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Children of the Light, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 22, 2023 12:00 am

Children of the Light, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 22, 2023 12:00 am

Listen to the full-length version or read the manuscript of this message here: https://bit.ly/3DEPR5i

Would you drive a race car without a seatbelt? Would you rappel without a harness? Would you skydive without a parachute? Not on your life! Well, this is your life -- your spiritual life -- so make sure you don't face it without first putting on the armor of Light.

 

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Every day we live, one author wrote, we move closer to that future salvation.

Someone put it this way, every day we pitch our tent a day's march closer to home, to our destination. So wake up. It's as if he says, don't be sleeping at your post. Be alert.

He's almost here. Wake up to your spiritual opportunities. Wake up to your spiritual disciplines.

Wake up. The journey is almost over. Live with a sense of longing for that day. I'm glad you joined us today here on Wisdom for the Heart.

This is the Bible Exposition Ministry of Stephen Davey. Stephen has a message for you today called Children of the Light. Most people hope that they'll live for a long time. The Bible doesn't teach that you should be eager to die, but the Bible does teach that you should live your life now with the end in mind.

You should be living each day in light of the fact that one day you'll stand before God and enter eternity. In this series, Live In Like You're Leaving, Stephen's helping you understand what that means. In our last session, I introduced a series entitled Live In Like You're Leaving, and I made the comment that it sounded a lot like a title to a Southern gospel song. I had a number of people come up to me afterward and tell me their thoughts that, yeah, it was probably a song somewhere out there. In fact, somebody said somebody had done a CD within the Christian community with that title.

I didn't find it. I did go online and do a little search with that phrase. I did come up with a number of songs that had either one or both of those words, either living or leaving. One by Neil Young, You're Leaving Me Just Now, Van Halen, They're Saying That You're Leaving, Franz Ferdinand, You're The Reason I'm Leaving. That sounds like a good song. I found some lyrics by Puff Daddy. I'm not getting sermon ideas from him, by the way.

I want you to know that. But his song, Don't Ask Me How I'm Living, trust me, I don't want to know. The closest thing I read, which in a way had some truth to it, but yet rather depressing and discouraging, was a song by Evan Elliott. It's a top song right now by Tim McGraw. Secular Country Stations are playing it. The lyrics talk about a terminally ill man who tells him that he's dying, and as a result, he's going to start doing some things while he's living.

Things like skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, riding a Wild Bowl, loving, speaking, and forgiving others more along those lines. The reason why? Because he was going to start living like he was dying. There is some truth to that, although we feel differently and much more positively about it. But even the world feels the truth of this, don't they? Even the world senses that life is short. We all sense that life is just sort of slipping away. It's going by so fast. Somebody said it to me this way, the days are long, but the years are short.

Isn't that true? The days are long. Will this day ever end? I mentioned in the past my attempt to physically remind myself of the truth that life is going by so fast. And a way to literally apply what David said, as he wrote to all of us through the Spirit of God, to all believers saying, Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. In other words, there's something about numbering my days that develops a wise heart. So literally count the days you've lived and count the days you think you have left. Though you don't know how many you have left, let's just assume the best for a moment. Let's assume the longest based on the average lifespan of our culture, how many days you'd live. Most people, they tell me today, live about 75 years on the planet. So based on the number of years you've lived and the number that you have to go, how many days would you have left?

I have done a little calculating for you. If you're 25 years old, you have approximately 18,000 days left. If you're 35 years old, you have approximately 14,000 days left. If you're 45 years old, you have approximately 10,000 days left. If you're 55, you have approximately 7,000 days left. If you're 65, you have approximately 3,600 days left. If you're 75 or older, you can just smile at the rest of us because you're living longer than the average. One of our church members, Mary Carf, who lived to be just over 101, maybe you were here when we brought her up at her 100th birthday over here and sang happy birthday to Mary just this weekend.

She slipped away and went home to be with her Lord. Most of us are not going to be living to the age of 101, so don't count on it. But what if you live to be 75? How long do you have? I have brought here my physical reminder that I had. I keep this vase in my office here at the church sitting on the windowsill. This is filled with green marbles. I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to show it to you this time. This marble represents a month of time that I have left.

Based on my age, if I live to be the age of 75, I have 328 months to go. If you can believe it, it doesn't take much space, does it? That's it. There they are. You know, I told this to my staff and they said, Stephen, this is depressing. And I told them, well, just don't you sneak around and pull some of these out when I'm not looking. I won't have as much time as I thought I had.

