11 Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
If I wake up at around 4am - I can let the dogs out, go for a two mile walk, hit them gym, shower and be dressed before I need to be at work. So I set an alarm for 4 am. That alarm tells me that it is the specific time that I want to get up and do the things I want to do.
I don’t always wake up to that alarm. Most days, I wake up before my alarm - some days I am so tired that I will sleep through the alarm. So the first thing that I do when I wake up - when my eyes open - is to look around.
If the world is still dark, it might be time to get up - or time to go back to sleep. If there is light shining into my bedroom from the sun, I have way overslept.
The next thing to do is to check time, and adjust accordingly. If I wake up right at my alarm, its easy. I need to move quickly and quietly to do the things that I want to do. If I wake up late, I need to take some things off the list.
The time dictates my behavior - it changes my focus. If I wake up at 6am, I can shower and take the dogs out, but there’s no time for the gym.
If I wake up at 6:50 - I have time to put on a hat, jeans and boots.
The time makes all the difference.
READ THE PASSAGE.
For us to understand all of this, we have to have read Romans 1-11. And we have. We have studied it. We have learned from it.
Romans 1-11 tell me who I am. They tell me who God is. They tell me how different I am because of Jesus.
By Grace you have been saved.
Romans 5 tells us we have peace with God.
Romans 6 we died to sin. We have have life in Christ
We are no longer under the law, we don’t keep rules as a means of Righteousness - we have Jesus.
We are under grace.
There is therefore now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
We walk no longer by the flesh but by the spirit. Again - at peace with God.
God has adopted us as children.
We are foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and there is a plan for us to be GLORIFIED.
We can say amen to that.
He gave us the Holy spirit who intercedes for us.
All things work together for the good of those who love god and are called according to his purpose.
Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
He has an incredible plan for us.
That is who I am. That is who God is to me.
The creator of the universe has me set aside for his glory. And he has you set aside for that too.
When we understand all of that - and we go through the instructions of chapter 12 - the Apostle Paul ends chapter 13 with a sense of urgency. I want to work through this passage of scripture so that we can understand it and apply it to our lives - so that we live according to the word of God.
First - the motivation.
Besides this - anchors us to the previous passage, “Love therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”
Besides this means - all of that is true, and to continue that train of thought..
Paul said - I want to take that deeper. I want to take this to another level. And anyway -
Love is and has been the primary focus of his writing for quite some time. This continues the thought of love.
Since you know the time - expected that we have an understanding of the world around us.
What time is it? It isn’t tool time.
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
The pleasant time is dark - sinful, and dominated by the enemy, Satan.
Satan is referred to in scripture as the god of this age.
4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient.
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.
The time that we are living in is evil. It is ruled by santan.
It is filled with immediate gratification.
It is a cesspool of right now - do what ever we want to feel good nonsense.
And yet - this passage also indicates that right now is also an incredible time.
We are living in the last days - and Jesus is coming back. It is time for you to wake up.
The sun is coming up.
The day has dawned, and you don’t sleep in the day.
Christians in the early church must have understood that Jesus was coming back, soon.
It was taught early and often. Jesus is coming back, soon.
1 About the times and the seasons: Brothers and sisters, you do not need anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, for this day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. 6 So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled and put on the armor of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
There is an expectation that we would know the time that t is. We would see the world around us. We would study the word. We would see darkness and know that the Son is coming up. Because we can see him too. We are in the already but not yet of history. Jesus is coming.
13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul tells us to wake up because the night is over. Salvation is near.
We already have forgiveness.
We are already without condemnation.
We are already coheirs with Christ…
but there is so much more of that identity to be realized. Salvation is more than living a decent life here. It is eternity in a perfect place prepared perfectly for us, in the presence of our perfect father.
Salvation from the current age is closer than it has ever been.
That is obvious, but it is also something we don’t necessarily think about.
You don’t think about finals in the first week of class.
You don’t think about your kids moving out as adults when they are coloring on the walls.
We get wrapped up in the here and now, Paul points us back to Christ.
We are closer.
To seeing Jesus in all of His glory.
There is our motivation. The motivation is that Jesus is coming soon. We are closer than ever to seeing Him.
That is our motivation for love, as well as our motivation to wake up.
First the motivation.
Then the instruction.
WAKE UP. GET DRESSED. MAKE WAR.
The instruction is to wake up. Wake up - because we were sleeping.
Sleep is what the lost people are doing. They are walking through this life - asleep.
Wake up - because there are things to do.
Wake up because there are things to stop doing.
Wake up because Jesus is coming.
Wake up, because you can’t do life in your pajamas.
Paul says some of the same things that we say to children - get up and get dressed.
The whole world around us is sleep walking -
Put on armor, because we are at war.
This isn’t just put on some clothes. Not just putting on pants....
The life of a believer is one of conflict. it is a life of war. and we are in it. Deep in it.
Put on the full armor of God.
Put on the armor of light.
If you look at the world around you, with sober eyes, knowing what God calls us to, you’re going to want more than just a cotton shirt. You’re going to want armor.
You’re going to want the bomb suit of Righteousness.
You’re going to want protection.
Because it is war.
“So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” that is, let us put on faith and hope and love. In this world of sleepwalking, everywhere you turn there is a weapon of darkness aimed at your chest and your head—your emotions and will and reason. And the aim of these worldly weapons is not to scare you. Just the opposite. They aim to lull you into glitzy, entertainment-saturated sleep.
And Paul says, we must wake up to the battle we are in. We must put on the armor of light. We must put on faith and hope and love. Only these can keep us awake. Only these can break the power of the sleeping pills of television and advertising and sex and drink and success and the praise of man.
Three categories of sin:
Orgies and drunkeness.
Sexual immorality and sensuality
Quarreling and jealousy
Not an all inclusive list.
But these are things that attack us in very specific ways.
What does it mean to put on faith? Faith in what? Love for what?
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
Make no provision - literally means don’t give it any thought. Don’t give it any space in your mind.
How? Sometimes just trying to resist them reminds you of them. The answer is not mainly by direct resistance—though that is very important. We should indeed say NO! to a rising thought that would lead to sinful desire. But the answer is mainly in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ—that is, calling to mind the words of God that awaken more faith in Jesus, and calling to mind the promises of God that awaken more hope in Jesus, and calling to mind the beauty of Christ that awakens more love to Jesus. This is the confirmation I was talking about.
Putting on Christ each day doesn’t mean wearing him as an imposition, or nuisance, or a burden. It means wearing him as protection—that is, trusting him, and wearing him as the supplier of all your future needs—that is, hoping in him—and wearing him as your supreme treasure—that is, loving him.
Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is not just the alternative to making provision for the flesh. It is the way we keep from making provision for the flesh.. It’s the way we kill these sinful thoughts. It’s the way we keep them from even arising. When you put on the armor of light—daily (or hourly!) fresh faith in Christ, hope in Christ, love for Christ—it is hard for the works of darkness to cling to you. They are pushed out by the light. If your eye is good (if you see Christ as your treasure) your whole body will be full of light.
We cannot go about living our lives as if this is the only thing we are ever going to do.
Our focus cannot simply be to live one day to the next making the best of this life - you don’t have time.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
The the only way to keep it out of your mind, truly, is to be over saturated with Jesus.
WAKE UP. Get Dressed. MAKE WAR.
19 And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.