Future Proofing Life: Holding a long-term perspective on life is transforming. Romans Chapter 13 verses 11 to 14 help us to break with life-destroying activities and find spiritual protection.
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Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Romans chapter 13 Future-Proofing Life
If you want to keep a truck going in a straight line- put a heavy load in its back- The Book of Lamentations chapter 3 says that it's good for a young man to bear the yoke in his youth. Living as v.8-10 acts as a counterbalance- weighty- heavy, meditating on the future world presses heavy on this world and keeps you living the right way. When heaven isn’t in our thoughts this world will be…. a car accident can give you a very different perspective or a life-threatening surgery that you just survive…a perspective shift…let this word from God do that now.
1. Living in between the Times …already and the not yet.
Sleeping Christians…slumbering…PJ’s are for resting in. Not daytime. Imagine the couch potato- blinds over the windows are closed, never goes outside, never out of his PJs, never enjoys the day, only works night shift. That’s what you are like if you never think about heaven, never lift your eyes off this world and look at the world about to come.
And it’s about to come much closer than when you first believed or when anyone first believed- 2000 years and we are still waiting? Still 2000 years closer. The day is far spent- this is a way of showing that our death is as close to us today as the night is to the morning. That may sound morose to some, but it’s wisdom to others. So you are closer- you are day by day closer to when your last breath in this life will mean your time to prepare for this great day will have ended. Each day you are spared to breathe is a day to prepare. And in order to get you breathing deeply, Paul is saying- think - you are closer.
Now that begs a question- closer to what? When your salvation is near. Life in this world is described here in terms of darkness. Yes, there is so much that is beautiful, but it’s a world full of suffering too. And compared to the day that is coming the best this world has is just a shadow compared to how bright the coming day is v.12. But it makes a huge difference now too. If you have ever been lost in the country in the dark, the same countryside in the daylight is so benign, and could be beautiful, but in the darkness everything could cause you to stumble and trip, you could get lost. That’s the difference between having your eyes up and on the last day. It’s a totally different perspective on how you live and view life now.
It provides you a choice in life as radically different as night is from the day. So in v.12 there is something to put off and something to put on… A Christian in their PJ’s or in their armor. Which would define you? But it depends- are you living in the shadows or in the daylight?
2. Living in the Shadows
Old clothes are compared to deeds of darkness. What deeds get done in the dark? The ones you want to hide, that no one will ever see. We are given some examples in v.13….
- Carousing (revelry/orgies) & drunkenness = party animals. Living for the weekend.
- sexual immorality – in the bed- if you are drunk that’s the next stage! Loss of self-control. You can stoop so much lower in life than you can ever think.
- debauchery, -being lewd- out in public display. You may not engage but you may be watching it on Netflix.
- dissension -strife, quarreling, rivalry. Are your personal relationships in life just a mess?
- Jealousy – the partner that can’t cope with their other half talking to anyone else.
All fuelled by a lack of self-control in the areas of drink, sex, and social relationships.
Now someone listening to this – just rubbed out all the things in your life that make it worth living! Kill-joy religion. But the Good news is the better news- you will indeed find temporary pleasure in these things, otherwise, why waste time doing them? But the Gospel says- you are too easily satisfied, you were made for infinite pleasures and the deepest of joys. So Paul sets up a contrast- and the idea is not that this is just the right thing, but because it is the right thing it will also be the most pleasurable thing. It's steak versus MacDonalds.
Repent- change direction by feeling the pull towards the light as well as away from the darkness…
3. Living in the Light:
a. Don’t think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh…we always play mind games long before any actual sin. The things you read or look up online that feed your lust or your envy of other people’s lives. Pyjama Christianity is in danger of doing – v.13. Armoured believers are awake believers. They actively put off the PJ’s the old nature- the flesh – murderers of sin. Show intolerance for even the tiniest insect bite of sin- see one termite in the house- kill it before the whole house is taken over, one flame in one part of your house- suffocate it before your house burns down. Kill sin when it is small. Don't play with it, don’t meet it as the door and debate with yourself- should I or should I not let you in. I tell you what I am in such a dilemma – come in and wait in the kitchen while I decide what to do with you. Now the thought is in! Instead- think like spider webs- yes- totally sensitive to touch. The tiniest of flie sor no-see-ums and a spider instantly feels it and pounces and kills it. In your battle with sin you have yet to resist unto blood. Give up this or that, or as Jesus said cut off your hand foot-eye-i.e remove the temptation for your life.
b. Clothed with Jesus Christ. Context- Christ is our armor. And walking with him should be of greater joy than sin. The idea of losing your fellowship with him should reveal sin in all its seriousness. Tim Keller - We are to imagine that the day has dawned and that Jesus is right before us, and then ask: Now, how would I behave? What is really eternally important? What will last forever? What would change in your day today if you imagined that Jesus was right before you, and you clothed yourself with Christ? All because- there is something better to see, to do, to talk with- God in the cool of the day- the longing of the human heart for truth, goodness and beauty is all found in God. You put on Christ. He is the best defense against any sin that will kill you because his presence makes sin stink. In his light you see it for what it is. His voice can drown out the whispers and voices of temptation- dark voices that won’t shut up in your head.
Conclusion: So come to the Communion Table is coming to Christ- hear his voice, taste his life, smell his fragrance, feel the physical bread and let the touch help you touch him with your hand of faith- come like a knight of old to the armory – tie on each part of the armor. Amen