5th May 2024

Awakening – Part 1

Passage: Romans 13:11-14
Service Type:

In this sermon, the speaker delves into the concept of spiritual awakening, using biblical examples to illustrate the transformative power of truly encountering Jesus. Emphasizing the necessity for believers to move beyond superficial faith and strive for deeper understanding and sanctification, the message calls for a revival within the church. By examining the self-deceptive nature of the human heart and the need for ongoing personal and communal renewal, the sermon encourages listeners to seek a profound and sustained relationship with Christ.

Automatically Generated Transcript

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Well, I do want to talk about awakenings because spiritual awakenings is a topic that the Bible gives illustration of and has teaching about. The word awakening is an interesting word and sometimes we use it in our culture metaphorically meaning not literally but there was watching football one moment yesterday the story of a fella who's been trying to get a Guernsey in the AFL and he hasn't been succeeding very well at all and so he's been in the lower level of competition and he's gotten to the stage when he thought he was too old to ever make it. And Collingwood called him up, and he had his first match in his mid-twenties, which is getting old for a player to start, and he managed to kick a very spectacular goal and Collingwood won what would have been a draw.

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Anyway, it was interesting how it talked about the awakening of his career as a footballer. We use the term metaphorically. Watching on about singers on TV with my voice with Husky with age, I can only watch what they do on TV. But there was this woman who was about my age who went in to sing, a Scottish woman you might know of her, Susan, Susan Boyle. And she'd been practicing and singing and had been a good singer for a long time. And in her, really getting older in age, she went in a competition and absolutely shocked everybody by doing so well and became now, as a known singer, and sings beautiful songs, and well that was an awakening of a career as well, so this

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word, awakening, is used in a number of different ways and we're quite used to it, but it was a bit of a surprise to me to discover that the Scriptures talk about Awakenings as well, and in fact the whole design of God's salvation that comes to us is one which has two parts, the Old Testament and the New, and in the New there is the offering of the Holy Spirit, and his working in us causes an awakening. I had a message about a month ago of the Lord dealing with the apostle Phillip. You know there's an Apostle Phillip and there's an Evangelist Phillip. They're two different people but the Apostle Phillip, he was following Jesus around for three years, talk about having a three-year Bible college course. He followed Jesus around as the main teacher, I guess it was better than any other

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Bible-knowledge, Bible study course there is in the world. But at the end of it near, just prior to Jesus going into the event of his death and resurrection, Jesus is trying to tell the disciples about his relationship with the Father and the closeness they have and how the Father is in him and he's in the Father and that he's come from the Father and he's going back to the Father. There's definitely two persons of the Trinity which is the three persons of the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but Philip didn't get it. And Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, but you still don't know me? Thereby illustrating the fact that it's possible for people to be in the presence of the

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living Christ in his incarnation and not really get to know who he is. One other of the disciples, Peter, was always putting his foot in the mouth in many respects, but there came a moment when Jesus asked the disciples, Who do people say that I am? And Peter comes out with a glorious statement, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, understanding both his coming down to the earth and being the messiah, for the word Christos means anointed one from heaven. And Jesus did his work here on earth by being the Christ, the anointed one,

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the one sent from the Father. And he explained it to his disciples. We have it in the Gospels, Jesus telling it time and time again that he's the one that the Father has sent. And he's going back to the Father. There's no doubt that there is a plurality in the trinity, even though they're a part of one God. And yet people find that hard to assimilate, to understand. And someone who is with Jesus three years still didn't get the point,

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but Peter got it. What's the difference? The difference is, Jesus exclaimed about it, that Peter had had a revelation. You didn't know it by human means but it's been revealed to him. Flesh and blood didn't show it to you, but my Father who is in heaven said Jesus to Peter. And when God acts in our lives in order to break in on us, that is a moment of spiritual awakening. Spiritual awakening. We're very familiar with the facts that when people become Christians often they describe how they see things differently. There's a lot of little sayings, I've seen the light.

