Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

When people are asleep, things can go on and they don’t even know. It’s important for us to know what time it is.

Romans 13:11-14…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 armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus…make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

We’re in the end times and Jesus could come back anytime. The verse says it’s high time to awake out of sleep. A Sports Illustrated magazine wrote about the champion race car driver, Dale Earnhardt. He was known for being very calm before he raced and occasionally took a cat nap just before races. The other race drivers would have pulse rates between 100 and 120 when Dale’s would be 60 or lower. August 31, 1997 Earnhardt unintentionally took cat napping to a dangerous new level. He started the race, then fell asleep going into a subconscious state at the wheel and he kept driving. When he reached the first turn, he hit the wall and kept going. At the second turn he hit the wall harder and continued slowly around the track for two laps, looking for his pit but unable to find it. Finally he just pulled off the track. Later he said he remembered nothing at all. Sixteen doctors examined him to find out what had happened. They found nothing definite but suggested three possibilities: 1) A small blood vessel had a spasm that restricted blood flow to the brain. 2) He had a temporary short circuit of the brain because of a previous accident. 3) He experienced vasodepressor syndrome in which the pulse rate falls rather than rising under stress. (Usually the adrenal glands produce lots of adrenaline when we’re under stress so our pulse rate goes higher.) Earnhardt was asleep driving 100 miles an hour around the racetrack. Many people are racing through life today. They’re saying they love God but they’re asleep spiritually and don’t know what’s going on. They hit bump after bump but they’re still going 100 miles an hour. We need to be awake. Paul said “the night is far spent.” We need to wake up and pay attention to what we’re doing.

When we get saved and sanctified, the Holy Spirit fills us with the Spirit of God and his love. That’s like a cup full of water. If the cup has a little hole, it doesn’t drip very fast but it will be empty before long. If we fall asleep spiritually, it’s like we have a little hole in our experience that gradually drips out so we aren’t even aware. We’ll be making provision for the flesh if we’re asleep. God wants us to be awake and put on the attributes of the Lord Jesus so people see that in us.

I Thessalonians 5:1-8 But of the times and the seasons…ye have no need that I write…For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh…and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light…we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 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.

How many people are really awake and see their condition? It’s so important to know our condition so God can help us. We need to be spiritually awake to say, Lord search us and see if there’s anything in us that needs to be corrected. God wants us to be totally awake and ready to meet him any time because we’re living in the last days. When people are asleep, they don’t pay attention to what they meditate on. The enemy has access to our thoughts. If we’re asleep, our meditation will be on things from the enemy so we’re troubled and in turmoil. God tells us how to control our mind. It’s our responsibility to cast down and bring all thoughts into the obedience of Christ. God wants us to put on the helmet of the hope of salvation.

The parable of the ten virgins says five were wise but five were foolish. They were all virgins, meaning they were all saved. The difference was the foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them. The wise took oil in their vessels. The oil is like the Holy Spirit. The virgins all slumbered and slept. The ones who had no oil are like the saved who aren’t sanctified. We need to be saved and sanctified so God can help us in situations that come up. A lamp that burns needs the wick trimmed so it’ll burn brighter. Those who didn’t take oil didn’t have any light even though they trimmed their lamp. There wasn’t any oil to keep their lamp burning. We need the Holy Spirit so our lamp stays lit and the enemy can’t put us to sleep spiritually.

Matthew 25:3-9 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

The five foolish virgins thought they were friends of the bridegroom but they weren’t concerned about what God wanted them to do. We need to be concerned about what God is prompting us to do for the work of God. Our life isn’t all about us, what we want, or our comfort. When the foolish went to buy, it was too late. The five wise virgins had their lamps burning and were ready to go into the marriage. The others weren’t ready and it was 11:59pm. The bridegroom is coming at midnight and if we’re not ready, we won’t be able to go in. We need to watch and be ready, living like this is our last day on earth. We won’t fall asleep, be negligent, or do things we shouldn’t if we live that way. We’ll be ready to meet God. Jesus told many that cast out devils in his name  that he didn’t know them and to depart from him because they worked iniquity (Matthew 7:22-23). They did what they wanted, said they were saved but had sin in their life and weren’t obeying  God.

