Summary: The great need of the hour is for there to be an awakening to revival and spiritual desire.


TEXT: Romans 13:11-12

Romans 13:11-12 KJV And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.


-This is one of the exhortations of Paul as he starts to conclude the Roman letter. In fact, we can assert that this is one of the things that is attached to Romans 12:1-2 when he pleads with the Roman church not to let themselves be conformed to the world.

-There are matters that Paul realized that would help the saint of the Lord not to allow himself to go to sleep in a spiritual sense:

• Present your bodies as a living sacrifice

• Don’t be conformed to this world

• Renew your mind

• Discern the will of God

• Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to

• Think soberly

• Serve

• Teach

• Exhort

• Give

• Lead

• Let love be genuine

• Abhor what is evil

• Hold to the good

• Show brotherly love

• Show honor to others

• Don’t be slothful

• Be fervent in your spirit

• Rejoice

• Be patient

• Pray

• Give to those in need

• Bless and don’t curse

• Weep with those who weep

• Don’t be wise in your own sight

• Don’t repay evil with evil

• Give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of others

• Live peaceably

• Be kind to your enemies

• Be subject to governing authorities

• Owe no man anything

-All of these are the words of Paul as he leads up to his words that it is high time for all men to come out of their state of sleep.

-We often discover that we can be asleep with our eyes wide open. There is a sleep that comes to the soul without many ever even realizing it took place. You can go to sleep on life. In fact, there are thousand and one different ways to medicate yourself so that you go to sleep on the potential of life:

• Mindless entertainment

• Soul-numbing materialism

• Pursuing worldly success

• Withdrawing into depression

• Nursing a grudge

• Holding on to some bitterness of the past

-There were some sleepers in the Bible that went to sleep at the most inopportune time and because they went to sleep, they missed out.

• Jacob—When he woke up, he realized he had missed God. (Genesis 28:16)

• Samson—Lost his strength while he was sleeping. (Judges 16:20)

• Jonah—Slept through a storm that nearly sank the ship he was running from God on. (Jonah 1:6)

• Peter, James, and John—Slept in Gethsemane when the Lord needed them the most. (Matt. 26:45; Mark 14:41)

-More often than not we can find ourselves sleeping through life and we miss opportunities that literally could change the whole direction for us.


-One of the most powerful examples of an awakening comes to us one of the most famous parables the Lord ever told. It is in Luke 15 where Jesus related the parable of the prodigal son. For the most part, there are really only three main characters in that parable and a few minor ones.

-If you have been around the church for any length of time, you know the story. It is about a young man who is a fool who wants all that he has coming to him before his father dies. The father concedes and gives the young man the money and he takes off to the far country where he can spend the money in riotous living.

-He spends himself silly until everything is gone. . . then he finds himself in a hog-pen.

Luke 15:15-16 KJV And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. [16] And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

-That is where the awakening really starts.

Luke 15:17 KJV And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

A. Awakenings Don’t Come Very Often

-There are some observations that we can make about what took place in this young man’s life. One thing about awakenings is that they do not come very often. In fact, you will discover according to Scripture that this is the only awakening that ever came to him.

-There are times that the Lord and life will come to us in an effort to awaken us to the deeper things and the deeper destinies that are within us. Don’t waste those opportunities when the Lord is trying to hike you forward to something greater than you can even believe could be true!

-Don’t miss the awakening in life and be careful that you don’t try to destroy the vehicle the awakening came on. Awakenings don’t come very often. . .

• Abraham only one opportunity to offer Isaac.

• Rahab only had one opportunity to hang a scarlet thread out the window.

• David only had one opportunity to kill Goliath.

• Elijah only faced the showdown at Carmel once.

• Paul only had one Damascus Road experience.

• Jesus only had one cross to endure.

• The prodigal son only had one hog-pen he had to live through.

-More often than not, most men can look back at their lives and realize that there was one trial, one dilemma, one hurdle. . . they had to overcome. Certainly there were other trials they had to get through but there was only one hog-pen for them to have an awakening in.

-Sadly, there have been a lot of prodigals who decided to make the best of their hog-pens and they are still there today. We cannot afford to do that!

B. Awakenings Usually Take Place In Miserable Settings

-I also make this observation about awakenings. . . They usually take place in very miserable settings. It is usually in our pain, our loss, our mistake, and our weakness that the awakening will take place.

-Rarely will it be a place of prosperity that an awakening can take place. It is usually when you are backed up by adversity that seems to be choking the life out of you that you will prevail. When men find themselves backed into corners that only failure could have pushed them into, in those moments an awakening is on the way.

