Wake Up Call - Romans 13:11-14 - Nate Heitzig
Well, good morning and welcome to Calvary Church. Who's excited to be in the house this weekend? Man, how fuego was worship? I can say that because I grew up in New Mexico, but come on. How fire was worship this weekend, right? Wasn't it so good?
I don't know about you, but I need those songs, those songs that build faith, those songs to let us know that we're called to walk in light, those songs that let us know we're no longer slaves to sin, but we're alive in Christ, that we are free, that this is a place of hope and love.
And I challenge you when you come to worship, come with all the passion that you can bring because it is something in your heart. Yeah, we worship God because he called us to, but we don't really worship God for him. We worship God for us because it does something in our hearts. It does something in our minds. And it prepares us for the battle that's ahead.
That has nothing to do with my message this weekend. But I just thought that I would implore you when you come, come ready to worship. Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 13. We're going to be in versus 11 through 14 this morning as we continue in our series Heart and Soul with a message that I've titled Wake Up Call.
I don't think I would be a stretch to say that we live in a fallen world today, right? It seems like every year, the boundaries get pushed a little bit further. The crimes become a little bit more shocking. The headlines seem to be more and more depressing. And that moral line that so many of us grew up knowing is there gets a little bit more blurred.
All around us, we have reminders that Jesus is setting the scene for his return to this earth. All you have to do is take a look at the news headlines of 2019. Here's a few of the top headlines from this past year-- Hurricane Dorian path of destruction, 22 dead in El Paso Walmart shooting, 4.6 magnitude earthquake hits Barstow area, 250 people dead in Sri Lanka Easter bombings.
Let me tell you something. And this might not be the message you wanted to hear this morning. This might not be the message of hope that you were expecting to get. But it's only going to get worse. It's not going to get better. The headlines are only getting more depressing. Violence is only going to increase. The moral line is just going to continue to get blurred. The outcome, the scenario for where our world is headed isn't up. It's further down. It's just going to get worse.
And the words of Romans chapter 3 verse 10 through 18 continues to mark humanity. No one is righteous. No not one. No one is truly wise. No one is seeking God. All have turned away. All have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don't know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.
So next time you think that you were born basically good, think again. We are not born good. We're not born basically good. We are all born bad. If you want an accurate assessment of where you're at, of how you're doing, of how God views your good works, that's the answer. But you know what's incredible? God still loves us.
God still cares for us. God still wants a relationship with us. God sought us out when we were far from him. God wanted us when we wanted nothing to do with him. God desires a relationship with us in spite of all the bad things we've done, in spite of our natural state.
I read an article online that was titled "Young adults struggle with morality." And it said this. A nationwide survey by The Barna Group indicates that Americans have redefined what it means to do the right thing within their own lives. The article continued to say researchers asked adults which if any of eight behaviors with moral overtones they'd engaged in during the past week. And a majority of adults had engaged in at least one of these eight behaviors during the past week.
And here's some of the findings from their poll. 65% admitted to using profanity in public. 38% had engaged in sex outside of marriage. 37% had lied. 33% admitted to intentional exposure to pornography. 25% had gotten drunk.
And the article concluded by saying, we are witnessing the development and acceptance of a new moral code in America. Millennials have had little exposure to traditional moral teaching and limited accountability for such behavior. And that line could sum up society today-- limited accountability.
The moral code began to disintegrate when the generation before them, the baby busters, pushed the limits that had been challenged by their parents, the baby boomers. The result is that without much fanfare or visible leadership, the US has created a moral system based on convenience, feelings, and selfishness.
The consistent deterioration of the Bible as the source of moral truth has led to a nation where people have become independent judges of right and wrong, basing their choices on feelings and circumstances. And it closed by saying this. It is not likely that America will ever return to a moral traditional code until the nation experiences significant pain from its moral choices.
Romans chapter 13, verse 11 through 14 is God's wake-up call to the church. It is God's wake-up call to humanity. It is God's wake-up call to America. Many times when I travel and I'm in different time zones, I'm in different areas, I'm staying at a hotel, I'll often call the hotel and ask for a wake-up call. Anyone ever called and asked for a wake-up call?
It's such a convenient feature. You can have them call you. And they'll wake you up. And you can ask them to call you every 15 minutes to wake you up. But something weird happens when I'm traveling. Oftentimes, I'm in different time zones. I'm in different cities. And because of the time zone change, I'll get that first call. And I'll hear that phone ringing.