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The non-Christian world make a bit of a joke of that phrase, Oh, you've seen the light have you? And I'll use it metaphorically of all sorts of other moments of realization. Because there is a sense in which awakening can be not spiritual and not supernatural. You can have an awakening when you suddenly realize where the land lies. with the whole of society, you can have an awakening when you understand that your employment of being robbing you, of really helping you get anywhere, and it dawns on you one day you're being a donkey staying there.

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But it's an awakening to a scenario. And we do use the term awakening to be about a sudden realization of something that hadn't dawned on you previously. But the Bible uses it also of that moment of us coming to know Christ, and with people who have become Christians, they have a different perspective. They have an understanding that wasn't there before. Like the fellow who said to me after he became a Christian and one of my school friends,

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I don't understand why I had so much trouble understanding before. But when he came to know Christ, something dawned on him. It was an awakening. And the first use of this term in the Bible when it's referring to what is a spiritual awakening is that moment of contact with Jesus where, unlike Philip, but more like Peter, there's a revelation as to who Jesus is.

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The breaking in on you about the person of Jesus is at the heart of a spiritual awakening. It's something that's happened to you or it's yet to happen to you. And the lesson we learn from Phillip being three years with Jesus, that people can be in a Christian scenario as it ought to be, and yet never have had that awakening. that has to do with them and Jesus, and so it is in our proclaiming of the Gospel.

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We proclaim it in a way that is designed for there to be an awakening in people's hearts about the person of Jesus, their relationship. I liked the communion talk we had about how we're all sinners, but very well mentioned that not only is it something that was triggered by the original sin of Adam and Eve, but it's also something we have affirmed in all have sinned and all are fallen short of the glory of God. And there is a sense of coming to realize your sinnerhood that is a part of the awakening. Most people naturally think of themselves as best they can. We protect our egos, we protect our self-confidence by somehow getting the best picture of us and even though you might have doubts underneath about how you're going, you cover them up

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to yourself. And awakening is often in a moment when you realise just how self-deceptive you've been all the time about you and the truth of who you are. And it's something about mental health. When people can understand that they're walking around with the wrong idea about themselves in their brains, that have been doing to preserve their sense of you're doing okay. You hide yourself from the truth. But when God begins to speak to you, he speaks to you not about just whether or not you're good at playing sport or ... whether or not you've got good relationships or whether or or not you're one of those people everybody loves

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or another type of person that everybody seems to not want to be friends to. All of us have got various aspects of our life that we somehow want to hide from ourselves, but there can come a moment in you when you suddenly wake up as to who you really are and sometimes it's a dismal time, even some folk go as far as throwing themselves down the stairs or trying to kill themselves because they are becoming awakened to something

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that they've been doing or being and it's not what they wanna be. But, you know, when the Spirit of God comes, he comes with a purpose of letting you awaken to the very depths of your sins and the fact that when the Bible says about the hardest deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it? It's talking about this very fact that we deceive ourselves and give ourselves a gloss as to who we are before heaven.

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And one of the first things the Holy Spirit does, Jesus said, and taught his disciples, He says when the Spirit comes, He will convince the world of sin. If you want to go somewhere spiritually, ask God to convince you of some of your sins. It's a pretty dangerous thing to do because He might answer you and show you that they're far more drastic and far more deeper-died and far more self-deceptive

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than what you would have given credit previously, but that might be the beginning of your awakening. Why does it say we have a deceitful heart? Because the person we deceive first is ourselves. The Holy Spirit comes to bring conviction of sin. Well anyway, in this awakening moment, even people who have come to be converted to Christ and get into the kingdom of God and come to know Jesus and will not be like Philip

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whom the Lord would have to say, have I been with you so long and still you don't know who I am. There are people who get converted but there can come a later need for an awakening because we have got the predisposition to be lazy sometimes, even in our spirituality. And we can be people who just rest on the fact that we got it in the door with Christ, but then sometimes we don't bother to go any further. You know my illustration about the mother, whose little girl said to her,

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Why do I keep falling out of bed? No, the mother said to the little girl, Why do you keep falling out of bed? And the little girl answered, I think it is because I go to sleep too close to where I got in." And there are people who become Christians, and yet somehow got lazy about it all. Didn't prosecute that sanctification process. We've been talking about going through the beatitudes, that Jesus wanted us to have the aim of perfection like the Father. But if we don't prosecute that sanctification in our part to be played and that's why the Bible verse says to work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.

