What Time is It?
Our title today is a question often asked while I am preaching! It’s Christmas time…the most wonderful time of the year!
Morning people--raise your hands. You get on my nerves. You folks who say you have an inner alarm. I loathe you!
Our text is a spiritual alarm clock. Love it or hate it, it's a good thing. And time does fly, and our time to reach the lost is fleeting! We don't have much time on our hands!
When I was a kid in Missouri, the TV announcer would say after the nightly news, "It's ten o'clock, do you know where your children are?"
In West Virginia, "It's ten o'clock, do you know where your dogs are?"
In Kentucky, "It's ten o'clock, do you know what time it is?!"
1. It's time to wake up.
v. 11-12a We are in a spiritual slumber of lethargy and apathy and indifference and laziness. We need a sense of urgency.
Why? Because our salvation is so near. What? Wasn't I saved immediately? Yes! But remember the 3 tenses of salvation. I have been saved, am being saved, and will be saved. [redemption complete!]
The first is justification, second is sanctification, and last is glorification...still yet to come. It's our glorification [return of Christ] which is nearer than when we first believed. Nothing should wake us up like that fact!
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Why do these things?
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The unfaithful Christians had better wake up. This is more important than sports, weekend excursions, or family reunions!
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
9 ...behold, the judge standeth before the door.
The sands of time are quickly running out. Watching the news can be depressing, but it can turn into a worship service as you see it all coming together just as God predicted.
v. 12 Night is a reference to the reign of Satan over this world. Day is the return of this earth to Jesus' possession.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
[commercial] – “How annoying it is when the doorbell rings and you are in bed. You jump up, and put clothes on and you look into a mirror and your hair looks like 'bed head', but you are in a hurry so you run, and you step on a sharp toy on the stairs and you fall and break your neck. Don’t fall and break your neck, switch to DIRECTV!”
Paul is saying, when Jesus soon returns...don't be caught off guard, w/ your pants down. It won't just be annoying, it will be the most judgmentally awkward moment of your life, and it will be too late to take it back!
The day is dawning, and that's the time to wake up and look up!
ill.--children don't sleep well on Christmas Eve. It's the anticipation. Same w/ the night before your wedding day.
FBC is a sleeping giant. Our potential is thru the roof. What could we do if we would all wake up?! We need to anticipate His soon return!
2. It's time to clean up.
We’re sinners. We make a mess out of things. But how will we be found when the Father comes for us?
Clean up! It's what we do after we wake up. Hopefully!
"Somebody's deodorant's failing...can't be mine, I never wear the stuff!"
v. 12-13 This imagery is of a soldier out all night partying, and passes out in a ditch in a stuper, and his C/O comes along and says to wake up, clean up, and dress up in armor for battle.
V. 13 is specific w/ a hat trick [trifecta] of sins. [social sins/sexual sins/spiritual sins]
Christians have no business being involved in such things. These deeds of darkness grieve the heart of God! We are to clean up and lay these aside.
Rioting and drunkenness - carousing is the Greek meaning of rioting. Today it is called 'chilling' or just 'hanging'. If we don't know where our kids are, we are asking for trouble to find them. Most teens take their first drink at a party. I have to ask, why were they even present?
Chambering and wantonness - Chambering is living together w/out the benefit of marriage...shacking up. It's amazing how they have no compunction of conscience whatsoever about this anymore. Society now accepts it as a test drive before marriage. God does not!
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
"Everybody is doing it." Fine: Then by definition, if that’s true, then everybody is a whoremonger/adulterer!
I'm thankful that everybody is NOT doing it!
We have couples like this all the time at church, and that's fine...we're a place for sinners to get help with that. And in love we've seen many separate and do it right, and many go on to get married, and they are still in church, PTL!
Wantonness is that place where you are shameless about your sin. You are no longer embarrassed. You don't try to hide it at all. Matter of fact, you post online about it w/out a thought. I know we aren't supposed to be hypocrites to hide secret sins and put on a front in public, but there's something even worse about the nonchalant, I don’t care - 'like it or lump it' attitude, that takes no responsibility for how we affect others around us. [stumblingblock]
Daytime TV has an endless parade of perverts. This is the reprobate mind...when you no longer care, and things that should make you blush you now seem to brag about. Out of the closet - into the mainstream.
Strife and envying - now he shifts gears from the flesh to the heart, because you can be clean on the outside but very dirty on the inside. Some may feel proud of yourself that you aren't a drunk or a whoremonger. God says hold on, and take a deeper look!
Strife here means personal ambition. It's the desire for power, prestige or recognition. It's the spirit of competition, worrying about who is gonna be in charge and get the credit. There's no place for this in church. A house divided like that cannot stand. We can't have Paul and Apollos competitions. Heads that get too big for the body God will remove. Those who don’t lead lovingly will rotate off into obscurity. There’s no room for strife in the family of God. It must be all about Jesus, and we must all be on the same team, pulling the nets in the same direction as fishers of men. It’s about the lost sheep…not about us!
Envying is jealousy. It will devastate a church, a marriage, a friendship.
It's time to wake up, and clean up, and stop being petty.
3. It's time to dress up.
v. 14 A positive and a negative.
First, you positively put on Jesus. You wake up w/ a determination to grow closer to God and pursue Jesus! We dedicate our members [eyes, ears, hands, feet] to living each day differently than most others do.
He uses the full title, "Lord Jesus Christ".
Lord = plan of God for our lives.
Jesus = pattern of God for our lives. [He showed us in shoe leather]
Christ = power of God for our lives.
Lord. It means master. And a slave doesn't wake up and decide how his day would be spent, his master does!
Jesus. He lived the perfect pattern of life for an example to us.
Christ. His power defeated death, and can defeat sin in our lives.
There's two ways to put on Jesus. We can try in our own strength [a put on] and fail, or depend on His help to do it thru us.
ill.--stairs vs. escalator. I prefer the power of another than mine own to get me there!
On the negative side, it continues and says not to make provision for the flesh. Provisions are food, so this means don't feed the flesh. Literally though, to ‘make provision’ means to plan ahead. Some of us make plans to sin. We don't just fall into it, we jump in! All sin begins in the mind.
Thought leads to action leads to habit. If you don't immediately renounce a bad thought as being a sin that displeases God, then it moves on to action. This is why the Bible says lust brings forth sin. But we all fall and sin, both in thought and then in action, which is why we then must immediately renounce that sin, lest we repeat it and form a habit. But it's easier to win on the 'mind' level, than once it goes farther and becomes a completed part of our resume.
Make no provision for the flesh! It's time to wake up, clean up, and dress up, because Jesus is soon returning and the saved will go up...who will it be who will show up?
And if you aren't saved, here's what time it is: Later than you think!
When we are a child Satan tells us we're too young [or our parents do]
When we are a teen Satan tells us we're too popular
When we are an adult, Satan tells us we're too busy
When we retire, Satan tells us we're too old.
When we die, Satan tells us it's too late, and then, he's actually right!
2 Corinthians 6:2
... behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
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