And I wake up having no idea where I am, no idea what city I'm in, no idea what time it is, what day it is. I don't even know my name and I hear that phone ringing. I'm like, where's the fire? What's happening? Where's my kids? And I have no idea where I am because it's disorienting. It's jarring. Because I'm still sleepy. I'm still tired. I've been in maybe a couple different cities over a few different days. And I lose sight of where I am.
I find the same is true in the church. There's a lot of Christians who are sleeping, who are asleep. And when that wake-up call comes, when God tries to get our attention, and we start to wake up, it's disorienting. It's jarring. It's confronting upon our senses. But what should our response be to the fact that Jesus could come at any moment for us?
If we're asleep, and there's a wake-up call that's about to come, what should our response be? Well, some people get so excited about the fact that Christ is going to return, they disregard all responsibilities. And they simply wait for His return to get them out of the mess that they're in.
They just give up. They say, man, the world's so messed up. The world is so beyond repair. It can't be saved. So I'm just going to give up. I'm just going to hide my head in the sand. I'm just going to sit passively by and wait for it all to go to hell literally so I can go to heaven. And they just wait around.
Other believers sensing the soon return of Jesus are secure in their eternal destiny. And they're simply biding their time. And yet the scripture teaches that there are definite responsibilities that we have to attend to in light of the coming of the Lord. There's certain dangers that we need to be careful of. And there's certain things that we need to actively do.
Jesus told a parable about a man who went on a journey. And he left his business to his workers. And he told his workers, he said, occupy until I come. Or invest wisely. Do business until I come. And he called his 10 servants. And he gave them 10 talents, which is equivalent to about $64,000 in our modern era. And he told them to invest it wisely to occupy until he returned.
And to the one who earned 10 from his one, the ruler gave him 10 cities. To the one who earned five, he gave him the rule over five cities. But to the one who simply buried his talent, the Lord rebuked him.
This parable teaches us that as we wait for the Lord to return, we need to invest wisely what He has put within our care. And what has God put within your care? Our lives. God has given you the breath that you breathe. God has given you the life that you live. It is not your own. It is a loan.
And when God gives this life to you, He gives it to you with the intent that you would invest your life. But some people when they get saved, and they have this eternal destination secured, they just bury it. And they say, now that I am saved, and I know that I'm going to heaven, I'm just going to wait around. I'm just going to protect it and wait till I get out of here. I'm not going to do anything with it.
But God has called us to take this life we live and to invest our lives. He has called us to occupy until He comes. God has called us to occupy the places in which we live. We are called to bring heaven to earth.
Occupy. We need to occupy this city that we live in. We need to occupy Albuquerque. We need to preach the gospel. We need to care for widows and orphans. We need to feed those without food. We need to house the homeless, to reach out in love to the refugee and the immigrant, to protect those who can't protect themselves. This isn't the government's job. This is the Christians' job. This is the believer's job to care for our city.
Come on. Who's ready to occupy Albuquerque until Jesus Christ returns? Who's ready to see revival in our city? Who's ready to take back New Mexico in the name of Jesus Christ, and see our families, and our neighborhoods, and our societies, and those who are hurting, and those who are outcast, and those who the society has said is less than, who is ready to see change in those areas?
And of course, we can all clap and say, oh, yeah, we're ready to see change. Who's ready to be a part of the change? Who's ready to stand up and say, I'm not going to sit passively by and wait for something to happen? I'm going to be the change that I want to see to make this place that we live a little bit more like heaven. Who's ready to invest themselves into this city?
1 Corinthians 6:19 to 20 says, you are not your own. You are bought with a price. Our breath, our lives are in his hands. Our lives are not our own. They are a loan. They are temporary. And guess what? They're fading quickly.
So how can we occupy until He comes? How can we wisely invest our lives? Well, Romans 13 gives us some answers. And if this is God's wake-up call to the church, we're going to see three things in this text that God wants us to get up. He wants us to get out. And He wants us to get going.
Let's look at our text Romans chapter 13. And let's read versus 11 through 14. "And do this knowing the time that now it is 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.
Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness. And let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the day not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ. And make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts."
The first call we see here in this text is to get up. Look at verse 11 again with me. He says, and do this knowing the time that now it is high time to awake out of sleep. We need to get up.
A spiritual alarm is being sounded, is being rung across the globe to every believer in every single church. Keep in mind this text is addressed to believers. This is a wake-up call. Get up. It's time to wake up. The time has arrived. You need to get up. You need to get out. You need to get going.
