1 Thessalonians 5:6
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
"Let us watch."
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF WATCHFULNESS. It is the mainstay of the soul, which, if once called off, we lie open to the shot of every enemy. This, like one of the Nethinims, must stand constantly porter at the door of our hearts — God's temple, to keep out whatever is unclean. Watchfulness is a diligent observation of ourselves in all things, and at all times, that we may please God always. He that watcheth hath his eyes in his head, according to the wise man's phrase, and seeth, as the Chinese say of themselves, with both eyes. David expresseth it fitly: "I said, I will take heed to my ways;" that is, I will ponder my paths, and consider where I set my feet, lest I should tread awry. Without this wariness there is no safe walking. Like Laish was, the secure soul is made a prey to its enemies. Soul lethargies are most dangerous, most deadly. He who watcheth not is led about like one in his natural sleep, by any temptation, he knoweth not how nor whither When the wolves in the fable once prevailed with the sheep to part with the dogs they soon devoured them. If Satan can but get Christians to forego this means of their safety, he will soon make them his prey. It is reported of the dragon that, while he sleepeth, a jewel is taken out of his head. Noah lost the jewel of temperance, David the jewel of chastity, during their sleep. If the eye of watchfulness be once shut, the soul is open to all wickedness.
II. THE OBJECTS OF WATCHFULNESS.
1. Watch against sin, against all sin. The gardener doth not only watch over his flowers to water and cherish them, but over all weeds to pluck and root them up.
2. Watch against thine own sin. A wise governor will have a special eye upon that particular person in his garrison whom he knoweth to be a traitor.
3. Watch for the doing of good. The countryman watcheth for the bell ringing on the market day, when he will open his sacks, that he may sell corn to the needy.
4. Watch in duties. The child must be watched at school, or he will play and toy, instead of learning his lesson thoroughly.
5. Watch after duties. When the garden is dressed and the seed sown in it, it must be watched, lest hogs get into it, and root all up. It was a wise speech of Marcus Aurelius after he had won a great battle, "I tell thee of a truth that I stand in greater fear of fortune at this moment than I did before the battle, for she careth not so much to overtake the conquered as to overcome the conqueror." Satan is like Fortune.
6. Watch thy senses. These are the Cinque Ports, as one calls them, of the Isle of Man, which, if not well garrisoned, will let in strangers and disturbers of the peace. Shut up the five windows — guard the five senses, that the whole house may be full of light, according to the Arabian proverb. "Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find watching." Surely blessedness is worth our waking; bliss is worth keeping our eyes open. Apollonius, coming early in the morning to Vespasian's gate, and finding him, then a prisoner, up and at study, said to his companion, "This man is worthy to reign and command an empire;" which afterward came to pass. He that watcheth for the Advent of Christ the short hour of his life, shall be counted worthy to reign with Christ in His kingdom forever.
(G. Swinnock, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.