DISCHARGING YOUR CHRISTIAN DUTY
Intro: Amid the unspeakable horrors of World War I there was a certain
British soldier in who was so distraught with the war that he deserted. He
tried to find his way to the coast so he could catch a boat and make his way
back incognito to his homeland in England.
In the darkness of the night he stumbled on a road sign. It was so pitch
black and he was so lost. He had no idea where he was or what the sign
said. He decided to climb the pole. When he got to the crossbeam, he held
on to read the sign. Taking out a match, he lit it, and looked directly in the
face of Jesus Christ. He had climbed an outdoor crucifix!
Stunned by what he saw, he realized the shame of his life. He was
looking into the face of the One who had endured it all and had never turned
back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches.
That soldier remembered that he had a duty to discharge! He was part
of an army and that army was engaged in conflict with a determined foe. He
had a duty and he responded accordingly.
In these last few verses of Romans 13, Paul takes the place of a
commanding officer. He calls the true believer to remember his duty before
the Lord. Just like that soldier in WWI, every redeemed individual has a
duty this morning! A duty, which I am ashamed to say, we are not
discharging very well! Many of us are like that poor soldier, we are AWOL
and have become deserters from the battle. I would just like to remind you
that when you got saved, you enlisted in the greatest battle that has ever
been waged, and that battle is still raging! There are a few of the troops
who have stayed in the trenches, the rest have wandered off to do their own
thing. This passage is a call for God's children to get back in the thick of the
Everyone in this room who claims a relationship with Jesus Christ has
a duty before God. Today, with His help, I want to point out what that duty
is. I want to preach for a time on this thought, Discharging Your Christian
Duty! I don't know about you, but I do not want to be found in dereliction of
my duty to the Lord. I do not want to be named among those who have
deserted my post in the heat of the battle. As far as I am concerned this
morning I owe everything I have and am to the Lord Jesus Christ and I want
to properly discharge my duty before Him. I think that desire dwells within
the heart of every single saved person. Let's look together at this passage
today and see where we really are in relationship to the Lord and His will for
our lives. Let's learn how to discharge our Christian duty.
I. V. 11 YOU HAVE A DUTY SO WAKE UP!
A. We Have A Duty To Recognize The Time - The word "time" refers
to a "season of time". This whole verse has to do with the return of
the Lord Jesus Christ for His people. The idea here is that the
believer is to keep his eyes on the changing world around him and
understand that the coming of the Lord is near. Sadly, many
believers cruise lazily through life not even considering the fact that
Jesus might return at any moment. Yet, all one has to do is
cross-reference the daily news with the Word of God to see that His
coming is near. Therefore, the advise Jesus gave in Matthew is still
good advise for us today, Matt. 24:42-44.
Paul tells us that our salvation is nearer than when we believed.
As you know, there are three stages to salvation. We are saved, we
are being saved and we will be saved. At the moment of conversion,
we were saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved daily
from the power of sin. We will be saved eventually from the
presence of sin. Our salvation is fully accomplished this evening, but
it being worked out daily in our lives. One day, when Jesus returns
for His people, we will experience the complete effects of our
salvation. What Paul means is that every day we pitch our tent one
step closer to glory! He merely wants to remind us that Jesus is
nearer today than He was yesterday. Are you living your life in the
anticipation of His soon return?
B. We Have A Duty To Redeem The Time - Paul tells us that the time
for slumber has long since passed. The words "high time" mean
that a specific hour has arrived. Too many of the people of God
are sleeping on the job today. Living their lives as they please
without any thought for the will of God, the plight of the lost or the
return of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Sleep is defined as, "A state of inactivity, with a loss of
consciousness, and a decrease in responsiveness to events
taking place." In other words, the sleeping person is out of touch
with the events that surround him while he sleeps. While it may be
fine to doze through that ball game, or to get a good nights sleep,
there is no excuse for being asleep to the things of God! However,
many people in the church are in a state of inactivity when it comes
to the things of God. This should not be! May the Lord find us
watching when He comes! May He find us awake when He returns!
(Note: we need to wake up and be sensitive to the needs that
surround us! Now is not the time to be drowsy and unaware of what
is going on. Now is a time for the church to be alert and active, Eph.