Let me ask you, what are the traits you look for in a good alarm clock? Do you look for one that's really quiet and doesn't make a lot of noise? Well, if you don't want to wake up, that's what you look for. Some people are nodding their head because they don't want to wake up in the morning.
But the traits of a good alarm clock is you want one that is loud enough to wake you up. You don't want one that's like, hey, it's time to get up. If you want to wake up, there's some things you need to do today. No, you want one that says, get up! Wake up! It's time to get to work. There's things you have to do. Stop being lazy.
But a lot of us are just content to hit snooze. Keep it going. Keep the sleep going. There's this game that my kids and I play in the morning. Who in here has kids who like to sleep in? Every parent ever raised their hands. Something weird happens. When your kids are really young, they want to wake up super early and wake you up. And then as they get older, they never want to wake up.
But we play this game in the morning where my wife or I will get up before our kids. And we'll come in really nicely and knock on their door and say, Seth and Kaydee, it's time to wake up. We gotta get ready for school. And usually, the response that we're greeted with is they roll over in bed and put their pillows on their heads.
And this game progresses. And over the next 15 to 30 minutes, it progresses a little bit more urgent with each call to where it finally ends with, Seth! Get out of bed! School is in 10 minutes! The urgency increases as the time progresses.
God's call to the churches to wake up, to get up, because the urgency has increased. The time is at hand. God's been calling us for a long time. And the voice has gotten louder. And He's letting us know it's almost time. You need to get up. 1 Corinthians 15:54 says, awake to righteousness and sin not.
Ephesians 5:14 says, awake, you that sleeps, and arise from the dead. And Christ shall give you light. We need to wake up from spiritual lethargy. We need to wake up from laziness. We need to wake up from apathy. We need to wake up to the urgency of the days in which we live.
Do you realize the urgency of the days in which you live? Do you realize the call that God has placed upon your life? Do you realize the place that God has put you in for such a time as this? And it is urgent. The lateness of the time, the soon coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, let us then never fall asleep like the rest of the world. Let us keep awake with our wits about us. And I want to point out this is not an encouragement for sleep deprivation. This is speaking of spiritual terms. It's not like God's going to bless you more if you get two hours of sleep. It's not what this is saying.
Let us keep awake with our wits about us. Night is the time for sleep and the time when men get drunk. But we men of the daylight should be sober with faith and love as our breastplate, and the hope of our salvation is our helmet, for God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids that Jesus told, it's worth noting that when the call went out that the bridegroom is coming, they were all asleep. They should've been awake. They should have been preparing themselves for the bridegroom to come. But instead they were all sleeping. And this is really a picture of the church today.
Although five of those bridesmaids are symbols of nonbelievers pretending to be Christians, the other five are a picture of real believers. And my question is, why were the real believers asleep? Why weren't they preparing themselves? Why weren't they ready for the bridegroom to come?
Many believers today are asleep when they should be awake. Many believers in this church are asleep. They're Christians. Don't get me wrong. They're going to heaven. Their salvation is secured. But they're sleeping when they should be rising. They don't realize the urgency that we have.
Let me ask you, are you living your life as though you were asleep? Are you securing your salvation? Do, you know that you're going to heaven but are you just kind of hiding your head in the ground? Are you just biding your time until the Lord returns? Do you have perspective that, well, the world's too far gone anyways. So I might as well just sit back and wait for God to come back. And He'll sort it all out.
Or are you doing what your master told you to do? Are you occupying your space? Are you occupying your city? Are you investing yourself for God's return? Because maybe God's been whispering to you. Maybe you're asleep and God's been calling you. And he's been saying very gently, get up. It's time to wake up. It's time to get moving. I've got a plan for you. I've prepared something for you. I want you to do something. I want you to achieve something.
And maybe up until now, you've just been rolling over in bed and putting your pillow over your head and saying, don't talk to me, God. I'm trying to sleep. I'm too tired. I don't have the energy to do what you want me to do. I don't have the capacity. I don't have the strength. I don't have the knowledge. I just need to sleep. And perhaps that voice has gotten louder and louder and louder.
And maybe today is your wake-up call. Maybe the Holy Spirit is shouting into your soul and your heart. And he's saying, wake up. The time is now. Get up. I've prepared you for something. I want you to do something. It's time to stop sleeping. It's time to get out of bed. It's time to walk out into your city. And it's time to make a difference. It's time to make a change. I'm ready to do revival. Are you ready to be a part of it?
