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April 15, 2019 12:38 pm
We live our lives is often determined by future expectations. The why student works hard to because of the certainty of future exams. The wise businesswoman works hard, organizes her business because of future market expectations. The wise athlete trains hard in preparation for the big game, knowing that is not too far away.
That is the future impacts the present. It is a foolish person who lives purely for the moments and totally disregards the future not for those of us were following Jesus our future has and certainly should have a tremendous impact on how we live today. There is an urgency for the Christian as to how we live our lives. No. If we Mrs. Arjun say will fall into spiritual J spiritual sleepiness and you as well. What's going to give us this Arjun say was going to give us this vitality for Christian life in Christian service. What will motivate us to accept the challenge that Paul issues at the beginning of Romans chapter 12 that we saw several months ago that we would accept the challenge of total commitment. All of us were following Jesus want to be totally committed. We want to be in it are not just as a hobby, not just on the periphery on their lives but we want Jesus Christ central. These parents who dedicated their children are sending here and saying we need God's help, so that Christ is central in our lives that Christ is central in our homes. But what will motivate us and shake us out of the very real reality of falling into spiritual lethargy. What will keep us spiritually alert in a passage this morning.
Romans chapter 13 verses 11 through 14. Paul gives us the answer, at least in part, I decided I find it a very challenging and a very motivating answer. Living a Christian life. Now is motivated by the nearness of the return of Jesus to understand that the Jesus is coming back next week will be celebrating Easter reminding ourselves that Jesus Christ is alive that he accomplished perfectly. The work that his father had given them to do dying on the cross being buried and rising again and is returned returned to heaven. But one day the Bible says that he is coming back that Jesus is returning we call this the whole of the Christian.
The hope of the gospel and why the motivation to live all of life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This truth this truth that Jesus is coming back will keep us on track.
I we understand that the Jesus Christ is coming back is returning and he's coming soon. Let's send and reader tax as defined in Romans chapter 13 verses 11 through 14 we read it with me. Besides, this you know the time that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone. The day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and puts on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy, but puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires payment. Please be seated on you find that very direct passage of Scripture. If you're visiting with us. I should explain that were going through the book of Romans. Someone asked me yesterday when are we going to finish the book of Romans and the way he asked. It was a bus. Let's get it finished.
I can understand that Ludwell ain't the Lord doesn't return that we will finish the book of Romans.
But meantime were looking at today. The last verses of Romans chapter 13 and Paul is saying wake up.
Here is a call to wake up a time to wake up the alarm as it were, has God gone off your your sleep and do not particularly feel like getting out of bed is aware but is trying to wake up. Why, because the Lord Jesus is returning and the search and J of the return of the Lord Jesus is a motivation for holy living. Notice verse 11 of your Bibles turn their withered and we read the Scripture, but I like you to see this well. Romans chapter 13 verse 11 Paul says besides this letter he's referring certainly to chapters 12 and 13 because at the beginning of chapter 12 Paul has given us this magnificent personal challenge to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. Hope you have done that that you, as it were, to the altar and you don't bring an animal you don't even bring a gift, you bring yourself. You present yourself as a living sacrifice, and Paul has motivated us in the first two chapters 1st two verses of chapter 12 by referring to the mercies of God, he says I appeal to you. Chapter 12 verse one brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. What does he mean the mercies of God will he's told us in chapters 1 through 11 is presented, the gospel which is all of God's grace is made it abundantly clear that all of us have sinned that all of us have blown it in the way of salvation is not trying to observe the law. Not that there's anything wrong with the law. The law comes from God is good as well as righteous. The problem is not with the law of God.
The problem is with our hearts.
We just cannot keep the law of God, all of us here mess up. We fail in the answer to that is not to try harder, but it is rather to receive the grace of God that this is the basis of this is tremendous good news for us, by which God saves us the acts and mercy. He withholds what we desire, which is condemnation, which is judgment but sends his son in love to redeem us and to save us so that he sends Jesus Christ and then we see the love of God in that while we were yet sinners.
Paul says Christ died for us. That's a tremendous motivation, isn't it, that God has done all of this for us. We began by rejoicing that we are saved in this salvation then changes everything.
It changes how we live now. We understand that there's something different and no we don't keep the law. Then in order to continue our salvation. We are saved, but as we think of the mercies of God than the grace of God. This motivates us to live for Christ and this is what Paul is saying Abbott now inherent in the verses we read he gives us another motivation he sets the Christian life as it were in a framework of the end times in a framework of eschatology eschatology is the study of the end times what is happening.
