2 Chronicles 28:1-27; Romans 13:8-14; Psalms 24:3-6; Proverbs 10:17
NT: “Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law… Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the day 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 daytime: 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 provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:8, 11-14 CSB)
Since January 31st, our church has been participating in Awaken Nashville. Awaken Nashville is an organized 30-day time of city-wide prayer and fasting. This is the 3rd year for Awaken Nashville. This year, because of the lingering pandemic, it has looked a little bit different, but has been impactful nonetheless. The goal is to see the unified church of Nashville, through an intentional time of fasting and prayer, awakened out of her slumber and awakened to the priority at hand: seeing souls saved and disciples made. For too long, the American church has been (as Keith Green described it) asleep in the light, and the attitudes and actions of much of the American church during the pandemic and election of 2020 made that reality even more sadly evident.
Paul told the believers in Rome that it was time to wake up. The world around us is growing darker and darker and the end of the age is drawing nearer and nearer. It’s time to wake up. Everything that we do and say must be compelled by love: a devoted and complete love for God and a love for one another. We shouldn’t be motivated by economic gain, or political advantage, or the preservation of our own comforts. We should be compelled by love. There is no need for laws if everything is done in selfless others-seeking love. We need to discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. We must stop allowing ourselves to be conformed to the systems of the world which are born from the kingdom of darkness. Instead, as Paul implored us in Romans 12, we need to present our bodies as living sacrifices of worship, allow the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts and renew our minds, and fill us with the light of life. We need to walk in and be examples of decency, and discard the carnal works of the flesh by endeavoring to walk in the Spirit. Most importantly, we need to put on Christ. Do we truly believe the full gospel? If so, then why would we be content to slothfully live such a low standard of life? Christ, through His death, resurrection and ascension has afforded us so much! He has opened up a way for us to live according to the high calling that God has for our life… in holiness, power and overflowing divine life. All of that is possible when we deny the flesh, offer ourselves to the Lord and abide moment by moment, day by day in Christ, as His word abides in us. What the world needs now is a fully alive church that is full of light and life and fully awakened to the glorious call on their life. It’s time to wake up.
Psalms: “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who inquire of him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah” (Psalms 24:3-6 CSB)
When King David wrote this psalm, he was writing about ascending Mount Zion to approach the ark of the covenant that was housed in a tabernacle. The ark and the tabernacle were just types and shadows of the actual presence of God, but even then, in order to draw near, you had to be ceremonially clean. In these verses, David went beyond being ceremonially clean to being spiritually clean inside and out. The truth is that no one in their own efforts can attain to the requirements that David sets forth here. All have fallen short. The heart of man is deceitfully wicked. All have used their hands to do something sinful. Everyone, at some time in there life, has given themselves over to falsehood or to empty and vain idols of the world. The only way to be qualified to approach God and stand in His presence is if God makes you clean and pure. God has done just that. He has made a way, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, for any and all to be made righteous and enjoy the pleasures of His presence. That way is through faith in God’s Son, and faith on His sacrificial crucifixion and victorious resurrection. Jacob was a man who was known for his tenacity. He was given a vision of God and a promise from God, and he tenaciously held onto that promise until it was fulfilled – and because of his tenacity in faith (despite his imperfections), Jacob was blessed. If we tenaciously hold on to what Christ has done for us by faith, we will receive blessing, righteousness and salvation – and we will be welcomed and given bold access to the very throne of God. For those who are in Christ by faith, there is no reason for low living. It’s time to wake up.