Alfred Place Baptist Church

5:14 Wake up O Sleepers

Ephesians 5:14 “This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'”

Often in the Scriptures believers are exhorted to awake. They are warned of the dangers of spiritual sleep, that such a slumber is like a coma that will result in death unless the believer awakens. There is a figure in the book of Proverbs called the sluggard. He is the slothful man who sleeps while others work and God casts on him a pitiless gaze. There are the words of the great prophet Isaiah, “Arise, shine for thy light is come!” Christ the light of the world has appeared; what are we doing lying down in the dark? Amos addresses the laid-back church of his day, “Woe to them that are in ease in Zion.” Or you think of the mighty storm threatening death to all aboard a ship while the prophet Jonah sleeps through it all: “What do you mean O sleeper?” cries the captain. “Arise and call upon your God.”

In the New Testament there is the same refrain. This is the era of the new covenant, but Christians can sleep. They can hear the gospel preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, but Christians sleep. These were years of successful evangelism and revival but Christians could still sleep. They could see mighty miracles but still sleep. So you have our Lord telling his disciples to watch and pray. You have a number of parables he told in which his application at the end is made to someone he calls a, “wicked and slothful servant!” Wickedness was conjoined to slothfulness. The risen Christ addresses the church in Sardis and tells them, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

So the apostle Paul is constantly exhorting churches to wake up. He tells the Roman congregation, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). He charges the Corinthians to awake unto righteousness. He tells the Thessalonians, “Let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be alert” (I Thess.5:6). In our text he exhorts the Ephesian church, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (v.14).

All these references tell us one thing that it is possible for a true believer in Jesus Christ to become a sleeping Christian, and a real gospel church to fall asleep. The prophets and apostles and our Lord himself all charge our conscience with that message. When this state falls upon a congregation we cannot say that it is because of God. We cannot say that the reason the professing church in Europe sleeps today is because God has given it sleeping sickness. Isn’t God saying, “Wake up!” and all that God commands he enables us to perform. It is not for us to cry, “We cannot wake up. We are too deeply asleep.” That is a typical case of what John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan called “Can’t-help-myself-ism.” Let us listen to what God is telling us, and depend on his grace and trust in the power of his Spirit. Let us be about our business, trusting in God to work in us both to command and to do his will. It is high time now to wake up out of our sleep. Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.

1. WHEN ARE CHRISTIANS MOST TEMPTED TO SLEEP?

There are not two classes of Christians, the sleeping Christian and the awakened Christian, but rather there are times when every Christian can fall asleep and that sleep last far too long. What are these times?

i] A Christian is most likely to sleep when his outward circumstance are most pleasant.

A man doesn’t sleep when he discovers his hot water bottle has been leaking, but when an electric blanket has warmed up the bed to the ideal temperature and he can curl up under the sheets then he sleeps. When all is soft and comfortable then he will say, “Soul, soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Take thy rest; eat, drink and be merry.” Many of you have experienced those varied times. For example, you can remember the month when you didn’t know where the next pay-packet was coming from, when your circumstances at work were very difficult. You can remember the trial you passed through and you were relying on the Lord every hour. Your troubles forced you to the throne of grace, more faithfully and for longer periods than ever before. Maybe you can look back to church planting times when no new faces were in the congregation from one month to the next and you had to cry mightily God to help you reach out to sinners.

I ask you at such times weren’t you more awake spiritually than you are now? Few men sleep with a thunderstorm overhead and lightning striking nearby trees; many more sleep on a calm night. But now you have passed through that trial; the wheels of providence are turning over very smoothly today, and you thank God that he has taken you through that trial, but tell me are you relying on God as much today as you did then? Are you praying as earnestly now as you did then? Are you as aware today as you were then that you are entirely in God’s hands for everything? When Jonah was inside the great fish he watched and prayed, but when he was safe on board ship he slept. Everyone else could see the danger. Everyone else was praying. Everyone was calling on the name of their gods, but Jonah was sleeping on indifferently. Once he was swallowed by the fish he began to pray. Are you asleep now while other people around you in this church are praying? Was there a time when you can remember not missing a prayer meeting or your own time of devotions. Now others pray and you sleep, but you may be the reason the church is in the storm that it’s in. Are churches sleeping in southern Sudan or in Iran and Iraq? If it were made an offence to gather and worship Christ would we be so apathetic? But we can trot along to church none daring to make us afraid, and so we Christians sleep. Men sleep when their outward circumstances are most pleasant.

ii] A Christian sleeps when all goes well in spiritual matters.

