Stay awake with the kind of consciousness that is given to you by the indwelling Spirit of God, who quickens you
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well, I trust so. I’m just so glad to be with you and share from the Word of God.
We’ve come now to this somber and heartbreaking passage in the Word of God, which deals with the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The darkest period in all of human history was that moment when God, the Father, turned His face away from His beloved Son as He made him to be sin for us. “He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” God’s Passover lamb, the fulfillment of all the levitical offerings and all of the messianic pre-figuring types and symbols. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the embodiment of all of prophetic truth. And so Paul could say, “Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.”
So now we’re leading up to that. And the Savior knew what he was walking into. He’d been trying to tell the disciples so many different times that he would be killed and that he would rise again, and they missed it entirely, as you know. So now after what we call “the Last Supper,” the Lord’s Supper, they came to Gethsemane, and he had said to his disciples, “Sit ye here while I shall pray.” And he took Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and very heavy and said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, unto death, tarry ye here and watch.” And he went forward a little and fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba Father,” Papa God, “Abba Father. All things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Well, he came back and found them sleeping, and this happened again and then again. They just simply did not find it possible to stay awake, even in that hour of supreme need for the Savior.
I think one of the things that just hurts me every time I think of it is my own insensitivity, my own insensitivity to the feelings of God. I know He feels my needs. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tested like as we are, yet without sin.” The writer to the Hebrews tells us plainly, then, “That our Lord Jesus Christ can feel how we feels. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” Not only can he feel how we feel, but he cares how we feel. And then, of course, he can do something about it. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus. World without end,” and so on. That’s Ephesians 3:20, you know that verse, don’t you? So he knows how you feel, he cares how you feel, and he can do something about it. That is wonderful. And you and I can rejoice in it, can we not?
But I wonder whether we realize that he wishes we would share what Paul calls “the fellowship of his sufferings.” “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake,” Paul says in Philippians 1. “The fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, to share how Christ feels.” That’s what he wanted in this Gethsemane hour, wasn’t it? He said, “Tarry ye here and watch.” And one of the other Gospel records says, “Watch with me.” He wanted somebody to be with him, this wonderful Savior, who was altogether God but also altogether human, looked for someone to be with him. But he didn’t find that someone because they fell asleep. It’s a sad commentary, I think, on my and your tendency to miss the important moments in relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Watch with me, watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” What was the temptation these people were going to face momentarily? Well, it was the temptation to save their own skins and run away. It said, “They all forsook him, and fled.” We read that a little later on here in this passage. It was the temptation Peter had to face of trying to become anonymous. “You were one of them.” “No,” he said, “I wasn’t.” Trying to be anonymous, trying to be unnoticed in the world’s crowd as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a temptation to try to do something impulsively on your own. Peter, having a sword, drew it and cut off the servant of the high priest’s ear. The ear of the servant of the high priest. [chuckle] Have to get my grammar right, right? [chuckle] It’s the temptation to do something impulsive and drastic, or dramatic, inevitably ineffective, on your own. Right, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Of course, it’s a temptation to sleep on the job, just to do nothing, in the name of religion.
How often that happens, doesn’t it? Now, you wanna think about those things? Because they come to all of us, do they not? The first thing that happened was that they fell asleep. He woke them, they fell asleep again. Woke them, they fell asleep again. Now, he says with a touch of sarcasm, “Sleep on now and take your rest. Okay, if you’re so tired, you get some rest.” He says, “It’s enough, the hour is come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go.” You’re so sleepy, you want some rest. Well, he said, “It’s all over now. And I’ve been betrayed. You’d better get up, let’s go.” And immediately, while he had spake, there came Judas. With him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token saying, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he.” See, it was pitch dark. It’d be pretty hard to identify a person in the darkness, unless you really knew him.
