11-08-2020: Awakening in the Storm

Matthew 25:1-13 (Jonah 2:4)

I. Introduction.

A mother was once telling her little boy what manner of person a Christian should be. When the lesson was finished, the mother got a stab she never forgot, when her little boy asked seriously, “Mother, have I ever seen a Christian?”

D.L. Moody said this about holiness and Christians: “A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns – they only shine.”

And I would offer this –

  • It is not what men eat – but what they digest that makes them stronger –
  • It is Not what we gain – but what we save that makes us rich –
  • It is Not what we read – but what we remember that makes us learned –
  • It is Not what we preach or pray – but what we practice and believe that makes us Christians.

You see, a true Christian is:

  • A mind through which Christ thinks.
  • A voice through which Christ speaks.
  • A heart through which Christ loves.
  • A hand through which Christ helps.

And I fear that is what we – collectively – universally – are not doing all the time or not at all.

Today – right now – We as Christians must rise up and awaken our souls which are greatly in need of the gospel. We must be vigilant that our spirits do not fall asleep. And we must do the same to keep our friends and family in the spirit, and also the same for the church.

II. Jonah? (How Did He Sneak in Here?)

“Then I said, I have been cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple” – Jonah 2:4.

Dear Brothers, & Christ, today let us meditate some lessons from the story of Jonah. He received a word from the Lord to go to the great city of Nineveh to warn them of the Lord’s coming judgment. And His gracious call for them to repent, as their only means of escaping it. The Lord had been long-suffering with this evil nation, and now the Lord had chosen to judge them, but before doing that, He was going to send His Prophet Jonah to give them one last warning, or opportunity, to repent and to avoid the Lord’s judgment.

However, after receiving His word, Jonah immediately decides to avoid the Lord’s Summons by taking off to Joppa. He disliked the people of Ninevites, and he would rather see them judged by the Lord than forgiven by the Lord.

Jonah boarded a ship and headed for Joppa. But soon there was a great storm, and while everyone else was fighting for their survival, Jonah was asleep in the storm; indifferent to every danger that was taking place around him. The Apostle Paul said to the modern churches in 1 Corinthians 9:16 –

“For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

II. Being Asleep in the World.

Like Jonah, we are called upon by God to spread His Word and to be awake in the storm. We are called to be awake and save those who might fall to judgement. We are called to be awake even in a storm. Are you asleep in the world during the time of storm or in these last days? Are you compromising with the Word of God?

A. Compromising Christians.

Isaiah 56:10 says, “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.”

We are His watchmen – called to spread His word. Isaiah is talking about the people who are sleeping – lying down – loving to slumber. If you visited your Doctor every week for a check- up – and each week he told you that you were doing great – that there was nothing to be concerned about. You would go out and enjoy life. However – while you are living your carefree life – you are suddenly struck down with heart disease. What would you do in this case – if each and every week your Doctor failed to warn and treat you for an ongoing disease? You would change Doctors!! He, of course – would try to win you back by telling you that he was afraid of telling you the truth for fear of hurting your feelings.

This is a perfect illustration to how many Christians have become in this modern world. We go to church every week – we attend prayer meetings – and talk among ourselves and other Christians about the glory of God. We live our lives happily and give God praise for the blessings we have – however we hesitate to spread the gospel and tell the truth for fear of sounding negative and hurting your co-workers or friends’ feelings.

Let this not be an excuse for the Children of God. We are called to speak of the Lord to His people. Every single soul on this earth was created in the likeness of God and are in need of the gospel and salvation. How can we simply be satisfied in God’s blessing for us – but watch our beloved nation and world. People are dying right in front of our very naked eyes.

As a Christian we must be willing to tell others the truth – unafraid of seeming negative. If you love your neighbor – you must tell them that there is only one God. Tell them – this is a sin in the eyes of God. As children of God – we must be more concerned about others coming to the light – than if they like us. Do not compromise the Word of God – because of feelings. Be awake in God’s ministry – even in everyday life.

B. Current – Modern World.

The current modern world is changing – especially in morality. Do we slumber as Christians – because we fear hurting others feelings? Our forefathers – and our older generation – did not have a safety net of Social Security – Government Health Care – Unemployment Benefits, etc. They needed the Lord’s daily help – deliverance and guidance to make it from day to day. But they received blessings from God each and every day.

Today we have all those conveniences and much more. We are living within a generation that feels no need for Jesus. God – Yahweh – is but some great stories about an old man in an old and dusty book of stories. And for those who are not so fortunate – the current generation simply relies on the government to take care of them – to provide them “free” stuff.

In our National Parks – you will find signs that tell you “Do not feed the Bears”. The main reason for not feeding the bears is to avoid having the bears become dependent upon humans to feed them. For they will not be able to feed themselves. That is what has happened to so many people; they have become so used to the Government taking care of them – that they do not need the Lord’s help any longer. They have also become so controlled and blinded by their world desires and emotions that they cannot see the Glory of God. They fail to see the blessings and goodness of God because they find temporary goodness in the world.

This is the culture – the generational time we live in today. The modern era of technology and science – which has blinded many from the goodness of God. They refuse to listen to the word of God. Just as the Great City of Nineveh was in total destruction – so is the modern world. The prophets – pastors – and preachers are crying against the sins of our people and warning us to repent or face the judgment of the Lord. All around us – we see the mounting corruption that is destroying our nation.

But like the city of Nineveh – God is calling upon us to share His word. He is calling upon all Christians and His Churches to stay awake in the storm. He is calling upon us to not give up on His lost people and run away. We must endeavor to always answer His call and share the Word of God and show the love of God. But take caution not to fall with those who are lost.

