Trinity
United
Methodist
Church

 

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
 (Acts 2:1-21)

"Wake Up Sleepy Head" (Ephesians 5:8-14)

Wake up sleepy head!!

Now some of you may be concerned by the title of this morning's message. But don't worry I am not preaching on the ills of falling asleep during the sermon.

Let us pray. Open wide the window of our soul, O Lord, and fill us full of light; open wide the door of our hearts, that we may receive your message this morning; and in turn respond in a manner pleasing to you. Amen.

Today in Paul's letter to the Ephesians he is counseling his readers to wake up and avoid the "fruitless deeds of darkness", in other words avoid any activity that results in sin.

Basically Paul is saying to us, "You groped your way through the darkness, but no more. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around, you know what's true and right, now wake up and get on with it!

The good, the right, the true - these are the actions appropriate for our life. Figure out what pleases Christ and then go do it.

Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things as the fraud they are. Rip the cover off these frauds and see how attractive they really look in the light of Christ. So wake up sleepy head, climb out of the darkness; Christ will show you the light!"

Paul is telling us, look, if we're really Christians then we've been exposed to the light, and experienced the light first hand, and have accepted the light of Christ as the true and right path to pursue. We no longer have to live in the dark.

And as we accept and come to know the light we no longer suffer the ills of: " spiritual sickness " spiritual ignorance " spiritual indifference " or, spiritual powerlessness

In other words as we grow in Christ we know better, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we have no excuses for not living in the light.

Conversely, those folks who are spiritually unconscious are dead in sin, and lack spiritual awareness. They've never seen God or heard God's voice, or worse yet they've ignored God's call on their life. The saving grace of Jesus passes over them unrecognized. They're groping in the dark, trying to find their way on their own.

Those who focus on things of this world, have no spiritual sense. The windows and doors to their souls are closed and they ignore the prodding of the Holy Spirit.

For those who insist on remaining asleep, meaning living in a dark life of sin, refusing to see that he or she is a child of God, then the harsh reality is this: knowing and wanting to live in the dark, and living in sin, is akin to acknowledging that they are a child of Satan.

Now I hope and pray that the folks who have hardened their hearts and resisted the Holy Spirit, will one day soon leave the darkness and come to the light. Frankly, their eternal destiny depends on it.

For those who walk the fence wanting to live in both the dark and the light, know that there's no fence walking in God's eyes. You can't purposely engage in a sin-filled life and then expect God to be there when you want him to be. You can't dance with the devil and hold God's hand. It's either light or darkness. It's either God or Satan.

So how do we know if we're spiritually dead or alive in God? The answer is, we know we're spiritually alive in the same way we know we're physically alive. Faith is the life of the soul, and if we have this life in us, we don't need any further evidence, we know we are spiritually alive, as sure as we know that we are breathing. We have a divine awareness, the witness of the presence of the Holy Spirit inside us. We feel God's presence and are aware of his work in our life.

When we turn our life over to Christ; Christ will give us light. And what a blessing it is to know that no one will ever seek the face of Jesus in vain.

And here's more good news. If you feel you're asleep or dead in sin, you can wake up right this minute and rise from the dead. Jesus has promised to give us light as soon as we wake up and get going. The Lord will give us grace and glory; the light of his grace in the here and now, and the light of glory in the kingdom to come.

Paul tells us that the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness in the creation of the universe, is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts. He did this to bring us the light of the knowledge of his glory, shining in the face of Christ (2 Cor.4:6).

God is light, and he will give himself to every sinner who has woken up and is waiting for him. Now hear carefully what I just said. God will give himself to every sinner who has woken up and is waiting for him.

This implies some initiative on our part. Not all initiative, meaning the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God.

For example, someone may approach us and say, "Wake up and get going! Take your reluctance and get rid of it, and go do what needs to be done." This is what is meant by ordinary human initiative. The Spiritdidn't move us to action, someone else did.

But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, "Wake up and get going," suddenly we find the initiative is inspired.

You know we all have many dreams and aspirations when we're young, do some of you remember those days, we're ready to take on the world, but sooner or later we realize we don't have the power, or the necessary abilities to accomplish them.

We can't do some of the things we long to do, so we tend to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead, something that will never happen. But God comes to us and says, "Arise from the dead" and do the impossible.

When God sends his inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to "arise from the dead" and do the impossible.

The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we "wake up and get going." God doesn't give us overcoming life, but rather he gives us life as we overcome.

When the inspiration of God comes and says, "Arise from the deadů," we have to get ourselves up; God will not necessarily lift us up. He gives us the choice to stay dead or to arise.

Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, "Stretch out your hand" (Matt. 12:13). As soon as the man did, his hand was healed. When Jesus saw the ten lepers he said go to the priest, and while on their way he healed them. The human Jesus called these folks to action, and when they responded the divine Jesus healed them.

If we take the initiative to overcome darkness, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because he immediately gives us the power of life once we get going.

And as we experience the power of life, our bodies become a temple of the living God and Jesus will live in our hearts by faith (2 Cor 6:16). We will then be rooted in love like every other Christian. We will be able to realize the immensity of Jesus love, a love which is greater than the whole of human knowledge.

We each are called to be the place on earth where God's Spirit lives. We're called to be temples. We're called to be saints, sharing in the inheritance of those who have already gone on to glory.

Now it can be difficult to comprehend just how much God has promised to those who have faith in him. But the best of all God's promises is that through faith we receive his Holy Spirit, and with the Spirit comes the knowledge of his free gifts, his grace. And the greatest gift of all is the Spirit of Christ, which was promised through the prophets, and has been given to all Christians ever since the Day of Pentecost.

It's possible for each one of us to be a living witness of the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Race, education, social status, and titles don't determine who's a living witness, faith does; and faith alone. And everything is possible for the person who has faith (Mark 9:23).

Please hear me clearly; God has forgiven each of you for Jesus sake. Receive and accept this message from God. And in accepting this message you will be right with God. And more than this, you will be made holy through your trust in Jesus Christ, and will be able to proclaim without reservation that God has given you eternal life in Jesus.

Many of us every morning wake up to an obnoxious alarm or music blaring, indicating it's time to get up and start the day.

When we travel we call the front desk for a wake-up call to make sure we don't miss an important meeting or event. In both cases we wake up with an urgency to get moving.

Well today's message is our alarm to wake up with an urgency to seek the light. " God is speaking and calls on all of us to recognize our fallen state. " God is calling on us to recognize we can't make it on our own. " God is proclaiming that he is the way to eternal life, by grace, through faith.

There's a fierce storm raging around us, pulling us in different directions, and if we don't remain aware of what's going on we can sink into the deep gulf of God's judgment. Now is the time to wake up and commit our lives to the light, to Jesus Christ and his saving grace. Now is the time to share the light with our friends, family, and neighbors. The stark truth is eternal darkness is a reality for those who don't wake up and seek the light.

Now turn to someone sitting near you, tap them on their shoulder and say, "Wake up, you're a child of God, follow the light!"

Now say to your self, "Self, it's time to arise from the dead, and get going!"

My brothers and sisters, it is time we sound the alarm before the trumpet of God is blown and our land becomes a Field of Blood (Matt. 27:8). Allow God to show you how to escape destruction before it's too late.

So wake up sleepy head and get going!

Amen

Read other messages by Pastor Wade