“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1 (ESV)
Often the concept of awakening has to do with the revived church impacting the world. And yes, that is about to happen! But it has been the sleeping church that has allowed our world to go to hell! Jesus had to speak clearly to His disciples saying, “Lazarus is not simply sleeping, he is dead, and we’re going to wake him up” (John 11:11-14)! The church has become more conscious of being nice and acceptable, than being holy, and different. We are more concerned about making people happy, than conformed to the image of Christ. We are more interested in turning the methods of the world into church growth strategies, than we have been raising up a movement of wholehearted Jesus followers who are willing to die for their King!
Even though they were known for being an alive congregation, Jesus sounds the alarm for the church in Sardis to “wake up, you are dead” (Revelation 3:1-2)! It was for a reason that Isaiah the prophet exhorted Zion to “wake up, rise up, shake off the dust, put on your garments of splendor and sit enthroned” (Isaiah 52:1-2). Here is Zion representing the backslidden church that looked more like the other nations than God’s chosen people.
There was a reason Deborah and Barak sang their duet; “Wake up, Deborah, wake up! Wake up, wake up, and sing a song! Arise, Barak! Lead your captives away, son of Abinoam!” (Judges 5:12 NLT) Deborah, who was a prophetess and leading Israel at the time had commanded Barak to go confront an enemy. He said he would only go if she went as well. Deborah had to rise up because others did not! But God gave them victory. God is calling those who will wake up to go, even if others don’t, to fight for victory!
While running for his life from Saul, David knew that worship would wake his heart and release the new day… “Wake up, heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake up the dawn with my song” (Psalm 57:8 – NLT). God is awakening a new sound and song of worship for this hour. But it starts with our heart waking up! Cry out for yours to wake up!
Peter, James and John slept while Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah. When they finally were awakened, they saw His glory. When the church wakes up they’ll see the glory that is already here (Luke 9:28-36). Though the whole earth is filled with God’s glory (Isaiah 6:3), it is the awakened church that reveals His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) and brings about the worldwide knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Habakkuk 2:14).
You see, our salvation is for now. Though the fullness awaits our heavenly arrival, Jesus came that we might have life to the full, now (John 10:10)! That means today! We have never been nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation than we are right now! Paul told the us in Romans to “wake up, for our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (13:11).
In the awakening that is happening right now, all the corruption, both inside and outside the church, will be revealed… To the church Paul said, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:13-14), implying, if they don’t wake up, they will stay dead and won’t experience Christ’s glory!
The bottom line is, we live in an hour where the church is being awakened, and this awakening is accelerating. But not everyone is responding to the wake-up call. Many are pushing the snooze button to allow them to sleep a bit more. The question is, will you, your church and/or the churches across our city wake up and press in to the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, in our day?
Cry out to God for every part of your being to be awakened to His presence, to His call in this hour, to His shaking and to His voice. Cry out for your pastor to be willing to be completely awakened in the Holy Spirit and lead your church out to awaken the world. Pray that Athens would become an awakened city, shining brightly on a hill!