In Pilgrim’s Progress we never read of Christian sleeping when he was amongst the lions, when he was going through the river of death, when he was fighting with Apollyon, when he was in Giant Despair’s castle. Poor prisoner, he almost wished that he could have slept there. But when he got half way up Hill Difficulty he came upon a pretty little arbour, a cozy resting place, and he put his feet up and off to sleep he went. It was there that his scroll slipped out of his pocket; he lost his assurance by sleeping while getting out of a great difficulty. Depend on it, it’s in the easy places spiritually as well as materially that men sleep.

Arouse yourselves! Is the god of this world asleep? Do principalities and powers sleep? Are they less dangerous today than they used to be? In Jesus’ parable he described how all the work ended, the ploughing and sowing over, that then men slept anticipating an automatic harvest and full barns. But then the enemy arose and sowed the tares. So it was that in the years following 1904 with its revival that modernism and false doctrine were taught everywhere in Wales, in the theological colleges, and then in the pulpits, and then into the pews it seeped. It was a time of ecclesiastical prosperity, of large congregations and ministerial eminence, but then Christians slept and unbelief was spread. When ministers and elders should have been watchmen and guardians they turned over instead and went to sleep. The enemy had no resistance in sowing his tares. An unwatchful church soon becomes an unholy church. A church which doesn’t guard carefully the truth as it is in Jesus will become an unsound church and a degenerate church.

Evangelical churches are prosperous churches; they have no problems in paying their bills. Beware, Alfred Place, that you don’t begin to think, “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and don’t know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Beware that your lukewarm contentment with your prosperity does not result in your being spewed out of Christ’s mouth.

Ebenezer Erskine famously said, “I prefer a roaring devil to a sleeping devil.” There is no trial half as bad as imagining we are free from all trials now. There is no defeat so great as imagining we are living lives of constant victory. Think of a man under conviction of sin, seeing hell open and only a thin spun thread preventing him from dropping in, his sins so heinous, the chains binding him to them so immensely strong, facing a just and holy God without a single plea. That man doesn’t sleep. It is after we get confident about our status and start to rest in clichés – “Jesus saves and keeps and satisfies” – that the danger of slumbering comes along.

What are we told of the disciples who had been on the Mount of Transfiguration is that they descended from the mountain top and slept. What are we told of the three men privileged to have been in the Upper Room with Christ partakers of the Lord’s Supper with him? They went into the Garden with him to watch but rather they slept. He had told them of the danger, and he had asked them to watch and pray for an hour, but off to sleep they went. They were admitted to the most sacred spot on earth; they saw the holy place where he poured out his soul in prayer; his sweat was as it were drops of blood but they slept. We awakened them twice more and twice more they went back to sleep. They were slumbering for sorrow, and our Lord made an excuse for them – just as he might make excuses for most of us, “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Shan’t we be determined that we will never need a divine apology? The Christian can sleep when all has gone well in spiritual things.

iii] A Christian sleeps when he thinks he’s getting near the end of his journey.

John Bunyan sets Enchanted Ground right at the end of the pilgrimage. He writes, “One of the last refuges that the enemy of souls has he places at the end of the way where it has the greatest advantage. The enemy thinks, ‘When will these fools want to sit down? It is at the end of their journey when they are weary of all the fightings and struggle.’ So he places the Enchanted Ground next to Beulah Land.

Is it not true that those who have been God’s servants for years are in danger of slumbering? Doesn’t the Bible gives us many examples of this? In the Bible few young people fall into gross sin. The Scripture is full of warnings of mature believers sleeping. Lot was not a young man when he got drunk. Abraham was not a young man when he lied. Jacob was not a young man when he tricked his brother. David was not a young man when he fornicated. Peter was not a young man when he denied his Lord. Demas was not a young man when he forsook Paul and fell in love with the world.

