Summary: This sermon describes the difference between awake christians and those that are asleep.
Wake Up, Wake up!
Is 51-52 July 8, 2012
I am not one of those people whose eyes pop open minutes before the alarm goes off, who dive out of bed with a smile eager to embrace the morning sunlight, who are ready to chat and laugh and have a productive breakfast meeting at 6:45am. Nope – not me. It takes me a long time to wake up; I am slow and grumpy and groggy in the mornings.
So I understand that state of being where we are half asleep; groggy; drowsy. It is not really being asleep – there is a vague awareness of the world and life – but that vague awareness drifts in and out. It is like hearing the alarm go off, waking up enough to silence it, then rolling over and drifting back asleep for another 15 minutes till the snooze button wears off and the alarm sounds again: we heard the alarm, were aware of it, responded to it momentarily, but then turned around and went back to sleep.
I wonder: does that describe any of your spiritual life? Aware of the reality of God, having responded at points of time in the past, but then turned around and gotten back to life as normal doing what we want and pursuing our own ideas and agendas? Is there anyone here who feels spiritually groggy; half-asleep/half-awake; aware of God and believing in God but slipping in and out like I do every morning when I am waking from sleep?
To help answer that question, let me describe some possible symptoms of a sleepy Christian, and contrast that with one fully awake. I’ve borrowed these from an old sermon by CH Spurgeon.
Sleepy Christians: unaware
When we are asleep, we are unaware of the world around us. All kinds of things could be going on, but when we are asleep we have absolutely no clue. I remember one time being on a choir bus tour and one of the singers was fast asleep. We ripped off long lines of scotch tape and created a web just a couple inches in front of their face, then yelled Boo! and woke him up and he jerked awake and stuck his face right into the tape. Not particularly kind, but you see the point. When we are asleep we are unaware of the world around us. Spiritually it is exactly the same; sleepy Christians are unaware of what God is doing around us. We step into a beautiful summer day with birds and flowers praising God and we walk right past without noticing. God gives us another precious day of life and breath so we can love Him and love others and we think only of ourselves. We hear of a friend with some need or struggle but instead of acting we plop in front of the TV or computer and vaguely entertain ourselves. Here is how Spurgeon describes it:
Christian, behold your condition. Have you not sometimes been brought into a condition of insensibility? You wished you could feel; but all you felt was pain because you could not feel. You wished you could pray. It was not that you felt prayerless, but it was because you did not feel at all. You sighed once; you would give the world if you could sigh now. You used to groan once; a groan now would be worth a golden star if you could buy it. As for songs, you can sing them, but then your heart does not go with them. You go to the house of God; but when the multitude that keep holy day in the full tide of song send their music up to heaven, you hear it, but your heart does not leap at the sound. Prayer goeth solemnly like the evening sacrifice up to God's throne; once you could pray, too; but now, while your body is in the house of God, your heart is not there. The hymns and the prayers are just the same, but you have fallen into a state of slumber. Once, if you thought of a man's being damned, you would weep your very soul out in tears; but now you could sit at the very brink of hell, and hear its wailings unmoved. Once the thought of restoring a sinner from the error of his ways would have made you start from your bed at midnight, and you would have rushed through the cold air to help rescue a sinner from his sins. Now, talk to you about perishing multitudes, and you hear it as an old, old tale. Tell you of thousands swept by the mighty flood of sin onwards to the precipice of destruction, you express your regret, you give your contribution, but your heart goeth not with it…