Series: For edification
Message – Do you know what Time it is?
For the sake of keeping us on track with what we are learning:
- We are STILL in Eph. 5
- We are there to learn how to cooperate with the work of those called to equip us for the work of the ministry.
- We learned that we ARE light in the Lord.
- …and that we are to have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Vs. 11)
This lead us to 2 Cor.6 and an entire message of NOT being friends with the world last week.
We concluded last week with Paul’s warning to not be…
- Yoked to unbelievers
- Have fellowship with the lawless
- Nor agreement with the world
- Nor part with unbelievers
We also made the distinction between the sins of the world and those inside the Body and I elaborated more on it on the website than I even did in service but these are the highlights…
The sins the world participates in are NOT ANY WORSE than the sins we commit – the fundamental differences between the world and the body of Christ is NOT that we do not sin and they do. No! In fact, “carnal Christians” may even be worse in the area of sin than even the world.
Furthermore even the honest Christian, who loves their Lord and seeks to obey Him will still sin and may even struggle against repetitive sin in one or two areas in their life (though it will NOT be pervasive of their whole life).
The differences are these…
- A Child of God LOVES the light and does NOT criticize it
- A Child of God does not call good – evil and evil – good
- A Child of God does not LOVE their sin, but wants to be free from it.
- A Child of God will not seek to altar God’s word to make their sin “ok”.
- A Child of God’s sense of guilt and shame in regard to their sin is MORE focused on God than their own consequences. They HATE dishonoring Him and they struggle against mental questions regarding their true loyalty to Him.
The world on the other hand wants acceptance without repentance. They care NOT that Christ died to free us FROM sin.
If they want anything from Christ at all, it is that they want His work on the cross to free them from the CONSEQUENCES of the sins they are still unwilling to forsake.
THAT is the major difference in the sins we are addressing here! This is why we cannot fellowship with them – they don’t just DO dark acts – they ARE darkness.
It isn’t the actions of sin alone – it is their…
- Dedication to it
- Their oneness with it
- their unwillingness to see it as sin and call it sin
- their desire to gain God’s approval without being willing to forsake everything to obtain intimacy with Him!
Christians are often shamed by the world for their sins and we SHOULD feel shame for our sins, but they seek to condemn that they might justify themselves by comparing individual weaknesses in the saints (which sins the saints hate and seek to forsake) – with their life of total abandonment to sin and love of it.
It is NOT the same thing and no Christian need live under a banner of shame that they have, through their actions, kept a sinner from salvation.
NO ONE can keep the one who is truly seeking from finding!
Any claim to the contrary is simply a desire to sidestep personal responsibility for their own spiritual condition and lack of relationship with God…DON’T BUY IT!
Now, let’s briefly return to Eph. 5
As God’s children, we are called as ministers of the new covenant and as such there are MANY things which otherwise might be okay, but are NOT expedient – in that they work against the goal of Christ in us an the purpose of being living witnesses and ministers.
Let’s pick up in verse 14…
“(14) As it is written in the law, Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you. (15) Pay careful attention, then, to walk the right way with diligence–not as unwise people but as wise– (16) making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
- Pay attention
- Walk with diligence
Is it true that we are to overcome the sin nature by the spirit and not by the efforts of The Flesh yet still the scriptures talk about the need for diligence. How do we reconcile these two things? Well I believe the fundamental point is not effort in itself but what is the focus of our efforts.
If our efforts are towards walking righteously then anything we accomplish will have the stain of Flesh on it but if our efforts Are towards resting and trusting | relying upon and drawing from in relationship with Him then we find ourselves overcoming and bearing righteous fruit without our efforts being towards the fruit bearing itself but towards the relationship.
Now there is an almost identical passage to the one we just read in Eph. 5 found in Romans 13, that I’d like you to turn to…it’s found in Romans 13:10-14,
“(10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (11) And 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. (12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us putq on the armor of light. (13) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (14) But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
In this Passage Paul urges the importance of all he mentioned earlier (which involved“walking in love” even as our passage in Ephesians 5 did – on the grounds that the Rapture and the Judgment Seat of Christ are eminent).
Now, as I’ve told you a few times lately – there are “seasons” of time in Christian history and the child of God need’s to be wise enough to know what time it is.
The word “Time” in this passage is not chronos, which focuses on the passing of time but kairos, which means “season”.