-Miserable places have put more men into awakenings that anything else on this planet. There are times that God uses the miserable places and miserable conditions and miserable situations to awaken something deep down on the inside that has been sleeping for far too long!

When Colonel Harlan Sanders left home with his pressure cooker and his special recipe for cooking Southern fried chicken, he received over 300 rejections before he found someone to believe in his dream. Because he dealt with that adversity, there are now more than 11,000 restaurants in 80 countries around the world.

-More times than not, we waste so much energy fighting to remove the miserable setting than waking up in the miserable setting. . . He came to himself in the hog-pen. . .

• You can come to yourself in a dead-end job.

• You can come to yourself when you feel like life has you by the throat.

• You can come to yourself when you feel like all of your money has evaporated.

• You can come to yourself when you start trying to improve yourself instead of criticize your miserable setting.

• You can come to yourself in the middle of marital strife.

• You can come to yourself!

C. Awakenings Cause You to Know Yourself

-They don’t come very often but when they do come. . . When he came to himself. . . He suddenly discovered his identity. I am my father’s son! I am better than a hired servant!

-The prodigal son could have very easily let his surroundings wipe out all of the potential.

• He could have let the mud that had gotten him dirty cause him to keep sitting there.

• He could have let the grunts and squeals of the hogs drown out the voice calling deep within.

• He could have allowed the misery of his past mistakes and choices to stop where he needed to go.

• He could have gave in to the mindset that said ‘it is more comfortable to sit in the mire than to do the hard work I need to do back home.’

• He could have just gave up!

-But awakenings like this cause us to see ourselves for who we really are and most of the time it takes a hog pen for that to happen.

One of the most incredible stories you will ever hear is about Ludwig Beethoven and the Heilegenstadt Testament. It was written on October 6, 1802 but would not be found until almost 25 years later after his death. In that letter to his brothers Carl and Johann, he wrote about the despair he was facing over going deaf. He had originally left it as a suicide letter because he was so distressed about what was happening to him at that moment not only going deaf but losing the young woman whom he wanted to marry. He wrote:

"But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible)."

To that point he had only written two symphonies and while they are good, it was after that lowest moment in his life, that he sat down at the piano and despite the fact that he was deaf, he would place his head on the top of the piano and began to play. As the vibrations from the piano would go from the strings, to the keys, then to the wood, Beethoven would write.

He wrote Eroica which would be known as his third symphony. He would write five more for a total of nine. When he returned from his seclusion of Heiligenstadt, he would be crowned as one of the most accomplished composers and musicians of his time. . . but it all came from an awakening when he really came to know himself.

-There is something to coming to know yourself and to really see who you are!

D. Awakenings Come to Us When We Are Alone

-There is one more observation that I make about awakenings. . . They come to us when we are alone. There was no one around this young man. All of his friends he had bought with money were gone. All of the women who wanted to be with him when he had the money were gone. Even the citizen of the far country wasn’t around at the time.

-He was alone with himself. . . and some pigs. That is the place that the majority of people in life do everything they possibly can to avoid. . . Being alone with themselves. When they get alone and quiet, the hard work of self-examination can take place but they shrink back from it.

-Don’t be afraid to be alone! In fact, most of the spiritual, mental, emotional, and material progress will be made when men and women are by themselves long enough to really see who they are and what is going on around them.


-I will arise and go to my father’s house. . .

-There is nothing like the will of a man who has been convinced! That was what happened to this young man. All of the sudden there was a will that he hadn’t ever really discovered began to stretch itself out in his life.

• I am a better man than this!

• I have something resting in my soul that is bigger than a hog-pen!

• I have come through too much to quit now!

• I have a dream deep down inside that has tripped on my mistakes!

• I have a destiny to fulfill and I have to get out of this hog-pen!

-When a man’s will kicks in, you will win the battle in your mind! You have to get up and then you have to go. . . I will arise and go. . . and I will say!

-This conversation was taking place in a hog-pen. . . You have to practice where you are going before you get there. He was wrestling with hogs in his flesh but he was walking toward his destiny in his spirit.

-You literally have to get up! There is a wicked war going on about us but we also have a valiant leader in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Exodus 3:12—Certainly I am with you!

Joshua 1:6—I will not leave you. . . I will not fail you. . . I will not forsake you. . .

Psalm 46:7—The Lord of hosts is with us. . .

Isaiah 8:10—God is with us. . .

Isaiah 41:10—Fear not. . . I am with you. . .

John 14:18—I will not leave you comfortless. . . I will come to you. . .

Acts 18:10—I am with you. . . no man will hurt you. . .

2 Timothy 4:17—The Lord stood with me. . . and strengthened me. . .

Revelation 22:21—The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . be with you all. . .

Philip Harrelson

April 12, 2015