Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wake up Sleeper

Does it seem to you that the end of all we think matters in our life is upon us? I feel it closing in on us and it seems that the whole of humanity is asleep. Am I asleep as well? Am I dreaming that everything is OK and life is just a bowl of cherries? As I eat my cherries am I even looking to see if the cherries I am eating are ripe, sweet, sour or rotten?

And what about the church as a whole? Are we all doing the same thing? Are we in reality of what we are doing and saying? Has the influence of the world and it's deceptive ways crept in to pollute our lives? Are we so caught up in the pleasures of this life that we are blind to what is going on around us?

Jesus warned his disciples to be aware and know how to deal with such a matter. It must have been an issue then as it is today. People really haven't changed in their passions and desires. The things they are most passionate about are those that bring them pleasure and delight. So we find we are not any different in nature, just in the elements we are involved in.

Jesus tells his disciple in Matt 13:25-30, “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but WHILE HIS MEN WERE SLEEPING, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Leonard Ravenhill has a good YouTube presentation about this.

The Apostle Paul gives us the remedy to that life of unawareness and sleep induced unreality in his letter to the Ephesians. They must have had the same difficulties in walking out the Christian life as we do today.

He says: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

 "Wake Up Sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
3034180-poster-p-1-how-circa-ceo-matt-galligan-trained-himself-to-wake-up-at-630-am-without-an-alarm-clLook carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

When I lived in Dallas there was a radio personality that would come on the air and abrasively begins with a bugle call of "Assembly", and the words, "Ya' know what makes me sick?". Then he would begin a couple minute rant about some subject that he believed was "un-American" and crime worthy. After ranting and raving he would end his spiel with the music of "The Washington Post" march playing in the background while he shouted, "WAKE UP AMERICA!".

I remember this because it always reminded me of verse in Ephesians, "Wake up Sleeper". I don't condone Earl Pitts's views or recommend following his show but it is representative of the "WAKE UP" call we all need to hear. We don't like hearing our alarm clock go off every morning telling up to wake up and get out of bed but we do get up, go to work or do whatever it is that we need to do. So why is it so difficult for us to recognize the warnings we see in the Bible? or the words of a prophet? or the exhortations of a brother or sister?

There is a definite time when we do wake up and honestly have to look at what is going on around us. Maybe it's an every day occurrence (it should be) or maybe we have spiritually declined into a slump that just needs a big jolt of energy to bring us into reality. The point is, once we have woken up we need to do something, not just go back to sleep and think everything is going to be OK.

Following Christ as a Christian or better yet, as a Disciple of Christ, requires action on our part. It requires us to actively be involved in the lives of other disciples and other people God brings into our lives. It requires learning to hear God and being aware of our surroundings, looking for where God is and what he is doing, all the time. It's not a job but a love motivated passion for the relationship we have with our loving and passionate Father. We love because He first loved us!

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