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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Awakened Out of Sleep

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lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Awakened Out of Sleep


Awakened Out of Sleep
A.W. Tozer

MY AIM IS TO AWAKEN SOME FROM THE RUT. I know it is impossible to awaken everybody, but I hope to awaken some. I use the word awaken here advisedly and carefully because the Bible contains significant teaching gathered around the word sleep.

There is first of all natural sleep. “He grants sleep to those he loves” (Psalm 127:2). “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Our Lord Himself slept in the boat. Natural sleep is scarcely worth mentioning because it is the gift of God to us. We sleep when we can, and when we cannot something is wrong. Natural sleep is innocent, provided we are not sleeping when we should be doing something else. If we sleep when we should be praying, then it is not innocent, though it is natural. Natural sleep is innocent when “He grants sleep to those he loves.” But, for instance, those disciples who slept when they should have been awake praying with Jesus, had natural, but not innocent, sleep. However, we will waive aside natural sleep because that is not what we are going to study now.

I am thinking of moral sleep and spiritual sleep. Moral sleep is suggested in First Corinthians 15:34, “Awake to righteousness and sin not” (KJV). There is such a thing as moral sleep. It is entirely possible to be displeasing God and grieving the Holy Spirit by being asleep morally; that is, by permitting what should not be allowed. Most people do not want to hear this. They want something added to what they have. They do not want to be told that they are permitting something that should not be allowed. In other words, they are doing what they should not be doing.

But you ask, “Is that true of Christians? Do you believe that many Christians are doing this?” I have no hesitation in saying that all the symptoms in the church today point to Christians doing things they should not be doing and failing to do what they should be doing. That is the positive and the negative—sins of commission, sins of omission. To be unaware of these sins is to be morally asleep.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/1 11:18Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Awakened Out of Sleep




Sudden awakening
When the Bible says “Awake to righteousness and sin not,” it indicates the possibility of a sudden awakening, like when an alarm clock going off rouses you out of sleep. There is such a thing as being asleep and suddenly being wakened, and this is surprising to people. People often say, “You know, I was living a life displeasing to God. I was a church member, but though I didn’t know it, I was displeasing to God. My life wasn’t right. Then suddenly I was wakened by God. It was a surprise.”
Not only is awakening a surprise, but it can be disconcerting, as when you are driving to some particular destination. You have decided which way you are going and where you are on the map. Then you find landmarks that indicate you are just plain wrong. You have been going the wrong way. It is not only a surprise to you, but it is disconcerting because you lose self-confidence.
People who are awakened from moral sleep say, “Well, what’s the matter with me? I’ve been living a life that’s been displeasing to God, and I simply did not know it. ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it. This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven’ “ (Genesis 28:16–17). Jacob must have been rather disconcerted when he awoke and found that he had been in the presence of God all the time, but he had been asleep. He was not morally dead; he was not cut off from the covenant—he was merely asleep.
There is also spiritual sleep. Notice Ephesians 5:14: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead.” This verse is often spoken to sinners, but it was not written to sinners. Ephesians was never written to sinners. It is not a message to sinners at all, but a message to one of the best churches in the New Testament. Yet the writer says, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Some of the Ephesians were in a somnolent condition; that is, they were morally good but unenlightened. They were religious but unanointed. It is perfectly possible for a good, faithful, loyal church member to be spiritually asleep—being in a spiritual state that parallels natural sleep.
When your husband, your wife, your child, your relative, your friend or you go to sleep tonight, the fact that you are unconscious and out of the running for a while is not bothering you. You know that normally you will wake up again. You are not dead, but you are cut off from your environment, all but that which is reflex—breathing and a few other things. Likewise it is possible to be a Christian, to be in the church and yet be asleep spiritually. Then you have to be wakened suddenly. You will probably be ashamed of yourself, angry with yourself, frustrated and disconcerted and say, “What’s the matter with me? All this time I was almost awake, but not quite.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/1 12:48Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
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 Re: Awakened Out of Sleep



Bulk of Christians asleep
What is the present condition of the evangelical church? The bulk of Christians are asleep. I do not mean that the bulk of Christians who come to evangelical churches are not converted, because if I meant that I would say they were dead and never had been born again. But I say they are asleep. It is possible to be morally asleep and yet intellectually, mentally and physically alert. It is possible to be spiritually asleep yet mentally, intellectually, physically and theologically alert.
The present condition is that we are asleep. These sleeping Christians do two things that God must grieve over. One is that they control church affairs. We are democratic, and if we do not like a pastor we give him the bounce or pray that he will get another call. Then when the time comes we vote in whom we want and vote out whom we do not want. Church people control church affairs because they are intellectually, mentally and physically awake, but they may be morally and spiritually asleep. That is, they are so far down in the rut that they do not see up.
Many people who are asleep control church affairs. It gets into whole conferences. Representatives will meet at the expense of the local church people. They will read minutes and pass resolutions, but they are asleep. You know they are asleep by the way they talk as soon as the benediction is pronounced and they have adjourned. You know they are asleep by their conduct, the things they are interested in or lack interest in, yet they control church affairs.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/1 14:43Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
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 Re: Awakened Out of Sleep


The second thing sleeping Christians do is set the standards for new Christians. When you bring in a newly converted Christian, he or she automatically takes on the coloration, general mood and temperature of the solemn seats around him or her. Pretty soon he or she is where they are, and once again there are no good examples of the Christian life.
Of course, people resent any word reflecting on them, but every once in a while there appears an awakened soul. Some way or another this person got awake. Somehow God Almighty wakened him or her, whether by the crowing of the rooster or by the braying of Balaam’s donkey. This person ceases to be mediocre and somnolent and becomes a blazing, shining light. And then the sleeping saints pay to have him or her come and do their work for them. They send people like this out to South Africa or the Far East to do their work for them. Meanwhile they stay home and sleep spiritually, and earn the money, because they are intellectually and physically awake to send them.
When one of these people dies, they write the story of his or her life and may even go so far as to take up a collection to put up a little library in the person’s memory. They could call it the “Awakened Saint Memorial.” But they are very careful not to be awakened themselves. They are careful and perfectly happy to talk about how wonderful Robert Jaffray was, but they will not pay Jaffray’s price. They can talk endlessly about wonderful Dr. A.B. Simpson, but they will not go Simpson’s way. They are careful not to follow the person whose life they write about and whose memorial they erect.
But this is what Christianity is all about: the wakened soul, the morally and spiritually wakened. God, who seems so far away, suddenly becomes close. God who had been all out of focus, a blur, now is seen to be the Son of Righteousness in clear sight, with healing in His wings.

END

From Rut, Rot or Revival






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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/1 16:01Profile





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