Summary: God calls us and empowers us to be wide awake workers giving all for His Kingdom.

Sermon: "Living on Tiptoe" Rev. Anderson

Mark 13:32-27 1 Thes. 5:1-11

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The King is Coming! Here again the words of

the coming King: “What I say to you, I say to

everyone: ’Watch!’" (Mark 13:37 NIV)

I’m about to say a word, and I want you to

see if you know what it means. The word is

Somnambulism. Somnambulism... do you know

what it means? -~->

For those of you having difficulty, let me

tell you about Sam-- a somnambulist.

Sam suddenly gets out of his bed, it’s three

o’clock in the morning. Sam’s eyes are wide

open, but he doesn’t record what he sees.

He places on a robe and walks down the stairs

narrowly missing Susie’s skate and a tumble

to the first floor.

Sam unlocks the front door, walks out into

the yard leaving the door unlocked and open.

The automatic watering system splashes him

with water, but he doesn’t notice.

Sam walks down the sidewalk until he reaches

main street. Even at this early hour cars

and trucks are in a frenzy on Main Street.

Sam doesn’t see their lights or hear their

horns as he walks directly out into the

street as cars and truck veer to the side to

avoid hitting him.

Sam walks by a street person--poor and hungry

who begs for a crumb to calm his aching,

empty stomach, but Sam records no sights and

sounds of poverty.

He walks by a church where bells are ringing

the 4:00 hour, but he does not hear the wake-

up call, or heed the warning that time is


Sam’s wife discovers he is gone. She rouses

her children and finds her husband on Main

Street. She pleads with him to come home as

the children cry and pull at the sleeve on

his robe, but he is unaware of their

attention, and their need for his.

Sam is a somnambulist-- a sleepwalker. In

the deepest recesses of sleep, he can walk,

open doors, and move about, but he records

nothing which will benefit him, or benefit

others. As bad as this is, it gets worse...

he endangers his life, and the life of


If you wanted to hire a watch-guard, would

you hire a somnambulist--one who looks awake

but is dead to the world, or would you seek

to enlist someone energetic, vital, posed on

tiptoes-- looking out from the gate?

Jesus is speaking to His disciples as he

prepares to die, rise, and ascend into

heaven. He is the Master of the parable who

leaves the house in the charge of his


He is standing outside of the temple after

telling His disciples something remarkable--

all the stones of the temple will be

displaced and the temple will be destroyed.

The disciples want to know when this will

take place? His answer is profoundly bigger

than their question. He transports them

beyond the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.,

pointing to the destruction of the heavens

and earth.

It’s as if the disciples are asking Jesus

when the tree will shed its leaves, and Jesus

answers by telling them when the tree will

lose its trunk.

They are like frisky children tucked into bed

asking when the lights must be turned out,

and Jesus answers by telling them of the hour

when stars, and suns and moons will plummet

as nature falls into complete darkness.

The disciples show our own dim reflection in

a mirror. We, with them, would play through

the seasons from dusk to dawn forgetting that

a midnight hour comes when time stops,

seasons end, and stars fall.


Stay awake! STAY AWAKE!!! I ask myself and

each of us today, are we awake, or are we

spiritual somnambulists? Are we letting the

significance of life sweep by us unnoticed,

or are we standing on tiptoes, waiting and

working for the King’s return?

As the Lord Jesus begins to share His

parable, he says, in the Greek, “blepo”-- the

act of the eye which sees. It means "Heh!

Look at this! Pay attention!"

But I wonder if after Jesus said "blepo" He

looked at the disciples’ faces and they said

back to Him, ’What are you talking about, we

are awake.’

And so the great I AM says-- with emphasis--


As if to say, “You act as if I am preparing

you for when the lamp runs out of oil, but I

am telling you to prepare for when the

heavens lose their stars!”

“You think of worldly matters and would use

me to keep your lamp in oil. I am telling

you of eternal things-- matters of life and

death-- physical and spiritual.”

To make His point Jesus tells them and us a

parable-- yes us! We are mentioned


He speaks of the master leaving the house to

his servants. Jesus will ascend into heaven

giving over the ministry of saving souls to

His Holy Spirit active within God’s saints.

Each servant is given duties to preform, but

a special command is given to the thurOros--

the "doorkeeper."

Who does the doorkeeper represent? Some say

he represents pastors who are watchers at the

gate. Although the text clearly includes

pastors as among doorkeepers, the meaning is


The master tells the doorkeeper to watch.

Immediately Jesus leaves the parable, looks

at His disciples... looks at you sitting in

the pew and with piercing eyes says, "I say

to all!



This phrase, “Keep Awake” or “Keep Alert,"

has the root meaning of "GET UP!" As Sam’s

wife and children might plead, "Wake up!"

Jesus warns us to "Get up! Arise!"

It was just a little more than a week ago

that I walked along the water’s edge under a

Florida sky and looked up at the stars. I

thought again about how enormous the universe

is. I recalled reading the description of

its size as astronomers have tried to

determine it. It’s vastness is beyond my

mind and your mind.

Yet as great as our universe is, there is a

Power greater. The universe is limited, this

Power is not.

The universe is mindless, this Power is not.

The universe is corrupt, this Power is


The universe will pass away, this Power

endures forever.

The children of the universe–those who live

for thrill of the moment and the excitement

of their carnal appetites; will pass away.

But those who live on tiptoes–lamps filled

and waiting for the King’s return, they will

not pass away, but live forever.

My friends in Christ, spiritual somnambulism

is deadly. Children have been baptized, but

then at the world’s siren call (often because

of worldly parents), they have fallen into

unbelief–doomed to parish when the stars are

extinguished in the heavens and the earth

flashes like a spark to become a cold, dead


" Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

look at the earth beneath; the

heavens will vanish like smoke, the

earth will wear out like a garment

and its inhabitants die like flies.

But my salvation will last forever,

my righteousness will never fail."

(Isaiah 51:6 NIV)

Are you suffering from spiritual

somnambulism? Well, let’s make a few closing

comments which reflect upon this question.

First, the righteousness which does not fail;

that which saves us, comes from God. We are

saved not by our works, but in God’s grace


after this sermon that the Bible suggests

that we must do some good work to be saved.

But secondly, listen to the Holy Spirit

through the Apostle Peter: 11 "Since

everything will be destroyed in this way,

what kind of people ought you to be? You

ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you

look forward to the day of God and speed its

coming. That day will bring about the

destruction of the heavens by fire, and the

elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in

keeping with his promise we are looking

forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the

home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear

friends, since you are looking forward to

this, make every effort to be found spotless,

blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3


"WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD," St. Peter declares.

If I could give you a picture of Christian

stewardship in a snapshot, as it were, it

would be drawn in a Norman Rockwell painting.

I would see your face on a child and all this

child’s earthly belongings would hang from a

bag tied to a stick. I see the child standing

tiptoe at eternities edge holding the

withered, tired, lean hand of all mankind.

Christian discipleship is you, and I, with

childlike hearts, offering all that we have

for saving souls as we await the Coming King

at eternity’s gate.

Let each of us go to our homes today, and

think about new and bigger ways to share in

the privilege of being wide awake and waiting

for Christ the coming King as we serve Him

and humanity with a sacrificial use of time,

talents, and treasures. Amen.