This is a reminder for myself. And each month I reach in and I take out one of these marbles and I throw it away. It's a month gone. Did I waste it?

Did I invest it? This, which represents a month of my life. Well, I brought this vase home with me last night from my study here to my study at home to count. I haven't counted in a couple of years and I was sure that I've, you know, forgotten a month or two and probably had more in here than I was supposed to have.

And I want to have just the right amount. So I counted them out and I should have 328, but I counted 249. Somebody wants me out of here sooner than later. Then I thought, you know, well, maybe this is a sign from the Lord. And I thought, you know, I'm speaking tongue in cheek, but what if this does represent the time? I calculated it out and this right here would represent me living to the age of 68.

There's something about this that is a stark reminder to me of how much time I might have if I lived even here to be the age of 68. But listen, it isn't the fear of running out that gives me the incentive for living. It isn't the thought that I'm going to get down to the last 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, if I even live to be that long. That isn't my incentive. The fact that I'm going to stand in the presence of my Lord when those run out is the incentive.

The fact that I will give an account before him when they're gone is the incentive. The fact that I have a permanent home in this glorious heaven is an incentive. The fact that I should love the Lord more and do love him now is an incentive. The fact that we would desire to please the Father in what we do, that is the incentive. And that is the exact point of Romans chapter 13 as Paul develops for us a perspective on living.

We are to be living in light of the fact that we are leaving. Let's go back and pick it up with verse 8. He says, oh, no man anything except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this you shall not commit murder or adultery. You shall not commit murder. You shall not steal. You shall not covet. If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor.

Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. We looked at that last Lord's Day. Now, and this do that is and live like 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.

The night is almost gone and the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Paul is saying, here is your incentive for obeying the word and living in this way. Paul says, take note of the time.

Look at what time it is. Now, when Paul uses the word time back here in verse 11, he is not referring to chronos or chronological time. He uses the word kairos, which is a word that refers to an era, an age, an epoch of time. This term is frequently used in scripture. And what Paul is referring to here is this particular era, this age. We could use it to refer to this dispensation of redemptive history. Paul is saying the era, the age preceding the coming of our Lord is almost over.

It's just about time. Now, as you develop this kind of perspective and living, you need to understand that Paul and the other writers of the New Testament books had no anticipation of there being 2,000 years of a pause between the first appearing and the second appearing. They had no concept of that kind of time. In fact, when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the rapture of the church, the catching away, the Latin translation, the rapturo, the rapturing of the church had no idea that he wouldn't be alive. In fact, he says, then we who are alive and remain shall be raptured up together those who have already died, whose bodies are now glorified, reuniting with their spirits that have been joined the presence of the Lord.

They go first. And then Paul said, then those of us who are still living will go up to. He had every anticipation of being alive when Christ raptures the church. Further, in 1 Corinthians 7, 29, he said the time was short. In the second letter to the Corinthians, he said that the Old Testament had been written for the instruction and encouragement of the New Testament believer for upon us, he says, the end of the ages has come.

This is it. That's the perspective of Paul. In Philippians 4, 5, Paul wrote, the Lord is at hand.

He's at hand. The writer of Hebrews said it this way. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Why? Encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. James 5, 7 says, be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Further along in verse 8, he says, be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4, 7, and 8, the end of all things is at hand. Therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of praying.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another because love covers a multitude of sins. In other words, the incentive for loving and forgiving and sound judgment and a wise spirit is relating to the fact that you are about to see Jesus Christ. It isn't living like you're dying. It's living like you're leaving and you're about to see him.

That's our incentive. John wrote in 1 John 2, 18, children, this is the last hour. His coming for the church is imminent.

The next thing to occur on the prophetic calendar is the rapturing of the church away. And listen, as far as Paul, as far as the writer of Hebrews, as far as John, as far as Peter, we're all concerned, they expected to be alive when it happened. They lived with this perspective of expectancy. They were urgent about what they did. Now, if they were expected and urgent 2,000 years ago, what should we be today?

Nothing less than this. You ever waited for a package to arrive? You've been expecting a package?

What's your perspective on the mail system? And never move slower while you expected it to occur. Some of you mothers are expecting. It could happen at any time.

Hopefully, you can wait 30 more minutes. And that baby's going to announce, today is the day. You take heart, Mom, you don't have to carry that baby forever, right?

Praise the Lord. But you're still not exactly sure when the baby will announce, today's my birthday. But the closer you get to that due date, the more often you lay down at night to sleep thinking, I wonder if I'm going to get a night's rest tonight. I wonder if tomorrow I'm going to be a mother. And the fathers are probably thinking some of the same kind of things.

