I was going through a little interesting kind of thing the other day and it said, hey, you know, if you knew that you had one year to live, what would become important? What would you feel like you missed out on? And what if the doctor said you had one week?
And then what if you had 24 hours? What would you be focused on? And then, you know, it goes to say, well, those are things that are important to you.
You should be focusing on them now. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. As we walk with Christ, we should always live in the expectation that He is coming soon and that will guide our steps as we go. Find out more about how we can live a life dedicated to Christ today as David McGee continues in Romans 13 with his teaching, Love Exceeds the Law.
Here's David. So we're in Romans chapter 13 and we've been looking at Romans, obviously Romans chapter 12, and now we're in Romans chapter 13. And these chapters have a lot to do with practical Christian living. Let's look at verse 11.
Do this knowing the time that now it is high time to wake out of sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Now there's three terms used in connection with our salvation. These terms are justification, sanctification, and glorification.
And they're very simple terms. They're justification, I was saved. Sanctification, I'm being saved. Glorification, I will be saved.
Here Paul is using it in a glorification way. He's saying that that final redemption, the Bible says, look up, your redemption draws nigh. Well, you've already saved and you're already being saved.
What is it? Your redemption draw nigh? It's that glorification at that point when you will no longer struggle with sin and sickness and disease. Awake out of sleep and we're one day closer.
Paul, when he wrote this, I believe in the last 2,000 years, God has wanted those who believed him to walk around in the expectation that he could return at any moment. Why? Well, it changes the way you live. It changes the way you think. I was going through a little interesting kind of thing the other day and exercise, if you will, and it said, hey, you know, if you knew that you had one year to live, what would become important? What would you feel like you missed out on? And what if the doctor said you had one week? And then, what if you had 24 hours? What would you be focused on? And then, you know, it goes to say, well, those are things that are important to you.
You should be focusing on them now and spending time doing these things. And that's what God's wanting us to do. He's wanting us to understand that time, we use that time, spend time wisely.
It's an interesting phrase, isn't it? See, because time is unlike any other thing that we have in our life. If you work, you have a bank account, and what you do, you know, is there's a flow into the bank account. There's a flow out of the bank account, right? With time, there's no flow in.
There's only a flow out. And it doesn't matter how much money or power you have, you cannot acquire more time. God said there's an appointment for each and every one of us. God knows that appointment. We do not know that appointment, but we need to understand that time is a precious commodity.
Why? Because at some point, the Bible indicates that there's going to be an incredible change in the twinkling of an eye. Maybe you get up like other mornings, you do whatever you do, have your devotions, read your paper, drink your coffee, whatever. And the day starts like any other day, but in a flash, everything changes. As the lightning flashes from the east to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. If that's true, and I don't know the date, but here's what I do know. This Sunday, we're a week closer to that event than we were last week.
This year, we're definitely a year closer than we were at this time last year. A life lesson here? We should live in expectation. We should live in expectation. Expectation of what? Expectation of being with God. Because whether you think the rapture is going to happen pre-trip, mid-trip, post-trip, pan-trip, pan-trip, meaning however it pans out, I'm going to go. But the, or you think, well, you know, I think it's 50 years off.
Okay. Well, either the rapture or your death, one of them is going to have you standing in front of God. And you know what? Some people say all roads lead to God. I kind of agree with that.
All roads do. No matter who you are, where you are, what you believe, one day you will stand before the Lord. Now, what happens when you stand before Him depends on what you believe about Jesus.
But everybody's going to stand before God. And the Bible tends to point to this sleep as a bad thing. Matthew 13, in another parable, He put forth to them saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. So this is a place where it's talking about the kingdom of heaven and the enemy comes in and sows tares.
What tares? Division, discord, strife, those sorts of things. While we're asleep, while we're not paying attention, if you will, you think on what happened, what's happening in our culture. And we think, well, that's because culture is so messed up.
