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Spiritual Drowsiness

Spiritual Drowsiness
Words of Faith 7-11-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 20
[7] On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. [8] There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. [9] Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. [10] Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" [11] Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. [12] The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

When a listener falls out of a window and dies, this is generally an indication that the preacher has gone on a little too long. In our church, we have no second-story windows just to avoid such situations and modern carpeting is helpful to cushion even those who drop out of modern seating.
But actually this passage is not really about somniferous preaching. Luke, who had now rejoined the group, reported that there were many lamps in the upstairs room. The lack of oxygen and flickering of the lamps combined with evening worship after a long day of work probably contributed as much to Eutychus falling from window as did the long preaching. But the text does say that Paul talked on and on.
Of course the wonder of the paragraph is the miracle. Miracles are always wonderful. Raising of the dead is relatively rare and especially wonderful. In an action reminiscent of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34-35), Paul "threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him." Eutychus was restored to life.
Then they returned to the third-story room, where they had a midnight snack and Paul talked on till dawn. There is no indication that after being raised from the dead, Eutychus or anyone else was nodding off again. There is nothing like resurrection to really capture your attention. This event once again affirms Paul’s role as a bona fide Apostle.
It is interesting that the name Eutychus is preserved for all time in Scripture to record the fact that he nodded off in church and had to be raised from the dead by the preacher. The name his parents gave him means “well fated one” or “fortunate one” but now he could add to that “blessed one”.
I cannot help but be drawn to the metaphor of drowsiness. We have all known the agony of trying to stay awake when drowsy perhaps in Church or driving at night. There is also a spiritual sleepiness that can come over a believer.
Jesus spoke repeatedly of the necessity of watchfulness. This does not mean that the believer is to be deprived of physical sleep but that we must be spiritually alert. We must not be lulled by the flickering lamps of our culture or dulled by the lack of spiritual oxygen in the room. We cannot afford to nod off. Paul warned that we are to “understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
Spiritual drowsiness is not a threat to our salvation but it is a threat to our complete use by God in the wonder of His plan. So how do we avoid this drowsiness? Listen to the Spirit not the culture. Much of what surrounds us dulls our sensitivity to God and to one another. Air out the room. Get some Spiritual oxygen, the Word of God. We might ask ourselves-- Am I spiritually alert or nodding off? Am I really listening to the Spirit? Do the flickering lights of culture mesmerize me? Do I need to get a little air?

Lord, I want to be alert. Awaken me to Your Spirit. Alert me to Your wonder. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Open the window and flood my room with the fresh wind of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.