Summary: This sermon is a call to be spiritually alert when we are tempted to be spiritually sleepy.
Some time ago Judy (my wife) and I attended a funeral on a Sunday afternoon. At that funeral I had an embarrassing experience with drowsiness. In fact, to be totally honest¡I fell asleep at the funeral. Falling asleep was not so bad. The embarrassing part occurred when Judy elbowed me and I jumped. I felt like the whole world was watching me at that moment. There are times when falling asleep is appropriate. However, there are times when falling asleep is totally inappropriate. Falling asleep at a funeral is inappropriate. Falling asleep in your spiritual life is also inappropriate. When this occurs Jesus will issue a wake up call. He will spiritually elbow you into alertness. We find such an example in the Gospel record. We will use Mark 14:37-41 for a text. Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was nearing the cross and was struggling with the agony of the cross. He asked His disciples to pray, while He prayed. Three different times Jesus left the disciples and went into the inner recesses of the garden to pray. Three different times he returned to find them asleep. They were asleep physically but also spiritually. Jesus gave them a wake up call. That call is still active upon God¡¦s people.
Will you accept Jesus wake up call? I heard about a pastor in a small church who was annoyed by one of his elderly members who fell asleep during his sermon every Sunday. After the service one Sunday, the pastor struck a bargain with the old man¡¦s grandson, who always sat with his grandfather. He told the boy if he could keep his grandfather awake he would pay him a dollar a week. This worked for two weeks; the aged man was very alert and listened to the sermons. On the third Sunday, however, there he was, up to his old tricks again, sound asleep in the pew. After the service the pastor called the boy over and said, ¡I am disappointed in you. Didn¡¦t I promise you a dollar a week to keep your grandfather awake?¡¨ ¡Yes,¨ replied the boy, ¡but Grandpa gives me five dollars not to disturb him.¡¨
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Lynn Malone)
Some people do not want to be disturbed. What does Jesus¡ wake up call mean to us? What does he desire that we wake up and see? Notice three principles in this text.
I. Wake up and see your spiritual deficiency. I believe those disciples did the best they could. They were tired and exhausted. They meant well. They had good intentions. However, in spite of their best intentions they were unable to come through. They were unable to deliver.
Illustration: When our youngest son (John) was a boy Judy had an encounter with him that illustrates this point. John was at a stage when he gave Judy a run for her money in trying to sit through a worship service. Since I was the pastor there was little help I could offer during these times. On one particular occasion John was warned to keep quiet. After several warnings he was carried from the sanctuary and given a spanking. At the conclusion of the spanking he was asked if he could return to the worship service and behave. Judy said he merely shrugged his little shoulders with a questioning ¡I don’t know.¨ Judy said she realized this hyperactive child was unsure if he could be quiet. She said he was being as honest as he knew to be.
We sometimes do the same thing with Jesus. We mean well. We have good intentions. Our best laid plans are inadequate to supplement the spiritual deficiency in our hearts. The wake up call means we admit our failure and our shortcoming to Jesus. Spiritual success begins with confessing failure. Spiritual success begins with admitting inadequacy. None of us are adequate to live the Christian life. Jesus spoke of this in the Sermon on the Mount. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus shared what we call ¡ "Beatitudes.¨ There were nine of these. The first four "beatitudes¨ address our spiritual inadequacy.
First--- Blessed are the poor in spirit. (Those people who know they have great spiritual needs are happy.) For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Second---¡Blessed are those who mourn, (Those who are sad now are happy) For they shall be comforted.¨
Third--- ¡Blessed are the meek, ( Those who are humble are happy) For they shall inherit the earth.¨
Fourth--- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, (Those who want to do right more than anything else are happy), For they shall be filled.¡¨
If we are spiritually deficient what should we do about it.
1. Recognize it!
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replies, "I see millions of stars." "What does that tell you?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it¡¦s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.¡¨ After a pause, Watson says: ¡Well, Holmes, What does it tell you?" Holmes is silent for a moment and then he speaks. "Watson, can¡¦t you see that someone has stolen our tent."