5:16; Col. 4:5!)
(Note: Paul is telling us that the time to sleep has well passed. Now
it is time to become active in the business of the Lord. His words
remind us that there is an urgency to the things of God. Everyday,
people are dying without the Lord and going to Hell. Everyday the
forces of evil are growing stronger and working harder in the world.
There is a tremendous need for believers everywhere to wake up
from their slumber to recognize the seriousness and the lateness of
the hour and to get busy serving the Lord with all of their might. If
you are planning to tell your neighbors about Jesus, the time is now!
If you are going to tell your family about Jesus the time is now. If you
are going to go to work for the Lord the time is now! May we
recognize the crisis of the hour and dedicate ourselves to being all
God wants us to be in these days. (Note: Another thought that is
contained in this verse is that the reign of darkness on this earth is
growing ever nearer its destined end. Since Satan knows that his
time is short, Rev. 12:12, he is pulling out all the stops in our day.
Very soon, the darkness of sin that has fallen over this world like a
veil will be lifted and the glorious dawn of a new day will come. A day
when Jesus Himself will rule and reign in righteousness and glory.)
II. V. 12 YOU HAVE A DUTY SO DRESS UP!
A. We Have A Duty To Discard The Garments Of The Night - Paul's
vivid imagery is that of a man waking up in the morning and throwing
off all that is associated with the night. He throws off the bedclothes.
The removes his night wear and he gets dressed for the day. Far
too many believers are still walking around dressed in the clothing
of darkness! That is, their attitudes and actions are the same as
those of the lost people around them! When we are saved, we
became "new creatures", literally, "a new creation", 2 Cor. 5:17.
At that instant of time, we were forever changed by the power of
God and we are supposed to be different than we used to be,
different from the world around us! (Ill. When Lazarus came out of
that tomb, having been raised from the dead, what did Jesus say?
"Loose him and let him go!", John 11:44. Why? Because he was
a living man and a living man had no use for graveclothes!) (Note:
As redeemed children of the Lord, why do we want to wear the
graveclothes of sin? Why do we want to dress like the dead? Why
do wee want to talk like the dead? Why do we want to participate in
the activities of the dead men around us? We shouldn't, but we do!
May God help us to throw off the garments of the night! By the way,
the words "cast off" have the idea of "throwing something off
once and for all." A man doesn't get out of bed, get dressed and
then climb back under the covers! He throws them off and gets up
to stay up all day long! Paul reminds us that the "night is far spent",
that is, the time for slumber has passed! The time of the works of
darkness is over! A new day has dawned in our hearts. We are
called upon to walk in the day!) (Note: "Cast off" is in the middle
voice. It means that you are to do it yourself! No one can cast off
the works of darkness from your life but you!)
B. We Have A Duty To Desire The Garments Of The Light - Just as
we are commanded to "cast off" some things, we are also
commanded to "put on" others. This also speaks of a once for all
putting on! Just as a person does not get dressed in the morning
only to immediately get ready for bed again, so the believer is to
make a permanent break with the works of darkness and is to dress
up in the things of the Lord to walk for Him as long as it is day!
The idea of this verse is of a man rising from sleep, throwing off
the bed covers and his night clothes and getting himself dressed for
the day. Since Paul uses the word "armor", we could say that he is
speaking of a new recruit who shows up for duty in the military. Once
there, he is stripped of his civilian clothes and is dressed up in the
uniform of the army. It is a change that will last for as long as he
For us, the imagery is perfect. It speaks of the believer forever
laying aside the ways of the old life and dressing up once for all in
the ways of the new life in Jesus. This is an idea that is echoed
several times in the epistles of Paul, Col. 3:1-17; Eph. 6:10-18; Gal.
God's idea of the Christian life is one of total commitment and
dedication. However, most Christians see the Christian life as one
of compromises. They honor God over here while doing as they
please over here. This cannot be! God's command is for our total
commitment, once for all! Have you done that? Are you even willing?
III. V. 13-14 YOU HAVE A DUTY SO LINE UP!
(Ill. Paul calls the soldiers of the cross to get in line and march forward
for the glory of God.)