The classic case is Samson; he is a great warning to us. Here is a man who was once strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Years ago perhaps he was the man we were or a man we knew, and there were others like him who did mighty things for the Lord, and we looked at them and wondered and coveted their gifts. We said, “Would to God we had an hour of strength like that man.” He was a leader amongst the Christians; he gave fresh courage to the fainthearted. Where is he now? All the people of God knew him. His name was a tower of strength. Where is he now? Our enemies knew him too, a valiant man in battle, a veritable Captain Great Heart. Where is he now? We don’t hear of him on the fields of service where once he glorified the Lord. We don’t meet him on in the conferences and in the Open Air Meetings. We hear nothing of his seeking for souls. Surely he has gone to sleep. He thinks he has spiritual goods laid up for many years and now he is taking his rest. He’s done his share of labour; the time has come for him to rest and take a little ease. O that we could wake him up.

Delilah is the companion of carnal security. She gives many believers a hug and a kiss and soothes them to sleep. Yes, we’ve seen such men. Once they were good and great but now they are lying asleep. Perhaps we were amongst them, though we have never been so distinguished nor done half what they did, but now we’re lying in Delilah’s lap. Bless the Lord O my soul if he has not let you lead a merely formal life, but possibly now you are degenerating, and taking things easy. “Let the young people have their go!” Would that they did! Do you dream that you’re now ‘mature’? Do you chuckle at yourselves for what you call your ‘juvenile zeal’? Do you tell other people about the old days saying, “Then we used to think we had all the answers'”? So today you are ‘prudent’ and ‘wise’. Would to God you weren’t ‘prudent’ and ‘wise’. Would to God you were still a fool for Christ’s sake when you used to love God with an abandon. Would to God that an immoderate affection was still there, constraining you to work for God so that nothing was too demanding or too difficult if you were called to do something for his sake.

What do I see when I look at Samson asleep in Delilah’s lap? I see peril of the deadliest kind. The Philistines are not asleep are they? When Samson sleeps the enemy creeps up – do you see the scissors snipping away and the bushy locks falling to the floor? His hair of consecration has gone . . . and I’m terribly afraid that that should happen to us. Our strength comes through our faith; our victory over the world only comes through trusting in Christ, and if that goes we are as weak as other men, yes weaker, and by degrees perhaps Satan is stealing away all our spiritual strength. We have seen men announce a text and begin to preach, but soon we are remembering other times we heard them when there was a life and authority and vitality and unction about them. Not now. It has all gone. Or perhaps we’re asked a reason for the hope we have and some token half-hearted response comes out that even embarrasses us as we speak. Where’s that conviction we once knew? The Philistines have bound us; our strength is gone; our glory has gone, and all we have are memories, bitter grief and pain.

So there are three times when Christians may sleep, when our outward circumstances are most pleasant, when all goes well in spiritual matters, and when we think we are approaching the end of the journey.

2. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE SPIRITUAL SLEEP INTO WHICH CHRISTIANS CAN FALL?

Now it isn’t spiritual death. The Christian was dead once, but now he is alive in Christ Jesus never to die again. But though a Christian may not die, yet he may sleep, and that sleep is so like death that it’s hard to tell whether the man is a sleeping stony-ground hearer or a sleeping prodigal. You find people like that in the Bible, for example king Solomon, and we wonder could such men be believers at all. The fact that the question is raised at all indicates that there is something wrong with their profession. What then characterises the sleep of a slumbering Christian?

i] A lack of feeling.

A sleeping man is unaware of what is happening all around him. The world goes on, but he doesn’t know anything about it. A burglar might break into his house and take his money and laptop and his wife’s jewelry. His children might be molested, but while he’s sleeping he knows nothing. There’s a fire across the street, his neighbour’s house is burning down, men are shouting out of the windows for help, but while he’s asleep he can’t do anything to help them. People are sick in the house crying for someone to bring them medicine. “Call for the doctor,” they are shouting, but he is asleep and hears nothing. They may die but he will not weep for them while he sleeps. A revolution may be taking place in the city. The old govenrment is being swept out of power and a new ruler set up in his place, but he displays no patriotic feelings because he’s asleep. A volcano may have erupted and his house is in the path of flowing rivers of lava, but he’s sound asleep and insensible. Winds are howling, peals of thunders are rolling but he is asleep and couldn’t care less what the elements do because he is asleep.

