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Sermon #64 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:                           Awake, thou that sleepest!

 

Text:                           Ephesians 5:14

Subject:                     God’s Call to Sleeping Souls

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — April 4, 2017

Readings:     Merle Hart and Allen Kibby

Introduction:

 

My text is Ephesians 5:14. You will find the title of my message in my text.

 

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

 

Awake, thou that sleepest! That is the call of God to you and me, the call of God the Holy Ghost to his people, the call of God the Father to his chosen, the call of God the Son to his redeemed, the call of the Lord Jesus Christ his bride, his beloved, his church ⸺ Awake, thou that sleepest!

 

The promise given at the end of this verse makes it clear that this is the call of God to his elect. The call is, “Awake, thou that sleepest!” The promise is, “Christ shall give the life!” What a blessed word from our God this is to such poor, needy souls as we are!

 

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

 

Wherefore ⸺ Because Christ the Light, the Sun of Righteousness, who alone is Life and who alone gives light, because the Sun of Righteousness is risen with healing in his wings, because the light of the Sun of Righteousness is both efficacious and accessible, God the Holy Ghost says to you and me, “Awake, thou that sleepest!

 

He saith ⸺ But where does our Lord say that? Obviously, Paul is not here giving a direct quotation from the Old Testament. We do not find a text like this recorded anywhere in the Old Testament Scriptures. But, remember that Paul wrote by inspiration. Frequently, he quoted not the very words of Scripture, but the infallible spirit of the Scriptures. So, in our text it may be that Paul is giving us the sense, or the meaning of what was written in the prophecy of Isaiah. There are several passages similar to our text in that prophecy (Isaiah 9:2; 26:19; 60:1).

 

In Isaiah 9:2, we read…

 

(Isaiah 9:2) “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

 

This passage refers to Christ, the Messiah, who came to enlighten the world by his gospel. We see its fulfilment in Matthew 4:16 ⸺ “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.”

 

In Isaiah 26:19, we read…

 

(Isaiah 26:19) “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”

 

This, too, was fulfilled for us and in us by Christ.“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

 

But that which comes nearest to the words of our text is found in Isaiah 60:1.

 

(Isaiah 60:1) “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”

 

Isaiah 60 gives us a prophecy of the blessed state of the church in this Gospel Age. We are exhorted to rouse ourselves up, to be mindful of the grace of God, and to walk in the light of the gospel, holding forth the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, proclaiming Christ everywhere, for the salvation of his elect.

 

It may be that Paul is not giving us a quotation from the Old Testament at all. This may be some sentence spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry that was still in the common memory of the church. Perhaps, the Apostle says that this is the voice of God, because it is the drift and tenor of the entire Bible that men should awake and walk in the light of the gospel.

 

But, remember, Paul wrote by inspiration. It may be that Paul is saying, “God, speaking through me, says, ‘Awake, thou that sleepest!’” It is not really important for us to know where this statement originated. We know that it comes with divine authority from the pen of God’s servant.

 

The important thing is this. ⸺ To whom are these words spoken? This entire chapter is addressed to the church and people of God, to those who are born-again. It is addressed to you and me. This is the call of God to the Church at Ephesus. And it is the call of God to the Church at Danville.

 

The Spirit of God is warning us not to fall into the habits of the children of darkness. He is urging us to come out of all darkness and walk as children of light. The message of our text is a message intended for the children of God. May God the Holy Spirit, whose Word this is, cause us to hear our Savior’s voice. It comes to us with a command and a promise. ⸺ “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

 

“In whatever sense we consider the call, either to awaken in the first act of regeneration, or to rouse from a sleepy, drowsy frame, in the after stages of life, the call is most blessed. For Christ, in both instances, and in every other, is the sole life, and light of his people.” ⸺ Robert Hawker

 

Our First Call

 

What child of God can read our text and not be overwhelmed with remembrance of that first, regenerating, life giving call of God the Holy Ghost by which we were brought out of darkness into light, out of death into life, that call by which Light of Life shined into our hearts by the power of God?