Paul is saying that the church of that day was in a special, critical, strategic period of time – a season, unique to them, where sleep was even less tolerable than at other times.
“Sleep” here refers to a lethargic, non-aggressive, lazy Christian life.
You think that might have some significance in today’s church and the time (season) we live in?
Christian lethargy is NEVER acceptable – however, due to the time or season a Christian may be living in, it may very well be far more dangerous than at another time.
The words “At hand” as I’m sure you figured means, “to draw near, to approach”.
The notion is this, “Now is the completion of our salvation nearer to us than the day we placed our faith in the Lord Jesus.”
Cast off therefore the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light:
Notice that the seriousness of the time or season did not change their mission or what they should do…
Question: When is it acceptable for the Child of God to NOT be fully clad in the armor of God?
It is just that in that particular season it was more dangerous than previously and I believe very strongly that such is the case today!
Can you think of a time in American History when Christianity or Biblical truth was more hated and fought against than today?
Jesus warned His disciples that a day (season – different word hora, but meaning the same) coming when those who killed you would think he was doing God’s work. Sound familiar?
Now, back to the armor of God(or armor of light) Guzik says, When you get dressed every day, you dress appropriately to who you are and what you plan to do.
Paul therefore, is commanding Christians of every season to put on the Lord Jesus Christ!
BUT We must cast off before we can put on!
Spurgeon says,“The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a, Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.”
…and that is PRECISELY what the modern era of Christian church theology is essentially teaching.
Tozer saw this coming in his day and said,
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” Galatians 6:14
The works of darkness in this passage are characterized as revelry and drunkenness, licentiousness and lewdness, strife and envy.
Without going into a lot of detail let me quickly define 2 of these words…
Licentiousness means “the desire for a forbidden bed.” It describes the person who sets no value on sexual purity and fidelity.
Lewdness carries the idea of a one who has forsaken all sense of shame. They no longer care what people think and flaunt their sin openly, even proudly. “Gay Pride” is a very clear example of lewdness.
No two sins better describe this generation that these…Licentiousness & Lewdness
I have been telling you that the end game of all of this is transformation into the image of Christ – and that IS true, but I cannot ignore the wise words of Morris who says of this last verse,
“Putting on Christ is a strong and vivid metaphor. It means more than put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, signifying rather Let Jesus Christ Himself BE the armor that you wear.”
Guzik says, We have a work to do in walking properly, as in the day – it isn’t as if Jesus does it for us as we sit back; instead, He does it through us as we willingly and actively partner with Him.
It is Koinonia – NOT me alone…NOT God alone – but US together in UNITY! He provides the strength and Vine life we provide the submission and trust resulting in fruit.
Translation: And this; knowing the season, that it is an hour now for you to awake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night has long been on its way, and the day has arrived. Therefore, let us at once and once for all put off the works of the darkness, and let us at once and once for all clothe ourselves with the weapons of the light. In the same manner as in the day (or as walking in the LIGHT), let us order our behavior in a godly and orderly fashion, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in illicit sexual intercourse and a shameless abandon, not in strife and jealousy. But instead clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop making provision for the flesh with a view to passionate cravings.
Back to Eph. 5: verse 17
(17) So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
This command is to stop doing something that is already happening and to start doing something else.
- Stop being non-reflective.
- Stop being stupid and without understanding…
- Stop acting rashly and start constantly being aware of God’s will.
THIS is more of a command to know and hold in your conscious thoughts the direction and purpose of God’s general will for us as Christians…rather than a harsh command to not be stupid but always know God’s specific will for you as an individual.
In other words, stop walking around with your head in the clouds as though you have nothing to do.
Transformation is your occupation.
Transformation into Christ’s image by separation from conformation to the world.
Then let the light of your transformation shine to all around you, that they who so desire may come to the light they see in you and those who don’t may slither further into their darkness.
Primer for next week:
“(18) And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit: (19) speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, (20) giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
These two things are mentioned side by side to illustrate a point.
Being filled with wine – being filled with the Spirit.
Do not be drunk with wine: The carnal contrast to being filled with the Holy Spirit is being drunk.
Both are too be “under the influence” of. An act of voluntary submission to an influential being or substance. To place yourself under… Hoopotasso.
The Bible condemns drunkenness without reservation and no wonder!
Both influence behavior… and the child of God is ONLY to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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