SERIES: Topical – New Years
SUBTITLE: Do Not Waste the New Year (Part 2)
SCRIPTURE: Romans 13:12a-14
SUBJ: The Proper Redemption of the New Year
1. Quotes on Conduct
Mark Twain once wrote: “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
2. Christian Conduct is more than knowing the right Christian terms, songs, and stories
3. Our text today deals specifically with How a Christian should conduct themselves. I think this can apply equally as well as a reminder that if we are aroused from sleep of how we care to conduct ourselves.
4. Proposition: The proper redemption of the new year requires specific conduct on our part
TEXT: Romans 13:12a-14
Our theme is “don’t waste 2014!”
This is a good reminder for us all that each one of that not only are we to wake up, but we are to get up and put on proper clothing.
So, what does Paul say to do?
The apostle Paul gives two (2) exhortations on the expected and required conduct to properly redeem this New Year in order for us not to waste the New Year.
The first exhortation Paul gives includes a negative aspect and a positive aspect.
The second exhortation that Paul gives reverses his order and he gives us a positive aspect and then a negative aspect.
The first exhortation deals with clothing. Why Clothing?
Just maybe it is a play on what he has already said. He has talked about believers who have been lulled into sleep. He had told them it is high time to wake up.
What is the first thing you do after you wake up? You get dressed!
So, our first exhortation expressed by Paul deals with…
1A OUR CLOTHING (VS. 12a)
What Are We to Wear?
[Paul begins with…]
1B The Negative Aspect
“Therefore cast off the works of darkness…”
This is similar language that he uses with the Colossians
“But now you yourselves are to put off these: anger, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (Col 3:8)
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us…” (Heb 12:1)
1C Notice the tense of the verb – once and for all
2C Keep it like that – keep the works of darkness off of you
We need to stop here for a minute and make sure there is no confusion and to show that there is no contradiction about what Paul writes in Colossians and Ephesians.
In Colossians 3:9 Paul writes: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge.”
In Ephesians 4:21 Paul writes: “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus, that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
There is no contradiction here. The Scriptures are telling us to “recognize and realize” that what we are because the old man or old nature has been put off. The old man was put off when he was crucified in Christ. Paul is saying that in your daily living, put those deeds that belong to that old man off and be finished with it in your mind. Put those deeds away once and for all.
Take off those deeds like a piece of old, dirty, or stained clothes and not put them back on.
Paul is saying live everyday like who you are. You are dead in Christ your life is hid in Christ, the old man is dead – his deeds linger on. But live what you are, a new man and new creature in Christ.
2C What are we to cast off?
“…the works of darkness…”
The bible, when it deals with sin, refers to these sins as works of darkness.
Galatians 5:19 calls them “works of the flesh.”
In Ephesians 5:11 Paul writes, “have no fellowship with the ‘works of darkness.’”
This is important for every believer to grasp. The works of the flesh, or the works of darkness, really don’t belong to the human nature.
The works of the flesh are not called fruit. They are not considered as fruit.
--they are not the outcome of the essential nature or character of man as God made man in the beginning.
--the works of the flesh are actually artificial creations
So, Paul says, “put them off,” get rid of them. Be done with the works of darkness.
Why? Because they do not suit you as a believer. We are told to have nothing to do with them. To be done with them.
Because you are a new creation in Christ and have been placed into Christ the works of darkness no longer fits you.
So, let’s see what Paul says to do. Let’s look now at the …
2B The Positive Aspect (Vs. 12d)
“…let us put on the armor of light.”
Again the words “put on” means to put on once and for all
--notice Paul did not say, “Put on works of light”
--actually a better word would have been “weapons” of light.
--Why does Paul say “weapons of light?”
1C First – these are clothes that are appropriate to us as people who belong to the light or to the day
In verse 13 Paul says, Let us walk properly, honestly…
The word means “seemingly” or “decently”.
--Paul is saying let your clothes be suitable to who you are.