Christian is this your condition? Haven’t you often been insensible like that? You wished you could feel compassion for the lost, or feel sorrow for sin, or feel love for your brethren or joy in the Lord, but all you feel is an emptiness within. You wish you could pray. It wasn’t that you felt prayerless but you’re frustrated because you can’t feel at all. You sighed once; you would give a world to be able to sigh now. You once groaned; a groan would be worth a millions pounds to you now. “If only I could buy a groaning spirit!” As for hymns, you will occasionally sing them, but then your heart doesn’t go with them. You go to the house of the Lord but when the congregation join in singing God’s praises and send their hymns up to heaven, you are as detached and apart as though you were listening to people singing an unknown hymn in a foreign language. You feel like a chrysalis skin; the butterfly has flown out and left the dry shell behind, and that’s what you are.

You have become cold and formal in your religion. You feel that there is not the savour and the unction in the preaching that there used to be, but you know there’s no difference in your preacher. The difference is in you. The hymns are the great ones; the prayers are full of God, but you have fallen into a state of slumber. Remember that time when you would think of a person being damned and there would be a catch in your voice and you would have to breathe deeply to gain control. Now you can hear sermons on hell, and sit on the brink, and hear the voices of the lost in their wailings and remain unmoved. You are asleep.

Once the thought of helping a sinner, and restoring him from his ways would get you out of the house in an evening visiting that person, speaking to him about the Saviour, but now we can’t entice you away from the TV set, or your family and that comfy chair. You are sleeping. If I should talk to you about multitudes in darkness and perishing then it’s an old story that you’ve heard before.

There was once a blacksmith who bought a puppy. He chained it up in his smithy and when he began to hammer a horseshoe and bend it into shape the dog barked and yelped and pulled on the chain in terror. The old blacksmith ignored the dog. You return three months later to that blacksmith’s forge and the smith is still hammering away at his anvil but the dog has grown so accustomed to the noise and the fire and the sparks that he sleeps through it all. So it is with you. You hear the warnings of Christ of the outer darkness, and the worm that does not die, and many on the broad road leading to destruction. You express your regret and put in your contribution, but your heart isn’t in it. You are insensible and unaware, not entirely so, but too much so. You want to be awake, but you groan because you feel yourself to be in this state of slumber. What characterises a slumbering Christian? A lack of feeling. What else?

ii] An obsession with illusions.

Your best friend says to you, “I had such a strange dream last night.” And it was. When we sleep common sense goes from us and fantasy holds a carnival in our brains. When we sleep dreams come and fill our heads with strange worlds. All sorts of delusions deceive us. We are married to different people, living in a different age. The beggar in his dreams becomes richer than Plutus; the rich man is as poor as Lazarus; the sick man is healthy and the healthy man is dying. A man who sleeps is living in a world of unreality and fantasy.

The nation was shocked this week to read of an 18 year-old son who had a fantasy that he was a world class tennis player with a contract and an enormous salary. So he stole thousands from his parents and took his girlfriend first class to New York to stay in a five-star hotel. What delusions he embraced. The end of that story was a horrible crime. The boy was living in a dream world. ‘Let’s Pretend’ isn’t a game only for children. Men and women can play it too. Christians can play it. They fail to see themselves as they really are. They delude themselves into thinking they are super-Christians. What wisdom is theirs, what knowledge, what experience, what blessing from God has come upon them, and yet all the time they are but children. Who is going to tell them? How can you tell a preacher he’s deluded? He thinks he is baptized in the Spirit, but it is all an ego trip. If he were full of the Spirit we would hear a lot more of Jesus Christ in his sermons than he ever gives.

What dreams some Christians have. If only their minister were as eloquent as Spurgeon, as powerful a Whitefield, as profound as Edwards then what mighty Christians they would be. They are being restrained, they say, by their inadequate preachers. If only their church officers were mighty men . . . if only their congregation were a thousand strong and not a hundred . . . if only their building were 21st century instead of 19th century . . . if only their hymns were different and the accompaniment were different . . . if only the congregation was full of smart, beautiful, rich, artistic, witty people – if only all this were true then they dream that they would walk with God. Then they would get inspiration every Sunday, and invite people along to church, and be active Christian workers. What a fantasy it all is!

