“What is the present condition of the evangelical church? The bulk of Christians are asleep. I do not mean that the bulk of Christians who come to evangelical churches are not converted, because if I meant that I would say they were dead and never had been born again. But I say they are asleep. It is possible to be morally asleep and yet intellectually, mentally and physically alert. It is possible to be spiritually asleep yet mentally, intellectually, physically and theologically alert.
The present condition is that we are asleep. These sleeping Christians do two things that God must grieve over. One is that they control church affairs. We are democratic, and if we do not like a pastor we give him the bounce or pray that he will get another call. Then when the time comes we vote in whom we want and vote out whom we do not want. Church people control church affairs because they are intellectually, mentally and physically awake, but they may be morally and spiritually asleep. That is, they are so far down in the rut that they do not see up.
Many people who are asleep control church affairs. It gets into whole conferences. Representatives will meet at the expense of the local church people. They will read minutes and pass resolutions, but they are asleep. You know they are asleep by the way they talk as soon as the benediction is pronounced and they have adjourned. You know they are asleep by their conduct, the things they are interested in or lack interest in, yet they control church affairs.
The second thing sleeping Christians do is set the standards for new Christians. When you bring in a newly converted Christian, he or she automatically takes on the coloration, general mood and temperature of the solemn seats around him or her. Pretty soon he or she is where they are, and once again there are no good examples of the Christian life.
Of course, people resent any word reflecting on them, but every once in a while there appears an awakened soul. Some way or another this person got awake. Somehow God Almighty wakened him or her, whether by the crowing of the rooster or by the braying of Balaam’s donkey. This person ceases to be mediocre and somnolent and becomes a blazing, shining light. And then the sleeping saints pay to have him or her come and do their work for them. They send people like this out to South Africa or the Far East to do their work for them. Meanwhile they stay home and sleep spiritually, and earn the money, because they are intellectually and physically awake to send them.
When one of these people dies, they write the story of his or her life and may even go so far as to take up a collection to put up a little library in the person’s memory. They could call it the “Awakened Saint Memorial.” But they are very careful not to be awakened themselves. They are careful and perfectly happy to talk about how wonderful Robert Jaffray was, but they will not pay Jaffray’s price. They can talk endlessly about wonderful Dr. A.B. Simpson, but they will not go Simpson’s way. They are careful not to follow the person whose life they write about and whose memorial they erect.
But this is what Christianity is all about: the wakened soul, the morally and spiritually wakened. God, who seems so far away, suddenly becomes close. God who had been all out of focus, a blur, now is seen to be the Son of Righteousness in clear sight, with healing in His wings.”
http://ref.ly/o/rutrotrev/37538 via the Logos Bible Android app.