Christ United Methodist Church
8 am November 8th
  • Hymn of Praise
  • Gloria Patri
  • Hymn of Prayer
  • Doxology
  • For months now, I have had us reciting Ephesians 5:14 at the end of every service. “Awake o sleeper and Rise from the dead. And Christ shall shine on you.” For a year now, you have heard me say that we are sowing for a great awakening. Some of you, if not many of you are probably still wondering what in the world I am talking about. I know, I have told you little bits and pieces of information about this “Great Awakening” like dropping seeds. Honestly, I don’t have all the answers to what this will look like or what exactly we must do to prepare for it, or what will we be doing as a church. What I do know is this, Christ is coming very soon. With those labor pains as they are described in the Bible there will be a falling away of those who were only mediocre in faith and there will be an awakening for those who are dedicated to growing in their faith. This will result in a revival but also persecution. So, you may ask, how do I know this? I know this from looking at the signs all around us, seeing the labor pains as described in the bible, those biblical prophecies, and the example of Christians in other parts of the world and the example from the Christians who were apart of the foundations of our church, the Early Church. Things in the world will not be easy, but I am confident that the church will see a great reformation, a great revival. Watch and pray! Now is the time. The Kingdom is here!
    Ephesians 5:14 NRSV
    for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
    Let’s pray and read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
    1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11 NRSV
    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
    There are four types of people in this world, spiritually speaking.
    There are those who are dead and asleep. Those who have died not knowing Jesus personally are not only dead, but their soul is asleep to God. Their soul is trapped in Hell in a nightmare that they can never escape. I can’t put this any plainer, and I will not sugarcoat this truth. Those who die without declaring Jesus as their Lord and Savior will not see heaven. Jesus is the way to heaven. Jesus is the Truth of God. Jesus is our source of Life and Light.
    There are those who are dead but awake. They have died, gone on before us. Those are the ones that we celebrated last week, the ones who are a part of the great cloud of witness. Those who stand on the cloud with Jesus as examples to us of the reward of heaven. They are our witness of eternity. But they are also the ones we thank for giving us this faith. They taught us about God. They showed us Jesus when we needed Him most. They are the ones who Paul is referring to in the first part of this passage. The church of Thessalonica, it is said, feared what would happen if any of them were to die before Christ returned. This especially made the persecution they were experiencing hard to understand. Was God giving up on them, and would God just let them die? No, Paul responses to tell tell them that those who perished are first in line to enter the New Kingdom and Earth.
    There are those who are asleep but alive. This describes those of us who are alive in Christ, yet our faith goes unexpressed much of the time. If the acquaintances of those who are lukewarm were asked if they were practicing Christians, the acquaintance would likely answer no, or “i don’t think so.” They have at some point confessed their sins and seek to live in peace with God and others. However, their faith is lukewarm and mediocre at best. They love Jesus, pray and read the Bible occasionally, yet they lack the power of the Holy Spirit shining bright in their lives. They may produce some fruit occasionally, but not much. They may attend church and know what the Bible says, yet their faith and their discipleship is not as important to them as it should be. Lukewarm Christians, believe in Jesus, yet allow others things to take priority over their lives. Sometimes we find that we are lukewarm Christians when we care more about our corporate commitments, our activities, even our politics take precedence over our lives.
    Sometimes it is hard to stay awake. When it is late in the evening, the kids have been put to bed, I like to grab a dessert and sit down with John to watch something or have a conversation. sometimes, I begin to get sleepy. The sleepier I become, the harder it is to stay awake. We must do things to keep ourselves awake. So if we want to stay awake spiritually, then we need to do things spiritually to stay awake.
    There are those who are awake and alive!
    I hope we are all here. This is what we are when we are going on towards holiness. We are awake and alive in Christ when we are building our relationship with Him. You know if you are awake and alive in Christ. You desire to pray and read God’s word. You enjoy being in fellowship with other believers. You also want to help others find their faith in Christ. When you are awake in Christ, the Holy Spirit is always there to help you stay away from sin. Yet you still may sin, but you know that you have done wrong and you come before God in repentance because you know you need that grace and that mercy. When you are awake, you craving helping others because showing the love of God increases that love in you. You may not have all the answers from the Bible, especially if you are young in the faith, but you are learning and growing daily.
    When you are Awake and Alive, you can see death on others, and you can see where others are asleep. You don’t look at them with judgement, but you look with compassion and love. You have a desire to help them wake up and come alive in Christ. Don’t lose this Christians. You can be awake yet still be judgmental towards those who are not as awoke as you.
    When you want to wake up a loved one, unless you are playing a prank, you try to wake them up gently right? Every morning I tell my kids, “wakey, wakey Babies!” When you wake someone up gently, give them time to become conscious, the person wakes up in a better mood, right? When you awaken someone quickly it could be due to a serious threat that is happening at that very moment, or for a prank which they will not be happy about, at least not at first. The same works for evangelism. You plant seeds of the gospel truth, watered with grace and encouragement, the person will begin to wake-up to the power of the Holy Spirit, this is the working of Prevenient Grace.
    Final thing, I want you to understand is that you cannot wake others up to Christ if you are not awake yourself. Ask yourself, are you awake? Do you live like you are alive in Christ? Do you show your faith in all you say and do? You can’t just make that happen on your own. Producing good fruit comes from being taken care of by God. Shining with the light of Christ comes by spending time with Christ in prayer and studying the Word. The Holy Spirit of God is a gift from God to all who love Him and declare Him as Savior, but the gift must be put to use? So, are you awake and alive?
    In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
      • 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11NRSV

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