Time To Wake Up!
Our text for this morning is found in Rom 13:11-14. “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Today we are continuing our examination of Paul’s application of all that he has written in chapters 1-11 and today as we stand on holy ground before our glorious Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ we must understand that it is time to wake up…the day of our salvation, the day of our deliverance from this world of sin is drawing near and it is my prayer that as we listen to the voice of God today, that we will have ears to hear and eyes to see the truth! In this letter that God moved Paul to write, we have seen the marvelous grace that God our Father has lavished upon us in the person of His Son and in the Sacrifice of the Cross and in the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus. He has laid out before us
the entire human race in all of its sinfulness and Christ in all of His eternal glory. We have seen the sinfulness of sin and the graciousness of almighty God and Paul begins
chapter 12 by saying; “Therefore” meaning, because of all that God has done on our behalf, because of the marvelous merciful grace that He has lavished upon us, because He sent His Son to die in our place and be raised for our justification, because we have been given new life in Christ Jesus, we are to die to ourselves and live for Him.
We are to lie down as living sacrifices before almighty God and die to ourselves and our self-seeking-ness and our dreams and desires and live entirely for Him, His will and His glory! And is this too much to ask? I mean, Jesus gave His life for us…He was beaten, and crucified and He died upon a Cross. And more importantly, He died in our place…He took upon Himself our sins and paid the penalty for our crimes against a holy God. What crimes you ask? God laid out His Holy Law in Exodus 20…The Ten Commandments.
And He said “Thou Shalt!”…
- Not have any other Gods before Him
- Not make any image for the purpose of worship
- Not take His name in vain
- You shall remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy
- You shall honor our father and mother
- Not murder
- Not commit adultery
- Not steal
- Not lie
- Not covet!
I can tell you right now that I have broken every one of those laws! I am guilty and I am worthy of death. But God has made a provision for me, undeserving though I am, and has granted me mercy… a pardon, for Jesus rose from the dead for my justification. God the Father has satisfied His justice in the sacrifice of His Son and I am covered in His
blood. Rom 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but and here is the mercy of God, the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now in light of all that God has done on our behalf I would like us to consider the words of Paul who said, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, your spiritual service of worship.” We are being called by God to leave our old life…die to it and live wholly for Him, His glory and His service! And really, when you think of your old life, do you really want to go back there. Do you find anything beautiful about the sins that you once wallowed in? Jesus died to set us free from the tyranny of the devil, give us new lives and a real purpose for living…that being to serve the living God! He
purchased us from the slave market of sin and set us free from our old existence which would have ended in an eternity of misery in the fires of hell. He has delivered us from the power and the penalty of sin and has called us to new life in Himself.
But note what we are being called to do…what type of sacrifice we are being called to bring. We are being called to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, your spiritual service of worship.” This is not some 1,2,3, and everything is wonderful type of thing. We are being called to separation from this world and to entire consecration to the God who saved us and called us with a holy calling. This is serious business and Jesus spoke of counting the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:35 “Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own
cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,
30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit
down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 “Or else,
while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up
all his own possessions. 34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Can you see how serious this is?
Let me give you an illustration of just how heavy it is to flippantly approach the Lord God. Aaron had two sons, Nadab and Abihu. These two men had been granted to serve as priests in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. And they had been granted to see a vision of the Lord God. God told Moses to bring Aaron and his sons Nadab and Abihu along
with seventy elders of Israel to worship God! And we read these words in Exodus 24:10: “and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to
be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw
God, and they ate and drank.”
What an incredible blessing, what a privilege they were granted…along with the blessing of being called to be priests to the living God. But then we come to Le 10:1 and we understand that God had given strict instructions concerning how He was to be served…how the offering of sacrifices before Him was to be carried out. But this seemed to go unnoticed by Aaron’s sons for we read “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 ¶ Then just after God had slain Nadab and Abihu, Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.’” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
How we approach the living God is very important isn’t it. ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy… We are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ and we are called to offer up ourselves as living, holy sacrifices before Him which is our spiritual service of worship. And in keeping with that offering we are to turn away from the world and immerse ourselves in the word of God, bathing ourselves in prayer and walking in the Spirit of God so that we may bring glory to God!
