Each of us should periodically make a personal spiritual assessment. If we have never truly been awake, we must ask the God of grace to help us believe. We must confess our sin, declare our faith in Christ, and ask Christ to make us brand-new — to receive him as our Savior. Church will then become more alive than we ever imagined. If we are already children of God and our slumber is due to sin in our lives, we must repent, do a U-turn, and allow the joy of Christ to refill us. The joy of worship will then flood our souls.
Those of us who suffer the problem of familiarity must consciously and deliberately participate with all our being in the corporate worship of the church. When we sing a hymn, we should shut everything else out and sing it to God, singing not only with the mouth but with the heart and mind. As others lead us in prayer, we should pray along with them — a spiritual concert. When we hear the Scriptures, we must listen, for we are hearing the voice of God. We must listen to God’s Word as we would to a love letter, for that is what the Bible is.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer ran a seminary in Nazi Germany that was not approved by the state. He was a critical and intelligent man, but in his homiletics class he always laid down his paper and pencil, opened his Bible, and listened to the students’ sermons, no matter how poor or unskilled they were. He felt that the preaching of God’s Word ought to be received as if he were listening to God himself. That is how we should listen too.
If we have been born again from our slumber, and if we have confessed our sin, we must consciously, in dependence upon God, wake up to the wonders of worship. Our coming together with other believers should demonstrate that we are awake and alive in Christ! Worship is to be in technicolor, for Christ is with us! That is how to stay awake in church.
From Kermit Reaves’ Sermon: The Danger of Falling Asleep in Church
Luke 21:36 ESV
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
When the sun peeks through the trees in the forest, I feel God’s presence. I am awake now!
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