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Wake Up Call

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
-Ephesians 5:14b, Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV)


We had two different phone calls that woke us up, while sleeping, this week.   This got me thinking about God's wake up calls.  We say to someone who is not engaged or is in denial, "Wake up!", and that is how the phrase is used in Ephesians 5 and Revelation 3.

In Ephesians 5, Paul is teaching that there are two ways to live, and one is the way of death and the other is the way of life.  He metaphorically says that the death way is akin to being asleep.  We wake up, "Arise and shine", and begin living awake.


Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Eph. 5:1-20 (NIV) 
He says that those who have been awakened and begin living in the way of Christ can go back to sleep or go back to living in the death way.  Try reading the above passage two or three times, to let the whole thing sink in.  This was written to Christians and applies to Christians today.


And this is the same kind of thing going on in Revelation, chapter 3, with the church in Sardis.  Jesus actually calls them out as being, "Christians in name only", and calls them a dead church.
To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. -Rev. 3:1-6 (NIV)
It sounds kind of judgmental when we point at any church on the scene today, and say it is a dead church.  I believe when we say this, we are often wrong, because we judge by our standard, rather than Jesus' standard.


These two chapters basically tell us that Christians can fall asleep and become dead.  That tells us that many people who say they are Christians might be asleep or be the living dead.  If Paul and Jesus addressed it, it is real.

How do sleepers awake?

From a wake up call.

"The call" is God's work.

What should the people of God, who are alive and awake do?


What we all need to do is make sure we ourselves are awake and then prepare and arrange our lives to make room for awakened people that God wants to send us to and send to us.  It is that simple.

There is a very wide freedom in how to live this out.  How much blessing do you want?

Some people will completely change their lives, as in selling everything, and live communally with other Christians.  At the other end of the spectrum, others will begin taking an hour or two, over and over, to get together with another Christian brother or sister, having coffee or a meal; discovering the joy of learning Christ and sharing life.

What Jesus has to offer people that wake up, whether it is a rude awakening, or an epiphany; is simply loving people.  Jesus' church are people that love one another.  We are welcoming, inclusive, helpful and hopeful.

When the wake up call comes and people awaken, the net that will bring them into Christ are not programs or better ecclesiastical models, but simply love.  Christians either have love or lack love.  We are either loving or not loving.

Live the simple life of the most profound person, Jesus.  Love one another.  Awake, alive, loved, and loving.

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