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It teaches us that we need to be people who don't just stay too close to where we got into bed. We need to be awakened or you'll fall out! Not that I'm saying that someone can be converted and be a Christian and lose their salvation, but you can get to be in a state that you need to be awakened, God has been putting it on my heart. What we need in our church, not just our church, all the Baptist churches. Many are going to slide away from God. They just listen to what the government says and the culture of our days.

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We get so content in our sins. I came in here, every now and then, I come in here to pray for the church, I pray at home, I have an office, but sometimes I come in here. One reason I come in here is because I find it hard to go on praying and not go to sleep or not get lazy. But what I can do in an empty room is walk around and this week I came in here one day to pray it was a certain time when the cleaners hadn't come so the place was fairly dirty yet. I don't know their timetabling I just come in and so I would walk around but I'm walking around because so I can talk to God and and and not lose concentration but as I walking around I saw how dirty it was there's another little bit I mustn't have come out here or someone anyway never mind but there was all little

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spots all around the little pieces of paper and stuffs that were dropped so while I was talking with the Lord I didn't mean to do this I just reached down and pick up what it was put it in the bin at the back and after a while place looked pretty good. And it suddenly occurred to me the Bible teaches us to search us, not just the church and the floor in the church. But there's a famous old song you might have heard of that's used in times stressing about the need for revival, which is another word for awakening. Search me, O God, and try my heart today. See if there be some wicked way in me. And there is something that happens to Christian people who do know the Lord. It's not the awakening you got when you first came to Christ. But having been a

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In a Christian it's very easy to get slothful in terms of reading the Scriptures, in terms of being in prayer. We all face those things. We all have the flesh to contend with, this preacher included. And in those times, sometimes we can get to be accommodated to our sins. In those times we can be unaware. the floor of needing to have someone search and pick up the pieces, but our hearts, and they can have a lot a little things in there that if ever there were to be an awakening that comes to us, that type of awakening that's happening to a person who's become a Christian but gone lazy, contented to stay in the sins and

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not struggle with them and then the God spirit comes and there can be such a thing as an awakening in an area or in a church where the Spirit of God moves and he comes and he picks up every little sin. that's what an awakening does, it's characterised by people who suddenly become aware that they are not like they ought to be. They've not been a Christian with a burden for the lost, they've not been a person who have love for others, they've not been what God wanted of them. Sometimes you meet a person who had a calling, a calling to leave their vocation, and do a special work for God, a call to be a missionary or a call to be a pastor. That's actually the people we should be ordaining, not Not just any old body, but there's a calling that comes, but sometimes people find they're

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too comfortable, and so they put it off. I remember one of the people who was involved in our college, I think he was the secretary or leader in the committee, I can't remember which, but he had felt a call, to go overseas on missions, but he kept putting it off because he preferred to live in Australia. he put it off, and he put it off, and he put it off, and he never got there, and there was a sorrow in him that he expressed to us as students when I was a student going through the college that he was someone who had never got to do what God had called him to. He needed an awakening. I wish it would have happened when he was earlier. I had an associate pastor in Sydney. He was a lovely man, He had been somewhat similar to how I just described in terms of he had a good job,

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an area of expertise which he did well and God called him to be a pastor because that's what ordination ought to be about, people who've got a call. But he kept putting it off, and then he had a severe car accident. He was in the hospital I think for six months or something. When it came time and he was well enough to get out of hospital, he says, okay Lord, I'll do what you said. Is there any — I'm not asking you to call out loud — is there anybody here who's had a call from God, not necessarily to be a pastor, not necessarily to be a minister, but he's been on your back to be more than what you are. God needs there to be people who are surrendered, which is why the chief

