Week 1 of Advent: Time to Wake Up
Today as we consider what it means to prepare for the second coming of Christ, we want to examine the impact of a lost world trapped in the darkness of sin and that part of preparing for Christ’s coming again is to bring the light of the world into the darkness – because dawn is coming – the moment when Jesus steps out of the realms of heaven and calls His children home. We should not only be preparing ourselves for the moment we meet Jesus, but also those who do not yet know him. Night is nearly over where the darkness of the world rules. Dawn is coming where light dispels the darkness. And yet millions are still trapped in the darkness of their sins. It’s time for us to wake up and start sharing the gospel message to those who are lost. Paul wrote to the church in Rome:
Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
Morning person or Night owl?
Do you consider yourself a morning person or a night person? I am definitely a night owl. In fact, when Brian asked me to marry him I tried to warn him. I told him he needed to know two things about me before he thought he wanted to marry me: I’m expensive and I don’t do mornings. He found both were true very quickly. I have three alarms set on my phone because I know I will ignore the first two, pull the covers up over my head, and go back to sleep. On the other hand, I have a niece who has always been a morning person. If the sun is up even just a peek then she is wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to go. Bless her heart.
I know me well enough to know not to schedule complex or difficult task in the morning hours if at all possible. Naturally, I can’t always save them for later in the day, but I know I will be much more successful with those kind of tasks after I’ve been up a while and had some caffeine. It’s just that my brain isn’t on the same rotation schedule as the sun and it lags a few hours behind. Once I get going, I’m full steam ahead.
Paul calls Christians to be “Morning people”
Most of us know when our most productive time of the day is and if you’ve done any training in time management, then you’ve been taught to schedule your complex and difficult tasks during your peak performance times slots as much as possible. In Romans 13, Paul says that Christians are “morning people” (doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?). As a child of God, I shouldn’t need a few hours to get going in living my spiritual life.
Paul says the time is “just before dawn”
Paul says that the time is just before dawn. Can you hear the urgency in his writing of Romans 13:11-14? The darkness of night battles with the beginning rays of the sun – fighting to continue covering the earth in it’s inky blackness of sin. But as the sun rises, darkness is defeated. As the sun comes up, we get a new start to a new day, another opportunity to serve God with the gifts and talents He has given us. It’s another day to tell the good news of His birth and what Christ has done for you. It’s another opportunity for the lost person to come to the Light of the World, but that lost person is dependent on us to bring them to the Savior.
As a Christian, we need to spiritually wake up
But, many Christians live – well – basically like me in the morning. Grumpy, not focused, slow, just longing to pull the covers up over my head for another 30 minutes. When we look around our world today, it’s easy to see that Christians have been asleep for far too long. The moral decay is putrefying our world. We have sat back and allowed prayer to be removed from schools, for marriage to be redefined, to allow abortions to be legal, and to even define gender as each individual chooses. Murder, violence, and crime is at alarming rates. Humanity is tainted with greed and selfishness. Anger and bitterness is in abundance. Crime rates are always higher at night because the darkness of night helps to hide their actions. And Christians seem to be sleeping through it all.
Wake up! Disregard the deeds of darkness
Paul calls for Christians to wake up. He tells us to discard the deeds of darkness. Paul lists six “deeds of darkness” that we are to discard: carousing, drunkenness, sexual impurity, promiscuity, quarreling, and jealousy. Why does Paul call them deeds of darkness? If you think about each one of them, they are most often done in the hours of darkness. Sin is most prominent in the dark, because it is easier to hide it. It’s harder to be seen. But when sin is brought into the light, it is there for all to see.
Wake up! You’re the light the word needs
In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
As Paul pointed out the deeds of darkness, the opposite of dark is light. Where there is light, it is impossible to have dark. The two cannot exist in the same space. This world lost in the darkness of sin needs the Light of Jesus that shines through us (Christians) if it is to find its way out of darkness.
Wake up! Stop living like the world
As Christians, we are to be set apart from the world – consecrated to God. The world should look at us and see something different. If we are living like the world, they will never see Christ in us. If they see nothing different about us, why would they need a Savior? Wake up. Discard the deeds of darkness.
