The Wake Up Call

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August 31, 2021

Ephesians 5:8-14 (NIV)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

CONSIDER THIS

If you have been around Seedbed for any length of time you have heard this exchange. We open every meeting we have with this text. We begin every band meeting we have with these words. Every Zoom call, every meeting of our Board of Directors, every weekly prayer meeting, every New Room Conference or gathering of any sort—always begins with Ephesians 5:14:

WAKE UP, SLEEPER, RISE FROM THE DEAD

AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU.

My favorite part of v.14 is this bit: That is why it is said. . .

This was a thing. That’s why we say it now. Because they said it then. This is not an invitation to the unbelieving world to become a believer. No, this is a calling to the Church (i.e. you and me), to wake up. It is a “Wake-up Call.” 

We have noted in this series several clues as to what discipleship was like in the early days.  In the prior chapter Paul put it this way:

That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

They weren’t passing out tickets to heaven when you die in those days. They were jumping straight away into the second half of the Gospel. We have simply not been “taught in him” with respect to our “former way of life” or our “old self” or our “new self” or what it means “to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” We have been taught to believe and behave. We are learning now to behold and become.

The prevailing culture around these early churches was overwhelming. In numbers, they were maybe a hundred in the midst of tens of thousands. And these believers had come out of that culture of darkness. This is first generation church. It is no wonder they were prone to drift back into sleep, to become stuck again in the gravity of darkness and death that had held them so tightly. 

This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

How much more do we need this wake up call—every single day—even multiple times a day. Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, the ascended Lord of Heaven and Earth at the right hand of the Father, is shining. The word there, ep-ee-fow-o (phonetically pronounced), is connected to the word epiphany. It means to reveal great and unsearchable things which you did not know. It makes me think of our text from 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. This is the stuff eyes cannot see and ears cannot hear. Human minds cannot even conceive of it. This is the stuff of revelation. 

Second half of the gospel discipleship is New Creation transformation. It requires much richer and more multi-dimensional approaches to the Word & Spirit; to the Church & Kingdom, than we have fathomed before. Though the Daily Text is just scratching the surface of it, I think this is what draws you here. Though many of us have been faithful Christians for many years, we feel as though we are beginning to be grasped by that which we have for so long reached toward. 

THE PRAYER

I have learned a lot more than I really can say I know. And the fact that I think I know enough actually keeps me asleep to the reality that my knowledge about you is way ahead of my actually “knowing” you. I need to sit in more of your classes Jesus. I need the Spirit to become my direct teacher. And so I pray. . . 

Jesus, I belong to you. You are my Lord and my God. I receive your life in exchange for my life, all of it, right now. I no longer live. You live in me. I have been crucified with Christ. I have been raised with Christ. The old has gone. The new is come. Now what? Come Holy Spirit and lead me into the supernatural human way of Jesus—on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What is stirring in you after thirty days of this series on the second half of the Gospel? What are your questions? What has your attention? How is this shaping your intention? 

P.S. 

AN INVITATION: As a way of bringing all of this second half of the gospel inspiration down to some practical application—the FarmTeam and I will be leading our Awakened Life Course coming up in October. It is a four week journey into Word and Spirit; Church and Kingdom. I’ll write you soon to say more, but please consider doing it this time. It is one of my favorite things to lead. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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