Based in Mark 13:24-37

Jesus says to the disciples that they are to stay awake. That message is to us as well, stay awake! Watch and while you are watching, work, at passing on to the world around us the good news of Jesus Christ.

I wonder when the church will wake up from it’s stupor, when will we followers of Christ begin again to actually follow Him? He warned the church of what would be the signs of the times, yet so many today refuse to recognize what is happening today. So many would rather chase riches, and position and leave God out of it. I love to listen to music from the 1940’s and 1950’s and have heard a number of songs that I remember from that time period. One that I remember was called “Wake Up Little Susie” sung by the Everly Brothers. It is a song about a teenage boy and his girlfriend Susie. They had gone to a drive in movie, for those who don’t know what a drive in movie is or was, it was an outside theatre, with a really huge screen. You would pay at the gate then find a spot to park next to a speaker which you would hang on your window so you could listen to the movie.

The boy had promised Susie’s parents that he would have her home by 10 pm. The gist of the song is that they fall asleep during the film and sleep until 4 am. The lyric is pretty simple and straight forward.

“Wake up little Susie, Wake up little Susie, well Whatta we gonna tell your mama, Whatta we gonna tell your p, Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say ‘ooh-la-la’. Wake up little Susie, Wake up little Susie, well.

I told your mama that you’d be in by ten, Well Susie baby looks like we goofed again. Wake up little Susie, Wake up little Susie, Wake up. The movie wasn’t so hot, It didn’t have much of a plot, We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot. Wake up little Susie, Wake up little Susie.

As a young couple falls asleep during a boring movie, and I have to admit, I have done so myself. The Church has fallen asleep as well, whether out of laziness and boredom or because the other road, looked like the better and easier way to travel. The Church has allowed itself to fall into a stupor. It should not be that way, but it is. The church has been for the most part silent for many years, while the world has careened down the road.

Church groups have closed their doors all over the country, and church hierarchies have realized that they are losing, not membership, but power and have begun bringing up program after program to try to keep what they still have and maybe attract more of the same type of people. The problem with programs is they leave out the gospel. The church needs to again stand up for Jesus.

I read a piece the a month or so back lauding the Methodist church for having so many people in the house and senate. Basically it was a piece saying that they still have power to move things their way. If you look at the people in power today, they are for the most part, nominal Christians. Not that they don’t believe in God, or in Jesus, but that there is no power in their belief. Our Christian people act and look just like the rest of the world, they cheat on their wives or husbands, stealing from their bosses and running from God just like the rest of the secular world. Yet when confronted with the facts of their sin, they deny any of it. It is time for the Church to wake up!

Jesus is talking about the last days, he tells us three things in this reading from today, and it would be good for the church to heed his words instead of hiding from him. He gives a warning first: Mark 13: “28″From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (ESV). Jesus says, that we are to learn from the fig tree, when you see it budding out and putting out its leaves, you know that spring is arriving. Then wake up and see that as the things I have spoken about begin to happen, you will know that the time is near.

Jesus had already told them of the signs of his return, and he tells them that they need to keep awake and watch for those signs. This is a message for the church as a whole, not for just that little group of people who were with Jesus. Look at the world around us today, we see the great hatred for Israel, and it grows every day more stronger, hatred for Israel is becoming apparent in this country as well. People are voicing it in demonstrations against bankers and Wall St firms. Claiming that the “Jews” are running these companies and bleeding us dry.

We have even seen it with our Government, snubbing Netanyahu who had come to meet with our President and was shoved off to the side. There are cries from radical extremists, Muslim leaders, and the anarchists for the destruction of Israel. I do believe that the tree has begun to show its leaves.

Next we have ASSURANCE in verses 30 and 31 when Jesus says that this generation will not pass away, until all these things take place. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Things are going to get much worse, but we know that Jesus will return at the appointed time.

Then comes his word in verse 34, which is that we have a job to do. We are stewards of the Kingdom, we are expected to remain faithful to that stewardship.

Yvonne and I sometimes have to be gone to different places for a few days and we need to be sure our outside cats, inside cats and our dogs are fed and cared for while we are away. We tried one of the town children once and found out that they were not necessarily very trustworthy. We came home to find that our dogs and outside cats were out of water, not a good thing for animals. We now have a friend that will take care of our animals as if they were her own. She has a heart for animals and is responsible and we don’t have to worry about them while we are gone.

It is so with us today, We are to be responsible stewards of the Kingdom that has been entrusted to us. It is true that we are engaged in warfare with a culture that no longer is Christian, but we are given gifts and graces to help us be faithful to our task. In truth we are at war with principalities, with the forces of death, not with human enemies but rather with the spiritual realms. Jesus says we are to stay awake, to watch and wait for his arrival.

When I was serving in the military, as a private and up to when I became an NCO, I served on guard duty, as a guard you had to stay awake and alert in case the enemy showed up. You had to be ready to defend your post and notify the rest of the troops so they could be ready for combat as well. Even as an NCO I had a form of guard duty. We would serve at Battalion headquarters, and had to man the radio’s in case we received a message from Division to be on alert, or to actually move out. You had to Keep Awake, in case the enemy came up on you and we are to Keep Awake to the spiritual forces around us and of course the coming again of our Lord and Savior. That is the message of Advent, to be awake, to see the signs of the times, and be prepared for the return of the Master. Amen.