Awake, Sleeper

weathered church window

When is a revival needed? When carelessness and unconcern keep the people asleep.

Author: Billy Sunday

Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God’s near presence and holiness. Thence springs a vivid sense of sin and a profound exercise of heart in repentance, praise, and love, with an evangelistic outflow.

Author: J.I. Packer

When the light shines, it exposes even the dark and shadowy things and turns them into pure reflections of light. This is why they sing, Awake, you sleeper! Rise from your grave, And the Anointed One will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:13, 14 The Voice)

7 thoughts on “Awake, Sleeper

    1. I love your question. You’re good for me. You encourage me to think and to try to clarify those thoughts.

      I don’t know if it’s a matter of either revival or resurrection. I hesitated about posting this because the word “revival” carries so many different understandings. By revival I do not mean a week of scheduled meetings where a persuasive speaker convinces people of the error of their ways and they hit the sawdust trail, promising to try harder to believe or behave. I don’t really mean a period of months or years when we see demonstrations of the power of God in a particular location either. Although both of those can be wonderful times of awakening, historically they tend to eventually wane.

      For true believers in Jesus Christ, the promise is that He will never leave them. That’s habitation. (He also chooses to come upon people in power on occasion for the purpose of equipping saints for a particular task. Since he loves to change things up these powerful encounters may change in nature. Some folks long for them and might feel these experiences are the Holy Spirit visiting and pray for him to come again. Since he promised to never leave us or forsake us, and his indwelling presence is still there for the purposes of inward growth and learning to live a holy life it’s hard for him to answer a prayer to “Come, Holy Spirit,” when he has already answered that one. I wrote about my understanding of that in more detail here: )

      In this post I was using the term “revival” more in the sense of waking up as in Romans 13:11-14 Besides this, you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour 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. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

      The word translated wake here is egeiro which, according to dear old Mr. Strong can mean:
      to arouse, cause to rise
      to arouse from sleep, to awake
      to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life
      to cause to rise from a seat or bed etc.
      to raise up, produce, cause to appear
      to cause to appear, bring before the public
      to raise up, stir up, against one
      to raise up i.e. cause to be born
      of buildings, to raise up, construct, erect

      It includes waking those who were alive, but now sleeping, and those who are essentially dead, like folks in the church in Sardis. “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent.” (Rev 3:1-3) To me it means rising up to our callings, knowing who we are in Christ, and using what he has already placed in us with the authority he has given us.

      So to respond to your question, “Do we need revival or resurrection?”, my answer would be yes. Some need to wake out of sleepy complacency to understand who we truly are in Christ and start running the race without entanglements. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11) and to understand that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. (Rom. 8:11)

      Some have never experienced coming spiritually alive in Christ (rebirth, another “re” word). They have yet to be filled with the breath (pneuma) of Holy Spirit, so the call for them is to be born. (Although when God’s people are revived they often become midwives for a lot of rebirths.)

      Egeiro can involve a stirring up that leads to course correction -reformation (or restoration, renewal, repentance, rekindling, and other “re” words).

      When Holy Spirit showed up in Old Testament times it was a visitation. He came, he went. Jesus Christ restores our relationship and the most important thing I feel the Lord is pointing out to me lately is that the tabernacle of God is now with humankind, that his redeemed ones are now the temple in which he resides. The church is made up of these living stones. Habitation definitely.

      I think the last reformation restored the authority of scripture, but the one we are now in restores the importance of waking up and realizing the truth of Colossians 1: The mystery hidden for ages but now revealed to his saints which is Christ in you, Christ in me, Christ in us, the hope of glory!

      I believe that is what the Lord was showing us almost a year ago, when so many thousands of people were woken up (some quite literally) to reconcile differences and pray in unity for our son-in-law, a man many of them didn’t even know, who was as close to death as doctors have seen and still fully recover. We saw our Great God do a miracle, not only in reviving, resurrecting, and restoring one of his own, but showing us what a revived, resurrected and restored big C Church looks like. I believe he wants us to wake up to contend for the “body” like this.

      We pray for revival, yes, but we have a part. A sleeping person can hear the alarms, feel someone shaking them and even hear the prophet’s voices calling that it is time to get up, but that person is still responsible for choosing to arise. (Message to self)

      In my opinion -always subject to correction- and thanks for asking.


      1. Thankyou Charis. Like you, I too have seen and experienced the ‘revivals’ that have come and have gone and too often I have seen those who were part of it crying out for the ‘revival’ to come back again. I believe the church is missing something vital when the talk and the prayer is continually centred around being revived. I have to ask if we need to be revived, why are we sleeping, (or in some cases dead), in the first place? Have we not had revivals? Then why aren’t we permanently revived? Why are we in need of yet another revival?

        So I guess my question was to introduce the prospect of a deeper place than ‘revival’, a more permanent state of being than ‘visitation’. Personally I don’t want to be revived again. I was once in need of revival, Christ revived me and He never left, or perhaps He held on to me so tightly I never left Him (not sure which, or maybe both 🙂 We live in co-habitation: Christ in me and me in Christ. That’s resurrection ‘zoe’ life. He doesn’t visit me, He sustains me. He doesn’t revive me back into His kind of life, He IS Life and mine has been swallowed up in Him. When we are continually being filled with the resurrection Life of Christ we don’t fall asleep….there’s way to much going on. Our longing is not so much for ‘more revival’ but ‘more Christ’. It’s a deepening rather than an awakening.

        I totally understand and agree with your explanation of revival. You’re right, much of the church needs revival. But what will they do with it? Unless that revival that is sent (as in the case of your son in law) evolves into something much deeper, i.e the ongoing, full blown resurrected Life of Christ in us individually and corporately, we just go round the mountain again. I somehow sense God is tired of reviving us…..He wants much more. But first He wants us to understand there IS much more.

        Just my two cents worth. Thankyou for providing the platform for such free and open discussion in an atmosphere of Christ-Love.


      2. I’m so glad to hear of your experience. Perhaps the better question is, indeed, how do we stay permanently revived? I think you answered that here: “Our longing is not so much for ‘more revival’ but ‘more Christ’.”
        Abiding. Co-habitation. Christ in me and me in Christ.
        Your comments are worth a great deal more than two cents. I treasure them. Bless you, friend.


  1. Ha ha! I love Holy Spirit’s sense of humour. My prayer last night was about what the awakening bride of Christ looks like. The Lord often speaks to me in a song in the night, or more specifically, a line or two of a song that is like an old stuck record that keep repeating. Last night these were the lines that played all night long in my dreams: (Please understand! This is a little embarrassing to share and the words are NOT in context of original song! Love = agape here, and not eros. But here goes anyway…)
    My baby loves love, my baby loves lovin’, and she’s got what it takes and she knows how to use it!


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