C. Companionship with the Lost.

I Corinthians 15:33 tells us: “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

There is no greater influence upon a person than the company that he keeps. Many good children start down the wrong road in life when they begin to walk with the wrong crowd. After commanding Israel to keep the Law – the very next order from the Lord to His people – as they went into the Promised Land – was to remain separate from the pagans in the land (Deuteronomy 7:1-11). The Lord knew the danger of evil companions.

But understand – this does not mean that we must completely separate ourselves from this world. For our Savior came to this earth to forgive all sins. He came for the lost and the forgotten – he came for sinners. The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. And like Christ –  we must also reach out the lost and forgotten through His Word and love. However – one of the first things that God will do in your life, once you come into full surrender with Him – is start to set some boundary lines. Reach out to the lost – but do not lose yourself in their worldly desires. Touch the forgotten – but do not forget you are a child of God.

Awaken O church – for there are many souls in need of saving. Are you sound asleep and satisfied with God’s blessings for you alone? Do you see the storm outside of the church and the lost who are fighting for their lives? Will you simply allow judgment to fall on them – or will you awaken and spread His word?

My Dear Beloved – as much as we must be awake for the storm in this world – we must also be awake for the storm inside of us – inside our spiritual souls.

III. Being Asleep in the Church.

Jesus describes being asleep in the storm within another story in Matthew 25:1-13. “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”

The fact, half of the people in their little group were lost, until it was too late to help them. In this crucial hour, the church, as Christians, also needs an awakening. We have been blessed abundantly by the Lord. Our lives are filled with miracles and joy. However, we cannot be satisfied and carefree and asleep in our spiritual life. We cannot be satisfied with the oil that is already in our lamps. We must be prepared and spiritually awake in the Lord. We must be close to Him in prayer and scripture.

A. Awakening in the Church.

We can be awakened to the fact that we are now saved and held at the Lord’s side, but if we do not continuously pray and turn from our wicked ways and seek the Lord’s face each day, we are still asleep spiritually. The church would be like Jonah who laid down and was fast asleep. Look again at these verses Matthew 25:11-12, “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us! But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly,’ I say to you, I do not know you.”

We, as the Church, have been summoned by the Lord to warn the lost of the Lord’s Coming Judgment, and His command for them to Repent and Receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But like Jonah, many of us too, are sound asleep and at ease in Zion because of our own blessings. And because of the blessings we have, we do not cling onto God as the priority in our lives.

Professor Martin Luther once dreamed that the devil was listening to reports from his agents on the progress they were making against the Kingdom of God. One reported, “A company of Christians were crossing the desert, and I loosen the lions on them and all were lost.” The devil replied, “What good was that? Their bodies were lost, but their souls were saved. I want their souls.” Another little devil reported that a company of Christians were crossing the sea. He sent strong winds and caused the ship to go on the rocks and all were lost. Satan again said that was nothing, because their bodies were lost, but he only wanted their souls. A third gave his report saying, “after years of trying, I finally managed to put the church to sleep.” And hearing this, the hell rejoiced.

B. Awakening in the Family.

Matthew 24:32-35 tells us “The Signs of the times are all around us, the leaves are on the tree and we are still asleep.” 

Mark 13:32-37: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.”

My Beloved, revival does not always start big. Sometimes it begins within our own families; within our own friends and family. Wake up your loved ones who are spiritually sleeping and call them to meditate in the word. Call them to pray in the spirit. Focus on the youth and younger generation who will be fighting temptations of different generations. They will be standing against morals of the different generation. Do not be steadfast with the blessing you have and be asleep in the spirit. Awaken your family in the spirit.

Teach the younger generation to stand firm in their faith. Let them not compromise the Word of God. Let them not fall into the desires of the modern world. Let them not fall into companionship with those who rebuke the Lord and His word. Pray for the younger generation and youth. Do not be satisfied and asleep.

IV. Conclusion.

In Matthew 9:36 we are told “when He saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary, and scattered like sheep having no shepherd.” Jesus saw the multitude, their needs, and that they were neglected. Jesus saw these lost souls as a Sheep without a sense of direction. If there would come a Spiritual Awakening in the Church, we would see people as eternal souls in need of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We would feel a compassion for them and a compulsion to win them to Christ. We are asleep to the lost. We must have an awakening that will put laborers to work in the harvest.

Dear church, God calls upon you to spread His word and love. Just as He called upon Jonah, He calls upon you. Just as the city of Nineveh fell to sin and corruptions, the world around us is forgetting the word of the Lord. Do not turn your back toward those who are lost. Do not be satisfied in your own blessings and rest easily while the world is still facing a storm and judgement. It is your calling as Christians to save God’s lost sheep.

But understand, do not compromise the word of God because you are scared to hurt others feelings. Stand firm and solid in the scriptures and it’s truth. Stand firm and separate yourself from the morals of the modern world and sinners. Share the word of God, but do not fall into temptation from companionship with the lost. Rise up and awaken. The world is in need of the gospel.

Let us pray:

Rise up and awaken your soul in need of the gospel. Let your spirit not fall asleep. Let the church be awake in the spirit, and let your friends and family be awake in the spirit. Read the scriptures, meditate in the scriptures, and pray with the spirit. Pray for the younger generation, pray for your friends, and pray for the world.

Help us, Father God, to remember and obey your Holy Words of Romans 13:11-12 spoken through your Apostle Paul to the church: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent; the day is at hand; let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Amen.