 

God’s elect, though given by the Father to the Son before all worlds, and by virtue of that gift preserved in Jesus Christ, before they are called, until God the Spirit, by his omnipotent grace and power, calls them from darkness to light, are as completely dead in trespasses and sins as all the rest of Adam’s fallen race. Before God called us to life and faith in Christ, we had no knowledge of our everlasting union with Christ, our salvation by Christ, and all the blessings of grace given to us in and with Christ from everlasting. Until we were called to life, we had no interest in and no capability of enjoying these things. We were “dead in trespasses and sins.” But when we were called, all this was brought to light in our souls (2 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).

 

(2 Corinthians 4:6) “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

 

(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

Only after the Sun of Righteousness arises upon us and in us, with healing in his wings, only after we have been called from death to life, do we see. It is then that the heaven-born soul is first awakened to and sees

  • His sin and guilt before God, which causes him to mourn.
  • The repentance (reconciliation) and remission of sins accomplished by Christ, which causes him to repent and turn to God in reconciliation.
  • Righteousness and complete justification by Christ.
  • The faith of Christ, by which he is caused to have faith in Christ.
  • Judgment finished, justice satisfied by Christ, which causes him to have “a good hope through grace.

 

What can be more wonderful? What can be more delightful than the sweet experience of God’s grace by the call of God the Spirit? Having escaped the shipwreck of fallen humanity, standing safe on the shore with Christ by God’s sovereign grace, we look back and behold the great gulf over which God has brought us, the abyss from which he has delivered us, and see the multitudes stranded where we were, sinking to rise no more, lost forever! We are constrained to lift our hearts to the God of all grace and cry, “Lord, how is it that you have manifested yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22). Oh, my God, let me never get over the wonder of your grace (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 19-20).

 

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

 

After Calls

 

Ephesians 5:14 certainly has reference to those after calls, the many, countless after calls of grace that come to our souls, when we fall into that deathlike sleep of lethargy and indifference toward our dear Savior that so often seizes us. As in the beginning, none but God can awaken us; and blessed be his name, he does!

 

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

 

Proposition: The children of God are so beset by the infirmities of the flesh that we constantly require the power, grace, and glory of Christ to awaken them.

 

It is a great mercy of our Redeemer that he comes frequently to awaken us. Be careful not to spurn his love and grace. Awaken to him, rise to him, open your heart to him, and he will give you the light of his presence.

 

Awake! Awake! Blest saints of God,

Redeemed with precious blood,

By Christ redeemed, by Christ made just,

Awake to Christ your Trust!

Walk as children of Light and Day, —

In His beauty arrayed.

 

Why should this world delight you so?

Why grovel here below?

Your life is hid with Christ in God. ⸺

He bought you with His blood!

Rise up, My love,” Your Bridegroom says,

Rise up, and come away!

 

Blest saints of God and heirs of bliss,

Haste through this wilderness!

Live not for vanity and toys,

But for eternal joys.

Awake, my sleeping soul, arise,

And Christ shall give thee light!

 

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

 

Divisions: I want to make three statements that arise from this text. Perhaps some of you are “sick of love.” You have been sleeping, but now your heart is waking, and you long for Christ’s presence. I pray that God will use my words to help you once again to awake, arise, and lay hold of Christ.

1.    There is a sad and sorrowful condition into which believers are prone to fall.

2.    The Lord Jesus Christ lovingly calls us to awake and arise.

3.    There is a gracious promise held out to those who obey his call.

4.    Why should the saints of God be awakened?

 

Sad Condition

 

1stHere is a sad and sorrowful condition into which believer’s are prone to fall. It is described as sleep and death. ⸺ “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” If we are honest with ourselves, we all have abundant reason to confess with the hymn writer…

 

“Prone to wonder, Lord I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love:

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.”

 

Surely, every renewed soul here will confess that we often feel exactly like the bride in the Song of Solomon. We are often sleeping, but there is within us a spirit inclining to awaken as well.“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” We read in the parable that both the wise virgins and the foolish all slept at midnight. Yes, even the wise, the children of light often sleep.

 

You know, also, how the apostle speaks of believers being dead. He uses the word exactly as we do. He does not mean that we are dead absolutely, but that we appear as dead. We often use the word when describing a church that is cold, lifeless, and dead. We use this same expression to speak of ourselves, when our hearts are almost emotionless, “I am so dead.”

