Sermon preached on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at Garden Valley Chapel during our morning worship service based on Romans 13:11-13. Read by Steve Friedrich and prepared by David Torres.
Take your Bible if you will and open it to the book of Romans, Romans chapter thirteen.
As I made mention to you last time we were together, I want to take you to a passage of Scripture that has become near and dear to my heart.
It is one that focuses on the urgency of believers becoming more and more like their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Please stand in the reading of God’s Word.
Read Romans 13:11-14.
The phrase that summarizes what Paul has been talking about with regards to sanctification in these chapters (12-16) and the phrase that summarizes this particular passage (key idea) is found in v. 14 -
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ...
That in a nutshell is the continuing spiritual growth of genuine believers.
The true, faithful, obedient, loving child of God grows spiritually becoming increasingly like Jesus Christ.
Illustration: I recall an older man who did not think it was appropriate to call believers Christians for that meant, to him, that they were like Christ and in his opinion, who would that be?
Now it is interesting to note that the term “Christian” was an expression of mockery and scorn.
Gentile unbelievers in Antioch of Syria were the first to refer to Christ’s followers mockingly as Christians (Acts 11:26).
It carried the diminutive sense of “little Christs.” Little not in height, but in importance.
Christian soon came to be used as a term of disdain by both Gentile and Jewish unbelievers during the time of the early church.
King Agrippa did not think highly of the name. When he replied to Paul in Acts 26:28 -
28 ...“In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”
Peter was the first to use the term to encourage fellow believers in 1 Pet 4:16 -
16 ... if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
He seems to be saying,
“If your persecutors deride you with the name Christian, do not be ashamed, but rather accept ‘that name’ as a badge of honor, because it identifies you with God’s Son and your Savior and thereby glorifies your heavenly Father. As Christians, you should want to be identified with Christ and be like Him.”
We should have no problem referring ourselves as Christians because we are not ashamed to be identified with Christ nor of our desire to be like Him.
In facts it reminds us of our of sanctification. We are continually becoming like Christ in sanctification.
The imagery that Paul uses here in Romans 13 is that of putting on clothing. Sanctification is to be clothed with Christ.
14 ... put on the Lord Jesus Christ....
Now there is a sense in which, Paul uses this imagery of putting on in the past tense, indicating the time of conversion. That is justification, when a believer is accounted righteous because of his trust in Jesus Christ.
We said last time, if you recall that sanctification is past; there is a fixed aspect to our sanctification; it is our positional sanctification. We noted Heb 10:10 -
10 ...we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
God effected our positional sanctification at the moment of our salvation. He secured it through the atoning work of His Son.
At the moment of salvation, the old nature dies and a new nature is created. Paul used this figure when in Colossians 3:9-10 -
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
Both terms are in the past tense. You have already experienced both “laying aside the old self” and “putting on the new self.” It happened at the moment of salvation.
But what is happening since then is this: “being renewed to a true knowledge.” The new self who is being renewed and that is our present sanctification.
That which will the Holy Spirit continues to achieve in the believer’s life until glorification when his/her time on earth is ended.
So there is a sense in which every true Christian already has been clothed with Christ and His righteousness.
I’ll just give two other passage of Scripture where this is clear. For example Gal 3:27 -
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Already clothed with Christ. But what about His righteousness? For that we turn to Rom 3:22 -
22 ... the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe...
His righteousness is bestowed on all those who believe.
Why discuss all of this?
*It is important to distinguish between justification, which has been accomplished once and for all, and sanctification, which is a continuing process.
Paul here in Romans 13:11-14 uses this imagery to discuss our present, on-going sanctification.
In this passage of Scripture he begins with a general appeal (i.e. Awaken from Sleep). Having done that, he goes on to particular exhortations (i.e. Lay Aside the Deeds of Darkness). Finally he winds it all up with a final exhortation (i.e. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ).
It is this last exhortation that I want to focus upon, but I must cover the first two points this Lord’s Day.
Awaken from Sleep (vv. 11-12a)
Lay Aside the Deeds of Darkness (vv. 12b-13)
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 14)
11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (KJV)
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