Jesus gives a warning to His disciples in Sardis. A warning comes before some sort of trouble and the trouble that comes is of the Lord’s doing. He tells them that if they do not wake up from their slumber, which means a conscience that is asleep, that He would come like a thief in the night and they would not be ready for His appearance.
Now, I am not referring here to the second coming of Christ or the “Rapture” of the Church. I don’t think this is what Jesus’ intent is either. He is talking to His beloved saints who are unconscious to the spiritual things going on around them and in the world. This continuing slumber would cause them to be in a place of terror instead of peace.
I think it is important that we understand what Jesus means when He says that He will come like a thief in the night.
Thieves, for the most part, operate at night while people are sleeping. Thieves also break in with the intent of removing things that belong to you without you knowing. By the time you wake up it is too late, our stuff has gone. Does this mean that Jesus is a thief and is coming to take your stuff away because you are spiritually asleep? No. He specifically says He will come ‘like’ a thief and not ‘as’ a thief. All He is saying is that while you are unconscious of the spiritual things around you, He will come in when you don’t expect Him and shake your world. This shaking may look like your stuff has been taken but once you wake up you will find it is all still there, just hidden away.
Also notice, Jesus does not say that The Thief, who is Satan, will come to raid you. You belong to the Father, you belong to His kingdom, and He is not a Father that takes stuff from you because He is angry with you. He is being a Father who is removing your privileges until you get your act together. This awakening from slumber is often best done through some kind of hardship. God allows and is often behind your hardship because you are sleeping. Your refusal to wake up, like a spoiled child who refuses to listen to his father, is going to find out just who “rules the household!”
So, it would be wiser for you to rather wake up and do your Father’s bidding and to avoid His discipline. He is your Father, and as your Father He will discipline you. This is called love. Love, from God’s perspective, does not mean we get to do whatever we want, whenever we want it. Neither does it mean we get to pray for stuff, snap our fingers and expect God to jump while we chill in our religious beds. Daddy just is not like that. He will, I promise you, deal with you.
Whoever does not discipline his son hates him, but whoever loves him is diligent to correct him. (Prov 13:24 ISV)
I want you to notice that God’s discipline has to do with correction and not punishment as in finding fault with you and declaring you guilty and worthy of punishment. God uses hardship, which comes from being rebellious, as His tool to teach (disciple) you in His ways. Why? Because He has destined you to sit on His throne with Him and to rule the nations with Him. To rule with Him means to be able to walk in His ways and to execute His judgments. During hardship, you have the opportunity to learn that God is good and only has good things in mind for you. He will not have a bunch of brats sitting on His throne. This is only reserved for those who overcome their relationships with this world. This requires a conscience that is pure and holy in its relationship with YHWH.
And here is the beauty in this little warning to the saints in Sardis that are asleep in their religious beds. He is not going to let you stay asleep! He is coming for you because He has a great plan and future designed for you. He wants you to be conscious of the kingdom of heaven within you! He wants you to walk with Him dressed in white with no fear of the future.
You are His divine one. He is calling you to “Come up here and sit with Me!”
Grace and peace,
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