Time is short. This is no time for us to be asleep in the darkness. The devil would like to sow tares in our midst. Let’s not be sluggards. Church can keep us awake as the end of this age approaches. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-24; Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon 11788
7:00 PM on 11/20/2019

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P. Schaller –

We had a flea market here Saturday and Kathy Ryan had this item. It’s a service dog. Do you know what
it is? A dog that serves. Is that what it is? They help a blind person or maybe emotionally. When
I saw this, I wanted it. Bargain price, $1.00 but I never gave you the dollar. That’s how cheap I
am. I owe you one dollar! I owe you two. I thought that’s a message. I don’t know what the
message is though. I thought of getting on the plane and going like this with sunglasses but
what is missing? The dog. The dog is missing. That’s our message tonight. What is the message?
We got to work on it.

The Lord has to speak to our hearts and help us and edify us and build us
up. Is that Big Jay there? In Federal Hill, there is a new brother in the fellowship. They call him
Big Jay. He’s from Michigan. Do you think it would work if I went to the airport and was walking
down. I come on the plane and I just need help. What do you think? We’ll have a good time
tonight. Praise the Lord! So good to be here tonight. We have passion, faith. P. Muhib and
Allison are married. This is my wedding gift to you guys.

Don’t ask me how much it cost or the sacrifice I went through to get it for you, but after the service! Ecclesiastes. 7, 1 Thessalonians. 5, for our text but the first part is Ecclesiastes. 7:8. Did you get that? Better is the end of a thing than the beginning. How many started to study Spanish but never finished? Or any other language? How about advanced
mathematics but I never finished it. Where it ends up, what happens, the end result is better
than the beginning. The beginning may start beautiful, but it might look ugly when it starts but
the end is the issue, not how it begins.

We have been born again by God’s grace, by his faithfulness, by the miracle of the Incarnation, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have been called. Maybe the beginning doesn’t look so pretty but how it ends up is beautiful. God will accomplish it. He will do it. 1 Thessalonians. 5, recently I was thinking about hell and heaven and God
and the world we live in and the whole idea of falling asleep in a spiritual way. I remember the
story with David and King Saul. Saul was sleeping and David had a general with him named
Abner. He said to David, let me smite him. I’ll smite him once not twice. It means I can kill him
with one plunge in my javelin. I won’t hit him twice.

He’ll be gone because I’m good at this. Saul was sleeping. That story caught my attention because we are living in a world where there is a lot going on. There is a lot happening here in this world we are living in. The older I get, the
more I realize how little I know about what is really going on. I’m a Christian but nothing is
there. I don’t have a dog. I got the name “dog” and I can act like I have a dog but it’s just not
there. In this portion in 1 Thessalonians. 5, it speaks about the end times. When we look at the news and
our country and churches closing down and politics and life and suicides and drug addiction and
so on, we wonder what is happening in this world I’m living in.

Because Christ is in you, then you have this amazing capacity to be alive and awake. Saul is sleeping. When you sleep, you don’t know what is going on. You don’t know the good things or the bad things. There is a
wedding, but I slept through it. There was a funeral, but I slept through it. There was a storm
last night? My wife said, did you hear the lightning? No. Did you hear the animal in the back
window? No. I think there is a spiritual sleepiness that happens. I’m sure of it. I’m persuaded
that a lot of believers sleep. They do. There was Jael who killed Sisera with a tent peg through
the temple of his head when he was sleeping.

I wonder what the devil does when we sleep spiritually. I think he closes down a church. He gets the elders fighting. He gets the ladies stirred up. You fall asleep and dream and get afraid. Anyone woken up in a cold sweat from a dream you had? As a teenager, I remember nightmares and remember sweating because of the
dream. I think there are Christians like that. They are sleeping and have these fears that don’t
exist. They are afraid of dying, afraid of the end of the world, of being judged, of going to hell.
They have many of these dreams because they are sleeping, not because they are awake. We
have a form of godliness but not the power in 2 Timothy. 3:5.

I want to speak a few minutes about this and about the power. This is who we are. We are lively but I tend, I do. I was thinking about it recently. Am I asleep? No, our church keeps me awake. Am I asleep? Maybe there are times I
am. When I’m with you, something goes on. There is some life there. There is a dog in the
harness. There is a dog in the harness. Wow. Lord, can I live with a dog in the harness? Like
really? I want to be awake. Wasn’t it Samson when he got his hair cut, he was sleeping. What
does the devil do when the church is sleeping? What is happening in the United States of
America when the church is sleeping? What happened in Nazi Germany? What happened in the
Soviet Union?

