OPEN: How many of you have ever fallen asleep in Church?
(Wait for a show of hands)
Most people have – at least once.
ILLUS: In the days of the Pilgrims, churches had a person they called a “tything man”. His job was to keep people awake during the sermons (usually 2 to 3 hours in length) by using a long pole tipped with a brass knocker at one end to rap the sleeping men, and the other end was tipped with a rabbit’s foot or feather for the women. (http://stjohnsgreensboro.com/user_files/110522Bulletin.pdf)
People have fallen asleep in church for ages.
(We used a graphic of “Mr. Bean” falling asleep in church).
Sometimes they fall asleep because…
· They got up too early
· Or they’ve been up too late the night before
· Or the sermon’s boring
· Or because they’ve worked hard all week and they just can’t help themselves
BUT then there are other times, when people fall asleep but have their eyes “wide Open”…
ILLUS: Years ago (when I was younger) I remember being in love with a special girl. She occupied my thoughts all the time - even when I was at church. One day, at church, during the sermon. I began thinking about her, and how much I loved her…and I reached over and squeezed her knee (right there in church).
Only problem was, she wasn’t seated beside me at the time.
I was in the tenor section of the choir at the time… seated next to best friend Doug.
It took a long time to explain to him why I had done what I’d done.
Literally, I was asleep in church even while I was awake.
My mind was on other things.
And I needed to be woke up
APPLY: If you fall asleep in church once in awhile, you shouldn’t feel too bad. Even the Apostle Peter fell asleep “in church” a couple of times.
In Luke 9, we’re told that when Jesus took Peter James and John up on Mountain of Transfiguration. While Jesus was praying Moses and Elijah appeared with Him… but
“…Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep” Luke 9:32 (ESV)
Peter was falling asleep!
Then in Luke 22:45 we’re told that Peter fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus “…rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep.” And this happened, not once, not twice, but three times!
Peter did worse than fall asleep in church.
He fell asleep on Jesus.
But even worse than that, Peter often was asleep “in church” even when his eyes wide open. He was there with Jesus – he was listening to the preacher - but his mind was on other things. And he needed to be woken up.
In Matthew 16, for example, Jesus was teaching Peter and the other Apostles about His death, burial and resurrection. But somewhere along the line Peter fell asleep to what Jesus was saying:
"Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Matthew 16:22
His mind was elsewhere
He was asleep to what Jesus was saying
And so Jesus WOKE him up:
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Matthew 16:23
Now in our text this morning, we find that Peter has done it again.