We continue this morning in our study of Romans looking at some of the great peaks and pinnacles of this incredible book. We're looking at chapter 13, Romans chapter 13 again as we did in our last study, only we're moving on to the text of verses 11 through 14. Romans chapter 13, verses 11 through 14.
Paul writes, "And this do, 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 day, 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."
This text contains in that last verse one of the most straightforward, profound, important, and practical exhortations in all of Scripture. That little statement, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," sums up in great measure what the Christian life is really all about. And I want to go back and deal with that this morning and then we'll complete a look at this passage next Lord's Day morning as well.
What Paul is saying here is that you need to be clothed with the character, the disposition, the attitudes, the mind, the habits, the virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word Christian means little Christ. It was first given to those who followed Christ because it was their goal and their desire to be like Christ. And that is precisely what he is saying here. Now by the time we get to chapter 13 in Romans, we know a lot about Christ. We know He is God. We know He has come into the world to die and rise again. We know He has granted to us salvation and righteousness, and He has given to us peace and love and grace. We know that we are secure in Him with an everlasting salvation that cannot be broken. We know that we have received in Him the Holy Spirit. We know much about His person. We know much about His work. And now we are told to put Him on. This is like putting on a garment. And this particular terminology is very familiar to any student of the New Testament, because it is used in so many different passages. We find in the New Testament that we could take the...the putting on passages and pretty well divide them into two categories. And I want you to understand these two because they're so crucial.
The first one has to do with salvation, the putting on of Christ at salvation. The second has to do with the putting on of Christ in sanctification. One occurs at the time of your conversion, the time of your redemption when you come to the knowledge of God through Christ. The other is to occur regularly, routinely and daily in your Christian experience. But in both of those cases, the terminology of putting on Christ is very helpful and graphic and instructive for us as we shall see.
Now when you became a Christian, first of all, at the time of your justification or redemption or conversion or salvation, you did put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Galatians 3:27, Galatians 3:27. And here Paul says, verse 27, "All of you who were immersed into Christ,” all of you who were baptized into Christ. That is all of you who were joined to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection which is a salvific, if I can use that word, experience or reality. All of you who were saved, you were saved by being united with Christ. It is true of you that you have clothed yourselves with Christ. Now that is very basic to Christian experience. When you were saved, you were clothed with Christ. In other words, the holiness and the righteousness of Christ became your garment. This is true.
And I can show you in what sense it is true. Go back to Romans, chapter 4, for a moment and verse 5. This is quite a fascinating statement. In Romans 4 and verse 5, Paul writes, "But to the one who does not work." Now what does he mean by that? He means, you can't earn your salvation. "To the one who is not working to be justified." Back in verse 2, he talked about being justified by works. He says, "But to the one who is not attempting to work his own justification or to earn his own righteousness, but believes in Him, that is God, who justifies the ungodly," listen to this, "his faith is reckoned as righteousness." That's an absolutely incredible statement. If you're not trying to earn your salvation, if you're not trying to come to God on the basis of your works, but you are believing in God, and that God justifies the ungodly by grace through the work of Christ, that believing or that faith is reckoned by God as righteousness. Marvelous. You have no righteousness to offer God. The best you can do is filthy rags, Isaiah said. And that's a term that means menstrual cloths, the most despicable thing. You cannot bring to God any merit or righteousness of your own. But when you recognize that and you come to God and you receive the salvation He offers simply and only by faith, God considers that faith as if it were righteousness. In other words, God says in order to have a relationship with me you have to be righteous. If you try to be righteous on your own, you won't be righteous, but if you will admit you're not righteous and you have no righteousness in yourself and no capacity for righteousness and just believe, I will count that as if it were righteousness. Amazing. So when you came to Christ in that first saving, wonderful, regenerating, conversion, you came offering nothing, you came by faith. God counted your faith as righteousness, therefore God can say about you he is, she is righteous.
