Sleeping Beauty has fallen and she can’t get up. She has filled her head with the facts of countless sermons, teachings, books, and seminars but the truth of Jesus has not engaged her heart. She possesses great knowledge but little wisdom. She has grown obese with intellect but anorexic in practice. She is content with conversations about her great wealth of information but unwilling to step out of her safe little fortress and implement the applications. And tragically, the world continues its ceaseless march toward hell.
If sermons could save the world we would be living in utopia based solely on their voluminous numbers, for they are legion. Hmm…there may be more to that last word than meets the eye, but that’s another rabbit to chase on another day. Words are important. Preaching is crucial. Teaching is paramount. Books and seminars are essential. But—knowledge without wisdom is death by intellectual suffocation. Knowledge puffs up but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1) and Sleeping Beauty’s head has become so large, her heart seems to have dried up. No heart—no love. No love—no Jesus. No Jesus—and everything else is a waste of time.
All I’m trying to say is we think we know a great deal about what God wants but just knowing isn’t getting it done. I seem to remember a warning from a sermon somewhere in the foggy past—don’t just be a hearer of the word, be a doer. Jesus (supposedly the supreme inspiration and central theme of all our sermonic orations) said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Hello…is anyone out there? The Bride of Christ has been overcome with the toxic fumes of information overload.
Once upon a time, the apostle Paul preached a sermon that lasted all day and into the night. This was his last opportunity to pour the words of the Lord into a fledgling group of believers in Troas. A young man named Eutychus, whose name means lucky, had about all the information he could stand and nodded off during the sermon. Unfortunately, his bed was a narrow window ledge on the third floor. His heavy head tottered back and forth until his body followed it to the ground below. The fall killed him, but luckily for “Lucky” the preacher also practiced what he preached and Eutychus got a second chance.
Sleeping Beauty totters precariously on the same narrow precipice in a glutted slumber and unfortunately the apostle Paul is nowhere to be found. Unless she wakes up, this nightmarish fairy tale may require a character change and the actress playing the role of Sleeping Beauty may have to be replaced with Humpty Dumpty.
Hmm…I know I’ve heard it somewhere—was it a sermon perhaps? “And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”