I believe that, church. I believe that God wants to bring revival. I believe that he wants to change this city of ours. I believe he wants to change this church. But I think we need to get up. Look at verse 12. He says, the night is far spent. As I said before, there is urgency to this call. What Paul is referring here is the time until Christ's return, the time until Christ's return.
Now, if the night was far spent 1900 years ago when Paul wrote this, how much more do you think it is now? How much closer to the return of God do you think we're at now? Now, you don't have to look far. We see trends developing, tendencies pointed out that alert us to the soon coming of that domino effect of biblical prophecy that's revealed in the Book of Revelations.
Let me ask you, are there any moves or trends in our society today towards a one world monetary system? Geopolitically, is there any trend towards a universal religion or some super leader who would bring in an era of peace? Is there any increase of drug use, of sexual perversion, of violent crime?
Are there any trends of an increase of false religious systems or teachings? Is there any increase in believers falling away and backsliding? Is there any increase in the isolation of Israel from the other nations of the world? Is there any increase in wars and rumors of wars? Is there any increase in natural disasters?
I read a statistic that was alarming. From the year 2000 till now, 20 years, there are more than twice as many natural disasters than there were from the year 1900 to the year 2000. More than twice as many natural disasters in 20 years as the previous 100 before it.
These are all signs that were spoken of in the scripture. The Bible talks about birth pains. And the birth pains will increase in severity and timing as we get closer to the coming of the Lord, that we're going to notice more and more things happening at a severe level. And that's signs that something big is coming.
And these signs, these trends, they should alert us and wake us up. This is a wake-up call. It's an alarm. And I got to let you know it is a loud alarm. This is not some quiet, hey, I'm coming. This is a loud alarm. When you look at the news stories, it is loud. What is happening in our society and our world-- it is not passive. It is a loud, ringing alarm.
But some of us are still sleeping. Jesus said, when you see these signs begin to happen, look up for your redemption draws near. I think these signs began a long time ago. I think some of us didn't look at it, refused to acknowledge it. But I think now the alarm is ringing. And I think it's time for us to look up because the Lord is coming. And we are to be about his business.
In verse 12, it says the word night. Jesus explains this in John 9 where he said, I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When Jesus came here, He was the light. When He left, this period of darkness began. When He returns, it will be a new day. And the light will have returned.
See, Jesus when he was here was the light. Now that He's gone, He calls us to reflect the light and to emulate it to others. Although it's true that you will never be the sun, you can be the moon. You're never going to be the Son of God. You're never going to be the light. But you can reflect the light.
Have you ever been out on a dark night when the moon was full, when the clouds were gone? Sometimes, that moon can be so bright, it can reflect the sun in such radiance and glory that it's almost as though it were day. You can see. You can walk. You can distinguish things. You can find your way. You can spend time outside. When the moon is doing its job well enough in reflecting the sun, it's a reflection as if the sun were there.
How can we reflect it? How can we emulate it to others? Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works. And they will glorify your Father in heaven. As I already said before, some Christians are happy to just get saved and then just hide the light. Just live their lives complacently, apathetically. Just hide their heads in the sand and wait for God to return and saying the world's too messed up anyways. I'll just wait for Jesus to come back.
But this verse clearly says that this light that we're supposed to have, it's going to be displayed in the good works that we do, that the world will only glorify God, the world will only see the Father, the world can only experience revival if we are letting the light shine through us by the good works that we do.
We are supposed to be a reflection of Jesus Christ. And what did Jesus Christ do when He was here on this earth? He did good things. He did good works. He didn't just preach the gospel. He healed people. He spent time with people. He went to dinner with people. He loved on people. He cared for people. When people came to him hurting, He didn't just say, well, it's whatever. It doesn't matter. They're all going to die anyways. And if they don't want to believe, that's their fault.
No. He healed people. He cared for the outcasts. He cared for those that society politically and spiritually had cast out. He was with the people. He was for the people. He was making a difference. He was changing lives.
It is so important within our lives that if we're a Christian, we don't just preach the gospel. We have to preach the gospel, but if that's all we do, we're missing out on a big part of it. He says, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.
Our preaching of the gospel has to be accompanied with our good works and our good deeds, our care for society, our care for those around us if we want the opportunity to see revival happen in our midst. We need to get up.
Our second point-- we need to get out. Look at verse 12. He continues, therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness. And let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.
It says there at the beginning, therefore, let us cast off. This word cast off is a Greek word that literally means to fling away as though it were an unclean thing. I have four animals living at home. And so needless to say, I have a lot of experience with unclean things.