2C Second – if you are a Christian you are a child of light
You clothing – your conduct will reveal this truth
So we are talking about redeeming the time and calling for each one of us not to waste this brand new year. We waste the days and opportunities that God gives to us by attempting to put on or wear clothing that is not suited to who we are.
ILL: I worked for Alta Dena Dairy in the ice-cream freezer department. To almost instantly freeze the newly made ice cream and to be able to handle it in order to store it or ship it the freezer where we worked was kept at 50 below zero.
We had special clothing. We had to buy special boots that would withstand 50 below and we wore special pants and jacket with a hood that protected us against the 50 below temperature.
So on a hot 88 degree LA afternoon when everyone else was in shorts and T-shirts, you see us come out of the freezer and on to the dock area in artic boots, pants, jackets, hoods, and facemask.
Those clothes were suited to who we were, we were freezer workers or freezer people. If we were to try and go into the freezer in tennis clothes, polo shirt and shorts and tennis shoes, we would have been told to put off or take off those clothes and put on freezer clothes.
This is what Paul is saying. The works of darkness are like clothes. Now that you are Christians those clothes don’t fit you and aren’t suited to you anymore.
Our theme is don’t waste this New Year.
This is a good reminder for us all that not only are to wake up and get up but we are to get dressed with the appropriate clothing of who we are in order to not waste this New Year.
[Paul gives a second exhortation in this passage, and that exhortation deals with…]
2A OUR CONDUCT
What are we to do?
First – you get up
Second – you get dressed in appropriate clothing
Third – you go out into the world wearing the appropriate clothing
[The first thing we see is that Paul gives us…]
1B The Positive Aspect
“Let us walk honestly in the day…”
This is to be the characteristics of our lives.
We have already noted that the word for honestly is translated properly in the NKJV
Our word carries the idea of gracefulness and elegance. It can be translated as “in a seemingly manner.” Or in a decent manner
--anything that is not “suited” to a Christians is to be thrown off
--nothing in your conduct should contradict your claim
Shakespeare said it this way – The habit doth proclaim the man.”
We would say that there needs to be a connection between believing and behaving, a connection between claim and conduct.
It is no secret that this is an evil world. To live in it and not waste the opportunities that God gives us, we must remember that we do not belong to this world.
Our perspective must be changed by the HS.
Paul is saying, remember who you are – live like the person that you are, a person that is suited to light.
[Paul begins this section concerning conduct with a positive exhortation. He then moves to a negative exhortation. Let’s look at…]
2B The Negative Aspect
How are we not to walk, or to live, or to behave?
1C We are to put off all revelry and drunkenness
“…not in revelry and drunkenness…”
The word revelry means rioting or carousing.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, the pagans would have frequent banquets or what we would call parties.
There were a number of parties all over these ancient towns. The pagans would gather in a group and make a parade or procession from one party to the next. Of course they were drunk, loud, and vulgar and it was at night when people were home either eating or trying to sleep.
These groups would parade through the streets and they would be shouting, laughing loudly and carrying on disturbing the peace and being a terrible nuisance.
It was like Mardi gras in New Orleans, except every night.
Now let’s stop here for a minute because most people would be asking, “Paul, why are you writing to Christians in a Christian church to put off drunken partying?
We usually don’t have this problem in our fundamental-evangelical churches do we?
Remember, the early churches were made up a people who had been pagans all their lives and had become Christians.
They had never known any other way of life or type of behavior.
Some had to be reminded that they should not live like the way they use to live.
It took some time for some believes to stop acting in this way of life.
2C Lewdness and lust
“…not in lewdness and lust…”
Paul is referring here to sexual license and promiscuity.
These pagans who had become Christians grew up in a polygamist and promiscuous society. Again it took some time to forsake and forget these behaviors.
Unfortunately more and more churches today are going the opposite way. Our churches today are filled with people who are sensual and practice such things.