As we walk in the Spirit we will be humble like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we will seek to lift people up and show them that there is hope in a hopeless world for there is a real God and real deliverance to be found in Christ Jesus. We are to demonstrate real love and speak real truth to a world that has no concept of real love or real truth. We are to seek to serve God in whatever capacity we can, examining the scriptures to find out what He would have us do, whether it be prophesying, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading or showing mercy. We are to seek to be conformed to the image of Christ so that we will be living witnesses of His glory and grace. We are to love without hypocrisy, hate evil and cling to what is good. We are to be devoted to our Christian brothers, seeking to outdo one another in trying to honor one another. We are to learn the lesson of the ant, turn away from our natural desire to be lazy and will burn with fervency of spirit, serving the Lord.
Since we know that in this world we can expect tribulation, we are to seek to be prepared for it so that we can rejoice, count it all joy when we encounter various trials and
tribulations because we know the purpose of trials is to bring us to maturity, so that we will be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Because of this we will be able to rejoice in hope and we will be devoted to prayer, knowing that apart from Christ we can do nothing but that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We are commanded to contribute to the needs of the saints and practice hospitality, knowing that there is a very real possibility that we may be entertaining angels.
Knowing that there are enemies of the cross of Christ, we can expect persecution and we are called to bless those who curse us. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, seek to be of the same mind, that is to see all men on level ground before the One who created us and gives us life and breath and all things. We know that the whole world lies in the evil one. Those who are dead in trespasses and sins are in desperate need of a deliverer. And we know such a person in Jesus Christ who can set them free from bondage to sin, self and the devil. Therefore we are to do all we can to set Jesus Christ forth before men in all of His glory. and just as Christ, being reviled, didn’t revile in return we are to follow in His steps.
We will be ridiculed and scoffed at but we are to speak the truth in love, knowing that the Lord knows those who are His and will call His sheep to Himself. The instruction of the concluding words of chapter 12 are very clear and need no interpretation; 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Then concerning the government we have seen that all governments that have ever existed have been established by God as such we are to be in subjection to the governing authorities knowing that God has raised them up to bring glory to His Name. Indeed, if we resist the governing authorities, if we break the laws that have been established by the civil governments we are opposing the ordinance of God; we are rebels against God…we have taken our stand against the God who has established it and we will be judged accordingly and remember that our God sees hatred as murder, lust as adultery and rebellion as the sin of witchcraft.
The purpose of civil law is to keep order and protect citizens from harm. The Law is good. Paul says in Ro 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” Now we know that whatever the Law of God says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and the whole world may become accountable to God and the purpose of the law of God is to draw men to himself.
Indulge me and listen once again to the words of Ray Comfort from Hells Best Kept Secret as he uses the civil law to illustrate divine Law. “We can often see the work of God’s Law illustrated in civil law. Watch what often happens on a freeway when you are traveling. When there is no visible sign of the law, see how motorists transgress the speed limit. Everyone knows the maximum is 55 mph, but watch how they all naturally flow together at an unlawful 70 mph. It seems that the law has forgotten to patrol this part of the freeway. You are just “going with the flow.” Besides, you are only transgressing the law by 15 mph, and you are not the only one who is over the speed limit. Now, notice what happens when the law enters. He comes through on the fast lane with his lights flashing. Your heart misses a beat. You no longer feel secure in the fact that other
motorists are also speeding; you know that you are personally as guilty as the next guy, and you could be the one the law pulls over. Suddenly, your “mere” 15 mph transgression doesn’t seem such a small thing after all. It seems to abound.
Look at the freeway of sin. The whole world naturally goes with the flow. Who hasn’t had an “affair” (or desired to) at some time or other? Who in today’s society doesn’t tell the occasional “white” lie now and then, or take something that belongs to someone else, even if it’s just “white collar” crime? They know they are “over the limit,” but their security is in the fact that so many others are just as guilty. It seems God has forgotten all about sin and the Ten Commandments – “He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see”‘ (Ps. 10:11 NKJV)
Now watch the Law enter with lights flashing. The sinner’s heart is stopped. He lays his hand upon his mouth. He examines the speedometer of his conscience; suddenly it shows him the measure of his guilt in a new light, the light of the Law. His sense of security in the fact that there are multitudes doing the same thing becomes irrelevant, because he knows he is as guilty as the next person. Sin not only becomes personal, it seems to “abound.” His mere lust becomes adultery of the heart (Matt. 5:27-28); his white lie becomes false witness; his own way becomes rebellion; his hatred becomes murder (1 John 3:15); his “light” fingers make him a thief –“Moreover the Law entered, that the offence might abound…” (Rom. 5:20).