You understand how that is? And of course, the kiss of greeting was common among very good friends or relatives. And it’s still followed today in many parts of the world, in the east and the Middle East, Arab countries, all that, and in Russia and… Well, elsewhere, lots of different places. There’s… A greeting is a kiss, in many cases, on both sides of your face, on both cheeks, they’ll give you a big smacker. [chuckle] You just hope they haven’t eaten any garlic recently. [chuckle] Well, that was the traditional sign of greeting, so there was nothing unusual about that. It was perfectly usual, and he was using the customary sign of greeting to a good friend in order to identify the Lord Jesus Christ.
We were talking about temptation, the temptation to sleep on the job. What does that involve today? Does it mean anything to you and to me today? You’re wide awake now, I assume, although many people have written me and said that they fall asleep while I’m talking with them because my voice seems to have a relaxing quality about it. [chuckle] Well, that’s alright with me, I have spoken in many people’s sleep, I assure you. But most of you are awake, I guess. So that doesn’t mean physically sleeping, does it? What does it mean? It means apathy, it means carelessness, it means being contented with the status quo, all of the above. Just doing nothing and relaxing and doing nothing in the name of religion. You’ll find that happening all over the world. Not only in Christian circles, but in religious circles everywhere. Just going through the motions. For there is something in human nature that tries to believe that if you go through the motions enough, that you’ll get some benefit with some deity somehow.
I remember many years ago reading in Richard Halliburton’s book the story of the prayer wheels in a certain part of Tibet, which he visited. And he said he saw these wheels spinning in the wind and inquired about them, and they said those are prayer wheels. Every time the wheel goes around, it’s another prayer. He said, “What is the prayer saying?” And he said in his book that they told him the translation of the prayer is, “Oh, thou jewel in the heart of the lotus flower.” That’s beautiful, but it doesn’t mean much in terms of everyday living, does it? Going through the motions, start the prayer wheel, start the meeting, do something, make a speech, have a committee. Going through the motions, sound asleep. Well, you be the judge of what’s going on in your own life, beloved. I can’t really tell you much about it, because I don’t live inside your skin; you do. And you know what the condition of your own heart and life is, don’t you? It might be well for many of us to read that passage in Ephesians that says, “Awake thou that sleepest and rise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light. That we be not sleeping,” he said, “but awake and walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, buying up the opportunity.” That’s the Christian way to do things.
Keeping awake with the kind of awakeness… That’s not a very good word, I just made it up. With the kind of consciousness that is given to you by the indwelling Spirit of God, who quickens you. “Though our outward man perish, at our inward man is renewed day by day, he quickens. If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead,” Paul says in Romans 8. “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, the Spirit of him that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken, quicken your mortal bodies.” Now you’re mortal while you’re still alive. After you die, you’re corruptible, you decay. But before you die, you’re mortal, capable of dying. He said, “He’ll quicken your mortal bodies.” That is to say, the indwelling Holy Spirit will make you alert to the things of God and to the opportunity you have to serve God.
I guess the point I’m making is that you really don’t have to succumb to the temptation to fall asleep on the job for God. You don’t have to do it that way. If you want to, the Spirit of God can quicken you, make you conscious of God’s purposes, and make you alert to God’s opportunities. Now how do you begin to make that real in your own life? I think you pray about it. I’ve just finished praying for myself and for you about these messages that I’m giving.
I prayed that this particular broadcast would have love in it, and truth in it, and blessing in it, and I hope that’s so. And then I prayed about a lot of other things. I’ve got a lot of work that is staring me in the face and that I have to do and nobody will do it for me at this point. And I was praying about that and as I prayed, there came a consciousness of what could be done next. See, God will always give you the next step if you pray about it. You want to do that in your own life today? Lay out before Him some of the things that have been frustrating you because you haven’t gotten at them, and some of the things you know spiritually that you really haven’t paid any attention to. Lay it all out before God and pray about it. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” We’ll get at this some more the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today keep us spiritually awake. Don’t let us go to sleep on the job. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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