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Bishop John Drew Sheard: What a blessing it is for us to be able to share at a time like this. I thank God that I’m able to share with you from the Scriptures. It’s found in Saint Luke, ninth chapter, the 32nd verse and the book of Ephesians, the fifth chapter and the 40, excuse me, and the 14th verse.  

Those Scriptures read thusly, Luke nine and 32, “But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. And when they were awake, they saw His glory and the two men that stood with Him.”  

Ephesians 5 and 14 tells us wherefore he saith, “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.”  

Let’s go back to that 32nd verse in the 9th chapter of Luke. And let’s read it once again for emphasis. 

“But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. And when they were awake, they saw His glory and the two men that stood with Him.”  

“But Peter and the two that were with him were heavy with sleep.” Sleep. I want to talk to you for the next few fleeting moments from the subject, sleeping through a revolution, sleeping through a revolution. 

I’ve come to share with you today that if we’re not careful, we will miss our opportunity to impact the world. Satan has lulled the Church to sleep. Because we think in many instances that we’ve done enough to hear Him say, “Well done,” but I beg to differ. My brothers and sisters, an epic change is in the air while much of the Church has dozed off. 

We have in many cases become oblivious to God. Perhaps we may be like Peter, James, and John when the Lord invited them to a prayer meeting. The only problem for them was that the prayer meeting was on the mountaintop. One of the major problems with many Christians is we become lazy. Many of us don’t mind doing ministry, but we want ministry to come to us. 

We don’t mind ministering to people just as long as they come to the church, but the truth of the matter is that for the most part, they aren’t coming to church. That’s why Jesus emphatically said, “Go ye into the high, go ye into the highway and hedges and compel them to come.”  

The uniqueness of the gospel of Luke tells us that Peter, James, and John were so tired from going to prayer until they missed a rare opportunity to have an extraordinary experience with Jesus. By the time they made the climb, they fell asleep. And while they were sleeping, Moses and Elijah showed up. But Jesus had an overwhelming experience, and every effective leader has to have some overwhelming experiences with God. 

At that moment, Jesus’ countenance began to shine so bright until it woke Peter up. The Bible then tells us in the 9th chapter of Luke and the 32nd verse that Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was, but they missed an opportunity to be involved in an overwhelming experience because they were asleep. 

I wonder today, are you missing opportunities? I recall as a young child hearing the story of Rip Van Winkle. I tried to remember exactly what it was about, but the strangest thing was, is that all I remembered was that he fell asleep for a long time. So, I looked it up to find out some more information. 

Here’s what I found. Rip Van Winkle, when Rip Van, excuse me, when Rip Van Winkle went to sleep, King George of England was the recognized monarch who ruled over the American colonies. Twenty years later, when he woke up, George Washington was the president of the United States.  

My brothers and sisters, Rip Van Winkle had slept through a revolution. He had missed all those important issues that brought us to a new country. Peter, James, and John were essentially doing the same thing on top of that sacred mountain of transfiguration. And as much as the evidence seems to suggest, much of the religious community is doing the exact same thing today. 

We’re sleeping through a revolution. We’re not winning many souls to Christ. We’re too scared to cry out against sin. We’re trusting everybody else to do what we should be doing. And consequently, nothing is getting done. And we’re sleeping.  

Through a revolution over 100 years ago, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A slumbering Church compelled Satan to make it his chief business to rock the cradle, hush all the noise, and drive away even a fly lest it light upon the sleeper’s face. His greatest dread is that the Church might rouse itself from her dreamy repose.”  

I’m here to tell you today, my friends, that a sleeping church cannot arouse a sleeping world. We would do well in these apathetic and lazy days to take heed to the words of the Apostle when he wrote in the 13th chapter of Romans and the 11th verse, and I read from the message Bible, “Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day to day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off and become oblivious to God.” 

My brothers and sisters, if we’re not careful, we can become like Jacob who, after he woke up in the 28th chapter of Genesis and the 16 verse said, “Ah, surely the Lord was in this place. And I knew it not.” If we’re not careful, we can become so desensitized to the anointing until it can walk up and slap us in the face and we won’t know what hit us.  

A few years ago, a preacher told a story about an ambitious truck driver attempting to move a large historic church building along the highway with his undersized rig. He stated that he possibly could have made it, but somewhere along the route, he fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road. 

He further noted that when the rig veered to the right, the church slid off the truck and ended up stuck in a ditch full of mud. He talked about this disturbing sight of seeing this historic church stuck in the mud. He claimed that traffic was backed up for miles in both directions as gawkers came out in droves to see this unusual sight. 

I’m sorry. But you may say I’m stretching this, but how many of our churches are in this same predicament today? Leaders have fell asleep at the wheel and the Church has slid off its course and got stuck in the mud. The mud of apathy, the mud of discontent, and the mud of loose living. I must share with you that the world is no longer impressed with our theatrics and big words, but they are merely driving by at the pace of a snail gawking and cracking jokes because the Church is stuck in the mud. 

