Awake, You that Sleep

by Frank Jones


Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Ephesians 5:14)

One characteristic of the early church was their joy in the Christ. There is nothing that repels more than the spirit of apathy and indifference. How would the atmosphere of our church services be if every member were filled with the Holy Spirit; of which, the fruit is joy? How much more effective would our witness for Christ be if we confessed Christ, being thrilled with His person? How much easier would our confession if our heart leapt for joy and happiness over the work of Jesus Christ? O' Christian, stir up your soul to love the One who first loved you. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (Psa 42:11). Whether it is the preacher in the pulpit, teacher in the Sunday School, or believer in the marketplace of life, earnestness should clothe our confession of Christ in genuineness.

The slumbering conscience of unrenewed men demands the greatest fervency in the preacher. There is a terrible insensibility about spiritual and eternal things which it often seems as if no motives could penetrate. And this stupor is found everywhere. Now, it is true that the Holy Ghost alone can break through this obstacle and arouse the heart to its danger and refuge; but it is also true that the Holy Ghost ordinarily works by means, and that by the means that are naturally the best adapted to accomplish the desired end. And what so likely to awaken the slumbering conscience as the preaching which flows from an ardent heart? What, in fact, has proved so effective as this divinely-appointed agency? The preacher, then, should apply his whole soul to awaken men. He should not be afraid of enthusiasm in a work so deeply important and so hard to be accomplished. If men see him awake and in earnest, and perseveringly so, they must be affected. If they see him indifferent, they will sleep the sounder. (Thomas Murphy, Pastoral Theology, 189-190)