Wake up and get dressed
Once we wake up, it’s time to get dressed and start our day. Paul calls for Christians to put on the armor of light and to walk with decency, as in the daylight. In John 8:12, Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” Paul also tells us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” If we have put on the Light of the World, then His light should radiate around us bringing light to the darkness of the world and chasing the darkness away – just as the sun chases away the night every morning.
Wake up and put on Christ
Over in Galatians 3:27, Paul wrote, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” But what does it mean to “put on” a person? It’s a theatrical term that refers to playing the role of a character in such a way that you lose your own identity and become the identity of the person you are portraying. You are so intensely caught up in being the other person that your own identity almost ceases to be and instead you live and breathe the person of your role and your identity becomes that of the character role you are portraying.
So if we have put on the armor of Light and Jesus is the Light of the World, and Paul tells us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, then the child of God’s identity becomes the identity of Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:53 says, “This perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the moral puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.” The lost person’s victory over death is dependent on us.
What is the armor of light?
But why does Paul use the word armor? First, armor is protective. When Satan hurls the fiery darts of sin and temptation our way, we are able to deflect them with the proper armor so that we have nothing to hide. And when there is nothing to hide, we don’t have to worry about the light revealing our motives and actions. When we put on the armor of light, we are to satisfy God’s will for us rather than satisfying our own desires. When we put on the armor of light, we are alert to what God is doing in this world and we will be alert to those whom He puts in our path to be a witness to.
We need to live with the revealing light of God shining brightly on our thoughts, motives, behaviors, words, attitudes, and lifestyles so that there is no darkness in us. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” The antithesis to this verse would be that if we walk in darkness then we do not have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus does not cleans us from sin.
Wake up! We’re in a Spiritual Battle
Armor is also used in battle and as Christians, we are constantly in a spiritual battle. It’s almost dawn and we’re in deep sleep but the bugler sounds Reveille to muster God’s soldiers for roll call. Suddenly we are awake and we look around the military encampment. Everyone is scurrying around getting ready for battle. The soldiers are putting on their armor and gathering their weapons.
Who’s the enemy? Satan and his demons. In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul tells us our enemy is not flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, rulers, authorities, world powers of darkness, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. We are constantly right smack in the middle of conflict so we need to put on the armor of light. If we are going to stand and fight, than we need to be ready. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13-17 about the armor we need to put on:
This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
Wake up. Get dressed. Discard the deeds of darkness. Put on the armor of light. Walk in decency as in the daylight. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let your light shine. Walk in the light. Put on the full armor of God.
The darker it gets, the closer we are to dawn
Our world today, and in Paul’s day, is still dark. The battle still rages – and fiercer than ever. But that’s how night works. Each hour is darker than the one before it but then dawn comes and a ray of light peeks through the darkness bringing light to the world. Our dawn will come will Jesus comes again. The thing about darkness and dawn is that the darker it gets, the closer we are to dawn. Paul says that we know the time — it’s time for us to Wake up. Get dressed. Discard the deeds of darkness. Put on the armor of light. Walk in decency as in the daylight. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let your light shine. Walk in the light. Put on the full armor of God. Bring the Light into the world.
What happens at dawn?
The dawning of a new day is coming when Christ will return triumphantly. What does that mean for those trapped in the darkness of the sin and the world? They have hopelessly lost their way in the darkness of sin with nothing but eternal separation from God and eternity in Hell awaiting them. Their souls hunger for Bread of Life. They are desperate for the Living Water. They need the precious Redeemer and Friend to rescue their soul. The lost need to meet the Resurrection and the Life. They need to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
It’s urgent that we act now! So, yes! Wake up, dear Christian. The bugler is sounding Reveille. God is calling us to battle. Put on the armor of light and the Lord Jesus Christ. The battle becomes fiercer as the night gets darker. Those lost in their sin are eternally dependent on us to show them the light.
Wake up. Discard the deeds of darkness. Put on the armor of light. Walk in decency as in the daylight. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let your light shine. Walk in the light. Put on the full armor of God. Bring the Light into the world. Stop sleeping, O Christian! The dawn is coming.
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