Do you ever have dreams or nightmares that you didn't wake up in time? Maybe it's not just a dream or a nightmare. Maybe you've just had times when you didn't wake up in time, and you missed something big or something important. I often have dreams where I'm late. I oversleep. I don't get there in time. Oftentimes, I'm a guest, and I'm supposed to speak at some important event, and I can't find the place I got up too late. I get there, the thing is over when I get there, or I get there in time, and I'm preaching in my underwear, I didn't get dressed. So yeah, I have these dreams where either I don't get there in time, or I'm not prepared. I'm not ready. I'm not dressed for the occasion. And I don't know if you ever have those kinds of dreams where you overslept. Sometimes, as I said, it's not the dream, you actually overslept, maybe and missed the big test, but you're wanting to make it for a big test at school, or college, or you had an important meeting that you had to be at, and you couldn't afford to be late. And you were or you've got a vacation that you're leaving on a plane and you don't want to miss that flight. Most of the time, it's not that you miss it, but that you lie awake a good bit of the night before, because you don't want to miss it. When I have something big going the next morning, I always set my alarm. Sometimes I set two of them to make sure. And then neither alarm goes off, because I got up before either alarm went off because I was awake anyway. I want to be awake, and I want to be dressed and I don't want to miss or not be prepared for the important events. And in the end of Romans 13 The apostle Paul talks about what it means to be prepared to live in light of the time that we're living in. He says Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt. To love one another, for he loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet. And whatever other commandment, there may be are summed up in this one rule. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore Love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this understanding the present time, the hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed the night is nearly over the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. This passage has two main sections one is simply the section on loving our neighbor as God calls us to. And then we're told to do that in light of the kind of time it is, and to wake up and to live that way. So when we look at the very beginning of this passage, it says, eliminate debt. Owe no one anything, is what it says very briefly, or as our translation had it, let no debt remain outstanding, then debt is not a desirable thing, just financial debt. The Bible says the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant or slave to the lender. So if you can avoid debt, slavery, that's a great idea. Try as much as possible not to owe anybody anything. And if you do owe somebody, don't leave the debt. Outstanding. Don't leave it unpaid. But keep chipping away at it until the debt is paid off the wicked. Borrow and do not repay but the righteous give generously. And so you want to be in a position to be someone who can give rather than simply living beyond your means and, and borrowing. But Paul's main point here is not so much how to manage your finances, although that, you know, is kind of a side lesson where he's picking up on principles that you find in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible, but he's really wanting to emphasize not so much what you don't owe, but what you do. Owe, and he uses the language several times in the book of Romans of being a debtor of owing somebody.

Dr. John Stott highlights several places in Romans where the idea of debt appears sometimes you'll just read it as we have an obligation. That's what the Trent translational say, but it means we owe a debt. And one debt. The Apostle says that he owes his I am debtor to Jews and to Gentiles, to preach the gospel, he has a debt to the world, to share the gospel with them. If you have the gospel, and other people don't, you owe them. We have a debt to the Holy Spirit, to live a holy life. chapter eight, verse 12, says, Therefore we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to it, but to the spirit, we owe the flesh nothing. We owe the Spirit because the Spirit is the one who gives us life, and gives us all of Christ's riches. And so if we owe anybody anything, we owe him we don't have the ability, of course, to pay God back or to give the spirit as much as he's given us. But he's using debt again, in that more figurative sense of you have an obligation. And so it's sometimes translated that way, we have an obligation to the Holy Spirit to live for Him. In chapter 13, we read about the debt that we have to rulers, if you owe taxes, pay taxes, you have a debt to the government, pay it, if you have a debt to lenders pay your loans. But above all, what's being emphasized here is, you always have one debt that's never paid off. You can keep do it and do it and do it and do it. And you can never say that's done no more of that you have a debt to your neighbor, to keep on loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus highlighted that as one of the great commandments of the Old Testament, to love your neighbor as yourself. And that's a debt that never goes away the commandments, all of them do not commit adultery, or murder or steal or covet any other commandment, they're summed up in Love your neighbor as yourself. So loving your neighbor is a summary of those commands. But there's two tables of law, the first table the law, is about your obligations to God. The second about your obligations to your neighbor, and the apostle here is citing those from the second section of the law on loving your neighbor. And He says you can just sum it all up by saying love your neighbor as yourself. And you can take any other commandment, and it is an expression of love. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore Love is the fulfillment of the law. You don't need a law to fulfill the law in a sense, do you have to have the government to tell you, you must not steal or you'll go to jail? Some people do. But if you truly love your neighbor, you're not going to rip your neighbor off. If you love your neighbor, do you need to be commanded, You shall not murder and you'll go to jail or be executed. If you murder your neighbor. If you love your neighbor, killing them is the last thing you want to do. Do you if you love your neighbor, would you want to take away your neighbor's wife and commit adultery and do something like that? No, that would not be acting in love. So love freely chooses not to harm others. And you don't need to be threatened by the government in order to refrain from doing it. But there as we just saw in earlier in Romans 13, there is a need for government but not because of people who love their neighbors. But to restrain those who don't. love also fulfills God's law, not just the nation's laws, but God's law. Without trying to earn God's acceptance. You can't for one thing, but also the acceptance is already freely given all of sin falls short of the glory of God and are freely justified. And we have, were justified by faith. The Apostle has emphasized that again and again. And so you're fulfilling the law in a sense by not trying to keep it at all. You simply have God's acceptance, you don't need to earn it. And now because you belong to God, and because Christ lives in you, and because you love your neighbor, you can fulfill the law of God. And Jesus says, Don't think I came to abolish the law or the prophets I came to fulfill them. And he came that we might fulfill God's law to by loving. Now, when we hear the apostle say, loving your neighbor is the fulfillment of the law. Aren't we forgetting something? When Jesus was asked, What is the greatest commandment of them all? What did he say?

Love God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul and mind and strength. And then there's a second like it Love your neighbor as yourself. And yet the Apostle says that loving your neighbor fulfills the law. How's that go? Well, maybe one way to think of it is just in terms of, of how one shows what's going on with the other. Because the Bible says, If you claim to love God, whom you haven't seen, and then don't love your neighbor whom you have seen, you're fooling yourself. The Bible says, You cannot worship God through images, God has given one image of himself. And that is he created humanity in his own image. And if you want to express love for God, you channel that love for God towards your neighbor. And in loving your neighbor, you show love to God. Or to take it a different way. You might think that love for neighbor is all there is to it. But where does that love for neighbor come from? Well, it comes from God. And it comes from the love of God poured out into your Holy Spirit. As it says in Romans five, verse five, God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he's given us that that outpouring of love for God, and of God's love for us into our hearts, is the source of the love that we have for our neighbor, that fulfills the law. Though, sometimes there are these big 50 cup coffee pots, and they have a tube on the front. And that clear tube has coffee in it. And if you wanted to fill 50 cups of coffee, would that tube fill all 50 It might look like it. you're taking a cup, you take another cup, you take another cup, and so on. But the real supply of coffee is inside the big urn, that little tube is just kind of a measure. And you can see how much coffee's in the big urn by how much is in the tube. But the tube is not really the source of the coffee. And in the same way, love for neighbor is a measure of the amount of love for God. But the real source and power of the love is God's love for us and our love for Him. And then it comes pouring out and is measured by our love for neighbor. So the apostle is saying, if you want to fulfill God's law, then love of neighbor is going to fulfill just about any commandment that you can think of that the government might give, certainly, but also that God Himself will give. We love our neighbor as ourselves. And then he says, Do this understanding the present time? Do this understanding the present time? Well, what's he mean? What time is it? Very often, knowing how to behave is shaped by understanding the times. The Old Testament it says the minute Isacar understood the times and knew what Israel had to do. When you understand the times, then you have a good idea of what you need to do. And so we might look at our times and say, Well, what kind of times are we living in. And when the apostle in this passage talks about the end being near there are a lot of people who think the end is near