Without the Law entering, sin is neither personal, nor is it severe – “For without the Law sin is dead – the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing” (Rom. 7:8b, Amp. Bible). It is the “Commandment” that shows sin in its true light, that it is “exceedingly sinful” (Rom. 7:13).
Continuing in verse 5 we read,Therefore because God is the one who establishes all governments, because rebellion against the governing authorities is sinning against God,
because the governing authorities have been established for the safety and welfare of law abiding citizens and the punishment of evil-doers, it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. The Christian does not merely obey because of fear of punishment but because of knowledge; we know the origin of government and understand that obedience to the government is obedience toward God. Therefore, for His sake we do what is right whether or not we have praise from earthly establishments for we seek only Gods glory. If we receive praise of men well and good, but we are to seek only the glory and praise of God in our obedience to Him! If we have His smile we need nothing else!
Concerning the paying of taxes we understand that all governments have been established by God and all governments impose taxes. We have been taught that taxation is evil but according to the word of God it is necessary. We read in verse 6 For because of this because God has ordained all governments for the purpose of protecting the law abiding citizens and the punishment of evil doers you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Did you ever consider that paying taxes is serving God? God has set up everything in this world to serve and glorify Him. So when we honor the king, when we obey the civil law, when we pay our taxes, when we do all these things in an attitude of worship to God, we are bringing glory to His name.
Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loved us and Paul says in 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor
has fulfilled the law. We love our neighbor by doing good to him and refraining from evil. 9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
And then Paul says “Do this… Note that he does not say, ‘you might want to do this.’ Christians are not given an option to be godly or worldly. If we have been born again then we belong to Christ, we are His slaves and a slave has no option in his service. In fact, if we continue to rebel against God after we have made a profession of faith in Christ, we are lying and do not practice the truth.
I don’t care how vehemently you claim to be a Christian; if your life is characterized by the practice of sin then you are children of the devil plain and simple. And Christ came to free us from slavery to sin; not to continue in it so that grace may abound. Consider the following passages of scripture.
2Co 4:6 “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
1Pe 2:9 “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… This is our purpose in life!
Therefore we are to Do this…that is, we are to walk in the commands we have been given and we are to do so NOW! There is no time to lose. Paul says that we are to do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
Do you know what time it is? Your salvation is closer than when you first believed; that is, the day of your deliverance from this life into the next is drawing closer every moment. The end of the world happens every day for people all over the world. Jesus is coming back to receive us unto Himself and whether we are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord or we pass away from this life, the end of this existence and the beginning of the next is just around the corner.
Are we walking in the light as He is in the light, or are we merely playing games with God? Peter asks this question of us in 2Pet3:11-10 “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
And we read in 1Jo 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his
You see 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. The night of this sinful existence which began when Eve ate the forbidden fruit: this evil existence is almost over, time is drawing to a close and the glorious day of Christ’s return is drawing near. Eternity is drawing near and those who live in rebellion against God will go out into everlasting misery and horror.
Since we have been granted the gracious gift of salvation and new life in Christ Jesus Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor
of light. We are talking about sin here! The writer of Hebrews calls us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets. I found it interesting that the Greek word for weights literally speaks of a tumor or a swelling. This is graphic language concerning the deadliness of sin. And we are called to cast these things from us.
Listen to some comments by Arthur Pink on this subject:
“This is a call to the diligent and daily mortification of our hearts to all that would mar communion with Christ: it is parallel with “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” Tit 2:12. Everything which requires us to take time and strength away from God-appointed duties, everything which tends to bind the mind to earthly things and hinders our affections from being set upon things above, is to be cheerfully relinquished for Christ’s sake. Everything which impedes my progress in running the race which God has set before me is to be dropped. But let it be carefully recognized that our text makes no reference to the dropping of duties which we have no right to lay aside. The performing of real and legitimate duty is never a hindrance to the spiritual life, though from a wrong attitude of mind and the allowance of the spirit of discontent, they often become so.