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got a little letter of the New Testament that is about sanctification, which is about the Holy Spirit which is about being converted. first of all then going on gets to Chapter 12 the Book of Romans does and it says I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you surrender your bodies as a living sacrifice, but it's so possible for someone to have had an awakening to be a Christian and to be in the church and you're in the things with Jesus but you're lazy and you've never got through to Chapter 12 and and you've kept your career for you! And Jesus' quiet voice, does he say to you, you haven't gotten where you ought to be? We'll put up the passage please. I did give the wrong chapter to the people at the back, and this is the one I meant to

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give, 13 and not 15 chapter of Romans. And it's going to give us some reasons why we need to let the Holy Spirit today awaken us. Besides this you know the time. The reason why I think this is an age in Australia where we need an awakening of true Christianity that will take the Holy Spirit only could make it happen, it is that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. Now when it talks about salvation it's talking about the whole of salvation, of being justified, of being sanctified and then when we get to glory of being glorified. And that moment of glorification and operates around the time of Jesus' second Advent and just as truly as we have Christmas to celebrate the first Advent of Jesus coming into

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the world, so there is a second advent, the Bible speaks, but that of the second Advent could well be coming close and Paul, speaking in the Book of Romans, he says, for salvation, he means the total outworking of salvation when eternity is upon us. Salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. You know, I've been thinking, and in the nights when somehow I woke up, I began thinking about how the totality of your salvation is nearer to some of you than when you first believed, for different reasons. One is that you haven't progressed very much in your sanctification, and you've been asleep in your sins. And the freshness of believing when you first came is not a strong a memory, is it?

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You are losing that sense of the love of Jesus. And in the one part of the New Testament that speaks about Jesus giving his picture of our needing to love him, the book of Revelation in chapter two and chapter three talks about the fact of one of the churches had lost their first love. The church of Ephesus I think is the first one, he says like that, and he tells them to do the works that they did at first. He tells them in some of the other letters to the seven churches I'm quoting about in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3. He's telling them that they're so lukewarm that he's about to spit them out of his mouth.

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You know, we have a sense of awareness of the presence of Jesus in our church. It's been growing. It's a grace thing. He comes, he doesn't have to, he is present whether we feel his presence or not, but he's able by the Holy Spirit to make his presence realized. I don't know whether you've noticed, but the sense of the presence of Christ, I feel it because his is the voice that works. It's not just what I say, I know. One of the secrets of being a preacher is not thinking that it's up to you, but it's realising that he wants to say something, and sometimes he calls you to a meeting to speak, and you get there and you're aware that you're not the chief item, it's him. And he's come to speak.

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He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. And I believe you should be able to feel him now, because I think we're in a position where he may want to bring to us an awakening. Awakening to the Presence of Christ is what church is all about. awakening to the fact that he wants us to go more close to him. That's what those seven letters, if you want it somewhere good to read in the Bible, read that chapters 2 and chapter 3 of the book of Revelation and how he calls on us to wake up. He says I'm gonna spit you out of my mouth and I think there's going to come a time because of the opposition of the world that we're in at

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the moment because I think we need to have an awakening because of how the world is going downhill and we'll follow along with them all the way down if there's not an awakening in us and we don't start putting as priority what Jesus wants and what his Word teaches and we run our denomination because the Word of God says it, not just because the Government asks it. We need to give our church back to Jesus? We need an awakening in the Baptist churches of Australia because they're getting lukewarm and they're getting weak and they're getting without any people who have the call of God upon their lives— just a bit of psychology will do. We give over our education theologically to be done in another state, when the history of Baptist churches was, in Perth West

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Australia, they lamented they did not have a college and what it meant, the students went away to Sydney to be trained and half of them, well not half, I don't know how many, didn't come back to West Australia. And in Brisbane we needed to have a college so that we could stick with the evangelical gospel and not get swayed by some of the things in colleges down south were teaching. But now we've given away our college and people don't even see the tragedy of that, when it was God who gave us a college that stood for the Gospel, and got to have students coming from all over the country. We have spurned the work of God amongst us, and now we think it's just a matter of money. I can get off the track here, because I've had a sermon built up,