Š      The sweet doctrine of the gospel, the Persons of the blessed Godhead, heaven and hell, sin and holiness, death and eternity do not always have a powerful influence on our hearts and lives.

Š      Faith sometimes is lulled to sleep in the darkness of this world, so that God’s people become more and more subject to the desires of the flesh.

 

Oh, how I fear for us. How I fear for my own heart and yours! Have we become strangers to God and heaven? It is now midnight, and the church sleeps. Life can hardly be discerned. “I sleep.” But there is hope. “My heart waketh.” It is the voice of my Beloved. “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” Now, let me show you a few things about this sorrowful condition. May it please God the Holy Spirit to use them to wake us up.

 

When the believer sleeps, he is in a most dangerous and insidious condition. It is quite possible for us to sleep and not know it. If we knew the condition, we would not sleep. Sleep is a sort of unconscious state. When believers begin to sleep, perhaps, they have great dreams. They dream that they are rich and increased with goods. Some of you may be in a very sleepy condition, but for this very reason, you are not aware of it.

Š      A man who is asleep may be held in very high esteem by his neighbors and friends.

Š      A person who is asleep may have taken care before he went to sleep to prevent anybody from coming in to wake him. He may have bolted his door securely with sound doctrine.

 

This sleepiness in the believer is exceedingly dangerous, because he can do a great deal while he is asleep that will make him look as if he were wide awake. For instance, a good many people talk in their sleep. Some even walk in their sleep. And I fear that a good many of God’s people are guilty of that.

Š      I have often prayed in my sleep; and I am sure that I have heard many other men pray in their sleep.

Š      Sometimes the people of God sing hymns in their sleep.

Š      Fearfully, some of God’s people walk in very dangerous places in their sleep.

Š      Very often sleeping preachers get into the pulpit and preach.

 

I fear that many are in this sleepy condition. Yet, if they were told such to their faces, they would be very angry with the man who had the honesty to tell them the truth. Fearfully, the brother or sister to whom this sermon is most applicable will be the one who folds his arms and says, “All is well with me. The preacher is talking about someone else.”

 

Are you asleep? Does your heart now stir within you? I bid you to awake, arise, and come again to Christ.

 

What is this evil of which Paul speaks? I do not know that I can describe it. But I have felt it. I have seen it. And I am sure many of you have as well. It is a condition of unconscious lifelessness and carelessness.

Š      Those who sleep take everything for granted in religion. The thoughts of whether or not he is a believer never arouse his soul. He has no question about that. He believes he is. He thinks he is. And that is enough for him. He is secure.

Š      He also becomes indifferent about the souls of other men.

Š      Those who are in this dull and lifeless condition seem to be altogether unmoved by all the appeals and constraints of the gospel.

 

This slumbering spirit spreads itself over everything else.

Š      The sleeping saint does not enjoy the Word of God. If he reads it, the text is meaningless. If he hears it, he thinks that the preacher does not preach as he once did.

Š      All the joy of life is gone out of him. Those hymns that used to arouse his spirits are only words now. He prays only as a formal exercise. His closet is full of cobwebs. His own heart has not been inspected in many a day. How often churches go about their work heartlessly, because they are fast asleep!

Š      There are some who get into such a lifeless state that they are forever looking for some evidences of life

Š      And sleeping souls get unhappy and quarrelsome.

 

You may wonder how I can describe this state so well. ⸺ I speak from experience. In this, I am no novice. This is a sermon that I have preached to myself. I have been in that state. I mourn that I cannot thoroughly awake myself even now. And, I am sure that there are some of you who might well join in that mourning.

 

Let me say just a word or two concerning the cause of this horrid death sleep.

Š      We are inclined to it by nature. Naturally, we are very much alive to everything carnal, and dead to everything spiritual (Matthew 26 41).

Š      Men are often sent to sleep with the chloroform of bad doctrine. Being good, Calvinistic Baptists, we sleep, because we have been taught that we have no responsibility to God.

Š      Men will go fast asleep if they are overtaken with the laziness of neglect. Neglect prayer, neglect reading the Scriptures, neglect the preaching of the Word, neglect the fellowship of the saints, and you will soon be fast asleep.