Just the other night, my cat has been doing this fit of vomiting where it's just like eats too much food and then throws up. And it's disgusting. We'll wake up and find cat throw-up on the floor. And I probably need to just get rid of the cat, not just the throw-up. Just kidding, PETA. Don't get mad at me. I love my animals. I love my cats.
But my cats will throw up. I have two rottweilers. And they like to poop in the house. Not like on a regular basis, but enough that I don't like it, which let's be honest. One time is enough that I don't like it. But when my cat throws up, or when my dog poops in the house, I don't walk up to the poop and carefully, gently pick it up and say, oh, so sweet. My dog left a treat for me. Left a little surprise.
I'm going to keep it. I'm going to put it in a jar. I'm going to name it. I'm going to put it on my counter. When my wife gets home, she's going to be so excited that my dog had diarrhea in the house. I can't wait to see her reaction.
No. I pick that crap up literally. And I throw it in the trash can. I get an entire roll of paper towels. I'm like, I don't care about the environment right now. I don't want to touch that poop. I'm getting the whole roll. I'm going to scoop it up so I don't have to touch a single bit of it. I'm going to throw it in the trash can. I don't want to see it. I don't want to smell it. I don't want to touch it. I don't want my daughter to pick it up and think it's playdough. I want it gone.
Why don't we do the same with sin? Fling it off as though it were an unclean thing. Get rid of it as though we wanted nothing to do with it, realizing the destruction it brings, the stench that it has, the pain that it causes. Why do so many of us pick it up so gently and say, oh, it's kind of cute? I like my sin. I'm going to hold onto it. I'm going to put it in a jar and put it in my closet just in case I want to come back to it.
We're called to fling it off as though it were unclean like clothes sprayed by a skunk. Throw it away once and for all. Get rid of it. And what is it we're to cast off? Well, JB Phillips says, the night is nearly over. The day is almost dawn.
Let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark. Let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day. Let us live cleanly as in the daylight, not in the delights of partying or getting drunk or playing with sex nor in quarreling or jealousy. Let us be Christ's men from head to foot and give no chances to the flesh to have its fling.
There's three categories of things that we should not be wasting our lives on as Christians. And they are laid out for us here in verses 12 through 14. And after identifying these things that we're not to live for, he closes with what we should live for. Let's look at the first category of things we shouldn't live for. It is don't live for empty pleasures.
He says, not in revelry or drunkenness. Now, this word revelry-- it covers a spectrum of things. But basically he is saying don't devote your life to seeking good times. Some people live their entire life for the next good time, for the next party, for the next adventure, for the next fun experience.
But people who live their lives constantly seeking good times eventually end up depressed. Because once they've had enough good times, and they finally hit a bad time, they don't know what to do with it. At nighttime, when they get to their room by themselves, and they've had all the good times they've had, that FOMO creeps in.
That fear of missing out comes in. And they say, man, what else is there left for me to experience? And when they realize there's nothing, they don't want to go on. They don't want to live their lives. This answers why so many celebrities, famous movie stars, rock stars commit suicide.
Because even though they have tens of thousands of people screaming their names, even though they've gone to all the biggest parties, had sex with all the most beautiful people, done all the drugs, all the alcohol, when they get alone at night in their room, and they ask, is this all that there is? And they realize that's all that they have, they don't want to live. They don't want to go to try to find another good time. They just want to end it.
Look, there's nothing wrong with having a good time. But there is something wrong with living for good times. Paul is not saying that the Christian life needs to be miserable, that there's joy or that there's some kind of false piety found in looking bummed out all the time, that, well, OK, if I'm not supposed to have good times, it means I have to have bad times. So my life should just be miserable. And that will bring the Lord glory.
No. That's not what it's saying. There is joy in the Lord. It's OK to have fun. It's OK to have a good time. It's not OK to live for good times-- an endless round of parties, entertainment. It's a waste of life.
Because one day, you're going to wake up and realize you don't have any more life ahead of you, that there's more behind you than there is ahead. And you're going to ask yourself, what have I done with my life? And if all you've done is party, you're going to find yourself depressed.
1 Timothy 5:6 says, she that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. Proverbs 14:13 says, even in laughter, the heart has sorrow. Drunkenness is also mentioned here. Ephesians 5:18 tells us, be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I want to talk about this for a second. Because there's this huge misconception in the church that anytime we see anybody drinking a sip of alcohol, they're going to hell because it says, don't be drunk with wine. You're right, it does. But it doesn't say, don't drink wine.