What happened in our country when the church is sleeping. People say, you have
a Wednesday night service? I got a dog in the harness. I got something going on. Not just the
name and the form but the life and the passion and the reality of meeting God any day. Any
day, Jesus could come back. How about it? What do you think? It’s amazing to raise a family
when you got a dog in the harness. I was talking to my son, Justin, about missions on the phone
last night. We were talking and having fellowship and the whole idea of lost people. They have
no message, no gospel. What a reality you can go anywhere in the world and open your mouth
with the gospel. Jesus said, I am with you to the end of the age.

Amazing to assemble and have a prayer meeting and the Spirit says, ask me. I will do it. Years pass and you realize he did it. Let’s read the text. Lots of verses but we’ll go through them. Vs. 1-3. They say peace and safety.
Security is the key word. Computer security, national security, security of your finances, border
security, peace, security. Peace, security. Every day all the time but we say, where is it? What’s
going on? Vs. 3. The ladies know when the water breaks and their socks are wet. The baby is
coming suddenly. The birth pangs come and it’s sudden. God is saying that’s like the end times.
We are saying, when Lord?

I don’t want to be asleep. My bed is well feathered. I’m very
comfortable. My chair is this big. I got the remote with the NFL. I got it. I sleep because I’m
occupied with the wrong stuff. I got to have a dog in the harness. I got to make sure I have a
dog in the harness. This is the only way this works. If I sleep, what happens? Vs. 4. That’s a good
word to say to your neighbor right now. Say brethren, you are not in darkness. You look like you
are, but you are not! You go to GGWO. Brethren, you are not in darkness. You have the H.S. You
are not in darkness. You have the Bible in your heart. You have the Spirit of God in your life.
Brethren, you are not in darkness. Vs. 4.

What happens at night? Ask any policeman what happens after midnight. The world changes when the sun goes down. We say to the teenagers, nothing good happens after 11 at night. What happens in the night? Things break open. People live behind the tinted windows. The sunglasses, the pulled shades. It’s popular and everywhere.
They are on the phone in darkness. They sell drugs and take drugs in darkness. You are not of
darkness. You are of the light. That’s so beautiful. There is light in us. Vs. 6. Let us not sleep as
do others. 1 Thessalonians. 5:6, let’s have fun. Start snoring! Go ahead! You get comfortable, rolled up,get really warm and cozy and go to sleep.

People are lost. I know Jesus said that, but I can’t do anything about it. I can stay home and go to sleep. I got things to do. I’m spiritually sleeping. Do you ever open your mouth and share the gospel? Do you ever talk about God and heaven? Sir, I don’t know you. Say, can I say something to you? I don’t want to offend you, but have you ever
wondered if hell is real? Is there anything in us that provokes us in our faith to be awake.
Awake. Maybe someone is in the tree like Zacchaeus. Jesus is walking by and stops because
Jesus is awake. Come down Zacchaeus. We’ll have lunch together. Zacchaeus said, salvation is
come to our house. Jesus is awake but we sleep as many do. It gets good. Vs. 6-10. Now he
explains how to stay awake.

Let me say this a little more, and we’ll be done. Recently, I was
thinking about this. Lord, maybe I don’t have it in my heart as much as it could be. I could be
much more stirred up about your world and what you are saying and who you are and what
you have done that you gave your Son for me. I feel the coldness or indifference, or I can sense
the sleepiness, the drowsiness. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress he writes: I saw in my dream
that they went on until they came to a certain country whose air naturally tended to make one
drowsy. If he came a stranger into it, and here Hopeful began to be very dull and heavy of
sleep.

Wherefore he said unto Christian I do now begin to grow drowsy. I can scarcely hold up
my eyes. Let’s lie down here and take one nap. Christian said, by no means lest by sleeping we
will never wake again.” We all know that people that are in tragic accidents and they are
conscious, they try to keep those patients awake because if they fall asleep, they may die. You
know, that idea. Maybe sometimes we get drowsy spiritually and get indifferent to the church
but it’s amazing. Indifferent to the Bible or prayer or evangelism or missions but that is
amazing. I get indifferent to the Second Coming of Christ. Christ is coming. Christ is coming.
That’s amazing. I’m smacking my lips.