Many make a great mistake in entertaining the thought that their spiritual life is being much hindered by the very things which should, by Divine grace, be a real help to them.
Opposition in the home from ungodly relatives, trials in connection with their daily work, the immediate presence of the wicked in the shop or office, are a real trial (and God intends they should be—to remind us we are still in a world which lieth in the Wicked one, to exercise our graces, to prove the sufficiency of His strength), but they need not be hindrances or “weights.” Many erroneously suppose they would make much more progress spiritually if only their “circumstances” were altered. This is a serious mistake, and a
murmuring against God’s providential dealings with us. He shapes our “circumstances” as a helpful discipline to the soul, and only as we learn to rise above “circumstances,” and walk with God in them, are we “running the race that is set before us.” The person is the same no matter what “circumstances” he may be in!
While the “weights” in our text have no reference to those duties which God requires us to discharge—for He never calls us to anything which would draw us away from communion with Himself; yet they do apply in a very real sense unto a multitude of cares which many of God’s people impose upon themselves—cares which are a grievous drag upon the soul. The artificial state in which many people now live, which custom, society, the world, imposes, does indeed bind many heavy burdens on the backs of their silly victims. If we accept that scale of “duties” which the fashion of this world imposes, we shall find them “weights” which seriously impede our spiritual progress: spending
valuable time in reading newspapers and other secular literature in order to “keep up with the times,” exchanging “social calls” with worldlings, spending money on all sorts of unnecessary things so as to be abreast of our neighbors, are “weights” burdening many, and those “weights” are sins.
By “weights,” then, may be understood every form of intemperance or the immoderate and hurtful use made of any of those things which God has given us “richly to enjoy” 1Ti 6:17. Yes, to “enjoy” be it noted, and not only to use. The Creator has placed many things in this world—like the beautiful flowers and the singing birds—for our pleasure, as well as for the bare supply of our bodily needs.
This should be borne in mind, for there is a danger here, as everywhere, of lop-sidedness. We are well aware that in this age of fleshly indulgence the majority are greatly in danger of erring on the side of laxity, yet in avoiding this sin, others are in danger of swinging to the other extreme and being “righteous over much” Ecc 7:16, adopting a form of monastic strictness, totally abstaining from things which Scripture in nowise prohibits.
Each Christian has to decide for himself, by an honest searching of Scripture and an earnest seeking of wisdom from God, what are “weights” which hinder him. While on the
one hand it is wrong to assume an haughty and independent attitude, refusing to weigh in the balances of the sanctuary the conscientious scruples and prejudices of fellow-Christians; on the other hand it is equally wrong to suffer any to lord it over our consciences, and deprive us of our Christian liberty. “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” It is not the lawful use of God’s creatures, but the intemperate abuse of them which Scripture condemns. More die from over eating than over drinking. Some constitutions are injured as much by coffee as by whiskey. Some are undermining their health by a constant round of exertions; others enervate themselves by spending too
much time in bed.”
13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. The contrast between deeds of light and deeds of darkness is interesting. While the restraining hand of God has been loosened and wicked men wax worse and worse, most people still commit their sins under the cover of darkness. But the Christian is one who has been delivered from his old life and the power of his old nature and slavery to the devil. And while we still sin, it is not the practice of our lives. Paul is calling us to nothing less than holiness of life. That is what he has been saying all along and especially since he began to apply his letter to the hearts of his readers. We are to flee sin in all of its forms; abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Our lives are to be characterized by
And he concludes this section by saying that there must be a stark contrast between the unredeemed and the believer. Listen to these words; 14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” The Philips translation reads thus; “Let us be Christ’s men from head to foot, and give no chances to the flesh to have its fling.”
How, I ask do we do this? Does this not call to mind the putting on of the full armor of God? Remember that only clothed in Christ can we stand firm before the onslaught of sin that attacks us from every quarter in this dark and sinful world. It’s past time to wake up! The Day of the Lord is drawing near. The question is, will we run to meet him or will we be ashamed at His coming? Those who long for His appearing will run to meet Him and rejoice at His coming while those who have been unfaithful will hang their heads in shame. And worse, there are those who will run and hide, calling for the rocks and the mountains to cover them and hide them from the face of Him who sits upon the Throne.
Which one are you?