As a matter of fact, Paul told Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach. David talks about wine that makes the heart happy. And let me tell you. The Greek word for wine that Jesus made at a wedding wasn't grape juice. Sorry. It was wine.
Now, that's not an excuse for everybody to drink wine. That's not an excuse for everybody to say, OK, well, I'm going to go on a bender then. We're going to talk a lot about this next week when we look at Romans 14-- the essential point of nonessential points. It really comes down to motive. Why are you doing it? You need to know yourself to lead yourself.
You need to recognize the areas in your life that you might have the tendency. There's some people who should never drink wine. They should never drink alcohol because they get one taste, and it leads them down a road where they just want more and more and more. They don't know how to stop. They don't know how to cut it off. One drink becomes 10 drinks.
But in the same way, there's some people have crippling addictions to pornography and sexual addictions that they shouldn't really watch a whole lot of media. They shouldn't watch movies and TV because they're going to see something that's going to trigger them, create an impulse inside them that's going to make them want to act out upon that and go look at pornography or have sex.
We all need to know the areas in our lives that we have potential downfalls in and protect ourselves from those areas, whether they're good, bad, or gray. We need to know those areas within our lives and protect ourselves. With the issue of drinking, the question really comes down to why. What's the motive behind it? Why do you drink? To escape? Don't do it. To feel better? Don't do it. To numb yourself to your problems? Don't do it.
To have fun because you say, well, I'm just not any fun until I've had a couple drinks? Well, then learn how to be fun and stop being such a miser. You don't need alcohol to make you fun. If you do, you shouldn't have it. You shouldn't drink it. Protect yourself. Know the areas in your life that you need to put up guards. But also recognize and don't call something sin unless the Bible expressly calls it sin.
The second thing we see is don't live for sex. Look at verse 13. It says, not in lewdness and lust. Basically don't live for sex. Now, this is in reference to the sexual act itself, but it's also in reference to having one's mind filled constantly with sexual thoughts. And this can even be a problem in marriage. If all you ever do is think about sex, there's a problem. There's nothing wrong with having sex with your spouse.
But if you're living for sex with your spouse, there's a problem. If you're living for sexual gratification, if your spouse is simply a sexual gratification for you, what's going to happen when you don't get your needs met is you're going to start looking for someone else to meet your needs because you're living for sex. It's OK to have sex, but it's not OK to live for sex.
Here's a sin that is so prevalent in our society, it's even in the church today. In 41% of marriages, one or both spouses admit to infidelity. 57% of men and 54% of women admit to committing infidelity in at least one relationship they've had. 74% of men and 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn't get caught.
Again, it's that thought pattern. They're like, man, I want to have an affair. I'm just scared of what happens if I get caught. But again, this thought pattern as they dwell on this as they think about this, eventually, those thoughts will get projected in life. And they're going to act on those impulses. It's not just about the act itself. It's about the thought life that's behind it.
And giving the increasingly permissive views towards sex today, researchers Gilbert Nass and Roger Libby have predicted that between 1/2 and 2/3 of all husbands will have an affair before they reach 40.
But men aren't alone in this. Women are quickly catching up. The numbers of women being unfaithful to their husbands is higher than it has ever been before in history. The number of women who have sexual addictions to pornography is higher than it has ever been in history.
And I also think that this all has a direct effect on teenagers who aren't finding a Godly example of fidelity within their homes, who aren't seeing fidelity praised or glorified in TV, but they're seeing the opposite that sexual pervasiveness, that having an affair is OK in movies and TV.
47% of all ninth through 12th graders report having had sexual intercourse. The median age for first intercourse is 16.9. 34% of women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20. That's just over 1/3. 75% of teenagers have had intercourse by the time they turn 20.
Parents, you need to talk to your kids about this. If your answer to relationships and sex is just don't talk to me about it till you're 18, you're not allowed to date, it's not going to stop them. They're going to do it behind your back. They probably are doing it behind your back right now. And you just don't know it.
You have a responsibility to talk to your kids about this. If you don't, if your daughter ends up pregnant, or your son ends up getting a girl pregnant, you share some of the blame in that because you've refused to have real, hard conversations with your kids, awkward conversations, uncomfortable conversations, but important conversations. We have the responsibility to guide our kids and our families in this.
