3.  On the job

                                    a.  Find you are participating in something unethical

                                    b.  Go along with it, don’t want to make waves

                                    c.  You do it so well, you promoted – you have the mark

            C.   In High School

                        1.  Big party in the country

                        2.  Drinking and drugs

                        3.  Police showed up with bus, arrested loads of people

                        4.  Didn’t matter if you caught red handed, you were there

            D.  That is what happens when receive the mark (14:9-11)

                        1.  You do NOT want the mark

                        2.  Satan is always trying to get you to take the mark

                        3.  Many times may not even be aware of it.  What to do?


III.  The solution (3:1-6)

            A.  Wake up

                        1.  In the morning, pull off covers, light on, revelry to wake up

                        2.  ILL:  When on guard duty, hardest to stay away when all is quiet

                        3.  Even when all is quiet, need to stay alert

            B.  Strengthen what remains

                        1.  Never think “we have arrived”

                        2.  That attitude is what cause Sardis to fall to Cyrus

                        3.  We are always to grow

            C.  Remember and keep what you have received and heard

                        1.  Never lose sight of God’s purposes for the church

                        2.  Forgetting purpose leads to activity with no direction and




1.  Satan sometimes works through those closest to us

2.  We need to recognize when he lurks

3.  Spiritual warfare is not always about just battle, but strategy

4.  Invitation