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ASLEEP AGAIN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 11, 2009

“And he came and found them asleep again”
(Matthew 26:43).


After they had eaten the Passover meal, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. It was very late at night when they finished eating. Then, Jesus led them out into the night, across the Brook Kedron, into the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane. He left eight of the Disciples a little ways off and took Peter, James and John deeper into the gloom. He told those three Disciples that his soul was “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matthew 26:38). He told them to watch and pray with Him.

While He left them there to pray, He went farther into the Garden to pray by Himself. When He came back to them later He found them asleep. He woke them and said, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40).

A second time He went back alone where He had been praying. After a while He came back and “found them asleep again” (Matthew 26:43).

“And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time” (Matthew 26:44).

When He came back to them the third time, once again they were asleep. “And he came and found them asleep again.” Joseph Hart said,

Backwards and forwards thrice He ran,
As though to seek some help from man.

But He found no help in them, no prayer in them, no zeal in them. “And he came and found them asleep again.”

How often a pastor finds this true in his own ministry. He often feels that he needs his people in the church to back him up and help him. Yet how often he is disappointed when he comes and finds them “asleep again.” This is one of the most heartbreaking experiences any pastor can go through.

May I challenge you tonight, as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, not to be like Peter, James and John? May I challenge you not to be found “asleep again” in three areas?

I. First, may you not be “asleep again” in regard to your own salvation.

Some of you here tonight have never been converted. Yet you are sleeping on and on, coming to church again and again in a sleepy daze.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

Yet some of you think there is nothing you can do to be awakened. How unscriptural you are! True, it is God who awakens lost souls to their misery. I do not deny that for one moment. But Ephesians 5:14 shows that you, yourself, are involved in being awakened.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

Why would the Bible command you to awaken if there was no possibility of you doing so?

As Jesus came into the city of Nain, He saw a large group of people carrying a coffin with a young man’s dead body in it. Jesus went up to the coffin and touched it.

“And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15).

That boy was dead, just as dead as you are in trespasses and sins. But when Jesus said “Arise” “he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother” (Luke 7:15). When Jesus calls you, though you are asleep in sin, you will awaken from the sleep of death.

Do you hear Jesus speaking to you? Does He call you to “arise” from the dead? If you hear Him calling to your heart, “awake,” then you will most certainly be able to awaken.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

There is a very practical application to this. If you are unconverted, “Awake.” Awake and get into the inquiry room every time the opportunity arises! Awake and listen to the sermons with deep attention. Awake and be very serious after each sermon. Awake and take the words of the sermon home with you, and think of them over and over until the light of God breaks in and moves your heart to seek Jesus. Awake, and think deeply of your sins. While others are playing and talking, you be thinking of your sins until the flood of God’s Spirit moves you to come to Jesus and find rest and salvation from sin in Him.

“And he came and found them asleep again.”

Oh, may that no longer be true of you!

II. Second, may those of you who are already converted not be
“asleep again” concerning prayer for the lost among us.

May you not be like Peter, James and John, who slept rather than pray for Jesus in His hour of need. May you rouse yourself and pray mightily in your private prayers for your lost children, and other lost people who are coming to church.

May you make a list of some of them, and pray every day for them until the Spirit of God sheds light onto their hearts and convinces them of their sins! Remember what the Apostle James said, and take it to heart,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Awake, and make your prayers “fervent” for the lost ones in our church! Don’t give up your fervent prayers until you see them come to Christ!

“And he came and found them asleep again.”

Oh, may that no longer be true of you, as you “fervently” pray for the salvation of your children, and other young people in the church.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

III. Third, may all of you, saved or lost, not be “asleep again”
concerning the way you sing in the services.

The prophet Isaiah said,

“Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust” (Isaiah 26:19).

I know this literally means that those who are resurrected will “awake and sing” at the Rapture. But I think it could apply to you in the services of our church as well. You sleep in the “dust” when you come to church. But God says, “Awake and sing.”

I see no reason why everyone here tonight could not strive to do that tomorrow, on Easter Sunday. I see no reason why you could not push yourself to strongly sing the

“psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19).

If you are unconverted, why not strive to sing at the top of your lungs tomorrow morning and tomorrow night, on Easter Sunday? Thinking about the words, and singing them as loud as you can, might very well be a means of grace to break you out of the sleep of a dead religion and awaken you. You have been mumbling the words of the hymns long enough!

“Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust” (Isaiah 26:19).

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead”
       (Ephesians 5:14),

and Christ may well use your new way of singing as loud as you can to

“give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

In your singing, if you are lost,

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14).

John Wesley told the early Methodists to do that. They did what he said and the power of God came down in the singing – and many were awakened by the singing itself!

And if you are already a true Christian, I urge you to sing to God, not in a dry, soft voice, but worship the Lord with full gusto tomorrow morning and tomorrow night! Let God be glorified in your singing. Let lost sinners seated near you be swept up in the enthusiasm of your singing! Let them learn to sing from you! Think, man! If they don’t learn to sing loudly to the Lord from you, who will they learn it from? They learn to sing by watching you. Do not fail them tomorrow morning and tomorrow night, in these Easter services! Do not fail to worship God with your whole heart, your whole soul, with all the strength within you!

Praise the Lord, Oh my soul,
And all that is within me,
Praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, Oh my soul,
And all that is within me,
Praise His holy name.
For He has done great things, Hallelujah!
   He has done great things, Hallelujah!
He has done great things,
   Praise His holy name!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 26:36-43.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Praise the Lord, O My Soul.”


THE OUTLINE OF

ASLEEP AGAIN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And he came and found them asleep again” (Matthew 26:43).

(Matthew 26:38, 40, 43, 44)

I.   First, may you not be “asleep again” in regard to your own
salvation, Ephesians 5:14; Luke 7:14-15.

II.  Second, may those of you who are already converted not be
“asleep again” concerning prayer for the lost among us,
James 5:16.

III. Third, may all of you, saved or lost, not be “asleep again”
concerning the way you sing in the services, Isaiah 26:19;
Ephesians 5:19, 14.