You know what’s wrong brother? You are living in a dream world. You are trying to run away from the reality of where God has put you by delusions. You are seeking to escape from your own sleepy Christian life by make-believe. You know what is wrong sister? You are. Face up to reality, to yourself, and to this brief life which is flying by, for which you must give an account. God has put you here and now in a day of small things. This is not a day of absolutely nothing at all. So don’t despise it. You will never have another 2005 in which to work for Jesus. Yes, see the failings of the men and women in the fellowship and think how you can encourage and strengthen them, but don’t try to run away from them. Don’t tell God you could have done better if you’d chosen who would be serving him in 2005 because he chooses the weak things of the world, and the foolish things, and the base things, in order that no flesh should glory in intelligence, and oratory, and mystique, and music. Let him that glories glory in the Lord, and in your dreams let me ask you how much glorying in the Lord goes on, and how much are you glorying in self? Wake up Christian! This is where God has put you. You and me; them and us; old and young; there is nobody else here and the sooner you start to pull your weight with the rest of us the stronger we will all be. What characterises the sleep of a Christian?

iii] A place of insecurity.

The sleeper cannot defend himself. The murderer draws near with his knife in his hand and the sleeping man simply lies there. The robber at midnight plunders all he has. There was once a prince who was a strongly armed man. He entered a tent weary and worn, took some refreshment and lay down on the floor. He was fast asleep when the woman of the house crept up on him with a hammer in one hand and a big nail in the other “If you were awake great warrior you could smash this woman to the ground with one blow of your fist, but you are now helpless because you are asleep.” Jael – that’s her name – puts the nail against his ear, lifts up the hammer and drives the nail home again and again mercilessly. It pierces Sisera’s brain and he dies because when he sleeps he is defenceless. His banner had fluttered in victory over many of his enemies, but now it is stained by a woman. The man who, when he was awake, made nations tremble, dies by the hand of a feeble woman when he slept.

When King Saul slept Abner could take away the spear from his pillow. Eutychus slept even as Paul preached and he fell from an upper story window. When Samson slept the Philistines sheared off his long locks and got him. Sleeping men are always in danger; they can’t ward off the blows of their enemies and strike back. Christian, if you are sleeping then you are in danger. Your life cannot be taken from you for it is hid with Christ in God but you may lose your assurance, and your usefulness, and your zeal, and your comfort. It is when you are laid back and careless without a thought of Christ that Satan comes and you are at your weakest. When you are absorbed in everything this world offers you are in danger. The passion grips you and you are gone. You were sleeping and you should have been awake. How many times do people plead a “moment of madness.” That’s it. The time came; they slept and were defenceless; down they fell. O Spirit of the living God, wake up the sleeper! Let sloth and presumption be shattered by your mighty power.

iv] A state of inactivity.

Can a farmer plough his fields in his sleep? Can he bring the cows in for milking? Can a fisherman steer his boat and let down his nets while he sleeps? On Wall Street or at the City of London exchanges can the dealers and bankers and financiers transact the affairs of a nation? It would be strange to see a nation of slumberers; that would be a nation of idle men. They would all starve; they would get no produce and no wealth; they would have no clothes on the backs and no food in their refrigerators.

Is this the state of some of you? How many Christians do nothing? Once they worked for the Lord, but not now. They have given up all their activities. Once they would be hewers of wood and drawers of water, but now they sleep. Am I talking of what may happen? Isn’t this true almost everywhere? Where are the ministers who preach the word? We have some who can read their manuscripts, and give quiet talks, and entertain for ten minutes. Is that preaching? Where are the men who put their hearts in it, who give their all in every sentence? Where are the men who make it not a profession but their vocation, the breath of their lives, the marrow of their bones, the delight of their spirits? Where are the men now like those who so preached that every day people wanted to hear them, and three times a day, in the sunshine and rain, in summer and winter alike.

The problem is that the churches slumber. It isn’t merely that the pulpit is a sentry box where the soldier on duty has gone to sleep, but the pews are affected too. See how the numbers attending prayer meeting have declined. Step into one and see a smaller group than you would ever imagine and hear the old clichés tiredly spoken and you think, “Where is the spirit of prayer? Where is the life of devotion?” In most communities it has grown extinct.

How many professing Christians there are who are asleep in this sense that they are inactive. Sinners are dying in the streets by the thousand, men are sinking in the flames of eternal wrath, but church members fold their arms, and pity the perishing world but do nothing to show their pity is real. Their contact with the gospel is attendance on a Sunday but they never reach out. They don’t think of making friends with men and women to win them for Christ, of giving away a book, of inviting them for a meal to speak of our fascinating Christian religion. They live for themselves, but no one can live to himself or die to himself. God is our focus day by day.

