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The Wake Up Call

by Wayne Hobbs

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

One of the most annoying sounds on the planet is the interruption of an early sounding alarm clock on a cold, dark morning when we would rather be sleeping. It seems that we can’t turn that thing off soon enough, but then we are annoyed by standing there cold and sleepy.

Even though I am an early riser, I usually set the alarm clock, but I always get up and turn it off, just so I don’t have to hear it in the mornings. Perhaps some of you use a snooze alarm that wakes you up in pieces, but that just to me prolongs the agony. So I don’t want to do that, but it is ok if you do. Others are wide awake in the mornings and well before the time to get up, ready and excited to meet the day.

Regardless of your style, there comes a time when we have to get up. We have to wake up. But you know, I am still amazed that some teenagers and some adults can sleep late in the day. And sometimes I will even admit that I am a bit envious of them.

As I child I could sometimes identify the day of the week as I woke up in the morning. If I heard my mom rolling out biscuits on that old metal counter, the one with the flour sifter in it, I knew it had to be Sunday. And to back that up I could hear her call, “Get up. It is church day.”

I hope our conversation so far hasn’t made you sleepy. Today we are going to share some thoughts on the wakeup call that Paul gave in Romans chapter 13. He will tell us that the night is about over and the day is at hand. He will also tell us what to throw off and what to put on. Before we discuss this, we are going to quickly look at two awakenings, each one with a purpose. One was done by some ungodly folks and the other one was done by Jesus Christ. We are all familiar with the story about Jonah and how he attempted to escape responsibility to God by boarding a ship and going in the opposite direction than he was told to go. Let’s think about this. It is found in Jonah chapter one. We won’t read it, but the ship that he was on and the others were on was experiencing a terribly frightening storm. The ship was about to break apart and the heathen sailors who were on that ship were praying to their false gods. They threw some cargo overboard and perhaps they were down in the hold trying to find some more cargo.

They found Jonah. In his mind he was escaping both the storm and God. The captain awakened him and told him to pray to his God in the hope that God would notice and they would be saved. Well, God had already noticed. That is why there was a storm. So here we have people who make no profession of the true God at all, calling out to Jonah to wake up and pray to his God. The sailors were doing everything they could to save the ship, praying in ignorance to whatever false gods they thought they knew. Jonah was the one person on the ship who actually knew God and he knew that God controls the winds and the waves and he knew why the storm was sent, but he was asleep. And, you know, after they threw him overboard it seems that Jonah had maybe even given them a message, because the sailors were beginning to think about the Lord God because they greatly feared the Lord when they noticed that the storm had ended and they offered sacrifice to the Lord and they made vows to him.

The sinful world is calling out in turmoil today. Many aspects of this life are filled with sinfulness. The world of sin is calling out with needs. They need the gospel and it needs to be shared. We, as Christians, need to be awake and aware of the needs and opportunities that Jesus gives us and we need to respond to them and pray for these people and serve God for them, to help them.

In Matthew chapter 26 starting with verse 36, we find the account of Jesus praying in the garden and another awakening. He left eight of the disciples in the garden and he took with him Peter and James and John and went further into the garden telling them all to watch and pray as he went further to pray.

He went back and he found them sleeping and again he told them to watch and pray. Three times he found them sleeping and each time they woke up and went back to sleep. But the last time he woke them was as Judas and those who hated Jesus were coming.

Can you imagine the guilty feelings knowing that they had slept while the master prayed about what was going to happen? They had been told to pray, but instead they had slept. Can you imagine their embarrassment in knowing that Jesus had told them to wake up and be awake. But they had to be awakened. He had to wake them up. I wonder if they admitted they were sleeping or did they say, “We were just resting our eyes,” like some of us may have done at times. Because they were sleeping at this time, what did they lose? They lost out on the opportunity to pray for Jesus as he struggled with the awesome responsibility that he came to earth to complete. They had not been fortified with prayer to deal with what was going to happen next and they missed out on a time to pray for themselves and their own relationship and their faithfulness to God.

So here we have Jonah missing out on an opportunity to pray and testify about God and we have the disciples failing to be ready for a crisis at hand by not praying for themselves and Jesus. In both cases they had to be told to wake up, Jonah by the ungodly and the disciples by Jesus.

Paul gives us a very strong message, a sobering message about waking up. Let’s listen to that message, chapter 13 of Romans verses 11 through 14: And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over. The day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the day time, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality, not in debauchery, not in dissensions or jealousy, but rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

These are strong words by Paul. If you are a Christian you are told here your salvation is nearer than when you first believed. Perhaps you became a Christian five years ago or 50 years ago, but your time on earth is getting shorter each day. The opportunities to live and share the gospel are getting shorter as well. If you are a young Christian, it is easy for you to suppose that you have a long life ahead and plenty of time. We hope you do. We wish you a long life. But we can’t guarantee it. Even if you are granted another 60 years, it is important for you not to waste the time now, but to use it for the Lord and for your own spiritual benefit as well.

