Elder Wm. Doyal
Pastor - Philadelphia
Decatur , Alabama
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give thee light." (Ephesians. 5:14)
With the dawning of each new day, there is heard the sound of the trumpet
as reveille calls forth the whole army. The tasks that are to be performed
demands that every one be up and about the assignments that are given.
The strategy is planned by other than the army, and the tactics that are
to be employed are not left to the soldiers to dictate. No, the Commander-in-Chief
has already wisely determined these, and has in no wise left them to others.
And His purpose is consummately grand and sure.
There is no place in the army for the slacker, nor for the timid. Duty
requires that every member fill the position that has been given to them.
To do less is to be disloyal. To do more is not required, because one cannot
do more than duty demands. One can never exceed one's duty, because the
whole duty of man in this army of Jehovah is to love Him, and to serve
According to the meaning of the term "reveille", there is a grave and awesome
duty given to each one who hears this clarion call. There is no avoiding
this call. There is no misunderstanding as to the import of this call.
The sound is certain, and all who hear are bound to respond to its demands.
The word means, in the French, to awake. In the Latin, it means "vigilare",
to watch. In military affairs, it is the call that is to be sounded about
the break of day to give notice that it is time for the soldiers to rise.
The implication is clear that soldiers are not called upon to rise when
there is nothing for them to do. They rise for the purpose of performing
the duties that the day holds. They rise to carry out the assignment that
is given them by their Commander-in-Chief.
To awake, as used in our text, and also as used in I Corinthians 15:34,
means to rise. To collect one's faculties. To awaken. To rouse from sleep,
from sitting or lying, from disease or death. Figuratively, it means to
rise from obscurity, from inactivity, from ruin, or from nonexistence.
Those who have been placed in the army of Jehovah have been chosen by Him
to be a soldier (II Timothy 2:4). They have entered this army by
conscription. Their duty is clear, and the duration of their service is
forever. However, they desire to have it so, for having been chosen, they
are caused to see all the advantages that such service holds. They do not
serve against their will, but gladly and with great joy. They anticipate
that gladsome proclamation, "well done". They want to serve their Sovereign,
and to please Him in all things.
We wish to present this message to you now in an organized fashion. We
would be remiss if the message produced an uncertain sound. We believe
that the subject can be outlined by the use of these key words: Awake
- Rise - Prepare - Work.
We believe that to awake implies to rise. To rise is for the purpose of
preparing for activity. And preparation is toward the work that is to be
The apostle Paul addresses the saints of God at Ephesus. He is writing
to God's children who have been chosen in Christ before the foundation
of the world (1:4), and quickened (2:1). He is writing to
saved ones. He is not writing to men at large. He is not writing to lost
men. He is writing to God's children.
To these who have been regenerated by the power of God through the instrumental
means of the preached gospel, he now provides good and wholesome instruction.
He tells them that their duty is to be followers of God, as dear children.
As those who follow their Father (5:1).
The command, "Awake thou that sleepest", is addressed to those who have
fallen into a state of sleep. That is, into inactivity. They are in a condition
likened to death. They are not dead, they are asleep. They have been given
life (2:1). and that life shall never, never, ever be lost. Note
the assurance that Jesus gives us in John 5:24. "Verily, verily,
I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent
me. hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from death unto life."
Paul is not asking those who are dead in trespasses and sins to come awake
from that death. He is telling those who have been given life to act like
they are alive. He is telling them to rouse from their sleep and collect
their faculties so that they may be followers of God, as dear children.
When children of God awake, what should their attitude be? What is their
interests and desires? How should they respond to the dawning of this day
that God hath made? How should they respond to the sound of God's reveille?
I believe that each of us should awaken with thanksgiving in our renewed
heart. I believe that it should be to our great joy and pleasure that God
has given us another day to love Him, and to serve Him. In whatever position
He has placed us. We are His. He has the prerogative to deal with us as
ever seems good to Him to deal.
When the day dawns, the happy child of God should bend his knees before
his Lord, bow his unworthy head, and speak with love in his heart. He should
reflect gladness as he speaks, "Good morning, Lord. What would you have
me to do for you this day? Thank you Lord, for your love for me, and for
your tender providence that has watched over me, and has sustained me during
the time of my sleep; during the time of my stupor; during the time of
my inactivity. Thank you for the sound of reveille that has alerted me
to a new day."
Even when our sleep is during the day, when God calls us to our duty, we
should respond with thanksgiving. We should feel shame that we have neglected
our duty, and we should seek God's help so as to refrain from any future
neglect. I'm not talking about literal sleep in this case. I'm talking
about inactivity. I'm talking about how our dilatoriness is to be viewed,
and how it ought to shame us to be found "asleep on duty". I'm talking
about the time and opportunity wasted, and duty neglected. Shame! Shame
upon each of us who must be awakened from our stupor!
