There is a popular, although not a majority, teaching which says that when we die, we are not conscious of anything and are in a state of sleep until the resurrection. That’s not what I am writing about. What I am writing about is the two different ways that someone’s soul can be asleep in the here and now.

The first type of sleep is completely natural. The natural, carnal, unregenerate human is asleep to the things of God. In fact, he is probably oblivious to spiritual things. If not, he believes they are foolishness.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB)

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB)

Because of this deep sleep, which is also spiritual death, it takes a supernatural force to awaken them from this sleep. God has provided such a force, and it is His Word. The only way to bring faith to life is for some one to hear the Word of God and believe it.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17 NASB)

And so the call goes forth to all who are willing to hear to wake up, in the same way turning on a bright light can wake someone from sleep. We shine the light of Jesus and ask them to choose to rise and live.

But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13, 14 NASB)

But there is another type of soul sleep. It can affect Christians who become comfortable with their level of growth and decide to stay there. The enemy lulls them to sleep and they become unaware of their backsliding. For staying at one level is not possible. We are either moving forward or sliding backward.
One question we can reflect on is this: was there a time in the past when I was more on fire for God? When I had more zeal and was bearing more fruit? If you can say yes to any or all of those questions, you are in a backslidden condition and need to get back on the road to heaven.

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 believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13:11-14 NASB)

I am convinced that this condition was what happened to the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2. They didn’t hold an elders meeting one day and decide to leave their first love. It was a gradual, unintentional process. If we discover we are asleep, or starting to get drowsy, we née to do what Jesus commanded the Ephesians to do.

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4, 5 NASB)

So let’s have a wake up call. We can’t wake up sinners in the darkness if we are asleep in the light! I love the way the late Keith Green put it. (edited for space)

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down?
Don’t you care? Don’t you care?
Are you going to let them drown?
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come?
Don’t close your eyes and pretend the job’s done!

Open up, open up
And give yourself away.
You see the need
You hear the cries
So how can you delay?
God’s calling and you’re the one,
But like Jonah you run.
He’s told you to speak but you keep holding it in.
Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
’cause it’s asleep in the light!
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come?
Don’t close your eyes and pretend the job’s done!

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