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"Knowing The Time"
Pastor Wayne Clabaugh
Sunday Message

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Scripture Reading: Romans 13:11-14
Scripture Text: "And 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." Romans 13:11 (KJV)

If ever there was a time when Salvation was near, it is now. We are not speaking here of the believing and receiving of Christ as Savior. We're not speaking of the escape of the Israelites during the Roman purging of the Christians in 70 AD. This verse is speaking of the threshold of eternity. The Coming of The Lord in Power and Glory and the setting up of His Kingdom where we as His Children will rule and reign.

But who will I get to hear me today? Who will I get to join the choir and tell out the sweet story - not of baby Jesus but of King Jesus? Who will stand with me today and speak of His soon Coming in Power and Glory when they are not yet convinced that He was even born?

Some of the most notable Bible scholars of our day even dismiss His birth as folklore and allegory. There is nothing allegorical about Jesus Virgin Birth, His Life, His Death or His Resurrection. There is nothing allegorical about Him bleeding on a cruel cross and crying out those three words that wrote the FORWARD to the Grace and Mercy of all mankind: "It Is Finished".

Is it any wonder that the Apostle Paul begins this passage by saying. "... knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." It's not just a letter my friend, it is a sermon of hope and a preamble to a call to arms. It is a song of victory with the message that says:

"The 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.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Romans 13:12 -14 (KJV)

The Advent of Christmas always begins with a message of Preparation. Every preacher worth His salt speaks of it on the first day of Advent and reminds the congregation of the coming of the Lord. But He reminds them of something else as well: he reminds them of the darkness in their life. Some never see the darkness of their lives because the light that they have is so bright they can see anything else. The problem is that word light. If doesn't always refer to the Lord. It sometimes refers to Eastern Philosophies, and sometimes it refers to Sports. The Light that overshadows many of us this Christmas is the desire to purchase all of the right gifts and be thought well of. Light is that which motivates us and in some cases "drives" us to do what we do. It was in fact Jesus who said:

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Mat 6:21-23 (KJV)

In other words, of your eyes are trained on Heaven and you have a mind for Christ. you're body, mind and spirit will be full of light. But if you are allowing your eye to lead you, you may find yourself doing things and going places you know you shouldn't be going or doing. That is the folly of the eye being the light or the window to the Soul. It very often will lead you into darkness that is so great that it overpowers you and drives out any light because: "...men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19 (KJV)

Our scripture reading for today spoke of how to put armor on our eyes by putting on Jesus.

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."

You see, preparation for the coming of Christ means to put on Christ. Do we put him on as we do a coat or hat or maybe even a pair of shoes? No. That kind of "putting on" of something has with it the connotation of time frame. It gives the understanding that it is something you can turn around and take off. It refers to a garment that is easily soiled or torn or even ruined. To put on Christ in the realm of Light, means that he permeates our thoughts and our spirit and our soul. It denotes an anointing with the oil of gladness above thy fellows; and a God who is for ever and ever. (ref., Hebrews 1:8-13)

To "put on" Christ means to have such fellowship with God that we can say:

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." (Ref., Psalm 63)

To "put on" Christ means to have such fellowship with Him that we can say:

"Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." (Ref., Psalm 63)

Yes, this first Sunday of Advent means that we stop and take a look inwards and see what light it is that shines the brightest within us. It may for many be a humbling experience when you begin to see who or what your god is. It may not be the Eternal God at all.

Let me say it one more time today.

"...now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Romans 13:11 (KJV)

JESUS IS COMING VERY SOON! Are you ready?

Father: I come to you today and I ask for you to help me see the light that it is me, and if it isn't of you Father, I ask that you would help me to wash it out and become clean before you O Lord. It is my desire to live for You Lord and to not be tainted or soiled in my thinking or in my preparation as I await your soon return. I humbly ask this in Your Holy Name. Amen
 

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