Sleepwalking. The thoughts we have this morning is in the three stages of wakefulness. One is completely unawake, (or asleep), the other is an intermediate state of being asleep but professing to be awake( which is even scarier). But then the third is a state of wakefulness which is in the Christian life, which is awake to God, fully aware and present with God, and having left behind the sleepiness and slumber that we began with. Three stages of wakefulness. The Lord has a desire that we would get out of our slumber. That we would wake up from a slumber of self, sin, and disconnection from wakefulness. Here we are at the end of the year, at the time when the world chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ, when at that time the world awaited in slumber in the anticipation of waking up, ..and then a Savior was born, Who is Christ The Lord, Jesus. And at that moment of slumber, there’s a brokenness, a wakefulness that happens. But here we are in our day and time, and we still get to ask the question; “are we awake?” Or are we sleeping, or slumbering?
TEXT : ROMANS 13:11-14
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 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 armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Through the inspiration and Spirit of God, the Word of God here is trying to help us to know how to activate, or make active, the Word of God in us, so we can do what is being asked of us. A slumber, and how to get out of a slumber.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:15-17
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This is of course a picture of the second coming of Christ, but it also talks about a kind of sleep, which we understand to be death. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. This verse exhorts us not to be asleep spiritually. Both in Romans, and 1 Thessalonians it talks about a sleep or slumber, about being awake, and both of those passages talks about putting on something. With those thoughts we’ll proceed to talk about sleep and slumber, and putting on something. And the three states of wakefulness that everyone finds themselves in. A question; has any of us ever been sleepwalking? It would be a very poor idea to be doing anything important while sleepwalking. Like driving a car! To be out in traffic and not conscious where you are. Bad idea! As it would be to manage your finances, pay bills, write checks, while asleep. There’s some things we shouldn’t do when we’re sleeping! Because we’re not aware of what we’re doing! There’s a spiritual slumber that is like a sleep, that is really more profound and significant than finding yourself asleep outside, and not in your bed. This spiritual slumber that is referenced in this text speaks about a slumber or sleep that is like unto death. Death is like a sleep, for that which is dead in relation to this life knows nothing. .So we’re celebrating because these texts don’t end in death, but in wakefulness. The possibility this morning, is that we could have a spiritual awakening, a spiritual birth! Which is like being awake! If before, our eyes were open, and our brains were “on,” we presumed that we were awake, and that we understood everything that should be understood, but he’s telling us, “not yet, not yet.” Your eyes can be open, your brain can be “on,” ..yet you can still be slumbering! Still asleep to God! And everyone that confronts their spiritual condition, and everyone that is honest in that moment to their spiritual condition, they’ll understand, “I’m asleep to God, I don’t really know Him, It’s as if I were sleepwalking sometimes, I’m unconscious to God, I’m moving through life but unconscious to why I am here, my purpose is, and what’s this is all about. So let’s speak more about spiritual slumber.
This message is really about movement. That gets us from a need to a relationship with God in all these messages, and this movement is the same that we have been addressing this morning. We’re meant to move from being asleep, to being awake! We should ask the Lord to examine our hearts this morning! Am I asleep to God? This has nothing to do with “do I know God, go to church, do I believe,’ You could be sleep walking and believe! Rather this has to do, with “are we awake?” Jesus referenced this in a parable found in Matthew 25. It’s the parable of the ten virgins. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The wise virgins were wise because their lamps were filled with oil. The foolish were foolish because their lamps were empty. Though the Bridegroom had not yet come, they were waiting for Him. And as the night progressed, the day turned into night. They found themselves in darkness. They knew the Bridegroom would be coming back, so they knew they needed light. They were meant to be in preparation for the reception of the Bridegroom and the Wedding. The Bridegroom was announced; He came back. There’s an announcement today that the Bridegroom is back! Not that the Bridegroom has yet returned a second time, but we are still celebrating His birth, the reality, the crisis in the world today! So in one sense, this parable has a couple of different meanings. So they’re waiting for the Bridegroom, and meant to be prepared. The preparation has to do with whether or not their lamps can be lit. The illumination that’s caused by the oil in the lamp, is what helps us see how to take the next step. Those in waiting could not find the way to get to the Bridegroom, unless they had a lamp with oil. There was movement involved! There was a need to get to point A to point B. They couldn’t sit and wait for something to happen, they had to get up and move! It’s the same today, when we see we have a spiritual need, we’re meant to get up and move! Not to simply listen and say “that was a nice sermon but “what is it causing in me?”, that requires me to get to point A, to point B. Too many today are asleep, slumbering. They can’t even hear the call that the Bridegroom is present! We are a vessel just like a lamp. The vessel is meant to hold something. It’s meant to hold oil in this case. The oil is meant to illuminate our path to get us from where we are to where we need to be. So the five foolish said, “oh oh,” the time is up! The wedding is announced and they had nothing to light their lamp with, since it was empty. “Oh no, I don’t have any oil in my lamp! Can I borrow some of yours?” They were answered; “I’m sorry I only have enough for myself. I’m not being selfish, I can’t provide for you, what you need! I only have a supply to get me from here to there.” This one is spiritually asleep, This one is now awake. They have light which is illuminating their path, they’re awake to God, but this other one is still asleep. The parable suggests to us that these five foolish were left out! They didn’t make it! The five that had oil in their lamp, they made it! Even though the five foolish professed they had what they needed, they were left out! They could not find their way! It’s dark without light, and there needs to be an expectation that we are prepared! Everyday!
As I was thinking about the subject this morning, I was thinking what it was to have light, as versus to not have light. To not have light, ..light which is the same as having a relationship with God. To not have light is frustrating at best! Scary at worst, when you need to get to where the Lord is, and not have light! There is a profession today that says, “I’m okay. I have what I need. I have an allegiance with God.” In another words, “I have a lamp. See, here’s my lamp.” But in fact there’s no oil in it! This is not my opinion, I’m going by what the parable is teaching here! I have a lamp but there’s no oil in it. That must mean something for us today! Does that mean that person is simply one that did not receive the Lord? Let’s make it in the words we use today. They did not accept Jesus. And somehow they are left out at the end. Is that what that means? We have to confront “what does that mean?” The five that didn’t have oil, ..;who are they? What does that mean? People stop asking questions and just presume, that because I have an allegiance with God, or I have a name with God, my lamp is filled with oil. If Jesus by this parable was simply teaching that we needed to change from the Mosaic law, to now an acceptance to a new covenant in Christ, if that’s all He was teaching, and the lamp without oil was a Jew without Christ, and the lamp with the oil, was a type of person with Christ, if that’s all He was teaching, then one would think He is simply asking us to change allegiances. One from an old way of thinking, to a new way of thinking. That way of thinking would mean that Christ is simply a substitute for the law. That if I choose Christ, then therefore I’m a Christian if that’s all that it meant. But I don’t think that’s all that it means! There’s other places in the new testament that speak about this parable in a different way. To serve God, to simply have an allegiance, is no longer good enough! Because what God has provided now, is a wakefulness! 12 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 armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. My experience is, “Please don’t offer me a lamp without any oil in it!” Don’t tell me that’s good enough. I want more than that! The lamp without oil, is an allegiance to a profession is a form without the power, and pointless! You can live, teach, preach, but with a life without power. It leaves us dissatisfied. Sleepwalking. We can’t really comprehend things around us, that’s called sleepwalking! This oil is more than a symbol of Christianity. This oil is the power to be awake! There’s no point to have a lamp without oil, that would get you to a place of darkness, and not to a place of the wedding! Because you won’t make it, you’ll get lost along the way! So effectively that lamp without oil is worthless! No light!