for a variety of reasons. I like the cartoon that has someone who's holding a sign. And it says The end is near. And person walks up to him and says, I can't stand you religious fanatics with your scare tactics. And the person holding the sign says I'm not religious, I'm an environmentalist. And then the next one, the next guy's holding the sign as well, because they believe the end is near. There's there's a climate crisis, perhaps that that scares some people. There's a debt crisis as governments pile up trillions and trillions in debt. And as individuals have huge debts that they owe. For some there's a terror crisis where violence and people with guns or enemies are out to kill. And so when you live in times like that, people see these as the crises of our times. And certainly, those are things to be aware of, and to be wise in addressing. The Bible says that if you want to understand the crisis of the time we live in, we live between the two comings of Christ and that whole period between those two comings is known in the Bible as the last days. And the greatest crisis of these times is the debt that we owe to God the unpayable debt of sin and people need to have God's provision for that debt, or they'll never be right with Him. There definitely is a climate crisis in terms of the environment around us but the greatest crisis is not so much just the pollution of God's good creation, but it is the pollution that exists in what the Bible calls the world, the world in the bad sense, the world that corrupts. The evil ideas, and the things that are taken for granted in the climate around you. And you need to understand what's going on in that kind of climate rather than just going along with it. And the terrorists out there. Yeah, they're bad. But the Bible says that there are unseen dark powers that are much more threatening than any particular human terrorists. So we need to understand that we live in a time of crisis where there are these threats, the threat of our own sin, that's our debt crisis, the threat of the world. And of course, the threat of the devil, the world, the flesh and the devil are again and again throughout the Bible portrayed as the main crises that we face. But in this passage it's not just talking about that, it certainly is because it says you need to put on the armor of light, and you don't put on armor. If there's no danger, you put on armor because there's danger. And so knowing what time it is, and putting on armor does tell us we need to be alert to the dangers that are out there. But it's also a time of opportunity. He says the night's nearly over the day is at hand, the first rays of the sunrise are already coming. And you can tell it's getting lighter, because Jesus light and his love have already come into this world and are shining in our lives. And so we can already be children of light to live as children of light. And because you can see the darkness starting to fade and the light beginning to come. It means that Jesus return is getting nearer. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. So it's a time of opportunity. Jesus is coming soon. And we need to be prepared for that coming of Jesus. And not only is Jesus coming, and it's sooner than ever, but his first coming already happened. So the light is already shining. So what time is it, it's time to be ready to address what's wrong and to deal with enemies and to wear the armor of light. But even more so it's time to be ready to meet Christ, and ready right now, to live for Christ and live in his light and be clothed in Him. The apostle and the whole New Testament makes a big deal of knowing what time it is, of living in light of Jesus first coming and living in readiness for Jesus second coming. And at the same time, during that time, living in readiness also to be defending ourselves and advancing against the forces of darkness. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed the night is nearly over. The day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

The Bible emphasizes these two ages the passing world age and the coming world age of the Lord Jesus. And in the time between Jesus to comings, those ages overlap, the fading age of the darkness that is going away or dissipating and the light that is going to keep shining more and more and then in full brightness when Jesus comes again. And for if you read some of the things the Bible says, such as Christ has come I saw Satan fall from heaven. Satan has been chained. Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities making a spectacle out of them on the cross. You'd think that the powers of evil were pretty well done and over with. But there's also the reality that the Bible says hey, the devil goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. You need to be on the alert because the the dark powers are at work in this world. What's going on with that? Well, once again, in light of Jesus coming, the decisive and victorious blow has taken place but the mop up has not yet been completed. New Testament scholar Oscar Kulan lived during the aftermath of World War II and he compared it to D Day and VE Day Victory in Europe Day he said on D Day. Basically Hitler's Doom was sealed. The allied forces successfully landed in Normandy on D Day they established their presence in Europe. And for all practical purposes. Hitler was finished when D Day succeeded. But Hitler didn't quite get the memo. And the bloodiest battle of the war. The Battle of the Bulge was actually fought AFTER D DAY when Hitler threw everything he had into a counter offensive on that front and Hitler wound up losing that battle too. But it was a terrible and bloody battle. And if you had been a soldier involved in moving across Europe or had been caught up in the Battle of the Bulge, there would have been places where you thought you were losing, where you were suffering where many of your colleagues were going down. And it might have looked if you were on the ground as though you were getting defeated. And the enemy was as strong as ever. But in fact, he'd already been defeated. And the Bible speaks of Satan's defeat, and says, that when Christ came, the devil tried to destroy the child, but the child was exalted to heaven, you can read that in Revelation chapter 12. And then it says, Rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil is gone down to you. And he's full of fury. Because his time is short. That's why he's full of fury he's trying to do as much damage as he can, in the time he has left. And so when the devil is full of fury, what he's attacking, when he's hurting you, when he's hurting others around you, when he's always trying to tempt people. You don't greet that by saying, and we're losing, we're going down, all is ruined, all is lost,

because he's already been defeated. And the final victory is sure to come. But you need to realize the time you're living in, and so you live in light of Christ's victory, and you live for him, you know, that he's the right side, and the winning side. And so put aside the deeds of darkness, put on the armor of light, realize that Christ's first coming gives victory over Satan, that his second coming, is the final mop up and victory. And so live in light of those two great facts. And this isn't the only passage in scripture where the apostle talks about it. And it's not even the most extensive discussion, but I'll just refer to a couple of those other passages. Anytime the apostle goes on at greater length in another passage is going to be the best commentary, you can get on the meaning of this passage. When he writes to the Thessalonians, he says, you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, it's gonna come suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman. Well, we had some of that just this past week where, you know, my daughter was due but the baby didn't come and didn't come and didn't come. But you know what, when somebody is pregnant, that baby's gonna show up sometime. And then when it happens, then it's all of a sudden, and quick and that baby's there. And the Bible says that it's like a thief might catch you by surprise, or like the labor pains of a pregnant woman. Now, Jesus hasn't just sort of come, Jesus came. And the Bible says the whole creation is groaning as with the birth pains. And so even the pains we go through are not the pain of defeat, or the pain of a terminal illness, but the pain of giving birth to a brand new creation. At any rate, when you're pregnant, and when you're due, or when you're past due, it shouldn't come as a total shock, that a baby shows up. But you brothers are not in darkness, so that this day should surprise you like a thief, you're all sons of the light. And sons of the day, we do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then let us not be like others who are asleep. But let us be alert and self controlled for those who sleep, sleep at night. And those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self controlled. Putting on faith and love is a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet. So the day is coming, and it's going to come suddenly, and we need to live as people of the day right now not as a bunch of party animals who act like it's two a.m. but rather as those who are living already with the sunrise and it's first rays shining on us and then having our armor in place. So you see the same sequence of thought you've got to be alert, you got to be awake, you got to live as a person of the light. You got to have your armor on. Ephesians also follows that same approach the Apostle says, You were once darkness now you are light in the Lord live his children of the light. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them This is why it said wake up oh sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. It's not that that may have been one of the statements that was made at early Christian baptisms. Wake up oh sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. You've been buried with Christ in baptism. You're rising again with Christ in newness of life. Wake up.

Oh sleeper, rise from the dead. Christ shines on you. Live as children of the light, in Colossians, the apostle puts it more briefly, you've been delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love. So you have Ephesians, saying, now you've got to wake up. And then you go a chapter later what's Ephesians say now, be strong in the Lord in the power of his might put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. And after you've done everything, to stand, stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to these, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and He speaks also the helmet of salvation. So you have the armor of God, spelled out in the greatest detail there in Ephesians, six, but I'm preaching on Romans 13, not Ephesians six, I got a whole book on Spiritual Warfare and many chapters on the armor of God. So I won't try to cram all of that in here within the next couple of minutes. But you get again, the point we need to arise, live as people of the light, be ready for battle against the hosts of darkness, and not be caught by surprise, either by Christ's coming, or by the attacks that may come against us. Those of you who've studied the war for independence of the United States will remember that on one Christmas evening, the British outpost at Trenton thought that it would be an excellent time for a party. They drank it up that night. A lot of them were Hessian mercenaries who were fighting for the British and they were all partied out and in a drunken stupor, they thought it was a great night for a party, George Washington thought it was an excellent night for an attack. The river was jammed with ice and it was very difficult to do. But they made it across the river. And they literally caught the enemy napping. And they surrendered with almost no casualties. Because it's really hard to fight a battle when you have been carousing all night. And the Bible is saying to us that if you want to get caught by a surprise attack, then act like you're one of those people who does what people do at night, you get drunk, you do all kinds of bad stuff. You have debauchery and and orgies and what have you. And the enemy might catch you sleeping and really wreck you. And maybe even worse, the Lord will catch you napping and wreck you. Because to be caught napping and not being aware of the enemy's schemes is a terrible situation to be in. But Jesus also tells the story of a master who leaves his workers in charge and then goes away for a while. And the person that he left in charge starts getting drunk and beating up on the other employees and ripping them off and being cruel to them. And all of a sudden, the the owner of the business makes a surprise visit and he catches you know, his subordinate behaving like that, and the guy is ruined. So the Lord is saying, be ready right now to face let the dark powers throw against you. But be remember, Christ is coming again. And you do not want to be caught in the middle of terrible way of life. And of behaving as though Christ doesn't even exist when in fact, he's coming again. Let's behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness. So he's referring there to just just drunken revelry and parties and not being sober at all sexual immorality. Various. What kind of age do we live in? You asked what the times we live in now. So many people don't even believe in marriage anymore. Hardly believes in male and female anymore. There has never been an age worse than ours. Although

the age in which Paul wrote may have been very similar. The behavior of the Corinthians and many of the Romans and especially the Roman emperors and nobles was very, very bad. So he's saying, That's not who you are. He's writing to Rome. The Roman parties were well known. He's writing to people in Rome. He says that's not you anymore. Your children of light, not children of sexual immorality and Debauchery. Debauchery. What's that mean? Well, you don't even need to Know what it means it just sounds bad. Debauchery, but debauchery means throwing it away. It's like be like the prodigal son who wasted his whole inheritance on a bunch of bad stuff with debauchery is being totally wasteful and just squandering every good thing. You've got dissension and jealousy. Now that's a pairing that that prim and proper church people might feel a bit offended at because, yeah, orgies and sexual immorality and debauchery, yuck. Who doesn't love a good church fight? You know, the dissension of isn't there something we can bicker over? They know, that's just kind of a parlor game. So, so people sometimes who will say oh, the degraded behavior, of the pagans, that's just awful, awful, awful. But then get into quarrels and arguments. And so that's just kind of normal behavior. Hey, we're just human. Well, yeah, you're just human. But the point is, you're not supposed to be just fallen human anymore. Not just the works of the flesh, but the works of the Spirit. So clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. When you think about the clothing that you put on the armor of light, and Jesus Christ, that's what you wear, you put on the armor to resist the attacks of evil one, and you put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you don't make plans for how you're going to give the flesh the fallen sinful nature, its way you don't think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Now, it would not be right to preach on this passage, without mentioning the most important probably convert in the history of Christianity. That this passage won over Augustine of Hippo was an African. He was a genius. He was one of the greatest thinkers of all time. And when Augustine was a young man, he liked to live it up. He liked the party life. He was a successful professor, brilliant intellectual, making it big in Rome, he had come from Africa, got to Rome. Now he's in Italy, the center of the world, and he is having a high old time. At the same time. He's, his career is doing great because he is so brilliant. And he's had his variety of flings. And he's got a woman that he's living with and even has a kid by. And meanwhile, he's a little restless, spiritually. And he tries out one religion, he tries out another religion, he tries out another one. And he runs into a Christian leader named Ambrose. And he at first goes to Ambrose just to listen to him preach, because he is a professor of communications. Augustine is he's a professor of rhetoric. And this Ambrose is just a humdinger of a preacher. So he's thinking, Man, this guy can really preach. And if I'm going to be a professor of Communication and rhetoric, I could listen to this guy and maybe pick up a few pointers. And he says, he started going there, because he was such a good talker. But then he got to know him. And he was such a kind and loving and open person to talk with. And so over time, through Ambrose, and through some other Christians who Augustine meets in Rome, he becomes persuaded that all those other religions, he's been snooping into our false and that Christianity is true. He's convinced of it. And so he says, I knew what was true, I had now found that pearl of great price, and I ought to have sold all that I had, and bought it. But I hesitated. By that he meant giving up the way of life he'd had. And handing his life over to Christ. He did not want to give up that life that he had. So he said, at times, he would pray, Lord gives me purity. But not yet. He didn't want to be pure just yet because he was enjoying too much the way he was living.

And so he says, I could see it perfectly clearly. But I was still tied down to the earth. This world was a kind of pleasant weight upon me, as happens in sleep. And the thoughts in which I meditated on you, Lord, were like the efforts of someone who tries to get up, but is so overcome with drowsiness that he sinks back again into sleep you ever had that? You have good intentions, you're going to meet the day you're going to do this and that and then even though it's time to get up right to gust and we gladly take a little longer in bed conscious though we may be that we should not be doing so. I convinced by the truth could find nothing at all to say except lazy words, spoken half asleep a minute, just a minute, just a little longer. He knew of snooze alarms, you know, 1600 years before they existed, he was hitting the snooze alarm with Jesus, a little longer, just a little longer, but there was no limit to the minutes. And the little time longer went a long way. But he became more and more miserable. Even though his party life and his other things were going on, and in order to he became more and more miserable, knowing that Christ is the reality, and that he was not yet yielding. And so, one day he was sitting under a tree and just crying his eyeballs out and he thought to himself, why not now, why not finish this very hour with my uncleanness. And then he said, he heard a voice coming through the window, somewhere, and he wasn't sure if it was a boy or girls voice but it said take and read take and read. So we went back to the book of apostles that he had been looking at and he flopped it open. And he said, I, the first words I saw were not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension in jealousy, rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. And he said, I had no wish to read any further, and there was no need to. For as soon as I reached the end of this sentence, it was as though my heart was filled with a light of confidence. And all the shadows of my doubt, were swept away. And he told his friend Olympias who was a friend of his who'd been struggling with the same thing. So Olympias read the next verse, which said, receive those whose faith is weak. And Olympias said, Well, my faith is pretty weak. But the Bible says to receive me, so I'm a Christian too. So he and his best bud became Christians that day. And then he went and told his mother, Augustine did, his mother Monica who had been praying for him for years and years and years, and just seeing him get worse and worse and worse. And she was leaping for joy. He says, and so they were celebrating the goodness of God together. So that's the impact that these few sentences had in the life of probably the greatest genius. From the time of the apostles until today and maybe the most influential person in Christian history. He read these words about leaving behind that old way, and clothing himself with the Lord Jesus Christ. I just want to ask any of you here today? Have you been a little like Augustine? You've got your snooze alarm. And you fully intend someday to follow Jesus, because you know, he's the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE you know it. And yet, Lord, yeah, make me good, but eh not just yet.

