Romans teaches us we are a new creation. The Holy Spirit of God transforms you from the inside out. As we seek out our identity in Christ we begin to change. We live in a world that is the same. In Romans 13 we are reminded to be good citizens, pay our taxes, and then we come to verse 11. We are to fit into society, to be good neighbors. Do not get comfortable. We are made to stand out and be distinct. For example, when you wear your school colors you want to stand out. When we come to Christ we stand out to the rest of the world. We are not like everyone else. These people who found Jesus find themselves in circumstances where they don’t fit in. It’s easy to fall asleep! This is not literal sleep we are talking about here, but figurative. It’s not literal. It’s an analogy. We are capable of falling asleep spiritually.
It is easy to fall asleep.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.
Romans 13.11 (ESV)
This is an analogy for time. We know the hours of the day. This isn’t time on a clock but the culture or time period you live in. You know what’s happening in the world. We read the news and we know because of what’s happening we cannot fall asleep and go along with what’s happening in the world. We are made to stand out and be distinct. There will be times when our faith comes in direct conflict with what’s happening. We aren’t quite aware of how much things have changed in society. We have a great strong government. We are a world leader. All that happens in society isn’t consistent with our faith. What will we do when those moments come?
All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.
1 Chronicles 12.323 (NLT)
This verse describes a people who knew the times they were living in. It speaks of all the mighty men of David, a special group of men. David was known as a warrior. David and his men fought larger armies and defeated them. Paul is using this in a spiritual sense. You are the people that have been redeemed. You are the soldiers sent out to bring light into darkness. These men studied what was happening and decided what was needed. The Holy Spirit wants us to know what’s happening. We need to think critically and evaluate what’s happening. Think about what we hear on TV, radio and music we allow into our lives. Think about the conversations we have with people. The question is have we fallen asleep? Would you say you are constantly evaluating what’s happening in your world? In your family? With your friends? In your workplace? Paul calls us to come alive! We are called to use our brains and be a thinking people. We need people like David had. They understood their generation. It’s easy for us to think about younger generations. Let’s think about people our own age. What’s happening in your generation? What are they doing in their lives? Are they following Christ? These are the people God has called you to reach. You are designed to reach them. This is a challenge to each of us. He calls us to wake up because this is a terrific opportunity that’s unique. There will never be another generation just like us.
We have a great opportunity.
Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.
Romans 13.11-12 (NLT)
When you give yourself to Christ God begins to do a work in your life. These verses talk of salvation being near. There’s a past, present and future of salvation. Jesus took our place on the cross to restore us to the Father. God calls us to give our lives to Christ. We call this being saved. This is the past. God is now making you like Jesus here in the present. God is doing a work in us right now. What’s God showing you now? Are we living like believers? Are we living like Christians? There’s a hope in this. We have the Holy Spirit of God changing us. This verse talks about the future of our salvation. You have given your life to Christ. You are not who you once were. God has been transforming you. God will call you home to be with him or Jesus will return. In that moment we will be new creatures. We won’t sin anymore. We will be free from the desire to sin. If you are a believer you should be longing for that day. If you don’t, you should take a step back and examine your salvation. We have a future hope that we will be whole and complete. It is time for us to wake up! The alarm is sounding! Bells are chiming! We are hitting the snooze button! We think, “Maybe another time.” This is our wake up call. We are closer now than we will ever be.
So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13.12 (ESV)
The night is almost gone. Our opportunities have a limited timeframe. One of the great reasons we are here is the enjoy life and to enjoy our relationship with God but we can lose sight of what we are here for. There are 143,000 people in Randolph County. How many are in church on Sundays? Only 17%! We are below average for the state of North Carolina. This number is slipping. Seven years ago 20% was attending church. 119,000 people in Randolph County will not be in church next Sunday and the number will continue to grow. Is there an alarm going off inside of us? I need to see the people around me and ask God what I can do to make a difference in the people around me.
Verse 12 here is an analogy contrasting what we do at night and in the daytime. For example, we have night time clothing and day time clothing right? You don’t wear night time clothes in the day. When we put on our school clothes it means it’s time for school. When we put on our work clothes we are going to work. The image here is of armor. It’s the image of a soldier. Engage! Take off your night clothes, wake up and realize it’s time!
So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
1 Thessalonians 5.6 (NLT)
You are placed where you are for unique reasons. God put us here for a reason. How many of you lay out your clothes the night before? We all make preparations before we leave the house. The Holy Spirit is asking us what preparations we are making for the people we have yet to meet. Where are you going? A doctor’s appointment? Who are the people you will come in contact with today? Put on Jesus so people will see Him. Randolph County has over 100,000 people who don’t know Jesus. There are people you are coming in contact with. Who is one person you want to know God? Will you pray for this person to know Jesus as their savior? Are you awake? Are you thinking about what you can do to make a difference in this workd?
God, help us to live in these times. Show us the urgency of where you have placed us. God help us to follow You!
Sermon Notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson.