In this day and time, we who are referred to as Calvinists…not in a flattering way, either, have been slanderously accused of saying a sinner does not have any say whatsoever in regards to his salvation. That couldn’t be further from the truth. That being said, we just believe…or at least I do…that God doesn’t irrestibably draw all mankind. There is a gospel call to repentance that the preacher makes in his sermon, but the effectual call, only that which the Master can do, is a command, and not merely an appeal to be reconciled. Now that I have laid the groundwork, the foundation, if you will, I will expound on the verses in my blog title.
In Mark 13:35-37, Jesus speaks these words, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” At this point in time, it seems like we, as preachers, beat our heads against the wall when we preach(or at least I do). We preach Christ, and Him crucified, as our risen Saviour, as our Redeemer, and yet people sit in their seats and yawn. It seems like they’re there to either make themselves feel better about themselves(I went to church today, so I’ve done my good deed for the week), to shut someone up in their family(I went to church today, so now they’ll hopefully shut up), to impress someone who pleases their eyes(maybe they’re a Godly person who only wants someone who’s a christian. too), or some other ulterior motive. People like this are spiritually asleep. I know that we’re spiritually dead, but there are references to us being asleep spiritually, too…as in my blog title. No matter how hard we preach, no matter how many scriptures we throw at them, no matter how much love we show them, no matter how many times we plead with them to be reconciled to God, if God hasn’t done that special inward work we call the effectual call, they’re still in their bed asleep; with a nice fluffy pillow under their head, a nice warm comforter covering them, and laying in a king-sized pillow-topped bed. Sin has a way of making people feel comfortable, and that’s how satan deceives people. He makes them feel good about their lost condition, about gallivanting with the ladies, drinking themsleves into stupors, shooting themselves up with heroine, snorting those lines of cocaine, &c. Unless God intercedes on their behalf, they will never change. Unless God impresses upon their lost condition, they’ll remain asleep, and they’ll enjoy it all the way to the grave.
Now I want to back up a few verses in this chapter: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”(vss. 32-34) Those who the man left in authority over his house, thought their master would delay his coming. So they did that which would have appeared unseemly before his eyes, yet they did it anyways, not expecting him to appear when he did.
In Luke 12, Jesus spoke of this when He said, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”(vss. 37-48) These servants did as they pleased, but were caught with their proverbial pants down, and paid mightily. Suffice to say if someone was on the roof of the house and told them their master was coming, they wouldn’t have done anything about it. People nowadays have a “devil-may-care” attitude, not truly believing God will cast them into eternal torment. We are telling them their Master is coming, and yet, they do that which appears unseemly to them. We’re repeatedly telling them to watch and pray, to seek after Him, to “get outta bed and do something about the welfare of your soul”, and yet they just roll over, tuck their chins under the comforter, fluff their pillow, and keep on sleeping.
In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins; five being wise and five being foolish. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.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.And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.But he answered and said, 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.”(vss 1-13) These virgins were waiting for the Bridegroom to come and were sleeping. Yet at the time when He came, only those who had oil in their lamps got to go in to be with Him. Some may think this passage is a stretch to prove my point, but not so. The point of this is that regardless we’re spiritually dead…or asleep, or physically dead, we have not the power, neither the ability to bring ourselves out of that state. It takes God to do that which we can’t. And when He starts it, He finishes it. We as christians, and especially we who are preachers, need to be out proclaiming the whole counsel of God, telling people what they must do in order to be saved. God is the One who saves, but He does so via His Word, His gospel. We have to go out and tell people and not expect Him to do it all. He has chosen to use the preaching of the gospel to save them which believe(Romans 1:16, 1 Cor. 1:21, Eph. 1:13). So we have to go out and tell people to get outta bed.
In Acts chapter 20, we read of a fellow by the name of Eutychus who had fallen asleep in a window whilst Paul was preaching. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.”(vss 7-12) Why he was in the upper chamber, none of us are privy to. Could it have been hot and he was there in the third loft next to a window to cool himself off? Had he worked hard all day and was tired and that was what caused him to fall asleep and fall three stories to the ground? Regardless, here was a man who was hearing, no doubt, one of the greatest orators of all time, and he fell asleep at the wheel, so-to-speak!! Yet, Paul fell upon him and revived him. People are the same way, even unto this day. They can hear a very blessed preacher preach and they pay him no more mind than the “man on the moon”.
To bring this blog to a close, in Ephesians 5, Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”(vs 14) This isn’t an appeal, but rather, a command. It doesn’t say “please get up”, or “will you choose to get up?”, or “get up whenever you want to”, but “Awake and arise from the dead!!” Now, this is a prime example of God’s quickening, God’s regenerating at work. None of us have/had the ability to rise up from the grave, or to awake ourselves from our deep slumbering. Only God can do that.
I will leave you with these verses:
Romans 13:11 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.
Isaiah 51:17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.