We are dealing with two thoughts here. If you are not a Christian, God has given you this time and opportunity to come to Jesus. If you are a Christian, God has given you this great time to serve him. If we waste this time it doesn’t come back to us. If you are young, you might form a pattern for yourselves that will stay throughout your lifetime and you will never serve Jesus. If you do not wake up and live for Jesus now as a young person, you are likely to not continue and not to serve him when you get older. If you are an older person like me, you may have wasted some opportunities. It is for sure that I have.

 

Many of you have been awake and alive and serving God for a long time and I thank God for that. But we who have overslept too long, it is time to wake up and serve God. We have the here and the now today to serve him. The Lord has given us this time right now to follow his ways and to be awake and to walk for him.

 

Some of us may have already retired, as did I from my regular job, so our opportunities are different and our opportunities are greater than ever before. In this passage Paul is calling for an old fashioned revival. You may remember the old fashioned gospel messages and revivals that churches had years ago. Well, this was what Paul was calling for. He is calling for a revival.

 

Another good reason for us to wake up is the devil is awake. Matthew 13:25 tells the story of how am enemy came in and planted weeds in a field while everyone was sleeping. The devil is the same way. He is working when we are asleep, when we are not working, when we are not paying attention. The devil does everything he can to hinder Christians from the work that we should be doing. And it is for sure he is not sleeping even when we are. Satan is not letting up. We need to be wide awake and help all who are representing Jesus throughout the world to stand guard and be alert for the faith. Like the Roman soldiers, if we go to sleep while we are on duty, it has serious consequences. But our guard duty is only part of our responsibility. As guards we need to be reactive, but as Christians we need to be proactive, reaching out to our communities as well. Paul did not wait for people to come to him. He went to them to serve. We have opportunities to share the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and share the good news and how very important that is.

Evangelism has become less and less acceptable by the world but the great commission hasn’t changed. We still need to serve our Lord.

As we can see from the beginning of the book of Romans and even within the church itself, there were some serious moral issues that they had in Rome and those were big concerns. Paul was telling them to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on something else. Let us cast off the works of darkness, as it says in the King James Bible. And then it says in verse 14:

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what we are to put on. We are to put on him. The waking up process requires us to take off something and to put on something. We need to take off our covers and, I guess, our footy pajamas and get dressed, ready for action. As Christians, what do we need to throw off? This is personal evaluation. What do I need to throw off? What do you need to throw off in your life? Let us throw off all darkness of sins that we commit and work and let us not omit the things that we need to be doing as well. The world wants us to cover up and go back to sleep. The world is constantly throwing covers of darkness on us to tell us to go to sleep and leave things alone, but Paul is calling us to wake up and do our job.

This is only possible because the Lord Jesus Christ has given us this opportunity and it is possible only because the Holy Spirit who lives in all believers. The Lord is sounding reveille for us to get up and Satan is wanting us to hear taps.

So what do we do when we wake up? Let us daily put on Jesus Christ. Let us begin our day in the morning with God. Let’s begin our day in the morning by looking into God’s Word and clothe ourselves with Christ Jesus in prayer and then seek to serve God each day. He is wanting us to be awake and serve him in that way.

When I was in college years ago I remember a roommate who slept on the top bunk where I slept on the bottom bunk. And when the alarm went off in the morning I knew not to get up, because he would roll out of bed and somehow like a cat land on his feet and then turn the alarm off. Well, I didn’t to get caught in that process, so I just stayed in there. But when he got up, he was ready for action. He was ready to go to class and ready to go to work and that is so good and that is important.

A fireman who is working must wake up immediately and go to work. We are being called to wake up. God is calling us to do the same thing and be awake for the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are not a Christian, think about what Paul said. The hour has come for you to wake up. The night is nearly over and the day is almost here.

I don’t like scare tactics, but the Bible is true and I believe it is true and how much more time do you actually have to become a Christian? You are being called to wake up today.

In 2 Corinthians 2:6 Paul wrote:

I tell you now is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation.

These are not my words. These are the words of the Bible. It is said that Leonardo Davinci said, “Sleep is the little brother of death.”

If you are dead in your sins it is time for you to wake up for Jesus Christ. It is time for you to know Jesus as Savior. Maybe you have been living for Jesus a long time, but maybe you have been saying no to him for a long time. Maybe you are not a Christian and each time you are invited to serve Jesus, whether it be in a church or by an individual you have said no. We invite you again. You need Jesus Christ. And the Lord continues to invite, but I don’t know how much longer that will be. God has made the process simple. Believe, confess that Jesus Christ is the Savior. Repent of sin, be baptized into him and then live for Jesus. Receiving his forgiveness now and in the future, serving him alive and awake.

The opportunity is yours. We want to be ready for the wake up call when Jesus Christ returns.

Wayne Hobbs lives in Sellersburg, IN He is a retired educator and attends at Selllersburg Church of Christ.

 




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8