I wonder if tomorrow I'm going to be a daddy. Well, as far as the apostles were concerned, we are to live as expectant mothers. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, he will arrive. And so we go to our Father, not with impatience, but with this sense of expectancy. We ask him, as it were, is it time? Paul is saying it's time. It's time. Peter says it's time. John says it's time. The writer of Hebrews, it's time.

What do we think? Oh, it'll never happen while I'm alive. The truth is he's almost here. Paul writes further in Romans 13, 11, look at the time. Surely it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep. He's writing to believers.

Sleep is a reference here to passivity, disobedience, or apathy, or complacency. And he goes on, for now, salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. I thought we were already saved, and how could salvation be nearer to us?

What does he mean? Well, in the New Testament, salvation is presented to us in all three tenses. As it relates to the past, we've been saved from the penalty of sin. As to the present, we've been saved from the power of sin, that is, we don't have to sin. As it relates to the future, we will be saved from the very presence of sin. Every day we live, one author wrote, we move closer to that future salvation.

Someone put it this way, every day we pitch our tent a day's march closer to home, to our destination. So wake up. It's as if he says, don't be sleeping at your post. Be alert.

He's almost here. Wake up to your spiritual opportunities. Wake up to your spiritual disciplines. Wake up. The journey is almost over.

Live with a sense of longing for that day. Those of you that have had younger children, if you've ever traveled anywhere in a car or a van, 30 minutes further away from your home, you've heard them eventually ask you what question? Here's two, huh? Are we there yet? Now you remember those days. Are we there yet, Daddy? Are we there yet, Mommy? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Finally, I'd say, we're there. Quiet. And then, no, we're not. You knew the answer.

Don't follow my example, by the way, on that illustration, but it worked for us. The believer should live with this perspective on life that asks the Father, not with a sense of anticipation, but a sense of true longing. Basically, are we there yet, Father? Are we almost there?

I think that's the way the apostles prayed. Father, is it time yet now? Could it be today? Are we almost there? Now notice verse 12, the night is almost gone, he says, and the day is at hand.

In other words, in the context of this verse of scripture, the night is a reference to man's spiritual darkness. It's almost over. The corruption of the world system is almost over. The depravity of the human race is almost over. And the daytime, which is the imminent return of Christ, the dawning of that day is almost here.

It's about to dawn. This is our perspective on living. Now, Paul says, in light of the fact that you have that perspective on living, here is now the purity you are to have while living. He informs us further in this text that there is something we're to put away and something we're to put on. Notice further in verse 12, let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. He'll describe the deeds of darkness, and I'll go through it with you in a moment, but first put on the armor of light. This is a reference to the full armor of God delivered by means of faith in Jesus Christ to every believer.

Hey, you don't work for a piece, and then a few years later you get a new piece and then maybe another piece, and boy, it'd really be something if I just had this sword, but I got five years to go before I get that one. It's all available by faith in our Lord. We're just challenged to put it on. Paul describes the armor in Ephesians 6, put on. That is, decide, and the idea is daily, deciding to put on the full armor of God, as you daily decide to put away the deeds of darkness, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, the strategies of the devil, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood. I mean, we think our problems are things we see and interact with and deal with, but our real problem is the ruler, the power, the world force of this darkness. That is, the strategies of Satan and his dark kingdom and this world system under the power of that dark kingdom having been blinded by that false god. So he says, take up the full armor of God.

Paul calls it the armor of light. Put on the full armor. So that you may resist that current of evil and having done everything to stand firm. So stay alert. Stay awake.

Charles Spurgeon delivered to his congregation in London, England, these words as he preached to his congregation more than 100 years ago. You may sleep, Christian. That is, you may be passive and inactive, but you cannot induce the devil to ever close his eyes. You may see evangelicals asleep, but you will not find falsehood slumbering. The prince of the power of the air keeps his servants well up to their work. If we could, with a glance, see the activities of Satan, we should be astonished at our own sluggishness.

That's true. We need a different perspective as it relates then to purity and life at the height of the Cold War. James Montgomery Boyce included in his commentary in Romans this story. Robert McNamara, who was at the time the Secretary of State, said that he always tried to remember to keep this perspective in his mind.

He said he always tried to remember that when we were sleeping, the other two-thirds of the world were awake and up to some mischief. Well, here's the armor to ward off both spiritual sluggishness and sinful mischief. We have loins, he writes in Ephesians 6, girded with what?