Chapter 5 of Romans adds another dimension. Chapter 5 of Romans, verse 17, looking back to Adam he says, "If by the transgression of the one," that is Adam, "death reigned through the one," and we know it did. Adam sinned and the whole race fell and death became the...the king, the monarch over everybody. "Much more those who receive the abundance of grace," that is saving grace, "and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one Jesus Christ." Now just this thought out of there, when you came by faith and received the abundance of grace to cover your sin and to give you salvation, God then gave you the gift of righteousness. So first of all, when you came by faith he counted your faith as righteous and then He gave you a gift of righteousness. He gave you righteousness.
In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 we follow the process a little bit further, 2 Corinthians 5:21. This further defines this righteousness. "God made Christ who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf." We understand that. "God made Christ who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf in order that," here it is, "we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Now we're really talking about an amazing statement. He doesn't say we take righteousness, we get righteousness. He says we what? We become righteousness. This is pervasive. We started out with faith and God said I considered it as if it were righteousness. Then we were given a gift of righteousness, and now He says that gift literally caused us to become the righteousness of God in Him. And we can conclude from passages like this that when you put on the Lord Jesus Christ at your salvation, you put on His righteousness. And God now sees you as righteous, because when He looks at you he sees Christ. He sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It's as if He can't see to you because you're clothed in the righteousness of Christ and that's what He sees.
Go back to Matthew 22, where this same concept shows up in a parable of our Lord, a parable about the king who wanted to have a festival and a celebration and a feast for his son who was getting married. And so the king gave a wedding feast for his son, Matthew 22:2 says. And the guests were invited. Of course, the first group of guests were the pre-invited guests, namely Israel, who refused to come, and so then he sent out and invited anybody to come, anybody in the highway could come. They went into the streets, they gathered anybody and everybody and here you have gospel invitations being symbolized in this parable or illustrated. And finally the guests are in there and the king is looking over the guests in verse 11. The son of course is Christ, the king, of course, is God and the festival represents the kingdom and the...the invitation to come represents the gospel and here all these people show up. The king came in and he looks over the dinner guests and he saw a man not dressed in wedding clothes. And he said to him, "Friend how did you come in here without wedding clothes." And he was speechless, he had no answer, had no excuse, no reason. And the king said to the servants, "Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." He said, "Send him to hell." I like to call him the kingdom crasher. He tries to crash God's ultimate party, but you don't stay there and you don't even get there unless you have the proper garment, the proper covering. Unless has been put on you the proper robe. Do you think the Jews understood what he was talking about in that parable? Yes, they did because they were familiar with Isaiah 61:10. "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. My soul will exult in my God for He has clothed me with garments of salvation. He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness." And you can't get in the kingdom without that robe of righteousness. So when you came to Christ with simple faith, God considered your faith as if it were righteousness. And when you were saved He then gave you gift of righteousness, that gift was so pervasive that you became the righteousness of God in Christ and you now are clothed with that and that is precisely what Galatians 3:27 intended to say. "All who have been immersed into Christ have put on Christ Jesus." When God looks at you, He sees Christ because you're clothed in His righteousness. You have become His righteousness. That is the majesty; that is the astounding wonder of salvation. That is the extent of salvation. God has made you to be righteous.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, these wonderful words, "You are in Christ Jesus who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." He has made us all of that, wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. No wonder he says, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." You became righteous positionally before God. You are a new creation, all things have passed away, you're new. You now have all things that pertained in life and godliness and there is a righteous position or standing that you have before God.
You can see the same imagery in the 4th chapter of Ephesians and in the 3rd chapter of Colossians. We won't take time to look at those. But let me turn the corner. There are also some exhortations to Christians to put on the Lord Jesus Christ such as the one right in front of your eyes in Romans chapter 13. Paul says, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Now is he talking to non-Christians? No, he's talking to believers. You say, "Well, I thought you just said at salvation we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we're clothed in his perfect righteousness." That is true. That is true. We did, but there is another dimension to this. He says put on the Lord Jesus Christ here in Romans 13.
