Acts 20:7-12 holds an interesting account about sleeping in church with implications and lessons we can use today. These allow us to stay awake at the wheel so we can drive forward with the purpose God has given us for the church.
In this account, the Apostle Paul is in Troas preaching late into the night, and at this particular gathering is a young man named Eutychus. He is apparently sitting in a window sill and falls into a deep sleep. If that wasn’t bad enough, he then tumbles out of the third story window of the building and dies. Paul goes down to the young man, and with the Spirit of God, raises Eutychus from the dead.
What are the lessons to be drawn from this story?
One lesson is if you are going to sleep in church, don’t sleep in the church window. Another lesson might be if you are going to sleep in the church window, be sure that it is not the window of a three-story church. Or if you are going to sleep in the window of a three-story church, be sure it has very strong screens on the windows.
On a serious note, what are the implications of a story like this found in the Word of God?
One of the truths to be learned is that if you are in the church, you really do need to be wide awake. You really need to be sober-minded, alert and understand what the church is and what we are called to be doing. We need to be passionate about understanding our mission and bold about carrying it out.
We really don’t need to be in church, but “asleep at the wheel.” We are called to be wide awake and bold about our calling.
What is the bold mission that we are to be about? We are to passionately and aggressively seek to:
- Proclaim the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). Too many believers are doing little if anything to help be witnesses and to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world and to help the work of making disciples in the world.
- Proclaim and live the truth, and help set people free from the bondage of sin (Luke 4:18-19).
- Love, reach out, embrace, and minister to a world of hungry and hurting people in need (Matthew 25:31-40).
- Speak the truth with courage and faith to a world that largely does not value truth.
We are called to carry the Light of the truth of God’s Word to a world steeped in darkness. We are to proclaim the Word of God to people who will sometimes question whether or not God even exists.
We are called to help the world hear and know the truth, and that truth sets people free. We are called to share truth such as - God made us male and female –and those are the only genders there are. God can save and deliver a person from the bondage of lifestyles that don’t align with the His Word. We are not to compromise with darkness.
We are called to be wide awake and proclaim to the world the truth that clearly says, “You shall not murder.” Too many in our culture, including church leaders, are ignoring words which cause death the same as murder like “abortion,” “reproductive rights,” and “euthanasia.” Sin cannot be hidden by substituting words.
We are called to be wide awake and to boldly and unapologetically say “Thus says the Lord . . .” because it is the Word of God that has the answer to all of the world’s problems. We are not to conform to the world but we are instruments in the hands of God to show the world the will of God and the blessings that follow His will being done on the earth (Romans 12).
It is impossible to be bold for Christ if we are asleep—not paying attention to the details of his inerrant, authoritative decrees. It’s time to wake up and recognize who we are and who we belong to. Let’s wake up, come alive, and be about our Father’s business.