Truth. That piece of armor was more like a short apron that was part of the armory of the warrior, tight at the waist, hung down to the thigh. It was a central piece.

In fact, the breastplate would attach to it and the sword would hang from it. Everything hinged upon the truth. And in a generation where truth is trumped by whatever people happen to feel is true for them, it is little wonder that the objective truth of God's inspired word is set aside. And so even Christians today are falling prey to error and false teaching. It's interesting that the apostles, who had this perspective that Jesus' rapturing of the church was just around the corner, also had this love and passion for the truth. John wrote in his second epistle to the church, many believe, referred to here as the chosen lady and her children, he says, I love you in the truth and not only I, but also all who know the truth for the sake of the truth that abides in us. Over and over and over again, a reference to truth. He began his third epistle by writing, I was so glad when brethren came and bore witness to your truth. That is how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this to hear of my children walking in the truth. This is the piece of armor.

This is the truth. It's referenced as the sword as well. In fact, all around us, this armor is related to the objective inspired word of truth. The believers armor also includes that breastplate of righteousness, and we don't have time to get in all these pieces, but we're also told to put on the shoes of the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the truth about Christ, right?

You don't have to know everything about all the isms of the world. Just know what you believe about Jesus Christ. And whenever one of them knocks on your door or encounters you at work or whatever, you just simply say, what do you believe about Jesus Christ?

And measure it against that. Paul said there are other gospels, even applied to the Galatians, that they could be delivered by angels. And if they are, the angel would stand accursed if it's a different gospel than what I delivered to you, for I delivered to you that which I received from Christ. Not an angel.

It's interesting to me that both Islam and Mormonism, the two fastest growing religions in the world, are both a system of beliefs which they claim were delivered to mankind by angels. If we are going to take a stand in this dark era, this dark epoch, we must be wearing our armor, which includes a shield of faith and a helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. These are terms of war. Don't sleep. Be active. Be alert. Don't forget who you are. Know what your uniform stands for.

Know who your commander is. We've got armor. Paul says it is the armor of light. What a great categorical expression for all of the pieces.

Why? Because we live in the world of darkness. And we, robed, ready to move against the theologies and the isms of the world system. We move as children bearing light for, Paul said to the Ephesians, you who were once children of the dark are now children of the light. We're like little light bulbs moving around in our dark world.

Imagine that. Is it any wonder then that the believer shouldn't act like darkness? Well, how does darkness act? How do the children of darkness live?

What is darkness like? Well, Paul answers that question in the next few phrases as he gives us a list of sins. He selects six of them.

The list could be long, couldn't it? But he selects. In fact, he gives us three pairings of two sins each that sort of go together.

This is how darkness acts. Verse 13. Let us behave properly as the day that is belonging to the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

You read a list like this and you might be tempted. What is Paul thinking? Telling the church not to belong to people or to become people that do these kinds of sins? Why would Paul warn Christians not to do this stuff? Why would Paul warn the believers in Rome of such wicked acts? No, that's the wrong question. The question you ought to ask is why does Paul include himself in the warning?

Did you notice? Let us put aside the deeds of darkness. Verse 12.

Let us behave properly. The honest believer knows he has the potential of depraved actions and attitudes. He knows his own potential for sinning greatly against his Lord. To think that you are beyond any sin is trouble because while you are standing, you are to take heed lest you what?

Fall. 1 Corinthians 10, 12. That's why Paul is writing this to the believer. He's warning the believer and he says, By the way, I'm part of the warning.

Let us. He isn't writing this to the Roman Senate. He's writing this to the Roman Christian. You get into the word and if you're honest, it has a way of exposing who you really are, isn't it? God's word always has an effect on your life if you approach it honestly.

The Bible reveals who you really are. This is wisdom for the heart. We're working our way through a series called Livin' Like You're Leavin'. Stephen's taking you to Romans 13 and helping you see what it means to live now with eternity in mind. There's more to this lesson and more to this series and we'll continue through it in the days ahead. I'm glad you joined us today, but if you ever miss one of these lessons in this series, please know that we post them to our website, which you'll find at wisdomonline.org. You can go there anytime to keep caught up with our Bible teaching. You can also access the printed manuscript of Stephen's messages.

You might be one of the many people who prefers reading. I'll also mention that if you'd like to own this series, we've put it together as a set of CDs and we can give you information about that as well. Give us a call today at 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-482-4253. Be sure and download our smartphone app as well so that you can take this teaching wherever you go. Join us next time here on Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-27 17:18:31 / 2023-08-27 17:29:36 / 11

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