While touring historic buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, we visited an old church. The guide told us that George Washington had attended services there and pointed to his pew. A reverent silence fell. The guide, encouraged by this, went on to tell us that church services back then had been very lengthy -- frequently lasting three hours or more. The mood of the moment was shattered when an anonymous voice whispered loudly, "So George Washington slept here too!"
Revelation 3:2-3: “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”
The Lord tells the church in Sardis, "Wake up! Be watchful!" This would've caught their attention and had special meaning for the people of Sardis. Their city was built on high ground and it appeared to be impregnable, easily defended, yet on at least two occasions, it was captured at night while the people slept. The armies of Cyrus and Antiochus scaled the walls or slipped through the craggy rocks and overtook the city. The city of Sardis knew the humiliation of not being watchful or awake, and the Lord was rebuking this church by telling her that she was dead. They probably would have responded, "Dead! We're not dead! We have Sunday School, a youth ministry, a building fund!" But, the Lord was calling the church in Sardis to humbly consider her true spiritual condition and the direction in which she was going. She had the reputation of being alive with all of her activities, but He tells her to "wake up!" or "keep watch!
When I was younger, if someone was sleeping through the sermon, I hit the pulpit at the most appropriate time just to watch their heads bounce up. I’m not talking about the sleepyheads in church, I’m thinking about a sleeping church. We need to wake up to our responsibilities, not the ones we have chosen, but the ones the Lord has chosen for us. We need to wake up to the needs around us, not the ones we necessarily enjoy meeting, but the needs the Lord has put before us. We need to wake up to our God given purposes: Worship, Ministry, Fellowship, Evangelism and Missions. These are not options where we check the box according to our desires. These are the purposes for our existence.
Some of us need to wake up because we’re missing everything.