Tuesday, June 25, 2019

This Is Your Wake Up Call

Part 7 of Love in Action

Text: 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 (v. 11). 

A Wake Up Call 

Have you ever received a wake up call? I’m talking about a literal wake up call: “Good morning, Mr. McLeod. This is your wake up call.”

Yes, hotels still do wake up calls. Why do people request a wake up call? Usually because they have something important to do the next day. Maybe they don’t want to be late for a very important meeting at 9:00 a.m. Or maybe they’re taking their kids to an amusement park and want to be there as soon as it opens.

The apostle Paul gives his readers a wake up call. He’s saying, “This is your wake up call.” He tells us to do two things: (1) wake up and (2) get dressed.

Wake Up! 

It’s time to wake up. Paul writes, “You know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep” (v. 11). What kind of “sleep” do we need to wake from? To “sleep” is to be “conformed to this world” (12:2). Christians are to be non-conformists.

Paul says, “You know the time.” Do we? Why is it time for us to “wake from sleep”?

(1) “For [i.e., because] salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (v. 11). “Salvation” refers to the believer’s future glorification (cf. 8:23, 29-30).

(2) “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” (v. 12). “The day” is the day of Christ’s return (i.e., “the day of the Lord”). This is the next major event on God’s calendar. And it could happen at any moment! [Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10.]

How can Paul say Christ’s return is “almost here”? It’s been almost 2,000 years! [Read 2 Peter 3:3-10.] 

Some people who have almost died (e.g., heart attack) say they’ve received “a wake up call.” Their perspective on life has changed. Their priorities have changed. Some things have become more important to them, and some things have become less important to them.

We need a wake up call. This world as we know will one day pass away. So it’s foolish to be “conformed to this world.” We should have a different perspective and different priorities. The apostle Peter writes, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).

Get Dressed! 

It’s time to get dressed. Paul says, “So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (v. 13).

When we think of “light” and “darkness,” we usually think of what is good and what is evil. But Paul probably also has in mind two different ages: “the present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) and the age of salvation to come.

In verses 12b-14, there are three pairs of contrasts: (1) “cast off the works of darkness” / “put on the armor of light” (v. 12b); (2) “walk properly as in the daytime” / “not in orgies, and drunkenness, not sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy” (v. 13); (2) “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” / “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (v. 14).

What does it mean to “put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”? Basically, they both mean to live as a follower of Christ should live.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul writes, “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.” Faith, hope, and love. We are to have faith in Christ, hope in Christ, and love for Christ.

What Are You Living For? 

What are you living for?

Imagine that Jesus is standing before you. Then ask yourself, “What is really important? What will last forever?”

Maybe we need a wake up call.

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