Well, that's kind of an easy cop-out. I personally look at it and go, well, in the last 40 years and all the things that happened, where was the influence of the church? You look at all the people in this world, all the people groups who don't have a Bible and have never heard about Jesus. And it's interesting in talking to people about the Lord, sometimes they act like that's a flaw in God's plan. Is it a flaw in God's plan?
Or perhaps we've not done all that we were supposed to do to reach these people. And we need to awake out of our slumber. Matthew 25, Jesus told about these virgins sleeping at the sound when He came. Jesus is saying, be aware. The Bible says to use the time, redeem the time.
Opening verse, the opening of verse 12 says, the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Friend, if you, and I've said this about every administration, so don't think I'm, you know, last week we talked about being submitted to the administration. You need to understand my faith and hope is not in the presence of the Lord. Hope is not in the present administration. Okay.
It wasn't in the last administration or the one before that one. Why? Because you know, the age of enlightenment, when you, when you look at, we still can't work out simple things like war, hunger, crime, violence. If we had the answers gang, we would have already come up with the answers.
See, we're actually in love, part of the problem. Well, what is the answer? It's not you and me, friend. It's God Himself.
It's Jesus Christ. As we live according to what Jesus presents us and what Paul is challenging us to do, we'll live lives of light. We will be bearers of light. I think far too often we're lulled into this slumber, if you will. Jesus presents us as not a a good slumber of not being aware of the pain that exists all around us. Sometimes when you go to a public place, I look around, I look at the eyes of the people and some of them may be smiling, some of them may be smiling, but what I notice is their smile is not reaching their eyes.
And they don't really know. Verse 11 says, and do this knowing the time that it is high time to wake out of sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. The Bible in several places talks about taking off, putting off, getting rid, leaving behind the old stuff and embracing this armor of light. It's a cool phrase. Bible uses several phrases and having to do with the coming of the Lord. A couple of them are look up, be ready, also meet together.
That's an interesting one. It says we should meet together all the more as the day approaches. Why is that? Because friends and in days like today, you know what? We need to come together to encourage one another and to challenge one another. And sometimes you may come in here and be really, really encouraged. And sometimes, friend, you may be coming in here and you may get really, really challenged. But this is what the Bible is supposed to be doing in our lives.
This is what's supposed to be happening as we meet together. Romans chapter 12, verse 1 and 2 talked about changing our mind, changing our mind, and almost as if changing an outfit. That's what verse 12 here is speaking. Let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Ephesians 4 21 says this, and since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Colossians 3 8 says, but now is the time to get rid of anger and rage and malicious behavior and slander and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked days. In its place, you have clothed yourselves with a brand new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. So another reason Bible study coming together is very important.
Why? Because it stirs up your new nature. It feeds your new nature. So you have an old nature, you have a new nature. Everything that you do either feeds that old nature or feeds that new nature. There's certain things that you can watch, certain things you can do, certain behaviors that you engage in, that's feeding the old nature. And friend, if you're in here and you're going, well, my old nature, he's just so strong. Well, what are you feeding him?
Or what are you feeding her? Whenever that's positioned to me, I say, well, you know, there's several simple coming together, Bible study, Bible doing, loving and serving one another. These things, you know what, if you're doing these things, your new nature will be stirred up.
If you're not doing those things, your new nature will be starving. Galatians 3 27. For as many of you, as we're baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. So again, we see this, we put on Christ at our justification, that moment of Christ at our justification, that moment of being born again, forgiven. And then we are walking out in this sanctification, peeling off these old clothes, if you will, putting on the new. Ephesians 4 20 says, but you have not so learned Christ. If indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus that you put off concerning your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt, according to the deceitful lust and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
And that you put on the new man, which is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. Put it off. There's stuff in your life today.