In Ephesians chapter 6, familiar to most of us, Paul says this, verse 11, "Put on the full armor of God." There's that same put on imagery, like putting on a garment. "Put on the full armor of God," verse 11. Down in verse 14, "Put on with that armor the breastplate of righteousness." Now listen to me, there is a righteousness that you have from the moment of your salvation, but there is another righteousness that you must put on every day.
In Colossians, chapter 3, we find similar injunction given to believers. Colossians, chapter 3, in verse 12, "So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on." Now listen, he has to be talking about Christians. He's talking about the elect who are holy and beloved and he says to them, "put on." Put on what? Righteous things, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other, "whoever has a complaint against anyone just as the Lord forgave you so also should you," and beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. So the Christian has put on Christ, but still needs to put on Christ. If you put on a heart of compassion, that's putting on Christ, He had that heart. If you put on kindness, that's putting on Christ. If you put on humility, that's putting on Christ. If you put on gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, that's putting on Christ because that's just what the Lord did. He says that. And if you put on love, that's putting on Christ. Those are all the components of righteousness, yes, the righteousness of Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 in verse 8, He says, "Put on the breastplate of faith and love and as helmet the hope of salvation." Again, he's saying put on righteousness. Now we have righteousness put on us by God. We are garmented as it were before Him in our position in our standing, but practically we still on a day to day basis need to put on Jesus Christ. This refers to our behavior. Let me see if I can't describe it in a way that you can grasp simply. When God looks at you, He sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ. But God would like it that everybody else who looks at you also sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ. God can see you clothed in the righteousness of Christ because that's your standing before Him. The only way the world will ever see you clothed with the righteousness of Christ is when it's visible in your character. So you have a garment that is visible to God and invisible to the world and God would like you to put on a visible garment that the world can see to go along with the visible one that he can see. So there is an indicative and an imperative. You have put on Christ, you are clothed with His righteousness and you must put on Christ so that you can be clothed with His righteousness. You are made like Christ through salvation; now you're to live like Christ through sanctification. To put it simply, you are to become in practice what you are in position. You are to become before men what you are before God. You are to so live that the world sees you the way God sees you. This is putting on Christ and you can simplify the Christian life in just those terms, put on the Lord Jesus Christ. The perfect righteousness of Christ was made up of a number of things. He had righteous motives. He had righteous attitudes. He had righteous thoughts. He spoke righteous words. He did righteous deeds. He had righteous aspirations. And though those things clothe you before God, they should also clothe you before the world that watches, and before the church.
That's the goal of your life is to become in practice what you are in position. Is to become to those who see you what you are to God who sees you. Is to become on the outside in the vision of men what you are on the inside in the vision of God. Now he turns that over and shows you the backside of that in verse 14. And the backside of it is very simple. The other way to look at this, the negative end of it is, "and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." If you put on the Lord Jesus Christ, obviously you're not going to do that. If you do that, obviously it will affect your putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now please notice this phrase, because it's simple and yet it has some richness to it that we need to grasp. He says, "Make no provision for the flesh." That little word provision, very interesting. It means forethought. It means to plan in advance. And what Paul is saying is this: Don't make plans to fulfill your lusts. You know as well as I do that everyone of us has inside a very effective, long-range sin planning committee. You understand that, don't you? Yeah, and that little committee of bodily desires and lusts and members is always plotting out how lust can get its fulfillment. This is different than the paraptma s say of Galatians 6. "If anyone's overtaken in a fall." This is different than going through life and stumbling. This is premeditated. These are the presumptuous sins that the psalmist talked about. And this is typical of the unregenerate person who...who plots out the scenario so that his lusts can get fulfillment.