He saying this besides this you know the time that the has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
You see, our final salvation is assured. You said well I thought we were saved. Yes. But Paul is presenting salvation in its fullness is presented. Our salvation from our past sins. We call that justification that day. When we came to Christ as a sinner and we came to the foot of the cross and their sins were forgiven and God from heaven as the perfect judgments dine on us and he justifies us, he declares us righteous, not because we've done righteous things, but he declares us righteous because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that that righteousness is credited to our account. And so we can say in a very real sense I am safely sorry about that, that we are saved. Abbott Paul and if you remember this in chapter 6, seven, and they he talks about God present salvation, our sanctification, that is not that I am saved in the wonder of the indwelling spirit who helps us, because we certainly can do this by ourselves, were becoming more and more like Jesus, I trust you are some of you are new followers of Jesus.
Some of you have been following him for 10 years or 20 years. I trust you becoming more like Jesus. We call that out sanctification.
Abbott noted Paul is anticipating our final salvation, what he calls our glorification. He's told us in chapter 8 that those whom God justifies he glorifies you say when will we be glorified to become a member of Calvary church. No, we are members of Calvary church here and I don't see one of them glorified fights on them just now was a lick of them look pretty miserable. Come on smile. Jesus loves you, brother know there's no one yet glorified. We will be glorified when we see Christ and that is absolutely certain because it is based not on our achievements, but it's based entirely on what Jesus Christ has done for us to come on good Friday will think of his finished work on the cross that Paul is saying here that the Lord's return is very near. Never have we been closer to the return of Jesus, spiritually speaking, Paul is saying to the Romans and sing to us today. Do you know what to tell you when this wake up mother used to say that to me John to know what time it is. Get up, spiritually speaking. This is what Paul is saying you not know what time it is your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed. The night is far gone that verse 12 the day is at hand. But what this day is the day of the Lord's return.
Paul writes that the that the day of the Lord is like a thief in the night, when the thief comes he does not advertise his coming becomes unexpectedly he comes suddenly and then supplying the Lord Jesus is coming. We don't know when he's coming but the fact of his coming is absolutely certain, therefore wake up. Paul is referring to what we call the rancher that is the return of Jesus for his own.
That is the next event in God's prophetic calendar far as God is concerned, this is what's going to happen next. The next event in profit is a is not the Antichrist coming. It is the return of Jesus from heaven for his own. I sometimes quoted funerals, but it's a truth for any time the words of our Lord Jesus in John chapter 14 when his disciples were so troubled he says to them I go to prepare a place for you. It was a going is going to happen.
I go and prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you will be also was Jesus saying he saying to the disciples. Don't be discouraged.
I'm coming back for your November the disciples had that wonderful privilege of seeing the Lord go up into heaven after the resurrection described in acts chapter 1 and the disciples see these two men in white robes, and these white men and these two men in white rose to the disciples. Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven.
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven to believe that I believe that I believe that Jesus Christ is coming back.
He said he was coming back, these angels reaffirmed it to the different labels they had had that true from the lips of the Lord, neither hearing it from of these angelic beings declaring the word of God to them. Yes, you saw Jesus go up into heaven, but I want to remind you, as he went up so he is coming back. So what is the rapture you may have heard the term. It refers to the coming of Jesus from heaven for those saved by the grace of God. None of us really know someone else's heart doing. I can go around Calvary church and say you're saying that you're not saved I can do that.
But God can. God knows his children. God knows those who have come humbly to the cross and received Christ as their Savior. The Bible warns us. Jesus warned us of those who only make a lip profession of those who say, Lord, Lord, but there's never been a supernatural experience of Christ that never been truly saved when Jesus comes back, he's coming for those saved by his grace and then that great event, as the Lord comes to the air.
Paul says in first Thessalonians for the dead in Christ will rise first. Who the dead in Christ, not those who are asleep today as I'm preaching they may appear to be dead. No, the dead in Christ refer to our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in Jesus who died. I have two brothers.
I have a father who fallen asleep in Jesus. Over the 13 years of been at Calvary.
I've attended many funeral services and many of you have. I don't know how many times a bit of ignoring gardens over symmetry. But when the Lord Jesus comes think the wonder of this husband's wife's parents, brothers, sisters, friends, all those who died they will rise first. The dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are alive this were to happen right now. We who are alive those of us who know Christ.
We will be caught up. Think of it will be caught up and we will meet them in the air that will be incredible meeting family and friends in the air, who died years ago, but something more incredible will happen will meet the Lord in the air and Paul says so shall we ever be with the Lord is an incredible truth that Jesus Christ is coming for his followers that there's a generation of Christians will never die with the point.
