This is a brief excerpt of the Sermon given by Pastor Alexander Thomas,
during the Watch Night Service on Thursday, December 31st, 11:30 PM 2020 at
International Church, Atlanta, Georgia.

Christian Watchfulness

This New Year 2021 message was taken from Mark Chapter 13 Verses 34-37

It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:34-37 (NKJV)

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

He went about doing good, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out devils, and raising the dead. At the close of His ministry He placed full responsibility for continuance of His church on earth in the hands of His few faithful followers.

1. The Son of Man is represented as a householder away on a journey

He “left his house.” Yes, He left it in the hands of His disciples. Everything He held dear to His own heart, He left in their care. He placed the obligation for gospel propagation upon the shoulders of this small insignificant group (John 20:21; Luke 10:3; 14:23; Matthew 10:16; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).
Eleven weak, frail, discouraged men stood facing the Mighty God and hearing Him say, “I’ve finished the job I was sent to do, and now the reaching of the unreached is your work. When you finish this work, I will return” (Matthew 24:14).
And their reaction? Yes they accepted this sacred trust. Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down, and the disciples went out (Mark 16:20). There were no questions, no quibbling about salary, position, or prestige; they became known as “these that have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

2. He left them sacred tools

He “gave authority” to His servants. If He had left them to fight their own battles, they would not have lasted one week. But Acts 1:8 declares, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” The word translated here as “power” is the Greek word from which our word dynamite is derived. Their Commander in Chief was saying, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will endue you with spiritual power and authority over every foe so you may effectively preach and evangelize the whole world.”
The Word is a mighty tool. It is a sword in the hand of an anointed servant of God (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Peter’s sermon at Pentecost brought conviction to the hearts of his hearers, and Philip’s sermon in Samaria brought salvation, miracles and joy to that city (Acts 2:37; 8:6-8).
God chose that men should be saved through the “foolishness of preaching” (1 Corinthians 1:21). Revivals come through preaching the Word.
There is almost limitless power in prayer. Jesus told His church, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). He did not say this to just Paul or Peter, but “If ye [the church]… shall ask… it shall be done.”
There is no excuse for ineffective evangelism. Our Master has placed sufficient tools into our hands. He has given full authority to use these weapons in His name.

3. To everyone has given his own work to do

He gave “to every man his work.” In this great New Testament church program, every individual has a job to do. No one is left out. He gave talents to His servants (Matthew 25:14-30). Christ provides no “stool of do-nothing” for lazy saints! To all loafers He directs the question “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” (Matthew 20:6).
Where there is an outstanding apostle Peter, there is almost always an obscure Andrew. He brought Peter to Jesus (John 1:40-42). Where there is a Paul, there is a Silas. An Aaron stood beside Moses; Billy Graham has his George Beverly Shea.

Hebrews 11 gives the names of mighty heroes in God’s Hall of Fame: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Samuel, and David. But the writer goes on to say in verses 36-38, “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder…” The names of the “and others” group are not mentioned, but in God’s great book on high, their records were kept meticulously. Someday they will be rewarded along with everyone that was named.
Many seemingly untalented people will receive a greater reward on that day than some who are always in the limelight. If we serve where God puts us, even though unpraised, He sees and will repay for services rendered on that day. The Good Samaritan, though despised in his day, did what more honored men would not do. The widow placed two mites in the collection box, but they weighed more than all the silver and gold received. Prayer warriors who pray with burdened souls and tear-stained eyes, the willing givers who sacrifice, the missionaries, the singers and musicians, and all God’s faithful workers will hear “Well done” on that great rewarding day.

4. The final counsel left behind by our Lord is for all to watch

Christ’s coming would seem to be the highest anticipation for true believers. When He appears, saints will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). This is the “blessed hope” of the Church along the ages (Titus 2:13).

He “commanded us to watch.”

Four tragic things can happen to a believer while he is waiting for the Lord to return.
1) A believer may fail to wait long enough. As the days, weeks, and years wear on and on, he may grow more and more drowsy and nod more and more.
2) A believer may delay or postpone or slack up in his work for the Lord. He may figure he has time to do it later; therefore, he feels that he can set it aside for a while. He feels that a little sidetrack here and there will not hurt that much.
3) A believer may think he can go ahead and do what he wishes and cover it with the Lord later. He may think he will have time to correct the matter before the Lord returns.
4) A believer may begin to think like the world. However, God knows how the world thinks, and He has described it clearly for the sake of His dear followers (2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-15).

How shall we obey this duty? One answer I think, is through Prayer.