You need to put off, let it go and embrace this newness of life. You've been listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's study in Romans in just a moment. But first, I would like to let you know about a new product that we're excited about here at Cross the Bridge. Each year, David McGee spends countless hours coming through the Bible in preparation to teach God's word. This is clearly seen every week as he proclaims the amazing truths found in the Bible to his home church and through the radio ministry. That's why this month, we want you to be blessed by some of our favorite teachings from this year with the Cross the Bridge Best of 2013.
These three powerful teachings will help you to live victoriously in Christ through a better understanding of who Jesus really is. The Best of 2013 is our gift to you this month when you give to Cross the Bridge. Your gift will be used to reach countless people with the Gospel while also encouraging other believers to stand firm in the faith. To help us take God's word to the world, please contact us at 877-458-5508 or visit us online at crossthebridge.com.
Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name. And if you put your name and email address in there, I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
Please don't wait. This is so important. So please, again, go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and send us the first names of lost loved ones. We'll send you some free information and together we can partner to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world, the whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. Let's look at verse 13. Let us walk properly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. So let us walk, he's saying, revelry and drunkenness.
Here it is in the New Living Translation. We should be decent and true in everything that we do so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don't participate in wild parties and getting drunk or in adultery and immoral living or in fighting and jealousy.
Now some people are like, man, you're legalistic. You're trying to... No, no, no. This is for your best. God says, here's the best.
Anything else is not the best for you. And these things, I don't think they really need much explaining, do they? I think everybody here understands what a wild party is. I think everybody pretty much understands what getting drunk is.
And it's interesting. Again, some people will say, well, is it okay to drink a beer? Is it okay to drink a glass of wine? And let every person be fully persuaded in his own mind.
I can certainly see the wisdom in not. And again, the people that come to me about this, it's not usually because they want a glass of wine. They want to feel like it's okay to go home and bang down a liter of wine. And you can argue perhaps, you know, Jesus, he made wine at a wedding. We can go back and forth on that. And whether that's okay to have half a beer or how many ounces, how many fluid ounces or is it until you're in sin. If you've ever had a problem with it, stay away from it.
That's a real simple one. But while we can discuss that, we cannot discuss drunkenness. Drunkenness plainly from the scriptures is not good.
Why? Because you start, you lose control. If you've never been drunk, let me, my wife was telling me. No, I can, I mean, you know, the biggest trouble I've ever gotten in my life usually involved alcohol.
I mean, you know, and a lot of times started with, Hey, watch this. It's not good. So the Bible says, don't do it.
Don't do it. It says, get rid of these things, get over them, get past them. And there is this divine transaction. The moment we asked Jesus to forgive us, we put all this old stuff off and we begin to put this new robe on. I love the way Isaiah puts it in 61 three, he says to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. A few verses later, Isaiah 61 10 says, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments.
And as a bride adorns herself with jewels. Wow. Embrace the newness of life, friend. Now, the moment you get saved, come to the Lord, ask him to forgive you. Is everything automatically just okay hunky-dory in your life?
No, it's not. You begin that process of walking towards the Lord and throwing these things off and putting on the new thing. And occasionally, you know, you you'll go through life and something you thought was okay.
You look down and go, you know what? I shouldn't shouldn't be doing that anymore. Let's look at verse 14, continues in this thought, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust. What's he mean?
No provision for the flesh. I went through many passages saying put off the old, put on the new. Sometimes I hear people or see people do things and I'm tempted to do it myself, but to do something, whatever, describe a behavior, somebody is rude or arrogant or strifeful or argumentative.
And you say, you know what? You're not supposed to be like that. Well, that's just the way I am. That is making provision for your flesh. It is, the world says, if you were ever once a drinker to the point of being an alcoholic, that you are always an alcoholic. I reject that.
This Bible says all things have become new, that you can put off the former things and be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Does that mean you need to be careful? I probably need to be careful, but oftentimes we make provision. Well, that's just the way I am. Well, that's just, or the ever-classic, well, that's, you know, that's the way I was brought up.
It doesn't say much about that in this book. Well, that's just the way I was born. Friend, that's not the way you were born the second time.