The point is this the Titan of Jesus is imminent. It can happen at any moment, in the twinkling of an ice ice fall at the last trumpet, so Jesus is coming. He's certainly coming he's coming soon. He is coming unexpectedly and suddenly perhaps the day but the point is this is retardant is near. Therefore, Paul is saying this gives us a sense of urgency.
This means that I live today in the light of that day and Paul is going to tell us exactly what that means and firstly there is to wake up to realize that this is happening. Some of you are just drifting along in your spiritual life and you forgotten this fact that life is you know it is nothing to continue forever. Never. Number one, you could die at any moment number two the Lord Jesus Christ can come at any moment. There's men in the Old Testament. You can read it first Chronicles 12 the men of insecure and is told they had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.
You know every Christian should have an understanding of the time, and to know what to do deal for spiritual understanding of the times don't keep putting off that which you know you should do today. Do it now. The day is at hand. Human thinking for a long time of witnessing to that neighbor of sharing Christ with a family member or a colleague at work.
You've thought about that you know it's the right thing to do, but you've never done it.
Paul is saying wake up dirt now the time is near the day is at hand. As some of you have been involved in sin and failure involved in sin right now and you know it's wrong you know you should repent, you know that what you're doing does not bring glory to God and you say wow what they'll get around to doing that. No, do it now. The day is at hand. Some of you are not at peace with a family member or someone you need to forgive. That is some attitude of bitterness that you have a hostility against someone you know that is not rights. Paul is saying, do it now. The day is at hand.
Some of you have experienced the call of God to do a particular ministry, perhaps to go overseas as a missionary are perhaps the 70 nursery or a prison ministry or some other ministry with others at Calvary or Florida field and you know God spoke to you and you say one day I'm going to get ready to do that. No dude, no, the time is near the day is at hand. Don't be spiritually lazy. The devil love spiritually lazy people spiritual lethargy is like an individual who says you know one day I going to get fit.
One day I'm going to stop eating three hamburgers every day. One day one day one day no answer is today. Don't be spiritually lazy. Don't be spiritually self-indulgent. It's time to wake up some of you been saying for a long time.
I really need every day to read my Bible don't just say I should be reading my Bible saying God's grace today I'm going to do now because the day is a time with the point, the nearness of the Lord's return. That spiritual reality that spiritual certainty impacts what we do today though this the man's at least two things. First of all, the nearness of the Lord's return demands a change of clothing versus 12 look at it with me. The night is far gone. The day is at hand is the day of the Lord's apparent trait. There so then let us cast off the works of darkness and Pooch on the armor of light. The armor like Paul says in Ephesians 5 that we are children of light.
Yes, we live in a dark world we live in an evil world, but we who follow Jesus are of the lights the night is the present age. The ninth is the manager for Fort darkness for wickedness for rebellion against God. The day is at hand.
That is the H which is to come.
We sometimes there's an old hymn, I think it was John Peterson who had the him heaven condoning ends glory filled my soul.
Thank you. In other words, the light of heaven comes dominant and brings light to us the light of God, the spouse, the darkness Paul is saying the night is far gone. The day is at hand.
The future is to impact the present and for followers of Jesus, the eternal brilliant lights of that eternal day impacts us here and now and it dispels darkness we call the darkness, sin, darkness fell when our first parents in darkness and sin came into our world apart from the grace of God.
Paul has told us in this wonderful epistle. We live in spiritual darkness and by ourselves we can get out of the darkness. In fact, such as the deception that we quite enjoy the darkness you know there are animals and creatures and birds and spend all of their life in the dark and they appear to enjoy a Jesus says in John chapter 3 the men loved darkness rather than light music. Why would you rather have the darkness rather than light as a Jesus because their deeds were evil. We do agree with me that Morrison happens at night than in the supernormal day was the old adage that not there. Nothing good happens after midnight we brought up like that your parents wanted your home 72 they thought of your print at one and two in the morning you weren't doing anything good you what reading your Bible, and when our prayer meeting, you're probably it would do us good to prayer meetings at 1 o'clock. Wouldn't it. But most things done in the dark are not goods. That's a picture isn't, and so into this dark world. The light shines Jesus Christ comes in. John is in his prologue calls us. He is the true lights and that light comes in. One of the descriptions of Jesus himself is that I am the light of the world and that he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
If you are following Jesus you're working in the light, God is light.
