Sleep On – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Sleep On

Matthew 26:45

Intro: Many of God’s people today are asleep.

God’s people sleeping in the Bible make for some interesting situations.

Adam slept and he lost a rib and his freedom.

Samson fell asleep in the devil’s barber shop and lost his power. (Judges 16:19)

Jonah fell asleep in the ship to Joppa and lost his testimony. (Jonah 1)

In Matthew 13, while men slept, they lost the purity of their fields to the sower of tares.

Sleeping creates a unique setting for vulnerability.

  • Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Many are asleep and don’t know it.

Many are asleep, they know it but don’t care.

In this story, we find the disciples sleeping.

They got sleepy and slept – in spite of:

               A. Their Position with the People of God

They were chosen as only 12 hand-picked disciples.

They were the Inner Circle of Jesus’ 12 disciples

Yet they slept.

               B. Their Performance in the Work of God – they had accomplished things in the last 3 years that nobody else had

Yet they slept.

               C. Their Proximity to the Son of God – vs. 37 they were closer to Jesus than anybody else

He took them a little further.

Yet they slept.

None of us are immune to spiritual sleep.

Jesus, after three attempts to wake them and keep them awake, simply said in verse 45 “SLEEP ON NOW, AND TAKE YOUR REST.”

This wasn’t just Jesus being a nice man.

This wasn’t Jesus giving in to their need and longing for sleep.

This wasn’t Jesus signing off on their complete disconnect from the urgency of the hour.

This wasn’t Jesus condoning their sleep.

How do I know? Because in the very next statement, he said, Rise, let us be going.”

What did Jesus mean when He said, “Sleep On”?

This was Jesus revealing to them that they were going to do what they wanted to do, regardless of His will.

This was Jesus reminding them that in spite of the three times He had begged them to pray with Him, they didn’t.

This was Jesus simply saying, “You do you, and I’ll do me.”

This was Jesus rebuking them for being so tunnel-visioned and carnal that they were oblivious to reality.

This was Jesus reporting to them that while they were sleeping, the enemy was working overtime.

NOTE: There is an energy that comes with evil that is missing in the righteous.

While they were sleeping, Judas was NOT sleeping.

I. The Revelation of their Sleep

Though this story is speaking of a physical, literal sleep, there are indications of a spiritual sleep.

Truth being, you can be sitting in the pew wide awake and be asleep on God.

The disciples were sleeping spiritually before they were sleeping physically.

               A. Foolish in their Statements – vs. 33

It’s a sign you need revival when you think you’re immune to Satan’s traps.

Jesus had just told them in verse 31 that their Shepherd would be smitten, and the sheep scattered.

Instead of humility and prayer, it was pride and foolish statements.

Jesus was predicting his death and resurrection – Peter was busy trying to look spiritual.

               B. Fleshly with their Sword – vs. 51

When they woke up, they were so disoriented that they fought the wrong people.

They fought the wrong way.

People that are asleep are about to fall asleep will fight the wrong fight, the wrong people the wrong way.

II Corinthians 10

  • 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
  • 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
  • 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
  • 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

               C. Feeble in their Stand – vs. 56

They were unable to stand for God and stand for right because they had chosen to SLEEP ON.

  • Verse 56 says all the disciples forsook him and fled.
  • Verse 58 – Peter followed him afar off…
  • Verse 69-75 – Peter denied even knowing the Lord three times.

II. The Realities of their Sleep

They slept in spite of:

               A. Impending Betrayal – vs. 45, 46 while they slept, one of them was betraying Jesus.

The church is falling into apostasy; people are selling out; people are jumping the fence.

Churches are closing up; pastors are compromising; church members are embracing the world

While Christians are sleeping, irreparable damage is being done.

While Christians are sleeping, hard-earned ground is being lost.

While Christians are sleeping, the tide is turning.

They slept in spite of:

               B. An Imminent Battle – vs. 53 …and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels…

Though Jesus did not choose to call them, they were ready.

Jesus acknowledged that they were under attack and the battle was imminent.

In face, the battle of the ages was underway.

The pivotal point in all of human history was occurring.

The church of the living God was about to go through an unprecedented battle.

And the inner circle was asleep.
We are facing the final battle of the church.

The rapture is imminent. The anti-christ is in the wings, ready to come on the scene.

The church is about to face its greatest persecution since the Dark Ages.

But most of the Christians today are asleep.

They slept in spite of:

               C. An Incredible Burden

The Bible says that Jesus – their leader – their shepherd, was sorrowful and very heavy.

That word HEAVY means: to be troubled, great distress or anguish, depressed; This is the strongest of the three Greek words in the NT for depression.

In Mark 14:34, the Bible says Jesus told them that he was “exceeding sorrowful unto death…”

  • Jesus begged them to pray with him.
  • He pleaded with them.
  • He rebuked them.
  • He questioned them.
  • Nothing worked.

So – He just told them to SLEEP ON.

Pastors today are burdened for their church, yet people sleep on.

They are broken for the families in the church, yet people sleep on.

They beg God for revival and an outpouring of the Spirit – yet people sleep on.

III. The Reassurance of their Sleep

               A. It did not Disrupt the Lord’s Perseverance – even while they slept, Jesus kept praying

Sleep on – but it won’t stop others from praying.

Sleep on – but it won’t keep others from seeking the will of the Father.

Sleep on – but it won’t discourage others to the point that they quit.

They will keep on.

They will just work around you.

They will just continue staying engaged, motivated, focused, sensitive to God.

You will miss out, they won’t.

               B. It did not Derail the Lord’s Purpose – the hour is at hand – see verse 54, 56

Their lack of praying did not alter God’s timetable.

The Scriptures were still being fulfilled – with or without their praying.

The prophecies will not be twarted by our prayerlessness.

The hour that is to come will come regardless.

God’s will and His purpose will not be derailed.

               C. It did not Diminish the Lord’s Preeminence – vs. 64

He was still God – with or without their praying.

Their lack of prayer did not result in a lack of power on God’s behalf.

Conclusion: You may be asking the question – if our praying or not praying doesn’t hinder God’s plan or His performance, then why pray?

Jesus told us why in verse 41 – Watch and pray, that YE ENTER NOT INTO TEMPTATION.               Jesus told us that our spirit may be willing, but we need to watch and pray because of the weakness of our flesh!!

The worst thing I can imagine is for God to look at the church today and say SLEEP ON because we failed to watch and pray WHEN IT COUNTED, and now we will enter into a time of temptation with a weak flesh.

Will you watch and pray, or will you choose to SLEEP ON???