|Volume 24 Number 3 March 2022
It’s Later than We Think!
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Have you ever had a morning where you just did not want to wake up? I would guess we all have been there at one time or another. How about a morning where you thought it was only 5:00 a.m. but then realized it was actually 7:00 a.m.? It was later than you thought it was, and then, chaos ensued. Physically, success in life demands that we wake up and get the day started, despite our lack of desire sometimes to do so. We have all heard the familiar cliches, “Wake up and smell the coffee,” “Wake up and smell the roses” or “The early bird gets the worm.” Everyone most likely sees the importance and the value of physical sleep. However, there is a time to wake up and become alert and active. Spiritually, the same is true. Christians are to be awake and alert to the things going on around them and to be active in the work of the King, always watching and praying (Matthew 24:42). While I am certainly not a “doom and gloom” preacher, there is a time for us to be reminded that “It’s later than we think.” Consider the following observations.
The Reminder. God’s two-edged sword is the Christian’s spiritual alarm clock. This wonderful alarm clock has no snooze button and does not rely on mankind to keep it running and set correctly (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21, et al.). Paul’s inspired quill reminded, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now, salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let’s rid ourselves of the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12, NASB). Paul reminded the Ephesian congregation to “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead…” (Ephesians 5:14 NASB). Of course, Jesus’ reminder to the church in Sardis was clear, “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” (Revelation 3:2 ESV). We need to heed God’s reminders before it is too late!
The Reasons. We must wake up because of the condition of the world and our brotherhood. Someone estimated that only 17 percent of Americans attend any “church” on a given Sunday, and I would dare guess that number is lower in 2022 than ever before. It is touted that atheism is the fastest growing religion in America. God is being forced out of everything, and many Christians are scared to death to say a word even remotely religious due to political correctness and fear of being berated and persecuted. J.J. Turner hit the proverbial nail on the head when he penned, “The battle is raging; crew members are abandoning the battleship or booking passage on cruise ships where the food buffet is open so passengers can pick and choose the theological diets they prefer… No one is manning the battle stations” (16). Another observation an anonymous author made is true as well, “In the absence of wake-up calls, many of us never really confront the critical issues of life.”
We must also wake up because of our commission. If Christians do not sound the alarm, who will? God has commissioned us to be “the salt of the earth” to flavor and yes preserve this bland society (Matthew 5:13). God has commissioned us to “Let [our] light so shine before men…” to brighten this dark world as well (Matthew 5:16; cf., Philippians 2:15). Children of God are “watchmen on the wall” (Isaiah 62:6; Ezekiel 3:17-19), and Dear Friends, watchmen must not sleep!
The Results. If the children of God understands that it’s later than we think, many great blessings are sure to come. God will be respected! It is a disgrace to our God to fail Him in this regard. To be ashamed and afraid to do His bidding is utter and total disrespect. However, the opposite is true as well; if we do His bidding, sound His alarm and preach His Gospel, we will honor and respect Yahweh.
Sinners will repent! God is longsuffering because He wants sinners to repent and to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). God has promised that some who hear His Word will heed and obey (Matthew 13:8; 23; cf., Isaiah 55:10-11). The Gospel is just as powerful today as it was yesterday (Romans 1:16). Sadly, the truth in many places is that “…we have taken sanctuary in our buildings and complained about how dark it is outside” (Ibid). “How shall they hear…” (Romans 10:13ff)?
Christians will be rewarded! We were never promised a reward based upon how many people hear and obey! We are promised a reward if we overcome and endure to the end (Revelation 2:10). Results are not our concern! Our concern is simply to heed the Master’s orders of planting and watering (1 Corinthians 3:6). Our reward is not based on how popular we are or how full our buildings become! Our reward is based on faithfulness to Him and His Word. Sometimes the results are not obvious to us due to our limited, human vantage point, but that does not make the results any less real.
Dear friends, check the time; it is way later than we think! Christians need to heed the spiritual alarm clock that is constantly ringing. A wide-awake brother in Christ wrote a poem that is so fitting, titled, “Lord, Wake me Up!”
Lord, if I slumber, wake me up.
Lord, if I snooze, wake me up.
Lord, if I am neglecting my responsibilities, wake me up.
Lord, if there is a need I don’t see, wake me up.
Lord, if I have blind spots, wake me up.
Lord, if I have been neglecting my prayer life, wake me up.
Lord, if my zeal is cooling, wake me up.
Lord, if my faith is in a comfort zone, wake me up.
Lord, if I stray from Your Word, wake me up.
Lord, if I fail to do good unto all men, wake me up.
Lord, if I have failed to see the hurts around me, wake me up.
Lord, if I wane in my love for You, And for my neighbor, wake me up.
Lord, if I fail to put Your kingdom first, wake me up.
Lord, just keep me awake all the time, be my constant alarm, please. (Turner 19).
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7 KJV). It is later than we think, Brethren; let’s wake up!
Turner, J.J. Christians, Wake Up. Huntsville: Publishing Designs, 2018.