I need to rouse myself; you need to wake up because if we did then there are still enough converted men and women, and enough talent, and enough money with us, and enough time – God granting the abundance of his Holy Spirit, which he gives to them that obey him – and the gospel would be taken to the Rendilles people of northern Kenya and regions beyond, churches here would be renewed, the cause of Christian education would flourish throughout the land. The church doesn’t need to stop for lack of human instruments or money. Bible-believing Christians have never been so well off in this country. We have everything except the will. We have all that we may expect God to give us for the conversion of Wales except a heart to work and the Spirit poured out upon us.

Men and women, awake! Let us not sleep as others. Some of you may have heard of the great plague that erupted in London in 1665 and 1666, when the city resounded with one cry night and day, “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead.” A hand bell was rung and a long barrow would pause outside a house on which front door there was painted a white cross, as most doors were. London was eerily quiet. There were no children playing in the streets. Many a house was locked and empty. Grass grew in the streets. The only sound was the bell and the clip-clop of the horse which pulled the cart on which the white shrouded corpses were piled. “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!”

You see that house? A doctor lives there; he’s a man of great skill, and a little while ago while working in his laboratory he discovered the cure for the plague. He’d got the disease himself, but one day he drank down this compound and soon his temperature was normal again and his headache had gone. He had recovered completely. Will you believe what I am going to tell you? Could you imagine this? This man, with the prescription to heal the whole city, to put away the dead man’s cart and bell for good, is sleeping. Shhhh! Whisper, who dares? He is asleep. He has been so busy searching for a cure he needs to take it easy for a while. But he’s got the cure and there are children whom he knows in this street who are dying. Mothers are weeping and praying, but he is snoring. He has been cured, but is too lazy to go out and tell folk the remedy.

You say to me that such a monster never existed. I tell you that I see him here today. That person is you! You know that the world is sick with the plague of plagues and you yourself have been cured with the remedy which has been provided, yet you are asleep. You don’t go forth to tell to others all around what a dear Saviour you have found. Here is the precious gospel but you don’t go and put it on the lips of sinners. There is the all precious blood of Christ, and yet have you ever told someone what they must do to be saved? The world is perishing with worse than the bubonic plague and you are snoring.

I am a minister of the gospel. I have taken this holy office on myself, claiming that the one true and living God called me to preach his message to his creatures in their need. I must ask myself whether I am content to preach on Sundays. Does nothing challenge me to more work? Didn’t Paul preach every day of the week when he was in Ephesus (Acts 19:9)? Do I want to arouse the curious and draw them in to hear of ruin redemption and regeneration? Am I afraid of appearing over-zealous? Perhaps some of you can write or teach. Are you using that talent? Some of you are parents, and are you telling your children about the love of Jesus Christ? Are you students a witness in your schools and colleges?

Let me say this, that the persons I owe the greatest debt to in this world were the people who spoke to me about Christ. They were not eloquent or educated people. They were not special in any way, but I can never repay them what I owe them. They changed my whole life and my eternity. Every good and happy thing which I’ve got has come to me from the message of Christ which they gave to me. What would have happened to me otherwise?

You know Christian that the death-bell is ringing out even now, hell is crying out, howling with hunger for the souls of men. “Bring out the sinner. Bring out the sinner. Put him here in the mouth of hell. Let him die and be damned.” And there you are, professing to be a Christian and doing nothing which might make you God’s instrument in saving souls. You never put yourself in God’s hands as the means of plucking brands from the burning. Wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead! The darkness deepens; Lord with us abide. He does abide though we are such a wicked lot of lazy do nothings! He that keeps Israel does not slumber or sleep. To him you must go and you must ask him for awakening grace, for life and vitality. Give me the Holy Spirit in a new way.

I charge you by all your hopes of heaven and by all your desires for glory – you sleepers awake! Rise from the dead. See the world around us – Christian awake! Would you be ready at his appearing, unashamed, your lamp burning, your loins girded, then Christian awake! Would you help your loved ones see the truth and be strengthened in the cause of the gospel? Then Christian do not sleep! Would you see this old building filled again? Then Christian do not sleep. God’s enemies do not sleep; the world does not sleep; the devil does not sleep. Let not the child of God sleep!

May the Lord be pleased to use his word now to awaken us all, raising us from the dead. May he awaken many churches and revive his work all over the world. A great awakening – that is our longing and need.

July 3 2005 GEOFF THOMAS