Knowing the Time

Richard Vera

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour …”  Romans 13:11

Fourteen years ago (September 11, 2001), we experienced a horrific and, I believe, an America-shattering event. Four airliners were hijacked by 19 militants associated with the Islamic terrorist group al-Queda. These carried out a suicide attack killing over 3,000 people in New York City and Washington D.C. Years later, a reporter stated, ‘America was under attack’. My friends, we must face reality. America is still under attack! So is the whole world. We are on the fast lane toward collapse and ruin.

No one I’m sure would argue the fact that we are we are living in dangerous times (2 Timothy 3:1) and that forces are presently at work (1 Timothy 4:1) intent on destroying not only the very fiber of our society, but are very own lives. In the chosen text, Paul issues a ‘wake up’ call. He states: “it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep” (v.11). He isn’t being an alarmist, just a good shepherd, warning and admonishing the flock of God to snap out of the spiritual slumber it appears we are in. We’ve often been told that the afflicted need to be comforted. There are times though when the comfortable need to be afflicted, but, of course, with the truth of the Word of God, with a strong dosage of reality.

He states, “For now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed” (v.11). Two things: (1) Today you are one day closer to your date with death. (2) Today the believer is one day closer to meeting Jesus in the air (Acts 1:11). We are told: “the night is almost gone, and the day is near” (v.12). The question of the day: Are you ready?

Here are three Key Essentials for such a time as this:
First, it is time to Wake up! (13:11)
Three obvious reasons for this instruction. When you are ‘out of it’ you are not aware of (1) what is going on around you, (2) what needs others around you might have, and (3) the wonders God is working around you.

Second, it is time to CLEAN UP! (13:12)
“Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness…”. Paul later instructs: “Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Why is it important that we pursue a godly lifestyle? Believers are promised an inheritance and believers are Christ's ambassadors. So to help us, here are three directives and three reasons:

#1 Directive: "Not in carousing and drunkenness". Reason: These sins are against society. This is open sin and hurts communities.

#2 Directive: "Not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality". Reason: These are sins against self. This is secret sin and definitely will hurt you.

#3 Directive: "Not in strife and jealously". These sins are against your neighbor. This is intentional sin and hurts others (family, marriage, church, etc.).

Third, It is Time to DRESS UP!
Everybody needs to be prepared for spiritual warfare; THEREFORE, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (13:14). Enter into your 'war room' and "put on the “LORD JESUS CHRIST". Think about! He is victorious overcoming Lord for your victorious overcoming daily living. So what do you need? How can you do it? Here's four steps in closing:

(1) You will need Spiritual Salvation - Believe and receive Jesus as your Savior (John 1:12).

(2) You will need the Bible - Read it, study it, memorize it. In it are your instructions. The Word of God is powerful (Hebrews 4:12).

(3) You will need a Biblical Church - The church is a living organism not a human organization; it is dynamic, not impotent. Jesus is Lord of His church. It will make a difference in your life if you are involved and supporting a local church. Oh yes, make sure it is a Bible teaching and preaching church.

(4) You will need to practice daily Obedience - The opposite of obedience is disobedience. There is blessing in obedience. Disobedience is costly. The reason so many miss out is because they forsake the 'obedience factor'. Someone once said: 'Impression without expression leads to depression'. Obedience is for your own good; good for others; good for the church.

While militants and cult members are aggressive, intentional, committed and willing to strap themselves with explosives, the believer is needful of exhortations. Paul states: “It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed" (v.11). Be encouraged. No militant nor devil has the last word. Jesus Christ is still Lord and still using imperfect saints like you and me to impact a lost and dying world. More to come...

 

 

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