Falling asleep, a little more warm milk and dozing off. The devil would plunge his spear through my heart. The devil would cut my hair off like samson. Eutychus would fall through the loft. They thought he was dead but not when Paul was around. P. Stevens was so much fun. We can do it. Wake up at 2 in the morning. Travel a thousand miles
by foot. Crawl into the meeting and be anointed of God. Those kind of messages stirred us up
and look what happened. You are folks that on a Wednesday night are here because you are
not sleeping but you are awake. We help each other stay awake. Hit them in the ribs spiritually
speaking.

Wake thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give you life. Wake up and knock on the
door of your neighborhood or go to an emergency room…. visit somebody. When we get close
to the end of our journey, we are more prone to fall asleep. When our bed is well feathered, we
fall asleep. Spiritually, when everything is perfect, we fall asleep. Vs. 12. I got to hang out with
the guys and gals that are doing something. These two ladies may God send you out and anoint
you and use you and be stirred up in it. Esteem the leadership. It doesn’t mean official
leadership but esteem others that are amongst you.

Esteem them for their passion, love, and faith. Vs. 13-14. If you get offended, eat it. Let’s say that together. If you get offended, eat crow. Eat crow. If someone rips you off, you might have to eat it. You got to eat it if that’s the
way it is. Don’t loan out money unless you want to give it away. Don’t loan it out. It messes up
the church. The guy in the second row won’t talk to the guy in the 22 nd row. Is there a dog in the
house? Who let the dogs out? Is there a dog in the house? When we are walking and Jesus is there, it’s more than a label. He’s the real thing and he’ll take care of you. You are to finish your
course with joy.

You are not to get troubled and wounded and messed up and complicated and
complicated. This life is to be simple and loving and powerful and prayerful. We are to be
awake to the real big things, the thing most important. We’ll have peace among ourselves. We
won’t return evil for evil in vs. 15. We should have a Convention called that, Rejoice Evermore.
We just did! What was the name of it? Rejoice always. That means straight up rejoice all the
time. That’s all we can do, and we will stay awake. When you are talking about the things of
God, it wakes you up.

When we assemble on a Wednesday night, every believer should have a
midweek service. They gather together often as we see the day approaching. He’s coming on a
horse. Okay, bark like a dog. What was the other animal. I said a dog, a horse, a crow. Jesus is
coming on a horse. That speaks a lot to my heart. It means something to me. He made them.
They are in heaven. He is coming on one. By the way, probably you are coming on one, too.
When I look you over, you and I are. We’re coming on it. When he comes back and for the
millennium he’s coming on a horse. When I sleep, I don’t know that. That doesn’t mean much
to me. I got this thing going on.

There is nothing there. I got the form. I don’t understand God
or the word. I don’t believe there is a heaven or hell. We are yoked up with him and the Spirit
dwells in you and we talk to each other and it becomes clear to us what we are a part of. When
two or three are gathered in his name, there he is in their midst. In everything give thanks. Pray
without ceasing. Vs. 19-23. If you fail and you fall asleep and get troubled and are having a
nightmare in life and say I can’t believe this is happening to me, the end of a thing is better than
the beginning. What he has purposed for you is so great. He will perfect that which he started.
We are conformed to the image of his Son.

It’s guaranteed in the process. Why not be believing
all these things we have been taught and be alive and awake to them. In a nest, when needles
are in there it’s good for the young birds to get out. Some needles will come into your life and
it’s for you to wake up and move on in your faith. Vs. 23. In the reverse order, spirit, soul, and
body and faithful is he who has called you who also will do it. Vs. 24. What did you get out of
that message? Turn to your neighbor and say, what did you get out of that message? When
they sowed the seed and the enemy came and sowed the seed while they slept. I think it is
true.

A lot of bad stuff is being sown in the world because people are sleeping. They have no
capacity, no insight. Consider the ant who has no ruler but prepares food for the summer. The
harvest is there. Consider the ant. He’s not sleeping. Oh sluggard, consider the ant. I’m not
talking about physical activity but spiritual alertness. God is answering our prayer and is faithful
to us. That’s amazing. I got to do this and be part of this. I’m on the right page with God and
what he is doing, not perfectly but at least I’m awake.

 

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