The Bible says in him there is no darkness and on the cross of our Lord Jesus experienced the darkness and the night as the judgment of God for our sins fall on him and then he burst into the marvelous lighters will celebrate next week of Easter into the marvelous light that English lights of God's eternal day as he breaks the bonds of darkness and of sin and of the devil himself, and is alive and now Jesus calls us is on the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but will have the lights of life. The following Jesus in the light of this, what Paul says here verse 12 let us cast off the works of darkness is a graphic picture what works of darkness in your life you think darkness in your life and the thing you do in the darkening secrets man things you wouldn't want your wife and children to do you hide it you will operate in the darkness works of darkness. Paul is writing to Christians because there's there's something, isn't there something attractive also about the darkness.
There's something in our flash that is drawn to that. And Paul is saying listen you're talking nothing to do with that many graphically cast off the works of darkness. What are you hiding is already told us our leaders was so last week about the commandments that all of the dark without the adulterated murder fast covetousness in these other commandments instead of loving people we hate them. These are all works of the darkness any darkness in your life policy casted off as a casting off but there's a putting on so then let us cast off the works of darkness and food on the armor of light. Paul is using the metaphor of changing clothes taking off, including one we all understand that you bring more stew being cleansed and because of that there should be a change of clothing.
Once you wash it going. Put your old deck to close on again.
Do you on the things I had to learn in and it is still a bit of a struggle with me about been married a long time is that even when I when I was growing up on the report your experience with this was but when you got something new. You may be a new jacket or a new shirt or new pair of of shoes when you got that you didn't immediately start wearing them all the time. You might wear them in the special occasion it might be for a wedding. You might wear them to go to church and I met my wife and when they were gone. Panhandle buyer agenda kittens. The next day after we have the new jacket.
I want to put on my old one and she saying John what you doing put on the old jacket final jacket and I thought it looked pretty good when I when I bought it at 10 years ago was the problem or the cuff is freight so that I exploit my jacket put on the new one. After all, why did you find a new one that makes sense, accidents, policy get rid of the old MetLife so that attitudes that mindset your hearts in the old life through its awake.
Perhaps Paul is referring I think he is to the symbolism of baptism. In those days when people got baptized, they would put on leave as we do not about to smoke darlin' lights quite gotten symbolizing their new life in Christ. Why would you go back note to the old way of life. Remember a few years ago. Having the privilege of leading to Christ and then baptizing a man in his late 30s and he did a remarkable conversion because he told me himself that from the age of 13 onwards.
He taken drugs and he explained to be a witch or something I already knew.
He says you know when you get into drugs have a whole way of lifestyle to covering up and you said you learned to lie and Jolanta cheats and he was forging his wife's signature on the checkbook in order to buy drugs and he says when that feeling comes that is so compelling to get that drug is okay. What else happens. And so the whole lifestyle revolving around getting this set feeling from drugs and becomes the Christ. Now he wants to get baptized in the remember saying to him stands in that baptismal tank symbolizing that you died with Christ, and were going to put you under the water, symbolizing burial. This is a funeral and we are in symbol farm were putting to death the old person, and you're going to come a part of that water to live a new life and I want you to leave at the bottom of the tank. All of the life revolving) drugs. All of the lines.
All of the cheating. All of the drug paraphernalia. All of these friends that would drag you down. Then diamond because when you want to do drugs you want to do with your friends when you to leave that all their actual policy know why would you go back to its why would you have these wonderful new clothes and you go back to the old close and you futon the works of darkness. I ask you, sir, why are you doing that. Why are you ruining your life and jeopardizing your marriage and the respect of your family by going back to the works of darkness things cannot be the same. Things are different now. Neither your following Jesus.
Everything is changed. Futon and guard you in the provided photo. The armor of lights put on the armor of lights so the nearness of the Lord's return demands a change of clothing, but secondly, the nearness of the Lord's return demands a change of conduct. Verse 13, Paul gets more specific. Paul was a realist wasn't that he lives in the real world. Let us walk properly. A listing as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness design. The Bible yes it is first century Rome first century Greek well known for their orgies in the drunkenness. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and in drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy box. This futon, the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flash Gladys five its desires. What pulsating is your your your conduct must be consistent with your profession now walking in the daytime. There are things that characterized the night and you Romans know exactly what I know what I'm saying because some of you live like this. I want you now as you futon the armor of light. I want you know, to walk in the light, and in particular to get three sets of negatives, no orgies and drunkenness.
You knew that.
Is it well this is probably church that no one would do that. We were yet sinners is students you off to college and he orgies and drunkenness in our college campuses.
Yes, but not just in the college campus. Perhaps in your own home drunkenness men.
You believe that one beer is good to use even better threes even better fours even better. And before you know you're drunk cost of the works of darkness. There can be no place for orgies. These wild parties and drunkenness in the Christian armor. Your your walking in the armor of light to these these parents dedicating their children to the Lord. How could you think of it. These beautiful little babies with her white dresses is almost scared to pick them up in case ours. While the dress there there lights want to bring into your home.
