Here is a sermon from last October that I am finally getting around to making available.

You can click here to go to the Internet Archive page for this sermon, or listen to the sermon using the player below.

Sermon for October 19, 2008

TIME TO WAKE FROM SLEEP

ROMANS 13:11-12

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.

1. Introduction
a. Happy Anniversary TBC!

2. Verse 11 “Besides this”
a. Better translated – “and this”
i. “And this” – loving one another – verses 8-10

3. Verse 11 “You know the Time”
a. You know the times in which we are living
b. What time is it?

4. Verse 11 Wake Up
a. What is spiritual sleep?
i. I Thess. 5:6
ii. The example of Gideon – Judges 7:1-7

5. Verse 12 “For salvation is nearer”
a. A word to the saved
b. A word to those who need to be saved

Romans 13:11-14 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. [12] The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. [13] Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1. Introduction

Remember that this whole section of Romans is about worship.

The church is about worship. The primary purpose of the church is NOT – winning the lost or making disciples or helping the poor or … All these things are aspects of worship. The purpose of evangelism is to bring people to be worshippers of God. They were created to be worshippers and they do not worship Him. They don`t worship Him because they are strangers to Him. Jesus Christ came into the world to make worshippers. Some of you here in this room right now think that you are worshipping God but you are not, and the reason you are not is because you don`t know God and He does not know you, at least not in the way He knows His children. Your singing and praying and giving and listening does not reach God because your sins separate you from God. And until your sins are forgiven and you are brought to God through faith in Jesus Christ. The purpose of making disciples is to make worshippers of God.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of TBC. Not a long time when compared to many other churches in the world. I did Stuart’s funeral in a church that was built in the 12th century. Our church is so young that there are still charter members living and we have people in our church who have been active here for almost as long as the church has existed. This is a young church.

And yet, even in a young church there are dangers that call for our attention. It is not just old established churches that are threatened with heresy and apostasy, and desertion from the faith. The Letters of the New Testament were all written to churches younger than ours and in those young churches there was disunity, heresy, … See the seven churches of the revelation. See the warnings that are given to these new churches. Such warnings are warnings to us. It is why God inspired and preserved them. Because we need them today just as much as the original recipients did. What makes us think that we are smarter, holier, more sanctified, more knowledgeable … than churches planted by the Apostles themselves? If a church, planted by the Apostle Paul, preached to by him, having elders mentored by him, needed to be warned about carelessness, how strong a message is that to us about our need to be on our guard? And if that church needed to be encouraged to keep their focus on the Lord Jesus Christ how much more so it is true of a church that exists 2000 years later? And so, on this 48th anniversary of our church we return to our series of messages from Romans in a text that urges us to keep our focus on Christ and to be careful about being infected by the sin that surrounds us and is always seeking to become a part of us. The message is this: You are turning forty-eight? Congratulations – don’t think that after forty-eight years of faithfulness that your faithfulness tomorrow is guaranteed. You need to look to Him and be vigilant so that you do not fall away.”

2. Besides this
a. Besides this – lit. – “and this”
i. NASB – “do this because you know …”
(1) do what? Verses 8-10
ii. NKJV – “and do this…” [the italics indicating that the word is not in the original]
iii. NIV – “and do this understanding the present time…”

3. You know the time
i. Time = kairos – season, “a special, critical, strategic period of time” (as opposed to chronos which is “a space of time” (Vine)
(1) kairos = season, “sometimes an opportune or seasonable time (Rom. 5:6), a fixed or definite period.
(a) So Paul is saying to them “you know the kinds of times we live in,
therefore be alert”. It’s the same as the expression we use today when we talk about “these days”. What we usually mean when we talk about “these days” is what things are like “nowadays”. No one goes to a gas station expecting to pay $.40/litre for gasoline – not these days. We know that is not going to happen because we know the times.
(2) What do you think of when this text says “you know the time”? What do
you think of when someone uses the phrase “the times in which we live”? It is a two sided coin and Paul makes mention of both of them in this passage.
(a) The first thing he mentions when he says “you know the time that
the hour has come to wake from sleep” is this – our salvation is nearer to happening than it was when we first believed. In other words, when Paul talks about the times his mind goes first to the salvation that Christ is going to bring to completion when He returns. Paul is Christ centered. Paul is looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith. Now dear ones be honest. When someone talks about the times in which we live, your thoughts are not drawn to the triumph of Christ at His return are they? You do not think about the fact that Jesus died and guaranteed an inheritance that cannot perish, spoil or fade away, reserved in heaven for all the faithful and that it is now sooner to happening than it was when you first believed. That is not where your thoughts go is it? No. Your thoughts, and mine, go to the awful times in which we live. The crime, the immorality, the godlessness… . And those are the marks of the times. But Paul’s point here is that even though those things are happening we are not the ones doing them. Why? Because we are awake. We are not in darkness. We are those who eagerly await Christ’s return, knowing that the times are in His hands.
(b) After Paul refers to the coming of Christ and after he mentions that
the night is far gone and the day is at hand – then he mentions that we are not to be marked by “the times” as they are lived here by the ungodly.

b. “You know the time”
(1) dear one, do you know the time?
(a) It is the time to wake up 11b
(i) you don’t have to go the way the world goes. God does not
give a command here that cannot be obeyed. Real Christians CAN wake up, they can live differently… The world is asleep but we are not like the world. See 1 Thes. 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. [2] For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. [3] While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. [4] But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. [5] For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. [6] So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. [7] For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. [8] But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. [9] For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, [10] who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. [11] Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