When we are awakened, we must immediately rise. There is no excuse for
our continued lounging on our bed of inactivity, for we have been awakened.
Now that reveille has sounded to begin a new day, we must rise. We must
be up and about. We must, for we are in His army.
We should arise with enthusiasm. We should reflect an attitude of joy to
be counted worthy to serve our God. We should actively seek His will, and
strive to walk in harmony with Him. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with
singing". (Psalms 100:1,2). "I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the Lord." (Psalms 122:1). And they
departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted
worthy to suffer shame for his name." (Acts 5:41)
These scriptures teach us that those whom God has chosen are to approach
their duty with gladness of heart. They are to be enthusiastic as they
rise to meet the privilege and the responsibility that is laid before them,
and upon them. It is an honor to serve God!
Making a joyful noise unto the Lord does not mean to put forth the winning
smile. Nor does it mean the feigned back-slapping, glad-handing approach
of the professional vaudeville performer as is so often seen. It does not
mean showmanship at its finest, either from the circuses of the world,
or from the religious circus. All clowns are not employed by Ringling Brothers.
Some circulate freely among Christendom, and they are generally successful
at their trade, as men count success.
Peter and John were not applauded, nor were they commended by the council
of Pharisees, according to the record of God as stated in Acts, chapters
4 and 5. They were made to suffer. But they did so with gladness. With
enthusiasm. Note what is said in Acts 5:41. "And they departed from
the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to
suffer shame for his name."
We should also arise with the promises of God before us. We also should
fully expect our Mighty God to be faithful to Himself. For He has promised,
and He will not deny Himself. He is faithful. What He has purposed for
our lives, He will fully and faithfully execute.
"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live
with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he
also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot
deny himself." (II Timothy 2:11-13). "And from Jesus Christ, who
is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince
of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our
sins in his own blood." (Revelation 1:5)
God is faithful. He has promised to perform every stipulation of the everlasting
covenant of grace, and to do so for the sake of those covenanting parties.
That is, with the Persons of the Godhead. He will keep His word and He
will do whatsoever He has been pleased to covenant to do. We may safely
rely upon God. God is faithful!
When we have been awakened by the sound of reveille, we arise at once and
begin our preparation for the day's activities. And our preparation must
be fitted to the need. That is, because we are servants, we must be submissive
to the tasks. But to be submissive to the tasks, we must first be submissive
to the will of the Master who has assigned the tasks.
Humbleness is the proper attitude of one who serves. It should be our attitude.
We need to be made humble before God. We need to own Him as God and as
the Lord of our lives. We need to know that "we are not our own", but have
been "bought with a price". (I Corinthians 6:19,20) We need to know
that "ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar (purchased) people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him
who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" (I Peter
Our preparation for duty should also reflect our determination and singleness
of purpose. We should be resolved, that by God's grace, we will serve Him
honorably this day. That we will seek leadership of His Spirit so that
we do nothing that will reflect unfavorably upon Him. That we never cast
reproach upon Him, or upon His precious church.
As servants, we are to "be obedient to them who are your masters according
to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as
unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as servants of Christ,
doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as
to the Lord, and not to men:" (Ephesians 6:5-7).
As servants, we must also make preparation by using the means that God
has so graciously supplied for our warfare. We are in His army, therefore,
we are supplied from His armory. We must not be slack, nor must we seek
to exercise prerogative in choosing which items of armour we use.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto
you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil
day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:11-13)
John The Baptist might be an excellent example of one who understood his
assignment. He surely demonstrated his devotion to duty, and reflected
favorable his willingness to spend and to be spent by his Lord.
John truly exhibited an humble attitude when he said that he was "just
the voice of one crying in the wilderness". (John 1:23) He confessed
that he was not the Christ, but that he was sent to bear witness of the
true Light. No pretense here. No ego trips for the humble, sent messenger
of God. Just submission to the will of another. This is a servant who was
sent of God to serve. To serve His cause. To "prepare ye the way of the
Lord, make his paths straight." (Matthew 3:3)
When Jesus Christ Himself arrived on the scene at the river Jordan, John
continued to show an humble spirit. Jesus had come to be baptized as the
Father had commanded as He prepared for His own work as a servant, as a
Son of the Father. But John, recognizing Deity, shrank back from the sin
of presumption. He declared his unworthiness to baptize the Lord. He was
but a creature, and could he presume to baptize the Creator? His statement,
"I have need" proclaims his right estimation of his demerit. And because
the Lord commanded John to baptize Him, there was no sin of presumption,
but a "fulfilling of all righteousness".
Our preparation for duty should be thorough. It should include all the
means that God has given, and should not go beyond His instruction.
We should be determined to receive God's word and do according to the directions
He gives. We should both say and do all that the Lord our God commands.
We should receive His word as it is indeed the word of God, and not the
word of men.