Matthew 25:11-13 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered…Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The Amplified Bible says in Hebrews 2:1 “lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away” like a leaky vessel. It takes a while for everything to leak out of the leaky vessel, but everything will leak out if the hole isn’t plugged. It leaks  because someone is careless and went to sleep. They weren’t taking care of needs in their life so they got a little hole that was leaking out a little at a time. The devil doesn’t care how long it takes to get us to backslide but he’s moving us that way.

Hebrews 2:1-3 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…to be spoken by the Lord…

We need to take heed to ourselves so our hearts aren’t overcharged. It’s the enemy’s job to put a snare on everyone. The enemy wants us to be overcharged by cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and other things coming in.

Luke 21:34-35 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all…

There’s a hole in the vessel that’s leaking because someone neglected to plug the hole. They didn’t think what they heard was necessary, they forgot, or just disregarded it. They thought it’s no big deal so they were indifferent and carelessness. Neglect is failing to properly care for, to give little attention or respect to, to leave undone or unattended through carelessness, to not give enough care and attention to the things that are our responsibility and just forget to do things.

Luke 21:34-36 (Amplified Classic) But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.

God doesn’t want us to neglect our salvation which is the most precious thing we have – more precious than our family, our spouse, our children, or anything else. We need to give the more earnest heed to it, instead of neglecting it. The weeds will take over if a gardener neglects weeding. It’s easier to dig up the roots if you get the weeds when they’re little. The field of the slothful was overgrown with thorns and the fence was broken down because of neglect (Proverbs 24:30-31). Neglect makes us lose our sensitivity. People say they slept through the alarm clock, but they slept through because they wanted to sleep. They didn’t get up for the purpose they set the alarm. If we say, “I overslept so I didn’t get to church on time,” we need to put the things of God as a priority, instead of ourselves. Being on time is important. Procrastination is putting things off. Neglect destroys our interest to  do the things of God and that’s what the devil wants. We can’t play around with sin and think we’ve got control so we can handle it. There’s a story of a man that had a rattlesnake in a cage. Every day he put his finger through the cage but pulled his finger out before it struck him. Everyone said don’t do it or you’ll get bit some day. Several years passed ,then one day he got distracted and left his finger in too long. The snake bit him and he died. He played around with something poisonous and tragic. We have to stay away from sin and not neglect our salvation.

The church at Laodicea was lukewarm, not cold or hot. Laodicea had an aqueduct that carried water from a hot mineral spring 15 miles north. The hot spring water was lukewarm by the time it got to town. They built an aquaduct to bring cold water from Colossae 10 miles south but the water was lukewarm by the time it got to town. Jesus used the situation to show how they were neither hot nor cold. The enemy wants us burdened by cares, deceitfulness of riches, and pleasures to rob us spirituality. God wants us to be on fire for him. This warns us to stay awake and watch at all times.

Revelation 3:15-17 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods…need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Laodicea was a wealthy city. They made eye ointments for eye diseases. They also produced a shiny black wool that was prized by the wealthy all over the world. When Laodicea was destroyed by a great earthquake in AD 60, the Roman empire wanted to help rebuild the city. They refused because they felt they had enough money to rebuild on their own. God used their own circumstances to help them see their condition. They were saying, I am rich and increased with goods and need nothing, but they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They had taken an attitude like the world around them. We cannot take the attitude of the world around us that keeps getting worse. God’s attitude is totally different than the world. God showed their need to get gold tried in the fire – to have their confidence in the promises, the truth, and the word of God. They needed to have white raiment where there was no sin in their life instead of the black shiny wool of the world. They needed healing eye salve and to have their eyes open. If things weren’t taken care of, everything would leak out and they’d be lost. God doesn’t want us to have a lukewarm spirit but to pay attention to our experience.

Revelation 3:18-19 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The world will be destroyed but the important thing is to have our heart right. We need to ask God to search us and see if we have any need. We need to be diligent to take care of any need God shows us so we’re found without spot and blameless.

II Peter 3:11-12 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

II Peter 3:14…seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

The person that has a hole in their experience and won’t take care of it, is being gradually led away by the error of the wicked. God wants us to be diligent to take care of anything he isn’t pleasing with so we aren’t led away by the error of the wicked.

II Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus…