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Spiritual Sleep Study – Maranatha!!

The word “maranatha” is a Syriac expression that means: “our Lord comes.”  It was used as a greeting in the early church.  When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say “hello” or “goodbye” but “Maranatha.”  If we had the same upward look today, it would revolutionize the church.  O that God’s people  had a deepening awareness of the imminent return of the Savior!  (Our Daily Bread)

When you woke up this morning what was the first thought that came into your mind?  Or better yet, when you went to sleep last night, what was the last thought on your mind?  Followers of the way in New Testament times were constantly anticipating the return of Jesus, and their thoughts were always going heavenward.  There was an urgency to tell others the Good News of Jesus’ return and His salvation while it was still light.  The Apostle Paul taught about the Lord’s Return in 1 Thessalonians 5 by saying in verse 2 “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”   In other words, we don’t know when Jesus will come, so those who don’t know Jesus need to hear that He is coming from those who know Him.  His coming won’t catch us by surprise as those who don’t know Christ, because we are not going to be asleep at the wheel.  In verse 4 Paul says, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief.” The reason we won’t be surprised is because the return of our Savior is what turns the crank in our life.  Looking for Jesus is the fuel that runs our life and as we study God’s Word, fellowship with other believers, and minister in this world, we see more and more evidence that it will be soon.   Just as sure as prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus, the Messiah, came and lived on this earth, went to the cross and died, and rose on the Third Day, He is coming again.  MARANATHA!!!  Paul gives a warning in verse 6 that we all need to heed, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.”  If we were to do a “Spiritual Sleep Study” on those people it would indicate that they are numbing themselves to the truth of the gospel.  It also means they are not thinking about “what may come” in the days ahead.  Scripture says they are people of the night and that they have a darkness in their thinking, and thus we have the statement “thief in the night.”  Sadly enough, there are many Christians who have moved to the “dark side” (ala Star Wars) in their thinking and the talk of Christ coming back soon is almost laughed at by them.  Verse 10 speaks to them and those who are anticipating Christ’ return, as both will go to heaven, but it’s much bigger than just going to heaven.  Those who know Christ and aren’t anticipating His return need to be encouraged and reminded to “live on the edge” and make the most of every day.  That’s where the greeting Maranatha by early Christians was so vital.  It is a reminder, a wake up call, for those who know Christ but may have fallen asleep in preparation for His Coming.  I guess you could say it was some of the very first “accountability” that keeps all Christians “on point” and growing.  It’s like in a service where the worship leader or pastor says “Amen” about a truth from God’s Word and He waits for a reply from those in the congregation as a response.  Some may say about that practice “you are just trying to get an amen” and they are right.  A response is a wake up call for those who are starting to experience the numbness of just “living life.”  The abundant life is supposed to be much more than just living.  It is actually living a full, vibrant life with leftovers.  Paul wrote to the Romans in 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Once again, what was the last thing you thought about before you went to sleep last night? Was it Jesus?   What thought filled your mind first thing this morning?  Was it about Jesus?  I remember hearing of a person who went in to do a sleep study and they couldn’t go to sleep!  They stayed awake all night.  Why?  Get this; they were worried about not falling asleep for the study, so that kept them awake.  How crazy is that?  Maybe we need to be a little more concerned about falling asleep, and not expecting or anticipating the return of Christ.  Perhaps we need to practice staying awake by reading God’s Word with more purpose and passion.  It could be that we really need to get someone who will help us stay awake when all others around us are falling asleep.  Seek out that someone and when you see them say, Maranatha, and get them to say it back to you.  Also, tonight before you go off into lala land in your bed, quietly say, Maranatha.  When you get up in the morning say Maranatha.  That could be some of the overflow of the abundant life you have been missing lately and keep in mind, if you are looking upward to God for everything, your perspective on the life around you when you look back down will be totally different.  If we were to have God look at the results of our Spiritual Sleep Study, He would probably say, you are getting way too much sleep.  Time to wake up.  Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief!  Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Jesus is coming again so WAKE UP AND LIVE!!!

The Pilgrimage continues……

David Warren

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