While living in the United States comes with a lot of benefits, it is important that these comforts don’t lessen our passion for Christ. Satan works hard to lull us into a sense of complacency so that he can attack our foundation.
Sheep Among Wolves Volume II by FAI studios relates a concerning story at about the 1 hour and 17-minute mark. (Watch Here) A mission director tells of a Christian Iranian couple who had the opportunity to come to the US. After several months, the wife began to beg her husband to go back to Iran. When he asked her why she would give up her religious freedom to return to the persecution of Iran, she responded, “There is a Satanic lullaby here, and all the Christians are sleepy, and I am feeling sleepy.”
Ephesians 5:10-16 (NLT) Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
It’s hard to stay awake in the comforts of our Western civilization. This is our cross to bear. We must wake from our slumber.
Some Sleepy Churches
The “Lit” Church. The church in Sardis was the cool church, but they were not awake. They were losing ground and slipping further and further away from Christ. They were drifting from His presence while maintaining a reputation of faithfulness.
Jesus’ answer was preparedness and the Holy Spirit. He would come like a thief in the night and take with Him only the worthy. The city of Sardis had never been taken in open war, but twice by deception, thieves of the night.
The destroyer is always trying to get in. God has ways of protecting the faithful, but those who sleep do not know they need help. Your reputation is not what proves your faithfulness or your wakefulness.
Revelation 3:1b-2a (NLT) “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, …
The Rich Church. The rich church wasn’t even alive. Laodicea had more problems than you could shake a stick at, all rooted in self-sufficiency. The city once rejected Rome’s assistance after a devastating earthquake. They had wealth. They had physicians. They had the finest wool for clothes. They didn’t need anything.
The self-sufficient aren’t actually self-sufficient. They are blind. This is why Jesus once declared how difficult it was for the rich to enter heaven. Your blessings and possessions are no indication of your faithfulness.
Revelation 3:17 (NLT) You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
The Poor Church. The church in Smyrna was under assault by the Jews in their city. As a Jewish sect, they would have been somewhat protected from the Roman mandate to declare “Caesar is Lord”. The Jews were working hard to remove that protection. They were hated and persecuted because Jesus Is Lord. They suffered and were told NOT TO FEAR it.
Wakefulness is not determined by your appearance, approval, or your possessions. It is apparent in your faithfulness to Christ. His commands and His presence are important to those who are awake.
Revelation 2:9a-10 (NLT) “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. … 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer.
Some Sleepy Disciples
Pray so You Don’t Give in to Temptation. Jesus said that to Peter. You have to wonder how Peter’s next few days would have gone if he would have stayed awake to pray.
There is A Lullaby. It’s being sung over your life. It’s keeping you distracted from the danger around you. It’s keeping you ignorant of the fact that it appears to be full darkness at midnight. Therefore something is wrong and something MUST be done.
Matthew 26:41 (NLT) Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Rise And Shine
Fight For Wakefulness. One night I thought I heard loud banging that woke me in my dream. Someone was trying to get into my house. But, I wasn’t awake. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t call out. It was then that I realized I was asleep, but I couldn’t wake up. I could not tell if the banging was real, just that I needed to wake up and check. But I couldn’t. I was trying to call out to my wife to wake me up.
This same dream came twice. Twice it was the same dream. I watched the video shared earlier about the time of the second dream. After the second dream, I finally thought to talk to God about it. I felt like He said to me, “There is an assault upon you in the Spirit. The enemy is trying to get in. You must awaken. You must fight out of your slumber and resist.”
Romans 13:11 (NLT) This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Start The Fire
Ephesians 5:14 (NLT) …for the light makes everything visible.
This passage isn’t just about shining a light upon the darkness. It’s about kindling a fire in the darkness. It’s about sharing your light that others become consumed with light as well. When you awaken, you will kindle a flame wherever you go.
That’s how this works. Woke Christians lighting up others… City Hall, politics, non profit organizations, needy neighborhoods, broken families.
It is time to realize that there is a slumber that overcomes us. It is time to fight for wakefulness. How could you fight for wakefulness this week? You could definitely spend time talking to and listening to God. Try a new setting, a new posture. Get involved in the mission!
Talk About It…
- Highlight or underline any words or phrases that you find interesting in Ephesians 5:10-16 printed at the beginning of this guide. Discuss your selections with the group.
- What do you learn about God from this scripture? What does He see? What does He think about what He sees? Do you find any divine expectations?
- What do you learn about People? How many kinds of people does the text address? What kinds of people are present in the text? What do we learn from these distinctions?
- What are the differences between light and darkness? How are children of the light supposed to deal with the darkness? How do the children of darkness behave?
- How does the scripture caution you? What do you think about those cautions?
- If you really believe this is from God, what should you do?
- Discuss some ideas that might help us “wake up”. What could you do today and this week that would help you “wake up”?
- What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?
For The Kids
Video Share link – https://youtu.be/ORozLKDkwj8
- Check out our Partner site – PursueGodKids.org
- Here is a great one for today
- At the bottom of the page there are teacher packs for each age group.
- Select the one appropriate for your children’s ages.
- There are activity sheets in the teacher pack.