Summary: This series of messages was part of the preparation for our SAW (Spiritual Awakening Weekend). May it be used by others.
The Neglect of An Awakening
Aiming At an Awakening - #3 of 12
* The message of Jesus to every lost person, saved person, and to the church is consistent. It is “REPENT.” When He began His teaching ministry, in Matthew 4, His message was clear, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” When He gave His last message to His church, the message continued to be the same (Repent) but to those who were called by HIS name, His message carried a twist (Repent or ELSE).
* In the words of Vance Havner, “The church today wants to do everything else BUT repent.” We say we love Jesus, we bear His name, and we even say that we follow Him; yet the one thing which He calls us to do, the one thing which keeps us walking in the Spirit, and the one thing required to keep us sensitive to His leadings is the thing which we seem to neglect.
* Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” To the Romans he wrote, “It is now time to wake up from our sleep (slumber).” Paul also writes in Ephesians 5:14, “Get Up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you.” Don’t like the sound of the “Messiah shining on you?” Here’s the deal, when He shines on you – He will shine through you.
* We are call in and through God’s word to repent of our sin and awaken to His Spirit, His will, and His ways. Candidly as I’ve already said, we really don’t care to do this for many reasons. One reason is that it’s difficult. Face it, we are all (everyone) eaten up with human pride.
* To humble ourselves runs against the grain of our upbringing, training, and nature. Yet, the Bible repeatedly calls us to ‘humble ourselves before God’ because “God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble.”
* So what is the word for us when we neglect to repent, neglect humbling ourselves before Him, and neglect being renewed, refreshed, revived, and even re-awakened? TEXT
* Last week as we dropped into the middle of the service at Sherwood Baptist, Bro. Michael Catt began with these words, “This is the hardest message to preach.” Tonight I begin where Bro. Mike began because the words of Jesus are clear, concise, and cutting. The cut to the heart of the matter and expose matters of the heart. They are concise as He doesn’t waste or mince words about His expectation. And they are clear as Jesus leaves NO WIGGLE room for debate or interpretation. His message is clear “Repent or Else”. It is the ‘or else’ which we are concerned about right now.
* As your pastor I have called us, during the next 4 weeks, to seek God for a Spiritual Awakening in our hearts and lives. Already some have accepted the call or challenge, have begun praying, and have begun to allow God to do a new, fresh work in their lives. These folks are finding a new sense of joy, freedom, and inner peace because, as the scripture speaks, “The Messiah has shined in their lives” and it is exciting.
* At the same time, there are those who have said, “I don’t think so. Let’s not go overboard with this religion stuff. I am doing enough.” To all of us, but especially to those who have, shall we say, ‘reservations’ about a Spiritual Awakening, this message is aimed.
* The title of this series of messages is “Aiming at an Awakening.” If you take a gun and aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time, but aim at a bull’s eye & maybe at least you’ll hit the target.
* I am afraid to neglect this call to a Spiritual Awakening. Personally, I am afraid. Collectively, I am truly afraid. Our Lord has given us a task and that task is not to sleep on the job. As born-again, believers, we have been given an assignment from our Master. We are to let our lights shine so well that others may see our lives and want what we have. Then we are to be able to tell them what we have.
* Here’s the deal: If we are spiritually asleep, we cannot tell them anything – well not anything that makes sense because such is the nature of sleep-talking. Have you ever encountered someone talking in their sleep? How much sense did they make? Have you tried having a cogent conversation with them? Defense rest!
* If we neglect Christ’s call to repent, scripture gives us both illustrations and applications of the outcome of neglect to repent and awaken to Him.