3C Strife and envy
“…not in strife and envy.”
I wish that I could say that Christians and churches never experience this type of behavior. Unfortunately we see this behavior more and more.
Strife of course is fighting, arguing, bickering.
Envy is a horrible, terrible, and awful sin. Not that this sin is any worse than any other sin. But think about envy.
--First of all, until it is acted on you can’t see it. People envy what other people have all of the time. Not many people including believers are truly content.
--Second, we can spend hours wanting what someone else has and hours trying to acquire what someone else has.
--Third, envy turns into something very ugly:
Envy deals with the excitement of the mind, it creates a fervor of spirit
1a) zeal, ardor in embracing, pursuing, defending anything
1a1) zeal in behalf of, for a person or thing
1a2) the fierceness of indignation, punitive zeal
1b) an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy
Envy can turn a nice, sweet, wonderful person into a monster.
--Fourth, strife and envy produce all kinds of other sins:
Remember: the NT isn’t concerned about the particular acts of sin as much as the “spirit” or attitude that lead to these acts:
Remember: to one degree or another we were all like this before our salvation
“…among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Eph 2:3, NKJV)
Makes my skin crawl to think of what I once was and even was for a long time after coming to Christ.
Galatians 5 gives us a list, not inclusive but terribly impressive of what the work of the flesh are:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…” (Gal 5:19-21)
Paul writes to the Christians in the Colossian church and says,
“Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked whn you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” (Colossians 3:5-9)
[Paul then gives a final…]
4C Final Exhortation
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
--there is only one way to put all these exhortations into practice
--there is only one way to put off the works of darkness and to put on the armor or weapons of light
--there is only one way to walk or live honestly, properly, or seemingly
What is that way?
First - Put on the Lord Jesus Christ
Second – Make no provision for the flesh
What does Paul mean to put on Christ?
n He is not talking about justification
n Paul is dealing with believers
Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Phil 1:27, NKJV)
Live in a way that is fitting or becoming of a Christian. This s the image of clothing again. It is an appropriate outfit.
--its shorts, T-shirts, and sandals for the beach
--its shirt and pants for the office
How do we do this?
--put on the doctrine of Jesus Christ
--follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ
--live upon Him/feed on him
“Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53, NKJV)
We taste thee, O thou living bread
And love to feast upon thee still
We drink of thee, the fountain-head
And thirst our souls from thee to fill
Bernard of Clair Vaux
--put on Christ:
--recognize that he is the head
--all sustenance comes from him
--partake of him constantly
--Rely on Him
---conscious of your weakness and of your need for his strength and power
I need thee every hour, stay thou near by
Temptations lose their power when thou art nigh
Annie Sherwood Hawks
--when you walk every day in this world of darkness a world of sin the only way to withstand it is to put off sin and put on Christ.
--Fifth & finally – Hide in Christ
Rock of ages, cleft for me
Let me hid myself in thee
Let the water and the blood
From thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Cleans me from its guilt and power
O lamb of God, still keep me
Close to thy wounded side
Tis only there in safety
And pace I can abide
What foes and snares surround me?
What fears and sins within
The grace that sought and found me
Alone can keep me clean
James George Deck
--put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Hide in him. You are in him, so hide in him.
This is what it meant by put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.
Paul knows about life he knows about the devil, he knows the people that he is writing to.
Do this – why? Knowing the time that it is now high time to awake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
“The night is far spent. The day is at hand…”
Our theme has been do not waste the New Year.
Remember that daily conduct is of absolute importance. We must shake off the philosophies and ideologies of this world to guard against falling to antinomianism or legalism. We must be obedient and take practical steps in throwing off this sleep and to remain awake.
We must take off the clothes of darkness that are not suited to us and put on weapons of the light in which we live, walking in a manner that is fitting for believers by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and making no provision for the flesh.
It’s time to wrap this up.
Matthew Simpson wrote, “If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him!’
Wake up and do not waste the coming New Year!