Summary: A sermon examining the danger of spiritual negligence.
Awake From Your Slumber!!
(The Peril Of Spiritual Negligence)
Almost 20 years ago, as a 13 year old boy our family moved from my childhood home. When my parents sold that house it had been completely renovated. It was like new. The kitchen and bathroom had been remodeled. The bedrooms and family room each had been painted, new carpet was installed. There was a new roof, and new siding on the exterior. Today that house is in a state of disrepair. The siding is falling off, the roof is caving in, the windows are broken out, the floors are rotten, the walls have holes in them. and the electrical and plumbing supplies have been stolen. All that remains is a shell of what once was a nice home. The most confusing part of this is that it didn't take 20 years for this to happen. It happened rather quickly.
Neglect quickly leads to decay and destruction. If you neglect your physical health problems arise. The same is true concerning your spiritual health.
We all know people who were once "spiritual giants". They were soul winners, prayer warriors, faithful servants, church leaders, load bearers and burden sharers. They were people of the Word. They were faithful to the church and the ministry. But somewhere along the way they began to neglect the things of God. And like the old home place they are now mere shells of what they once were.
Maybe you would be honest enough to admit that you are not where you once were spiritually. Your passion and zeal has been replaced with complacency and apathy. The fact is, that this is a far too common problem in the modern church. The problem is described as "spiritual neglect". I would like to look at Proverbs 24:30-34 and preach a message titled "Awake From Your Slumber", an alternate title could be "The Peril Of Spiritual Negligence".
In these verses Solomon recounts a time where he journeyed past a local field and vineyard. Though he was the wisest man who ever lived, anyone could see that there was something amiss. The field was grown over with thorns and nettles. The wall that once protected this estate was now broken down. In those days agriculture was a very honorable profession. Farmers and vineyard husbandmen were well respected. But the owner of this land earned no respect from Solomon. In fact, Solomon calls him slothful, lazy and lacking sense. He calls out the obvious neglect and proclaims the results of such slothfulness. He says that poverty is imminent for the man who had abandoned his duty.
I am afraid that there are many of our brethren who are headed towards spiritual poverty. Even worse, some of them are already there! Look with me to verses 30-31 and we will see:
I. The Crisis Of Spiritual Neglect -v30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
If the owner of this property refused to give proper attention to issue at hand, it would only get worse. If you refuse to address the spiritual crisis in your life, things will only get worse. If you would honestly appraise your spiritual condition you will see that you have become slothful concerning the things of God. Your spiritual life is withering away. Your heart is as hard as the fallow ground. You are indifferent toward the things of God. You are backslidden. Like the church at Ephesus you have "left your first love". You are in the midst of a spiritual CRISIS!!
A. The Duration Of This Crisis - The field that Solomon mentioned was not consumed with weeds and nettles overnight. The vineyard was not overgrown in just a few days. The wall did not decay in a short period of time. An extended period of neglect caused all of these issues.
If you find yourself away from God, chances are things have gone unaddressed for some time. You began to stray and step by step you walked further and further away from the Lord. The crisis of spiritual neglect begins when we take our eyes off of the Savior. This followed by apathy and complacency concerning the things of God. The natural result of this is returning to the things of this world.
David Wilkerson said - The river of neglect slowly carries you farther and farther away from the Lord. And the farther downstream you go, the swifter and more dangerous that river becomes! You don't know it, but there are raging falls ahead - a place where there are forces beyond your control, a place of no turning back, (a place) of shipwreck!