Š      Frequently, the warm sun of prosperity sends many to sleep. When God blesses us with the goodness of his providence, we become like men who have eaten a good large meal. We fall fast asleep.

 

Once George Whitfield had a young friend who inherited a large estate. His prayer for the young man was very wise. He prayed that God would give his friend grace to persevere under such a great trial.

 

But nothing more quickly puts people to sleep than the intoxication of spiritual pride. We become so proud of our church, proud of our doctrine, proud of our condition, proud of our knowledge, proud of our accomplishments, proud of our usefulness, and we fall fast asleep.

 

This is the age of the Enchanted Ground. Everything is good, easy, and abundant. He that can go through this age and not sleep must have the presence of God’s grace and power with him, keeping him awake. This is a Lax Age ⸺ lax in doctrine, lax in principle, lax in morals, lax in everything. Only God can awaken his pilgrims in this Enchanted Ground. May it please him to be so gracious.

 

Christ’s Call

 

2ndThe Lord Jesus Christ lovingly calls us to awake and arise. “Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” ⸺ O my friends, hear me as I speak to you in the name of our Savior and God. May the love of Christ awaken us. May our slumbering hearts feel his stirring us to life.

 

Turn back again to that blessed passage in the Son of Solomon (Song of Solomon 5:2-16). Are you not overcome with the picture here given of Christ’s loving patience? Christ lovingly seeks the company of believers. It is true, Christ seeks unconverted souls. He seeks lost sheep. But he also seeks wandering sheep. He is not done with the believer when he has converted you. But, after conversion, it is his joy to hold fellowship with his people.

 

Our Prayer ⸺ (Song of Songs 4:16) “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

 

Christ’s Response ⸺ (Song of Songs 5:1) “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”

 

Our Sleep ⸺ (Song of Songs 5:2-16) “I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

 

(3) I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

 

(4) My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

 

(5) I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. (6) I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

 

(7) The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

 

(8) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

 

(9) What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? (10) My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. (11) His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. (12) His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. (13) His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. (14) His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. (15) His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. (16) His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

 

The Lord Jesus often knocks at the heart’s door of his people.“It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying open to me.” ⸺ “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” You would think that our hearts would always be open to him. But they are not. He stands and knocks. He delights to be in our hearts. It is not his pleasure that we should sit alone.

 

Observe how our Savior lovingly speaks to us, calling us to open to him.“Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.” What tender loving words he speaks to our poor sinful hearts! Can you resist them?

 

Š      My SisterYou remember how the Savior stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother!”

 

Š      My LoveYou know his great love for your poor, sinful soul. He left heaven out of love. He lived, died, and rose again out of love. He intercedes for us now out of love. He calls to us and says, “My love.”

 

Š      My DoveWhen Christ calls us to faith in himself, he gives us that holy, dove-like Spirit to dwell in us.

 

Š      My Undefiled Those are the strangest words of all. Yet, he speaks them to poor, defiled sinners! Because he was holy, harmless, undefiled as our Representative, and we, being one with him, washed in his blood, and robed with his righteousness, are undefiled in him. ⸺”My Undefiled!”

 

Open to Me ⸺ Such are the Savior’s loving words to us. With these, the Savior says, “Open to me.” Behold Christ’s patience with our souls. He waits to be gracious to us. “My head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” Christ’s patience with unconverted souls is wonderful. But his patience with us is amazingly wonderful. We know his preciousness; yet, we do not open to him. Our sin is far greater. Yet, he waits to be gracious.

 

This voice of Christ is not only the voice of loving patience, it is also the voice of wisdom. The Savior knows that we are losing much by our sleeping. The thief is robbing us while we sleep. The sower of bad seed is planting his tares while we sleep in the night watch. In loving wisdom, he says, “Awake!”

 

Nothing but the voice of our Beloved can awaken this poor heart.“My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” O child of God, is your heart now moved for him? Then, awake and open to him.

Š      He speaks to you in the gospel.

Š      He speaks to you in providence. How often this voice has been repeated. Christ has been saying, “Awake, awake, awake,” to some of us hundreds of times.

Š      You were sick a few months ago. That was the voice of Christ saying, “Awake.”

Š      The other day you suffered a loss in business. It was the voice of Christ shaking you from your slumber.