When Paul talks about this, he's covering a whole range of sexual sin here-- adultery, homosexuality, pornography. He's not only speaking of those who gratify these desires by the act itself, but on those who have desires and minds dominated with sexual perversion.
For some people, have you noticed is practically all they talk about is sex? It's all they think about. It's all they joke about. Every remark is a sexual innuendo or a double entendre. Don't live for sex. It won't make you happy.
Third and finally, don't live for strife, dissension, and jealousy. Verse 13, he says, not in strife and envy. There's many people, especially in the church today, who would never dream of having an affair on their spouse. They'd never dream of getting addicted to alcohol or drugs. But they sure do love to tear people down.
They sure do love to dig up dirt on other people. They sure do love spreading it to others in the church or being crippled by jealousy for what another person has or does. When they pull into the church parking lot and they see Martha pull up in that new Tesla, they're like, oh, I bet her husband doesn't even know that she's having an affair on her. I bet people don't even know who they really are.
And I hate gossip. I hate-- especially Christian gossip is the worst. And I want to point out this is just as sinful as the first two categories, which means that if you harp on your kids or your friends for their addiction to some substance or the affair they're having, and then you go and gossip about it with your girlfriends, you're just as bad.
And Christian gossip is so filthy. It's so destructive. I can't stand it. And it always happens this way. It's always like in a prayer circle where you're like, I'm just going to meet my friends for some coffee. We're just going to talk. And then it happens this way. Can you just pray for my friend? They're really just caught in some bad stuff right now. I'll just leave it at that. I don't want to say anything else.
And then, of course, someone at the table says, well, we're supposed to pray specifically. So maybe it would help if we knew who it was so we could pray specifically for them and if you could spell out in detail everything they did because we need to pray specifics. Well, OK, well, I don't want to say their name, but I'll just say this. They were supposed to be here today, but they couldn't make it.
It's so destructive, gossip. It's why people don't want to come to church. Because they come to church, and they tell somebody about what they're dealing with, and then that person tells 10 other people. So the next time they come to church, they've got 10 eyes looking at them like, I know what you did. Hey, I'm praying for your marriage. How did you know what was going on in my life? And they get so judged. They feel so weird. They just never want to come back.
1 Corinthians 3:3 says, for where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal? One of the seven things the Lord hates is he that sows discord among the brethren. Remember, we are told to abhor what is evil. And that includes gossip.
Can I just challenge you, too, don't give an ear to gossip? We could shut all the gossipers up if we didn't listen to what they had to say. If someone comes to you and says, hey, did you hear about so-and-so, just say, I don't want to-- don't talk to me about it. I don't want to hear it.
Do you have permission to be telling me this? Did you ask them if it was OK for me to hear this? If not, shh. Shut your mouth. I don't want to hear it. We could do a better job not giving ear to gossip. And if we did, there'd be less gossip being spread.
Verse 14 says, make no provision for the flesh. This is the attitude of secretly expecting to gratify the sin that you want to do if not now, then later. It's the decision where you say, well, I'm not going to have an affair now.
But that person at my job who I talk to for a little bit longer each day that I know there's the potential it could lead to something more, I'm not going to cut that relationship off. I'll continue to have those conversations to foster that relationship in case I want to have an affair with him later.
That pornography addiction that I have-- instead of cutting it off, instead of putting some software on my computer or my phone that can keep me from giving into those pleasures, I'm just not going to just in case I want to do this later.
That alcohol addiction that I'm finally free of that I'm finally breaking out of my life-- I'm not going to clear out my cabinets of all that stuff. Because right now, I have the willpower to withstand it. But if I have a really hard day, and I need to break into that cupboard, I want to know it's there. It's giving the sin in your life a foothold in your life just in case you want to gratify it later on.
Look, we all know of certain people, places, activities, or situations that promote sin within our lives. Don't give any chances to the flesh to have its way within you. Abraham had to separate from his nephew, Lot, who had a negative effect on him spiritually. Don't give sin or self any opportunity. Don't give it the time of day.
Now, we've seen three things, three categories that we shouldn't be wasting our lives on. Let's now see our last point and see what we should do instead because it's not enough to just get up and get out. We've got to get going.
Look at verse 12. He says, put on the armor of light. Why? Because there's a war. You don't put it on armor unless there's a war. You don't put it on a bulletproof vest unless you plan on getting shot at. Many believers are shocked to find that the Christian life isn't a playground. It's a battleground.
