Paul's Wake-up Call

DeafCanDoIt   October 22, 2021 in ASL


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Ephesians 5:14-18 We have an expression that has become common: "a wake-up call." I cannot give good historic information about the origin. But it might have come to pass years ago (before travel alarms and cell phones) when people stayed in a motel and needed the front desk to call them in the morning. {Wikipedia says - a telephone service provided by lodging establishments.} There is another, arguably greater, significance we may assign to the expression. When something happens to you, or you witness something that sets off some needed internal awareness, we may call that a "wake-up call." I've had friends who suffered unexpected heart attacks or came dear death in an automobile accident, and spoke of the event as a "wake-up call." Problem is, we may just be sobered momentarily. After a few days, the impact of the event has diminished and old habits of life resume. We are awakened and focused, but get over it quickly. As a Bible reader and student, you don't have to wait for events in time to be sobered or examine yourself. Daily Bible reading, for example, will bring into your awareness many events and provocative statements that can wake you up and cause serious re-examination and commitment. Here's an example: Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. Eph. 4:14-18 WAKE-UP One way to understand conversion is: hearing the gospel, you wake up, see what sin is doing to you and walk away from it. Because of Jesus Christ you can do that. You can wake up, see what the problem is and let Christ lead you to a new alertness and wisdom. That's a scriptural way to understand conversion. But Paul is writing to the Christians in Ephesus, to people already converted. He uses this statement apparently quoted either from Scripture or a hymn Christians used. It is, from whatever writing, ultimately from God. This says to Christians: Once you let Christ wake you out of sin, you must not fall back into the slumber of that old way of life. Once you get your wake-up call, don't hit the snooze button. Christians need to be warned, admonished, and sometimes awakened from their nap. More specifically . . . PAY ATTENTION: "see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." Look at these three words: "see," "walk" and "wise." This is about paying attention to your conduct so that there is consistent wise living. You have to watch where you are going, or you will fall down. This is simply paying attention. I know you have seen this: people being baptized, then not following through with determination to be grow and be faithful. The problem is: you cannot be a Christian without focus, without attention on your manner of life. This is a call for wise living, and that requires that we pay attention to where we are going. Look at that word that we are not used to: "Circumspectly." Think of the word "circle" and "inspection." This is about looking all around. To maintain a high level of awareness is essential to godly living. To stay awake in your service to the Lord it is crucial to inspect yourself . . . look all around. Look for the approach of temptation. Look carefully at your inner attitude. Look at peer influences. Look at how people can influence you, for good or evil. Look at your Bible reading habits. Look at your attendance. Look at your involvement in prayer. Look at your use of money and time and your duties in the home. Walk with your eyes open - alert to everything around you. Being awake spiritually also means . . . Wise Time Management: "redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Wise living is the healthy combination of many kinds of good choices, consistently repeated. You begin with the choice to become a Christian - obeying the gospel. After baptism, through the discipline of the Word - you learn to make good choices, consistently, about a variety of things. Wise living is the healthy combination of many kinds of good choices, consistently repeated. Good choices about relationships. Good choices about money. Good choices about your response to pain and disappointment. And here - good choices about your use of time. One issue that seems to destroy us sometimes is, we don't stop and give sufficient thought to how we use what God gives us, like time. Time, properly conceived, is a gift from God and if we squander it - if our habits amount to wasting time or using time primarily for selfish purposes - we have failed to act as Paul directs in his wake-up call. Redeem the time - - That is, consider time to be a precious commodity. Buy it, by faithful use and good management of your days. One of my favorite writers is John Maxwell who says, "If you take life more slowly than your energy level is capable of, you can become lazy. If you continually run at a pace faster than you are capable, you can burn out. You need to find your balance." That requires thought, prayer, practice and daily discipline, to redeem the time. Wise living is the healthy combination of many kinds of good choices, consistently repeated. Redeem the time, because the days are evil. Likewise, spiritual awareness requires that we ... Understand The Lord's Will You just cannot be alert, awake and active as a Christian if you are not seeking to understand the will of the Lord. "Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Notice how two things are placed in opposition to one another: being unwise, or understanding what the will of the Lord is. Here's what can be argued, based on this - If you are "unwise," as the term is used here - it is because you do not understand what the will of the Lord is. The other side of that - the positive side is - if you are seeking to understand the will of Lord and engage in His will - to whatever extent that is your purpose - YOU ARE ABLE TO BE WISE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE. Many who fall asleep after becoming Christians have not sought diligently to understand the will of the Lord. That led to their slumber. Absence or negligence leads to spiritual illness, slumber and death. In the absence of Bible reading, neglecting Bible classes, staying home when Bible preaching is offered, then gradually forming these bad habits over time - you cannot maintain good spiritual health, and cannot be wide awake in your discipleship. The grace of God becomes of no avail. Be Sober "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit." Let's use this approach ~ there is an assumption, we are consumers . . . or I might argue, we are ingesters. We will ingest something. We will take in something. Simple: Let it be what the Spirit offers, not what the wine bottle offers! If we must consume, ingest or drink - If we must live under the influence of something, let it be spiritual, not alcoholic. Drunkenness is forbidden all through Scripture, but isn't it often true - where something is forbidden, there is an alternative that is better. So, to maintain a good, high level of spiritual awareness - to stay awake about God don't get drunk - instead, fill yourself with all the Holy Spirit offers (see Gal. 5:22-23). Do you want to remain alert - awake and alive as a Christian? Here is our wake-up call: Eph. 5:14-18. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. Eph. 4:14-18

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