(b) It is the time between the death of Christ and His triumphant return –
see 11c
(c) It is the time to wear the armour of light verse 12
(i) the point is – this is no time to be lackadaisical. The issues
are serious. Your soul is at stake. Your children are being taught horrific things, marriage in our culture is a sham, Christianity is mocked, atheism is on the rise, people calling themselves Christian live common-law, cheat on their taxes, never crack open a Bible from one Sunday to the next, chase after money, chase after the spectacular … … … Wake up!!
(d) It is the time to walk properly verse 13
(i) It is NOT time to mourn and gripe about how evil the world
is. It is time to show the world that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. It is time to Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, [12] training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, [13] waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

(e) It is time to put on the Lord Jesus Christ verse 14

4. “To wake from sleep” –
(1) What is this sleep?
(a) See I Thess. 5:6 – the opposite of watchfulness and sobriety
(b) Its opposites – see Gideon’s army in Judges 7:2-7
(i) Those who are asleep are afraid of the enemy. We are not
afraid of the enemy. Our Lord is returning. Christ has triumphed. We are not impressed by the size of the evil one’s forces. The bigger his army the more glorious the defeat. Let the fearful go back home and pretend they are safe. We are in this for the long haul and we will not fear.
(ii) Those who are asleep let their guard down. They are more
concerned with their comforts and sustenance than they are with the battle. They are quick to lay down their arms. And they will not make it to the end. They are fit just to be sent home.
(c) absence of watchfulness
(i) I Cor. 16:13 – don’t let yourself be taken by surprise (ala the
five foolish virgins Matthew 25:1-13 ), stand firm

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Ephes. 6:10-14 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. [11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. [12] For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [13] Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. [14] Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Philip. 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Philip. 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
1 Thes. 3:8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.
2 Thes. 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

(ii) maturity – I Cor. 16:13 – act like men, meaning “grow up!” see Eph. 4:11-14
(d) this sleep is the opposite of Romans 12:1 – JB Phillips version states

Rom.12:2 this way “don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould” – This command here goes all the way back to Rom.12 where it tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices … which is our worship. The Christian life dear ones is not for slackers. It is not for those who think they can coast to heaven. The Christian life is warfare and like any war it has casualties. Dear one – don’t you be one of them and do not be so foolish as to think that you don’t need to fight in this warfare. Hear the Apostle Paul 1 Cor. 9:26-27 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. [27] But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
2 Cor. 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine
power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments [5] and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

5. “For salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed” – this is “the time”
a. A word to the saved, in closing
i. Dear ones, do you know what time it is? It is one day closer to Jesus setting
everything right than it was yesterday. THAT is what time it is.
ii. Jesus Christ has done it for you dear believer and your efforts are not in the least
about working to earn your way there. He has earned your way there. He lived the sinless life. He died and paid the wages of sin. Because He has done that work you can now press on. If you do not press on it is because you are not His. If you work to earn God’s favour it is because you are not His. You stay alert. You do not sleep because He has won it all for you. You cannot lose – therefore press on.
iii. God keeps His promises. You are going to inherit everlasting life – and you’re
going to give up now? Real Christians don’t do that.
iv. Don’t slacken now – you’re almost there
v. You are closer to the prize now than when you first believed – look ahead and be
inspired to press on with all your might.
(1) ill. – the gruelling 26 mile marathon – they say that the hardest time is
somewhere in the middle of the race when the racers are most apt to quit. But oh when they enter the auditorium and see the finish line just ahead – that is not when they quit – that is when they find the energy to push on. Dear ones – the prize God promised is sure. It is guaranteed and it is near. How near? No one knows, but it is nearer now than when you first started – don’t quit now. Don’t fall to sleep now.
(a) Tempted to quit? Tempted to rest? Look to your hope.

Col. 3:1-5 If
then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. [5] Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
1 Thes. 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. [14] For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. [15] For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. [16] For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. [17] Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. [18] Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we will be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Look to the prize dear ones, look to the prize.

When you are tempted to swallow the lie that says all religions get us to God look to the prize.
When your children get taught the philosophies of this age – look to the prize that Jesus has promised and get into them the truth of the Word of God
When you are done wrong and you want to strike back in revenge.
When the marriage grows sour and the culture screams at you to find hope in divorce – look to the prize.
When the world says “get rich” look to the greater prize.
When the world says satisfy your every sexual urge – look to Christ who knew what He was doing when He designed sex properly in the very beginning.
When your desire for ease and comfort and ‘live and let live’ tries to take over…

Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.[3] Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

b. A word to those not yet saved
i. Dear one – are you asleep?
To be in the darkness is to be asleep.
To go along with the philosophies of the age is to be asleep
To not teach your children the Scriptures at home on a daily basis is to be asleep
To pour into your mind the sex, and money, and immorality, and selfishness that TV and internet … has to offer is to be asleep.
To rest now because you believe your work is done is to be asleep.
To not be able to look forward to Jesus Christ coming and bringing to completion the salvation that He began is to be asleep.

ii. You don’t know Christ? There are two choices before you:
1) You can sleep – the spiritual sleep of those who have no hope. You can choose sleep because you are in the dark and darkness is for sleeping. You can absorb the culture’s values, the pleasures that the world has to offer – you can chase after – and you better do it with all the gusto you can find, because when you die there will be no more pleasure. You can fit in with the times. And you can fit the description of those who get caught by surprise by the coming of Christ – I Thessalonians 5:1-7… .
2) You can come to Christ and know that your salvation grows nearer every day and therefore you have something worth fighting for and you can know that it is worth it to say no to what the world has to offer and pressing on to teach your children. You can live in the light – and that is a glorious place to live. Come and know the power of spiritual life and spiritual wakefulness and living in the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.