Summary: In the past 50 odd years we have seen moral compromise in the body of Christ and our nation. Put another way, when did the church fall asleep? What caused the church to fall asleep? Are we to remain sleeping or wake up the sleeping giant? I don't have ...
Opening illustration: Where was the church when prayer was taken out of schools in 1962? Or when abortion was legalized in 1973? Or when same-sex marriage started to gain momentum to the point that Christian businesses are persecuted for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple?
Put another way, when did the church fall asleep? What caused the church to fall asleep? And how can we wake up the so-called sleeping giant? I don't have all the answers, but what I do know is the church didn't fall asleep overnight. Of course, Samson was living in compromise, which opened the door to Delilah's seduction.
Paul clearly warned us not to be ignorant of the devil's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), which implies the Lord will reveal the enemy's devices, schemes, plots and plans if we walk in connection with His heart—and that's where many of us miss it. If we are living in compromise, we're likely to become spiritually drowsy—but we won't fall right to sleep any more than we enter deep sleep the second our head hits the pillow.
Even if the enemy does lull us to sleep through weariness, apathy, compromise or blatant sin that threatens to sear our conscience like a hot iron, the Holy Spirit is simultaneously working to convict our hearts so we'll wake up. Of course, it's easier to wake up when you are just drifting off than when you are in a dream state where reality is skewed.
Let us delve into God’s Word and go to Judges 16 and catch up with Samson’s narrative which apparently is a fair representation of the church today. Are we to remain sleeping or wake up the sleeping giant?
Introduction: Samson had the Nazarite call and so did Jesus. His strength was not attributed to the long hair he supported but the Spirit of God prevailing over him. He was supposed to be anointed, dedicated and given up to God living in the world but not be of it. Purity and holiness were supposed to be his top priority in his life. The alluring world had impacted him so much that he had literally given up his calling.
You've heard it said the enemy doesn't fight fair. Well, that's a spiritual warfare understatement if I've ever heard one. The devil is a dirty fighter—and he's just as subtle as he is dirty. He never sleeps or slumbers, but he works to put us to sleep through apathy, complacency and waves of weariness.
Indeed, Satan has been working since the Second Great Awakening to put the church back into a deep sleep. He had some stops and starts. The Azusa Street Revival, the birthplace of the modern Pentecostal Movement, revived the saints at the beginning of the 20th century. But that slumbering spirit crept back in unawares.
We were sleeping when prayer was taken out of schools, and we were sleeping when abortion was legalized. Some segments of the church are waking up and fighting in the culture wars, but the majority is still listening to the enemy's lullabies (Judges 16:19). Our scripture passage is more or less a vivid depiction of the contemporary church.
How the Enemy Has Slowly Rocked the Church to Sleep?
1. Allured by Enticing Words (vs. 10-17)
Proverbs 7:21-27 “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life. Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, Descending to the chambers of death.”
Psalm 5:8-9 “Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.”
We're like modern-day Samson’s, seduced and lulled to sleep by devilish Delilahs and losing our power to combat the enemy's onslaught. Of course, we haven't really lost our power. But by compromising with the spirit of the world, much of the church has effectively and willfully taken off its armor and laid down its weapons because it makes it more comfortable to sleep through the noise of sin that's erupting all around us.
Many in the church have taken off the belt of truth and embraced lies that it's OK to practice homosexuality or to neglect prayer or to lie around with people to whom you're not married. Many in the church have set down the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and picked up pornography. Many others have traded church service for occultic entertainment like Harry Potter or danced to the demonic beats of modern music.