Back in Psalm 36 that's worth listening to the insights of the Holy Spirit as He describes how this works. Psalm 36:1, "Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart." Now that's how it starts. Sin starts in the heart. It starts talking to us and it usually says I want, I want, I want, I want. And there's no fear of God before his eyes. Where there's no fear of God, you cancel out the...the authority. You cancel out the accountability. You cancel out the fear factor. So you've got your lusts talking to you...yourself in your heart, and you say God won't know or God won't care or God will forgive. I'm not going to worry about God. I'm just going to do this. And once you have started to cultivate that in your heart, and you've eliminated the fear of God, then what happens? Verse 4, "He plans wickedness upon his bed. He sets himself on a path that is not good." You get God out of the picture and ultimately you start to make your plans.
In Psalm 52, "Why do you boast in evil, oh mighty man? The loving kindness of God endures all day long. Your tongue devises destruction; like a sharp razor, oh worker of deceit." You're planning and you're plotting and you're devising what is going to destroy you.
I will never forget reading in the L.A. Times about a prostitute in East Los Angeles who was plying her trade and a man came along in whose heart lust had planned sin, and he was looking for the fulfillment of that plan and he found this girl and for some unknown and bizarre reason she got in his car and down the road they went somewhere and stopped and as he endeavored to kiss her, she leaned toward him with a razor blade in her teeth and cut off his lips and left him bleeding. Sin is like a razor, the psalmist said. You think it's going to taste so good and fulfill your desire and it'll cut your lips off and leave you in a pool of blood. But the heart deceives this, this person that we are. And the little long-range sinning committee, sin planning committee, lays out a strategy. And I'll tell you when you know you've reached a certain point in spiritual life when you have spiritual strength is when you're no longer planning your sin. None of us is ever going to get to the point where we don't trip into it. Somebody says something to us that we don't like and we quickly retort. We didn't premeditate that, but the sinfulness of our heart gushed up in our knee-jerk reaction. That's always going to be a potential reality, but where you get to a certain spiritual level of maturity, the plotting planning process begins to diminish. And what he's saying here is, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" means you are no longer planning out the fulfillment of your lusts. No place for evil plans. No place for plans to sin. So you make no plans to feed the lusts of your flesh.
Now you remember back in Romans 6 and Romans 7 how clearly the apostle Paul identified the flesh as the place where we have our problem. The flesh simply is a term that means our unredeemed humanness, that part of us that is not yet redeemed, that is not yet transformed, that is not yet saved, if you will. It is that principle warring in us that makes us do what we don't want to do and not do what we ought to do. It dwells in our humanness. It dwells in our members. Paul says, "our bodily parts." It's not just the physical part; it's our human mind and emotions as well. But it is the beachhead to sin, and we are never to plan for its fulfillment. We are never to feed the lusts that drive it. So putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely basic and absolutely essential, in practice as in position.
Let me show you one other text that I think will maybe pull this together and kind of wrap it all up, two texts, one and then another. Galatians, chapter 4 in verse 19, very simple and graphic text, Paul says this, "My children with whom I am again in labor." What in the world is he talking about? Well, labor, of course, is the process by which a woman brings a child to full term and to birth. Paul is saying, I'm in the process of being pregnant with you and I'm trying to give birth to you in the image of Christ. I am in labor until Christ is fully formed in you. A woman holds in her womb that infant. That infant is safe and protected there and she is very careful and cautious about how she lives and what she does and how she eats because that little life is being nurtured and nourished by her body. And she keeps that little child there in that safe place until the labor starts and until the child is fully formed and can be given birth. And Paul is borrowing from that analogy and saying I'm like a pregnant mother and I...I just keep caring for you and nurturing you and nourishing you until you come to the fullness of Christ-likeness and I can set you on your own. That's the goal. Yes, you have put on the Lord Jesus Christ positionally at your salvation and that's how God sees you, but I want you to make Christ the pattern of your life in terms of practice so that's how everybody else sees you too. But how can I do this? How? What is the path? What is the process?