Nice. So you hit the snooze alarm, and you hit it again. And you hit it again. Well, why not today? Wake up, oh, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Are you wide awake? This passage we've been considering today, alerts us to at least four areas where we should be really paying attention. One is are you alert to the ways you can love? If you want to be like Christ, then be on the lookout? Who can I love and how can I love them? What are my opportunities for love today? For some of you, that may just be your little brother or your sister, to love the people that God's put right in front of your nose. It might be the love between parents and children where you need to be alert to the ways you can love because you can sleep your way through the whole day, and be mumbling and grouchy at each other. When if you just wake up and love, you'd be fulfilling God's will for you. Are you alert to the threat of evil? Or are you plowing through most of your days as though it's just a people thing? And I've got to do what I do other people are doing what they do. And if they ticked me off, well, then I'm going to be ticked off. If they offend me, then that's just a human interaction. Or are you alert to the fact that you need the armor of light every day, that you need to put on the full armor of God, to contend not against this flesh and blood, but against the evil powers of this dark world? You got to be alert to how you can love awake and alert to the attacks of the evil one, alert to the fact that Jesus is coming again. And that his coming will be sudden, and that we want to be found in him and acting on his behalf when he does come again. Don't go through every day of life. Just Not thinking about Jesus coming the Bible again and again gives Jesus coming as one of the greatest encouragements to live for him. And we are snoozing. If we're acting like everything's always going to go on and on the way it has been. And we look forward to that coming, we can do so with joy. The Bible says Your salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. You might say, Well, I've already been saved. Well, yeah, you've already been saved, and you've not yet been saved, that the Bible always has that already. And that not yet. You've been saved by Jesus first coming and putting your faith in him. But our final salvation, the resurrection of our bodies, the whole creation made new that hasn't happened yet. And that day is closer than it's ever been. It's closer than the first time you put your faith in Jesus it's getting closer and closer and closer. As I mentioned before, once once somebody is pregnant, that birth is going to happen, there are some things you know that you kind of wonder whether they're going to happen at all, but you're pretty sure that a birth is going to happen. And so it is with Jesus coming, the the whole creation has the birth pains of the Holy Spirit who's already at work putting the life of Christ in His people in creation, and Jesus is coming. And we need to live in the light of the fact that he's coming again. And one more thing to be alert then is, you're in Christ right now be clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you take the most common phrases in all the writings of the apostle, you'll find in Christ and Christ in you is right at the top of the list, you clothe yourself in Christ, or Christ lives in me, are you alert to that reality, to the fact that you have the mind of Christ, you have the Spirit of Christ, you're clothed in Christ, you're enveloped in Christ. Again, it's something that even Christians, even longtime Christians, can get a little bit of drowsy about, and not alert to the fact that Jesus lives in me. And I need to pay attention to right now to the thoughts that he's putting in me to the things that, that he's leading me into, and to the blessings that he's pouring out in me. So again, this message is just a wake up call. Be alert to the Ways You Can Love Be alert to the dark side of evil. Be alert to the fact that Jesus is coming again. And be alert to the reality of Christ in you right now. And of course, if Christ has not yet clothed you with His righteousness, and you haven't already received Christ into your life, then like Augustine, stop hitting the snooze alarm. Say, why not? today? Why not today? Oh Lord, we thank you for your great Love and for your word of truth. We pray, Father, that you will help us to heed that word, that word of promise of opportunity.

We thank you for the glory of your first coming and your victory. And we pray, Lord, that by your Holy Spirit, you'll wake us up, that you'll make us alert to your reality that we live as children of the day, we pray that we may put off the fruitless deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Then Lord as some of us even now consider whether to commit our lives fully to you. May we indeed take that step of professing our faith of being baptized if we've never been baptized of just taking that decisive step to live for You? And Lord, for the rest of us if we've gotten drowsy again, alert us again to the wonder of what it is to look forward to your second coming to be ready to take on the forces of darkness and to do everything through the power of Christ who lives in us and who surrounds us. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

最后修改: 2022年01月17日 星期一 10:00