God has called us as his spiritual soldiers to not just hold ground. He has called us to gain ground. He has called us to take enemy territory. He has called us to take back our city. We shouldn't be complacent as we see the crime rate rise. We shouldn't be complacent as we see homelessness and poverty spread through our streets.
We shouldn't be complacent as babies are being murdered before they're born. We should be gaining ground. We should be occupying our city. We should be making change, not just sitting in our churches holding our bibles hoping that they don't come for us. We should be gaining ground. We shouldn't just be defenders. We need to be aggressors. We need to invade enemy territory.
And sure. Some people might say, well, Nate, the game's won by the defense. OK, but if the offense doesn't score a single point, the best you can do is tie the loser. We need to be aggressors. We need to focus on our offense. We need to get going.
Keep in mind the defender is at the disadvantage in the battle. They're simply waiting around for the enemy's next attack, hoping they can survive it. In contrast, the aggressor has the advantage of the initiative. The aggressor can choose where, when, and how to attack. They are in the superior position. And we under the direction of our commander-in-chief have to seize the moment and invade enemy territory in this critical and strategic period of time.
Or as in the case of Esther, for such a time as this. Because time is short, and eternal destinies literally are hanging in the balance. And Satan knows this is the critical and strategic period of time. And he is dramatically stepping up his efforts. Again, look at the news. Shall we do any less? Shall we not respond in kind, a war over the souls of men and women who are either caught alive by God or caught alive by Satan?
Many believers are asleep. They don't want to rock the boat. Others are running in retreat or even falling away from the Lord. We can't retreat. The battle is too important. Winston Churchill said, victory is not won by evacuations. Church, can we not give up on our city? Can we choose right here and now to not give up on our state? Can we choose here and now to not give up on our country?
Can we not run away, but can we stand arm in arm, recognize there's a battle afoot? And the battle is not with flesh and blood, but it's against spirits and principalities. The battle isn't with your brother across the aisle who has a different political view than you. The battles with Satan.
And the war is going to be won spiritually, not politically. That the battle we fight is a battle that God has called us to. And it's a battle that we can make a difference in. It's a battle that can change the eternal destination of people from hell to heaven. That's where the battle is.
Verse 14, he says, finally, put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or literally clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Look, once you get up, the second most important thing to do is to put clothes on. Aren't you thankful that all of us chose to put clothes on this morning when we woke up? This church would be really weird if we didn't.
When I wake up in the morning, I put on my clothes. And I intend for them to be a part of me all day long to go where I go, to do what I do. And if, for some reason, those clothes come off of me, we have a problem.
Paul is saying, put on Jesus Christ when you get up in the morning. Make him a part of your life today going with you everywhere and acting through you in everything you do. Call upon his resources in your life. JB Phillips said, let us be Christ's men from head to foot. Literally enter into His views and His interests. Imitate Him in all things. Have you put on Jesus Christ today? Have you entered into His views and interests? Are you imitating Him in all things?
Or are you putting on the world? Are you entering into the world's views and interests? Are you imitating the things the world does? Let me tell you. The world is not the answer. Beauty is a $532 billion industry that won't make you pretty. Education is a $1.3 trillion industry that won't make you smart.
Diet is a $72 billion industry that won't make you lean. Pharmaceuticals is a $1.5 trillion industry that won't make you healthy. The world can't save you from yourself. See, God desires the world to look to us for change, not the other way around.
As we close, I read a story online titled "Fire means early wake up call for hotel guests." A fire forced dozens of hotel guests to leave their rooms early Thursday morning. The fire started shortly before 4:30 in the morning at the Comfort Inn. Firefighters managed to contain the flames to a conference room, but smoke spread through all five floors of the 127-room hotel. No one was hurt.
It would be a shame if we had to wait for the fire to wake us up. God's calling to us. Wake up. Wake up. It's time to get up. It's time to get out. It's time to get going. Let's not wait for the judgment day. Let's not wait for Christ's return to wake us up.
Let's realize the urgency of the hour. Let's not waste our lives on the empty pursuit of pleasure and sinful activities like drunkenness, and sexual immorality, and gossip, and jealousy. Instead, let's realize a battle is raging. And we must work. Well, it is the day. May God help each and every one of us to be Christ's men and women from head to foot.
Lord, we thank you for your word. We pray that it would change us and transform us. We thank you for the way that it challenges us, but that it also exhorts us. Lord, I pray that you would wake us up, that we would get up, that we would get out of sin. And we would get going. We would put on the Lord Jesus Christ. And we would see revival in our city as we occupy our space. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.