Very important statement in 2 Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 18, very important. And you know it, because I comment on it so very often. It is one of the watershed texts of spiritual sanctification. "We all with unveiled face," that is we don't have any restrictions under the New Covenant, nothing is veiling us, "we look as in a mirror," at the glory of Lord. What is that mirror? The mirror is Scripture. The glory of Lord is reflected from Him through the Bible, is that not true? If I pick up the Bible I see him, do I not? This is the mirror that shows Him to me and as I gaze into this Word and it reflects to me the transcending glory of my Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, I am being transformed into the same image from one level of glory to the next by the Holy Spirit. From the Lord the Spirit, that's very basic. If we are going to put on Christ, we have to know Christ. If we want to know Christ, we have to see Him reflected. If we want to see Him reflected, we see Him in the Word. It is the clearest reflection. It is unhindered, unrestricted, unclouded, unveiled, and when you study the Bible you are looking for the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ and as you see it and know it and interact with it and come to adore it and worship and praise, then you will be silently, imperceptibly moved from one level of glory to the next by the Holy Spirit all the while being more and more transformed into the same image. That's how you put on the Lord Jesus Christ. You see him in the Word. There is no shortcut; time in the Word, depth of study, seeing the glorious Christ.
That's why I tell young men who study the Bible for even preaching sermons, always, always, always in every text you are not looking for a sermon, you're looking for the revelation of God in Christ. And you see Him, and you know Him, and you become like Him. It's little different, it's little different than the patterns of life which we live. If I am around a person whose character I esteem highly, whose virtue I honor, whose wisdom I desire, I will find myself the longer I'm around that person more and more becoming like that person. I am drawn to that. And when I follow and gaze at the glory of the perfect person, He is irresistible to me as a believer and I find myself desiring all the while to be more and more the way He is.
I can remember as a young man being impacted by a very godly man. I was with him for a week in a conference, and I remember I came home and people asked me why I changed the way I tied my tie. And I hadn't thought about until I looked back and said, "Well, that's the way he ties his tie." That's not a spiritual thing, but that kind of emulation happens when you're with someone that you greatly esteem. You pick up the little things in their life. And as a young man, I was so deeply impressionable.
And the same is true with Christ. As I look in the reflected glory of Christ that comes to me through the pages of the Word, the Spirit of God takes that interaction and begins to mold within me the very image of Christ, moving me from one level of glory to the next, every ascending to be more like Him. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Become in your practice what you are in your position. Become in the eyes of those who see you what you are in the eyes of God who sees you.
Now that's the command here, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and not give any planning for sin to feed the flesh. The question comes, what's going to move me to do that? How am I going to get on with that? I have to tell you people that the number one problem in the church is apathy. And I'm not talking about corporate apathy; I'm talking about individual apathy. The number one problem in your Christian life is indifference, apathy. It's what it is. It's true in any Christian's experience. We get very complacent, very comfortable and we don't think about making any major effort to become more like Christ. So Paul wants to shake us loose from apathy. So in this text he gives three commands basically. Two of them is...the first and then the final one which we noted in verse 14, put on.
But the first two commands, and I want to talk about them today and next time, the first one is wake up. In our vernacular we would say wake up and smell the coffee. Now that's another way of saying will you get with it. He says, "wake up" in verses 11 and 12. And then he says also in verse 12 and verse 13, "throw off." And the third thing he says is, "put on." "Wake up, throw off, put on." Sounds like morning to me doesn't it? Wake up, throw off your night clothes, put on your day clothes. It's exactly what he's saying. These are snapped out like military commands. In fact, the whole scene has military overtones and they sum up Paul's effort to motivate you to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's just talk about wake up, that's enough to occupy us for a long time. Wake up, verse 11, "And this do 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." In the simple analogy, he's saying will you get out of bed, it's morning. Will you get off your pajamas and get dressed. Get up! They stress the shortness of time. They stress the great opportunity, the need for immediate action in a crisis situation. It's almost like this is a soldier and the commander is saying get up and get out there, we've got a war going on. Again, I say complacency comes to so many Christians. We think there's plenty of time, no rush, no hurry, plenty of time to make money, plenty of time to have fun, plenty of time to pursue a career, comfort, possessions.
