TEXT: Romans 13:11-14
TOPIC: Living in the Daylight
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama,
September 3, 2006
Every year in early spring, our country experiences an interesting phenomenon called daylight savings time. Twice each year we tamper with “Father Time.” We fall back at one point and spring forward at another. But the way, daylight savings begins in three weeks, March 28.
The subject of daylight along with its counter-part of darkness is often a topic found in the word of God. In our text this morning, Romans 13:11-14, we are confronted with the strong exhortation to “live in the daylight.”
(Read Romans 13:11-14, NKJV)
11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Before we can understand what it means to live in the daylight, as opposed to living in darkness, it would be wise to examine the Scriptural understanding of “light” and “darkness.”
Jesus said we, Christians, are to be “the light of the world.” Light is pure. Light is penetrating. Light is illuminating. Light is illustrative. Light is revealing. Light is reflective.
Ephesians 5:8 tells us, 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
And 2 Corinthians 6:14, NRSV, says, 14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?
Darkness is used in the Bible to speak of that which is evil, sinful, and wrong. Darkness is even used to reference the devil and his kingdom of darkness. The Bible tells us that Hell will be a place of eternal darkness. Ephesians 6:12 speaks of our wrestle against “the rulers of darkness of this world.”
The twin sister of this passage is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-7, 4 But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5 for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6 So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7 for those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night.
So what is the word of God saying to us? Simply this, as God’s people, we are to live transparent lives, lives that are open for all to see the reflection of God’s pure light!
T/S Living in the daylight involves three decisive calls to God’s children.
I. A COMMAND TO AWAKEN,
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; …” Romans 13:11
Exp. God’s alarm clock has already sounded. We are commanded to do something. We are told to wake up, to get up. It is time to get up and get going.
“Time,” is better understood as “age” or “epoch of history.” That time period of history means the time period of history from the ascension of Christ to his second coming. As such, we are a part of this time! Therefore we are commanded to wake up.
The reason given for such a command is verse 11b, “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” The urgency of the hour is motivation enough to cause us to awaken from our sleep and spiritual slumber.
ILL. Jack Van Imp wrote a book entitled, 11:59 and Counting in which he tells how a group of scientists from around the world have predicted the nearness of the world’s end. They have calculated the hands of the world clock to be resting at 11:57 p.m., with the midnight hour being the final strike of the clock.
Roy Fish, professor of Evangelism at SWBTS has described the church as sleeping firemen who refuse to answer the sound of the fire alarm.
T/S Not only are we commanded to awaken, but we are also called to alertness. It is time for the church to wake up, get up and speak up!
II. A CALL TO ALERTNESS
“12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12, NKJV
With the trumpet of the Lord’s Second Advent ringing in his ears, the Apostle Paul sounds the reveille for all of God’s soldiers. The picture here is of a soldier stripping off his attire of daily living and donning the armor for battle.
And notice that there is a two-fold exhortation in this verse 12:
First, there is the “casting off” of verse 12. As Christians living in a day of dilemma, we should be quick to cast aside any article of clothing that would hinder us. Like a lifeguard who cast away anything that may hinder him from saving a drowning man’s life, we Christians should be quick to set aside any hindrances in our own lives that may cause the lost to drown in their own sins.
Second, there is the putting on of Christ, called the armor of light. Jesus Christ is that armor of light we are to put on, (verse 14a, 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ…). We are to put on Christ as we would a clean changing of clothes at the start of a new day.
APP. When God calls us to alertness, He calls us to a warfare, not weakness. He call us to a battle, not a banquet!
ILL. This time of year is known as the Hurricane season for much of the Southeast and Gulf portions of the United States. During this time of year we frequently hear warnings of approaching storms, hurricanes and even some tornados. Even with all the sophisticated weather technology of our day, there is still little we can do to prevent the approaching storm. We are at the mercy of the ravages of the storm. Each year millions upon millions of dollars in damages are caused by the tornado season.
May I say to you that the damage done to property and lives by such catastrophic storms are modest when compared to the day that is soon coming, the Day of the Lord.
I once read a statement by Henry Blackaby saying that America is nearing a day of Judgment. He also says that Christians are the only ones who can prevent God’s judgment from falling.
T/S So then, because of the coming day, we are not only commanded to awaken, and called to alertness, be we are also commissioned to action.
III. A COMMISSION TO ACTION
“13 We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. 14 But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires. Romans 13:13-14, NLT
This time the commission to action carries a threefold responsibility for moral integrity. Verse 13 gives us practical words of advice as to what we should not be doing, while verse 14 tells us what we are to do. Our commission to action involves:
A. INTEMPERANCE, The KJV calls this “rioting,” or carousing in the NASB. The NLT says it in language we understand today. “Don’t participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. Whatever we may call it, intemperance leads us to hide our light under a bush. All of these sins show a lack of restraint.
B. IMPURITY, “adultery, and immoral living,” Again, the KJV calls this “chambering.” This is shameful living that shocks public decency. The openness of sin and the acceptance of sin today would have shocked our parents in a previous generation.
C. INCOMPATABILITY, “fighting and jealousy,” is understood here. Both sins represent the undisciplined passions that abuse true love. Both evils grow from a malignant ambition and self-centeredness.
APP. That’s why the Apostle Paul says in verse 14b that we are to “make no provision for the flesh, (our corrupt nature). The flesh is man’s evil desires. It is man’s fallen nature and his predisposition to sin.
A man who allows his fleshly appetites to go unchecked is not wrapped up in Jesus. He’s wrapped in himself. Show me a man wrapped up in himself and I can show you a mighty small package.”
ILL. It was this insight that brought Augustine from the despair of a tarnished past life to the light of full salvation and transformation. In the year 586 A.D., while seated in the garden of Milan, in deep distress of soul, Augustine read verse 13-14 in silence, and he tells us in his own words, “No further would I read, nor had I any need; instantly, at the end of the sentence, a clear light flooded my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away.”
CONCLUSION: Some of you may find yourself like Augustine, in deep distress of soul. Is your life lived in despair and doubt? The wonderful news today is that is doesn’t have to be that way.
We are commissioned to action. An action that demands turning away from a sinful, lustful, immoral, self-centered, jealous, and shameful lifestyle. Turn from the darkness. Walk to the light. Experience the joy of God’s pure light, flooding your heart with His forgiveness and restoration.