We must "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy
We must be made to acknowledge that preparation is needed. May
we confess that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
As the preparation for work was to be done "... in singleness of your heart
6:5), so is the work itself to be performed. As
honesty to our call, and as loyalty to Him who called us to service demands,
so should our labor be. We must not be slothful, nor must we be unsettled
in doing our work. We must work, and we must work with singleness of mind.
Every bit of labor that we perform is to be done with a purpose in view.
There must be a reason to put our hand to the plough and to go on in the
work. Why would one work if not to meet a desired end?
Can you imagine a cunning craftsman who does not work according to design,
or purpose? It would make no difference how much skill he possessed if
that skill were undirected, or misdirected. Suppose the craftsman had a
well conceived plan, but through carelessness he did not follow the plan.
What would be the results of his labor? Or suppose the craftsman had been
provided a perfectly thought out plan, but chose to ignore the directions
given, and instead worked aimlessly, or worse still, worked contrary to
the plan. What a travesty. What a disaster.
What should the workman do as he works? Why, he should keep his mind and
his heart upon the anticipated finished product. He should look to the
end and there see the results that he desires. As "laborers together with
(I Corinthians 3:9), the aim of our labor is His honor.
We may be called upon to plant, or to water. But all the increase will
be produced by God. And that is our motive. That God may in all things
be honored, and His Name be magnified above every name. We are but laborers.
Arising from sleep, the willing laborer goes to his place and begins to
work. And because the laborer has been assigned to a specific work, he
does so believing that the Master has wisely chosen the place and the labor
to be performed. He moves in faith. He trusts the Master.
Can you imagine the thoughts that could have gone through the minds of
those whom Joshua instructed to march around the city of Jericho? "What
can possibly be accomplished by this foolishness of marching around such
a defended city?" they might have asked.
But willing warriors did march around the city, and they marched by faith.
And the results were sure. They marched believing that God was faithful,
for He had told Joshua, "I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the
king thereof, and the mighty men of valour." (Joshua 6:2) God had
announced the victory before any labor was expended. Before any work was
done, the outcome was proclaimed.
"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon,
and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae: of David also, and Samuel,
and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of
fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women
received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not
accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And
others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds
and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were slain with the sword: they
wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins: being destitute; (Of whom the
world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and
in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report
through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better
thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews
These, the many of Hebrews, chapter 11, and untold millions besides worked
as servants of the Master. And they worked by faith, as God gave them faith.
They moved in the fear of God, and did His bidding. And they persevered
to the end. They died in faith, not having received the promise. But they
saw the promise afar off, and were persuaded of the promise. They were
assured that all that God had promised, He was willing and able to perform.
We may work as they worked. We may operate by faith as they did. We may
be assured as they were. Why? Because the exact same God that gave them
faith and assured and comforted their hearts gives us faith and assures
and comforts our hearts. Hallelujah! Praise ye the Lord.
At the sound of reveille, God's people awake and become active. They have
been inactive for they slept. But reveille is sounded to call them to the
work of the Lord.
Reveille has no meaning to those who are not in God's army of warriors
and workmen. The Trumpet of Judgment calls their attention to their plight,
and if God be pleased to save them He puts them in His fold. Then they
will hear reveille.
The gospel is preached, as God directs. And the power of God the Holy Spirit
is applied, and the elect of God are convicted of their guilt. Each of
them is then brought low at the exact time that God has appointed. Then,
our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ comes to that one and declares,
"It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." (Acts 9:5) He
comes and delivers out of the pit, and He causes sweet peace to overflow
that one. He saves. God be praised, He saves.
NOW, the sound of reveille can be heard by this new born son of the Most
High God. NOW, he has been conscripted into the army of God, there to labor
and serve at the will and pleasure of He who has chosen him to be a soldier.
And each time that reveille is sounded, he bounds from his slumber with
thanksgiving and praise, and actively seeks his daily assignment. He is
no gold-bricker who is derelict, but is busy in his Father's vineyard.
Hark! Listen! Did you hear? It is the sweet sound of reveille. It blasts
forth the certain sound of DUTY. Get up. DUTY calls. Get up! Get up! "Awake
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee
Light." (Ephesians 5:14)
"... behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields;
for they are white already to harvest." (John 4:35)
There are those out there whom God has chosen. Them He will yet save. He
has chosen them to salvation. He has also chosen them, and you and I to
service. You are a laborer in His vineyard. You are an instrument in the
hands of the Husbandman. You are to be used of God in calling the sinners
of His choice to repentance.
Reveille has sounded! Is it not time that all Baptist churches and Baptist
people respond to that call with happy and glad hearts as His people, as
His soldiers? I call upon all God's people to respond!
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of
God: I speak this to your shame." (I Corinthians 15:34)
Baptist Herald - February, 1990)
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