We leaders need to wake up for indeed if we are asleep at the wheel, we’re not only poised for ridicule, but quite simply put, we’re poised for disaster. In a day like today, when a perplexity of problems face our churches, we can’t afford to go to sleep. The worldliness of professing Christians has caused more problems than ever imagined. 

We’re falling for everything and standing for nothing. We put too much emphasis on the things of God and practically forgotten the God of things. The people of God are so intoxicated by the world, so stupefied by indifference, so oppressed by criminal unbelief that we need the sincere effusions of a divine grace to help us out of our dilemma. 

How can we wake up and not allow this opportunity to pass us by? First, we must repent of our declension. We must mourn our departure from God. We must lament our backsliding, rend our hearts, repair to the blood of atonement that our deep stained sins maybe washed away. Church, we need a revival. 

We must wrestle with God like Jacob wrestled with the heavenly representative. We must weary Him and we must not let Him go until He blesses our soul. If we expect it, we will think it, desire it, anticipate it, rely on God for it, and pray in faith for it. My brothers and sisters, we need reviving. The world is waiting on us to speak truth to power. 

Why? Because our children are getting worse. They’re indulging in promiscuous sins at unbelievably early ages. The use of drugs has intensified. The world is cramming what God calls an abomination down our throats and telling us that it’s alright. Our unborn are not given a chance to live. We have the audacity to be asleep while these things are going on. 

Our fellow members of our churches have become weak, they’re lifeless, they’re insensitive, they’re unconcerned, they’re unfaithful, and they’ve slipped off into a deep trance. But it is our responsibility as soldiers in the army of the Lord, as leaders in the Christian faith to wake them up.  

It becomes our responsibility to instruct them on how we’re going to awake the world. It becomes our responsibility to teach and rightfully divide the Word of God. How are we going to do this? I’m glad you asked. We must preach the Word. We can preach this Word so until a liar will stop lying. We can preach this Word so until a junkie will lose his junk. We can preach this Word so until people will take a better look at what God has said. 

It’s time for us to wake up or we’re going to miss this revolution. Our churches are invaded by Satan’s devices. We’re bobbing to his beat and stroking to his lyrics. We’re standing by watching Satan bring heartache to the Church, but there is deliverance through the proclamation of the Word of God.  

A great example of this very thing happening is the story of Lazarus. When the disciples heard the news that Lazarus had died, Jesus said in the 11th chapter of John and the 11th verse, “Our friend Lazarus sleep, but I go that I may wake him up. Arriving at the tomb, Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!'” It was necessary for Jesus to speak with specificity. If not, we would have had the general resurrection prematurely. 

What you need to know is that Jesus gives us this kind of power. The Bible says that Lazarus came out of the crypt fully alive. But we’re still wrapped up like a mummy. I’m here to tell you today that many of our so-called Christian brothers and sisters are not dead, but Satan has them wrapped up like mummies. 

They can’t effectuate change because they’re wrapped up like mummies. They won’t cry out against wrong people because they’re wrapped up like mummies. But Jesus said to those standing by in the 43rd and 44th verses, “Loose him and let him go.”  

I’m closing here, but I must share with you that the story of Lazarus shows us three things that Jesus does to awaken a sleeping church and to ignite a slumbering giant. 

First, Jesus gives us the ability to hear His voice. I’m here to tell somebody today that if Lazarus heard his voice, so can you and I.  

My second point is that Jesus gives us the power to become what He has called us to be. I heard Him say to Lazarus, “Come forth.” When Jesus called Lazarus, that woke him up. And when He told him to come forth, that empowered him.  

I’m here to tell you that you’re going to be empowered by the Word of God. The Lord never commands us to do something that He doesn’t empower us to do.  

And thirdly, Jesus gives us the help we need to be completely liberated from the effects and trappings of a failed life. Look what He said to those who were around Lazarus. “Loose him and let him go.”  

I came by to tell somebody that Jesus has empowered you to loose men from the bondages of sin. God has authorized us to, to get folk out of their grave clothes and start walking in their destiny. I believe that our world is still wrapped up like a mummy, and Jesus has empowered us so that we can give them more and more of His word. 

The Word of God is true. The Word of God will set men free. The Word of God will change your mindset. It’s time for us to get busy about the work of the Lord. It’s time for us to tell Satan that his reign of terror is over. It’s time for us to wake up and use our power. We need to use the power that says that one can chase 1,000 and two can put 10,000 to a flight. 

We’ve got to pray until we hear from heaven. For God said, “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  

We’ve got to pray. Pray until the languishing graces of God’s people have been revived. We’ve got to pray until our brothers and sisters become anxious and prayerful. We’ve got to pray until the presence of the Lord is felt in a special manner. Pray until the careless are awakened, the stock-hearted ones are subdued, prodigals reclaimed, stony hearts are melted, souls are converted, and backsliders are restored. 

Pray until we take a stand for life.  

My brothers and sisters, you are needed in the revolution. And Jesus empowered us in this resolution, for He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe in my name, they shall cast out devils. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” He told us that “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever ye loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

My brothers and sisters, you need to shake yourself. Shake yourself and say, “Wake up!” because you are needed in the revolution.