All the putrid but safe there in the world do that no sexual immorality and sensuality any of the and our culture. Our culture is full of think of the wonderful technology in the iPhone and think of the absolutes, not just garbage but evil and talk about darkness that you can get young woman without a flick of the hand and put that button on and you can be in the world of sensuality that is to be no part of the Christian castoff the works of darkness yes you have to do it. God will help you God wants you to live a clean life you want to live a clean life. No sexual immorality and sensuality and then perhaps surprisingly, not in quarreling and jealousy Proverbs 619. God says this is an abomination, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers darkness you false witness you in July. You say things in social media which you know are not right you make false accusations your sowing discord among people that belongs to the darkness, not in quarreling and jealousy. These belong to the night involved in any of them are totally inconsistent with the day.
What's the answer Jesus is coming put on the lights except the challenge of total commitment. Take this seriously you drifted into these things. I know you didn't start out that you were going to be to get drunk. I know that I know you didn't say that it's that you would have a sleazy existence in the dark. I know you didn't start that way but that's what is happened and so it's time to wake up the day as our hands put on the armor of light cast off the works of darkness and bowl brilliant theologian is he is he says in verse 40 Pudong, the Lord Jesus Christ's we have is one of her themes to display and proclaim the Lord Jesus with grace and truth. This is displaying the Lord Jesus futon the Lord Jesus you say is what does that mean this in the Paul in Colossians 3 and see if you put on these qualities futon then question 312 compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another and if anyone has a complaint another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgiven above all these put on the line of which binds everything together in perfect harmony you like mirroring people like that don't you people who are compassionate people.
We were kind of people who are humble people who are quick to forgive people of love on the Lord Jesus. And make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Know your flash is still there. These evil desires.
However close you get to Christ that flash is still there. So don't make plans.
The sin is that he would make a plan to send you know what this to make a plan to send in your mind. Don't don't provide for live an authentic following is an authentic follower of Jesus the future is impacting the present.
Robert Murray McShane is when my heroes of the faith number the code a little. Some of the little appointment that he he writes. And as he writes I want you to consider two things. First, the shortness of your life. Life is short.
Secondly, the length of eternity. The future impacting the present. Robert Murray McShane anticipates that they when he stands before the Lord your rights. When this passing world is done when has sunk young boot glaring sun when we stand with Christ in glory looking all life's finished story then Lord shall I fully know not to learn how much are you when I hear the wicked call on the rocks and hills to fall when I see them start and shrink on the fiery down huge brink, then Lord shall I fully know not to learn how much I will when I stand before the throne dressed in beauty. Not my own when I see the as thou art lovely with unsettling heart then Lord shall I fully know not to learn much so in all of us. All of us will be an eternity. Are you living in that light, not like the proverb says, shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day to just following Christ. During the lights, the devil preacher in the dark and he gets darker and darker and you go down and down following Jesus is the very opposite as you follow him, that light will shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Don't become comfortable in the dark. Don't become comfortable being lethargic, wake up surgeon the Lord is coming. I asked if you're ready to meet God. Thomas Watson, the great English Puritans says eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset you when you follow Jesus, the light never goes out to get to heaven there is no night get brighter and brighter and sources Watson to the godly. We live in the day that has no sunset to the wicked. There is a night that has no sunrise is what happens in the eternal darkness. I trust you caught a glimpse of the future site of Jesus coming from heaven that were going to become a top caught up to heaven and all of his joy and and to live in the eternal life that is a reality brothers and sisters. Let's live today in the light of that day and say with John.
Even so, Lord Jesus.
He's coming soon he's coming at any moment be ready for him. Paul is saying the works of darkness and put on the armor of lights were going insane in a minute. A wonderful song old church arise and to futon the armor of light and as our orchestra get ready for that. Let me challenge you finally become some of you here have never come to the light is what you mean you've never come to Jesus Christ personally may been brought up in a church like Calvary you may have come here all of your life but you have never come humbly to the foot of the cross and receive salvation.
We come to Jesus coming from that darkness and cry out to Christ the Savior and to live in that light, which gets brighter and brighter into God's eternal day.
Father, help us, we pray will know the dark, we confess that sometimes we've enjoyed living in the dark and so we pray that we will each one of us cast off the works of darkness and put on and live with this armor of light and for those who don't know Christ draw them to the Savior. We pray and help us. As such, help us as a church not to be lethargic, but to put on the whole armor of God and live life's in the light to the end. We pray in Christ name