When you were born again, when you were born again, you got a new nature and the old has got to go. So making provision, let's use another word, making excuses for your flesh. Friend, you can't do that.
You cannot do that. See, because when you do that, you are making provision for your flesh. In other words, you are making an excuse for your ungodly behavior or activity.
And you know what? You can talk and talk and talk. It's never going to be okay. It's such a beautiful thing sometimes to be chatting with somebody and they start out at the beginning of the conversation, defending their wrongdoing. And sometimes the spirit of God comes on me and I can actually be quiet and listen and I'll just let them talk.
And they'll come full circle around to the point they'll say, well, you know, that's actually wrong. The Bible says this is wrong behavior and I really need the forgiveness of God and to turn from this. I understand when you hear this message, it's challenging and we're encouraged to be awake and that stirs our heart. You know, God means it to stir our heart. God means it to stir our heart to consider that, you know what?
We need to let go of the old and quit making excuses. Well, that's just the way I am. That's just the way I was brought up. That's just the way I was born. My mama did this.
My daddy did this. You know, it wasn't for the pastor at the last church I left. No, nothing we can say is going to make that okay. I know I've used the excuses. You know, and sometimes I use them in apologies. You know, when I'm apologizing, well, you know, I'm sorry I got so mad, but you really shouldn't have said that. You understand that's not really an apology. And when I'm saying that, I'm making provision for my flesh. Because what I just said is if you ever do that again, I'm going to respond the same way. If you ever say that to me, you're going to make me angry. I'm going to do this.
So even in that apology, guess what? You're making provision for the flesh. Put on the Lord Jesus. Put on the Lord Jesus. Put on the armor of light. And I love the balance in that verse 12. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness. Let us put on the armor of light. You know, I love that.
I love the balance of that. See, because it seems like, you know, we either want to focus on being light and forget about casting off the works of darkness, or we want to be all about casting off the works of darkness and we're not really being lions. See, we talked to, you know, when we talk about, well, we should be more loving. We can say that to people, but you know the best thing to do? Show them what it looks like.
Show them what more loving looks like. And that'll send a much stronger message. I can't remember where the quote came from, but somebody said that, uh, watching a Christian and they said, I cannot hear what you say because what you do speak so loudly.
I think we all kind of fall into that of not being as consistent as we should in our walk and making excuses. Next time God convicts you, respond to him, not with excuses, not with blame shifting, not with, well, if it wasn't for my wife, for my husband, for my kids, for my parents. No, no. God, you know what? I, this is wrong. This hard attitude, this thing I said, this thing I did, this thing I did, it's wrong.
Nobody else to blame except me. God, I need you to forgive me. I want to cast this thing off and I want, I want to walk in the newness of life. I want to have this freedom that your Bible talks about. And I can guarantee you every time you ask that prayer, you say that God will say, okay, that's not a prayer you have to want. What's he going to do with us?
No, God will do a powerful thing. Here's the final life lesson. Let go of the old way of life and totally embrace the new way of life.
Let go of the old way of life and totally embrace the new way of life. Friend, do you know today, are you absolutely sure that you've been forgiven of your sins? There's some listening right now.
You're not sure. You need to enter into that divine transaction with Jesus and tell him you're sorry and ask him to forgive you. And he will do it. And it'll begin this work that I've been talking about today. He will begin to change you.
Does it happen overnight? No. Does God do all of it? No.
He needs you to be a willing participant and he will do the work as you let go of the old and embrace the new. You can do it right now. Nothing stands between you and this decision except your decision. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Now God wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend, you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. walk in the full power of God's Spirit, then this new product is just for you, and we'll send it to you as a way of saying thanks for your donation. You can give any time by calling us toll free at 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While there, make sure to sign up for the free email devotional. That's just one more way we can bless you in your walk with Christ. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening, and I pray you'll join us next time as we cross the bridge.
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