I had lunch two days ago with a prominent business man and he had met with another business man and he wanted to tell me what the man said to him. He said you're in a business, fast growing, making a tremendous amount of money, very successful, said to my friend. He said, "If the Lord said drop it and walk away from it this minute and go to the mission field, be honest, be honest before God, would you do it?” And my friend said, I had to say to him, "I wish...I wish I could say I would, but I'm...I'm not sure I would say that.” And so the man who was talking to him said, "When you come to the point in your Christian life when you're ready to say that, send me an envelope with a piece of paper in it that says “Yes,” and your name signed at the bottom." This friend of mine can't forget that. Every day now he's grappling with whether he would be willing, if the Lord said to go, to drop the whole thing and go. And now every time he hears the mention of any foreign country, he thinks this might be it.
We are so complacent about spiritual things. I mean, be honest, if I said to you, "Look we have arranged transportation today to heaven, and we have a large enough vehicle to take you all. I mean today, this is it we're going, we're going to heaven today," how many of you honestly, honestly would say, I got to check my appointment book. I...today? You think you could arrange for another group in six months? How many of you would say, "Where do I sign?" Do you see how earthbound we could be, honest? See how earthbound we get and yet heaven is what we were made for. And ministry and evangelism is what we're here for, but we get so apathetic about eternal things and so apathetic about what we're all about, because we don't stop to wake up. That's what he's saying, wake up. We're like the skeptics in 2 Peter 3:4. We think all things continue as they were from the beginning.
Paul says look, “this do,” and what does he mean by that? All the commands of chapter 12 and chapter 13, present your body a living sacrifice dedicated to God with a renewed mind, using your spiritual gift, doing the will of God, relating properly to believers and non-believers, submitting to government, paying taxes as model citizens, fulfilling God's law by love, do all of this and do it because you know the time. Time is not chronos. It's not watch time, clock time calendar time, it's...it's...it's crisis time. Kairos is the season or the era or the circumstance or the age or the character of the times. What he's saying is, given that you understand redemptive history and you know that we are in the end of the age and that man's day is coming to an end, given that you understand the Messiah has come and gone and is returning, given that that world is headed for judgment and the holocaust of the tribulation and the judgment of God through Christ, when you understand the seriousness of where we are in redemptive time, wake up. It's what he's saying. It's already the hour for you to awaken. The alarm has gone off. Jesus set it off when He appeared once in the end of the age. It's time to wake up.
Those ridiculous Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16 came to Jesus and they said show us a sign. What an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. Jesus had showed them sign after sign after sign after sign, miracle after miracle after miracle, he had spoken the profound words that no...are known only to the mind of God. Sign upon sign upon sign and they say show us a sign. Show us something that'll make us believe in You. And then He gave them what has to be the most direct blast in the most unique way of anything He ever said to them. He said, you know, you look at the sky and you see a certain color and you say, fair day. And you look at the sky and you see a certain shade of red, and you say, stormy day. That's pretty primitive. That's pretty basic stuff. That's pretty inept way to tell the weather. And He says, you know what, as lousy as you are at telling the weather, you're worse at reading the signs. What an indictment. They prided themselves on that. He says you've got this simplistic way to tell the weather, which isn't very effective and you're...you're even worse at reading the signs. You've seen so much and you still don't know what time it is? You still don't know I'm the Messiah. I have brought the end of the age. You still don't know that I'm offering the kingdom. You still don't understand where you are in redemptive history? You can't read the signs of the kairos, the era, the age?