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it's on, you can't serve both God and mammon, that I want to deliver, not just to you people, but to the denomination, but we need a revival today of that old-fashioned Christianity, where people believe that the work of God that is done God's way will never lack God's resources, and our church, praise God for this, has been proving it, in the Lord helping us with our giving, what what we managed to do with the putting up of the toilets, what we've been able to have as a decision to to get the air-conditioning that will let more people listen to the message in comfort here in summer, that bring more people in. Townsville Church had that argument about whether or not to get air conditioning because some thought that it was the old-fashioned idea was that

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we shouldn't be spending money on our comfort. There's a value in that, I think that's right, but there are other factors. And eventually they got the church air conditioned, and I think their membership jumped 25 percent. Townsville's a pretty place that needs air conditioning. We need to let God move us and lead us, and that can't happen unless we get closer to him to be able to hear his lead. Well, here in the passage, the reasons are being given. The night is far gone, verse 12. The day is at hand, so then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of lights. And we're living in an age where, as was said in the communion lead-up, There are works of darkness that we're all just getting used to.

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We have to turn aside from works of darkness and put on an armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the daytime. Not in orgies and drunkenness. Not in sexual immorality and sensuality. Not in quarreling and jealousy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's what is the call for people to let themselves get sanctified. That's what the call is, to let the Holy Spirit help you,

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to ask Him to be like people do say in those revival times, search me, Oh God, and try me to see if there'd be any wicked way in me. That's not only a song and a hymn, but it's a thing that people do in revival times where some of the people who might previously have thought they were all doing fine nice and relaxed, but then when the Spirit of God comes and that awakening moment happens, people get convicted that there's something not quite right, and they get before God and say, show me more deeply. Hey, we had a previous time in

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this church of everybody getting to read in the home groups that book by Roy Hessian called The Calvary Road, and its basic message is just what I'm saying, is that if we get before God and say to him, Lord, show me where there are some sins that I've not been handling, you'll get a surprise at how many the Holy Spirit can point out to you. Let us walk properly, as in the daytime and not in those things that belong to the world, not in quarreling and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill or gratify its desires. Are there people here who, like me, are you feeling God is saying something to us? He wants us to go deeper. He wants us to walk closer. He wants us to understand the times, the times who knows how soon is that second

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Advent? You could never say exactly when it is. Don't listen to people who set dates. But nonetheless the Scriptures teach that there is a time when Jesus is going to come, and the very parables that Jesus spoke about when he talked about the virgins—you know, the twelve virgins who had the oil in their lamps—but they miscalculated how much oil they needed and the way the weddings used to happen then is that the bride and his party would come down the road. The bridegrooms had marked out with their lamps, but He'd never say when He was coming and He could delay it. And in the delay they'd get lazy. In the delay they wasn't attending to the fact of how much oil, and you know how oil is often a symbol for the Holy Spirit.

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They are running out of the Holy Spirit's work in their lives, and that's why we needed awakening. And some of you, if you would have apply this call to search and see, you'd find out from the Holy Spirit that you need to be awakened." And I'm calling on us to let the Holy Spirit speak to us, and to be a church that gets awakened, and who knows what God will do through a church that is on fire, and a church that does what this passage says, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to satisfy or gratify his desires? May God speak to us in this topic and may we each search our hearts and find out what he wants us to be and do. If you want somewhere to follow-up on this idea, please do read those two

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chapters of Revelation in chapter 2 and chapter 3, and hear the message that Jesus says to his churches there as he says to us today. Let me pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for waking me up in the middle of the night and putting something on my heart and I pray that your Holy Spirit will give his testimony to every person listening to my voice and hear that they will hear the call, Lord of Philip the Apostle. Big calling he had, being an apostle, but Jesus had to say to him, Philip have I been so long with you, but you don't know me. Would you, Lord Jesus, by your Spirit, convict us to the little degree that we've come to know you, to the fact that you want fellowship with us, and yet we could be with you in the Church, and we could be with you as a Christian, but not,

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Lord, really, know you very deeply. Lord, please take us deeper, and I pray that you will cause a stream of people to come out of our Church, to go to various places elsewhere to serve you, who've come to know you deeply, who've had that revelatory moment of an awakening when you really got them King. May that happen in our church, we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

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