Š      A dear loved one was taken from your home. It was Christ saying, “Awake!”

Š      The other day you read a text that came crushing to your soul. It was the voice of Christ saying, “Awake.”

Š      A sermon came home to your heart last week. You knew the preacher was talking to you. That was the voice of Christ saying, “Awake.”

 

Shall the ever-blessed Christ stand always at the door with its rusty hinges? Shall he always say, “Open to me?” Shall he always be shut out? Will you never open the door and say, “We wake, Lord, we wake! We have missed you! Come in now and sup with us, that we may sup with you!”

Š      This is a voice that comes to us personally. He does not say, “Awake all of you.” He says, “Awake thou.” ⸺ “If any man will open to me.” That is where revival begins ⸺ with you and me.

Š      This is a pressing call. He says, “Awake.” And he means for us to awake now!

 

This call places the responsibility upon our shoulders. If we sleep, it is because we choose to do so. Listen to the words of our Lord. ⸺ “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). I fear that some of you are not just sleeping. You are altogether dead in trespasses and sins. May God send to you his life-giving voice, that you may awake and live.

 

My sleeping brother, my sleeping sister, you must awake! You must arise from among the dead! Let us live no longer like Lot in Sodom. Rise now above the graveyard of sin. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

 

Gracious Promise

 

3rdHere is a gracious promise held out to those who obey the Master’s call. ⸺ “And Christ shall give thee light.” Those who awake and arise to Christ shall have the light of Christ.

Š      He will give us light to instruct us in the Scriptures.

Š      He will give us light to guide us in his way.

Š      He will give us light to know his will.

Š      He will give us light to rejoice our hearts.

 

We are promised even more. In Revelation 3:20, it is promised that those who arise and open to Christ shall enjoy his blessed presence.

 

(Revelation 3:20) “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

 

Š      His presence will be food to our souls.

Š      His presence will give us power to overcome.

Š      We will enjoy his presence throughout all of eternity.

 

A Question

 

I want to apply my subject to each of us by raising one question. ⸺ Why should you and I be awakened and arise to Christ? I could give many answers to that question, but I will limit myself to just a few. I trust that when I am done with preaching, God will not be done. May it please him to awaken our hearts, so that we may arise to the risen Sun of Righteousness.

 

Let us awake, for the time is short and men are perishing. O think of that word “eternity.” Think of the souls of men. Think of the coming judgment. Think of the terrors of hell (1 Corinthians 15:34).

 

“Brethren, see poor sinners round you

Slumbering on the brink of woe;

Death is coming; hell is moving ⸺

Can you bear to let them go?

 

See our fathers, and our mothers,

And our children sinking down;

Brethren, (Awake), pray, and holy manna

Will be showered all around.”

 

Christ, I am sure has spoken to some of your hearts, as he has to my own. You can say with me, “I am sick of love.” Then, awake and arise to Christ. The object of our affection is absent, and our hearts are sick for him. ⸺ “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.”

 

When the dove has lost its mate, it sits alone and is cheerless. It will not be comforted. When the bird has been robbed of its young, it comes back again and again, hovering over the empty nest. She fills the grove with her plaintive song. She is sick of love. Such are the yearnings of grace. When the Savior is away from the believing soul, it will not be comforted.

 

This is a happy sickness. For it is a sure token of life, an evidence that we are indeed alive. We are not well, but we are alive. Those who never feel the pain of sickness are very likely dead. Did you ever feel this sickness? Did you ever feel that Christ is precious, but not present? ⸺ That you could not lay hold of Christ as you used to, and yet you longed for him more than ever? Perhaps when you felt so secure, you were after all so fast asleep that you did not see his beauty; but now you see that “he is altogether lovely.” Now you say, give me Christ, or else I die!

 

Consider, that great love of Christ by which you were redeemed. It is that same love that calls you now. Can you resist his love?

 

Children of heaven, let us now awake, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed! “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11). What! Can we sleep when heaven is at hand?

Š      Think of the glory of Christ, and awake!

Š      Think of the robes of righteousness, and awake!

Š      Think of the tearless eyes, and awake!

Š      Think of your perfect, blood washed soul, and awake!

 

The Sun of Righteousness is risen with healing in his wings, so let us awake and arise and be healed.

 

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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