Well, he says to the Christians here, does Paul, don't you be like them. Verse 11, "It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep." Time to get up; time to get your act together. Time to get you priorities going. Time to roll out of the bed of apathy and indifference and complacency. Time to become zealous for the souls that are headed for judgment. Time to make your life count for God. Night is ending, it's about daylight, dawn is here, get up. Get your priorities right. He's calling for a prepared, motivated, dedicated, Christ-obeying Christian who gets off the pillow and gets into the battle.
I looked up the definition of sleep in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I couldn't help but laugh because I never read a definition of sleep. I mean, I think I know what it is. I do it every day, but just to read a definition of it, it's really kind of interesting. Here's the definition of sleep. Sleep is a state of inactivity with a loss of consciousness and a decrease in responsiveness to events taking place. Isn't that funny? I would say so. It is certainly a decrease in responsiveness to events taking place. In fact, you could probably burn my house down and I wouldn't know it was happening, at least that's what my wife has accused me of through the years. I sleep very well. I thank the Lord for that, but it is definitely a state of inactivity. Loss of consciousness, decrease in responsiveness, but if you put that into the spiritual dimension it's frightening. Spiritual apathy is a state of inactivity with a loss of consciousness and a decrease in responsiveness to the events that are taking place.
How can you be sleeping when the world is on its way to hell. Wake up! What are we spiritual Rip Van Winkles who think we're supposed to sleep until we waltz off into glory? Sleeping through the season of our duty and our opportunity. We have to believe right here in our city that we've got the...you know, there's nothing like living in Corinth, California. And I don't imagine it could ever get any worse than it is here and people say to me all the time, you know, if you had your way would...would you...would you leave California? Wouldn't you rather be somewhere else? Sure, I mean, if you're...if you're talking about the comfort of John MacArthur, yes. If...if this life is all about making me comfortable, then I would like to go somewhere else where there's blue sky and green grass and I can smell trees and watch waterfalls and rivers and...well, who wouldn't, right? And have no mosquitoes or bugs while I'm doing it.
Everybody would like that. I mean, that isn't the issue. But see this life isn't all about my comfort, this is all about my duty and my comfort will take care of itself forever right? So I need to be worried about my duty. Now is not the time for laying around. Now is the time to wake up and get into the battle. And that means putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
So Paul says, "Don't you know," verse 11, "that your salvation is nearer than when we believed?" What does he mean by that? Well, the final act of your salvation, your glorification is closer than it's ever been and it's closer now than it was when you got up this morning. He's saying are you just going to live this way right on out to the end? Every moment you live, every breath you take, you are nearer to the end. You are nearer to the final salvation when you're going to have to give an account for how you served Christ and when the whole world is going to be judged. Can you sleep through this whole thing or are you going to wake up. In verse 12 he says, "The night's almost gone, the day is imminent," get up. Get up, what a great exhortation this is. For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, to get up, take off the garments of our sleep and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We live in a crisis time. We live in a crisis place and every breath we take moves us nearer to the end for us and for them. Time to wake up, put on the Lord Jesus Christ. But before you can do that, there are some things you have to throw off. Come back next week. We'll find out what they are.
Let's pray. Lord, thank you again this morning for this rich portion of your precious Word. Thank you encouraging our hearts with a simple command to wake up, put on Christ. That's what it is in the Christian life. That's the...that's really the heart of it. Help us, oh God to become in the eyes of men as righteous as we are in your eyes. Help us to live in our daily practice what we are in our eternal position. And help us not to sleep through the brief day of our opportunity, but to use it for your glory as we serve, as we reach out to those who need Christ.
While your heads are bowed, just in a moment, will you pray that as a prayer this morning? Lord, help me put on the Lord Jesus Christ in this crisis hour, just that. Help me put on the Lord Jesus Christ in this crisis hour. Hear our prayer, oh God, prayed from sincere hearts. We long to make no plans to feed our lusts, but to wake up, put on Christ for this crisis time. Give us a fresh zeal and passion to replace our indifference and use us for Your praise in the Savior's name. Amen.
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