If you take all the Christians who nod off and fall asleep in church on Sunday morning and lay them end to end, side by side, they will sleep much more comfortably.
We face a problem today far greater than taking a nap during a pastor’s sermon. Far too many Christians sleepwalk through life. Day after day, they go through the motions of living their routine existence but remain unaware of the spiritual pandemic of dead faith. Lifeless religion crosses all denominational boundaries and threatens our churches, communities, families, and our lives.
Dead faith produces a life of hypocrisy. Christians say they believe in God and His word, the Bible, but their secret thoughts, spoken words, and way of living often contradict their stated beliefs. We’re in desperate need of a faith resurrection—for what we believe to live again.
SCRIPTURE – Hear What God Says to Us
14 Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
EXPLORATION – Dig Deep to Understand
Resurrected faith refuses to listen passively to God’s Word, but pays attention with a passion for Jesus to hear and obey. The truth of God’s word will empower us to live what we believe today with three big ideas: Wake Up, The Light has Come, and Walk Anew in the Light.
The Apostle Paul refers to an early hymn of the church, one the Ephesians were familiar with, saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.” You’ve probably heard this song:
Wake up, O sleeper – Wake up!
Wake up, O sleeper – Wake up!
Rise up from the dead and—Christ will shine on You
Be careful not to sleepwalk—Wake up and be wise
Seize the moment ‘cuz the days are evil
Ephesians 5:14,15, and 16Sung to the tune of “Wake Up Little Susie”
One way to think of salvation or being born again is to wake up. The sinner lives in a dreamland oblivious to their sin, but when they wake up, they can see their sin for what it is. In repentance, the sinner turns away from sin and looks to Jesus for forgiveness, receiving life anew. Paul described this transformation in Ephesians 2, saying, “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world” (Eph 2:1-2). We were spiritual zombies, the walking dead, but the resurrection power of the Spirit makes us alive in Christ.
Jesus woke us up! Unfortunately, so many Christians today fall back to sleep just like the Ephesians did. Sleepwalking Christians go through their day to day lives unaware of their spiritual slumber. Only when they hear the alarm, do they become conscious of the lifeless compromise of dead faith religion. Don’t give in to the temptation to hit the snooze button and fall back asleep. Hear the alarm. Wake up!
Before sounding the alarm for believers to wake up, Paul reminded them of their two-faced duplicity and how they were once again living like spiritual zombies. (See Ephesians 5:3-7). Jesus also warned His followers to stay awake, so He does not find them sleeping when He returns. (See Mark 13:33, 36).
The Light has Come!
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Jesus makes it possible for us to wake up! With eyes wide open, He gives us sight to see clearly once again. Only when we wake up can we acknowledge our sin of double-minded hypocrisy.
Paul refers to the light five times here in Ephesians 5. (See verses 8-13). No longer in darkness, we are light in the LORD and live as children of light. The light bears the fruit of all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Everything becomes visible when exposed by the light, becoming a pure reflection of the light. Jesus, the true light of the world, called us who once walked in darkness to wake up and follow Him “the light of the world” (Matthew 9:14).
When the light of Christ shines upon us, we have light to see how to walk. In the light, we can see how to realign to our lifestyle and match what we believe. This is the activity of “faithing,” or faith as a verb, working to transform our lives from the inside out. Dead faith comes alive again, so our thoughts, words, and deeds align more and more with the sinless attitudes and actions of Jesus. Resurrected faith lives what we believe because the light has come.
Walk Anew in the Light!
When our faith comes to life, Paul shows us how our way of living should be transformed. He tells us to walk anew in the light, saying, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Belief aligns with lifestyle in two critical ways: wisdom to do the right thing and readiness to seize the moment.
Wisdom means more than the accumulation of head knowledge or information. True wisdom puts what we know into action. Wise people take what they know to heart, giving them the motivation to apply the information and experience with common sense and insight. In any situation, wisdom makes the appropriate response in word and deed.
Believers sleepwalking through life remain unwise and unaware of their dead faith. While they may quote scripture and know what God’s word says, they do not obey it in their private lives. Resurrected faith takes head knowledge to heart with wisdom to live differently.
Wisdom also realizes the days are evil, producing the readiness to seize the moment. The wise do not hastily rush to speak or act. Nor does wisdom procrastinate and put off what needs to be said or done. Instead, they do the right thing at the right time.
EXECUTION – Put God’s Word into Practice
Can you hear the alarm sound today? Wake up! The Holy Spirit wants to awaken us today with an awareness of the dead faith pandemic threatening our souls.
- Don’t hit the snooze button, but allow the Holy Spirit to help you examine your life.
- What area of your life needs the activity of “faithing” to transform your lifestyle to live what you believe?
- Walk in the light with wisdom to do the right thing at the right time!
DEPENDENCE – Look to God for Help
LORD Jesus, thank You for Your loving patience. Awaken us today from our spiritual slumber so we don’t continue sleepwalking through life just going through religious motions without being changed. Forgive us for the compromise of disbelief and hypocrisy in how we live our lives. Holy Spirit, empower us to be transformed from the inside out. Let faith do its work within us to move the head knowledge of belief into our hearts, motivating us to live more and more like Jesus.