A. We Have A Duty To Walk In Honesty - The phrase "walk
honestly" means to "behave properly." That is, we are to live an
outward life that is consistent with who we say we are on the inside.
There should be no pretense in our lives. If we say we are saved, we
should live as though we are saved. We are to be sure that our
practice matches our profession. (Note: I am convinced that the
reason so many people have such a hard time staying clean and
living for God is because they have never been saved to begin with.
With the new birth comes the desire to live a life that is pleasing to
the Lord. A life that is honest. A life that is a living sacrifice to His
glory in the world.) Does your walk match your talk? Paul uses the
phrase "as in the day". That is, there should be nothing hidden
about our lives. We should be like and open book to all who look at
us and see how we live. Nothing hypocritical, nothing hidden, just a
life that is open, honest and pleasing to the Lord. Does that describe
the life you are living?
B. We Have A Duty To Walk In Holiness - After telling how we should
live, Paul turns his attention to how we should not live. He mentions
six sins of the flesh that were no doubt prevalent in Paul's day. The
six sins are also prevalent in our day as well! Let's look at them for
just a moment.
1. Rioting - Refers to wild parties, sexual orgies, brawling, etc.
2. Drunkenness - Refers to habitual and intentional intoxication.
Can speak of alcohol or drug abuse. It is interesting to note that
the New Testament usually speaks of drunkenness and rioting
together, Rom.13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1 Pet. 4:3.
3. Chambering - This word comes fro ma word that means "to go
to bed with someone," It refers to sexual activities that are
engaged in outside of the marriage relationship. It is a work of the
flesh and it is a sin! Whether it be fornication, which is any sexual
activity before marriage, or adultery, which is any sexual activity
after marriage with someone who is not your spouse, it is a sin!
It doesn't matter whether or not society condones it, God does
not! (Note: It is a sad statement of the condition of the
"professing" church when sexual activity that has been forbidden
by God is as prevalent in the church as it is in the world!)
4. Wantonness - This word is tied to the previous word and it refers
to unbridled, uninhibited sexual desire and activity.. It speaks
against the casual attitude society holds concerning sex, where
every form of sexual expression is indulged in and encouraged.
5. Strife - This word refers to a mind set that seeks its own way first
and foremost without regard for the cost to others. It speaks of
those people who are constantly bickering, engage in competitive
antagonism and petty disagreements. It speaks of people who
are just plain mean. Always looking for a fight. Walking around
with an attitude and a chip on their shoulder. The world, and sadly
the church is filled with this kind of people
6. Envy - Refers to a spirit of "jealousy". This is an attitude of "me
first and every one else after." It is an attitude of the heart that
seeks everything self wants without concern for the impact upon
the lives of others. (Note: I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit
placed envy and strife right up there alongside of sexual
immorality and drunkenness. Don't you? God doesn't make the
same distinctions about sin that we do! You see, there are
people in this room who would never think of committing adultery
or getting drunk, but you don't give a second thought to talking
about someone behind their back! You would never use illicit
drugs, but you don't think twice about taking your duty to the
church and the Lord for granted! We need a revival of devotion
to the things of the Lord! Are any of these things active in your
life today? If so, there is a remedy. It is called confession and
repentance. 1 John 1:9!)
C. We Have A Duty To Walk In Humility - Paul tells us that while we
are waiting in this world for the Lord to return, we should be careful
that we act the right way. He tells us to "put on the Lord Jesus
Christ." Of course, we were placed into Jesus at the moment of our
conversion, 1 Cor. 12:13. Here, he means that we are to cloth
ourselves in all that Jesus is! We are to adopt His character as our
character. We are to adopt His lifestyle as our lifestyle. He is truth,
we are to walk in truth. He is light, we are to walk in light. He is
faithful, we are to be faithful. He is holy, we are to be holy. He loves
the Father, we are to love the Father. He walked in total obedience
to God, we are to walk in total obedience to God. The idea is
encapsulated by John in 1 John 2:6. The idea here is a progression
toward perfection! God is in the business of growing saints, Eph.
4:13. He is seeking to reproduce the life of His Son in each of us.
Therefore, until He comes, let us determine that we will live
Christlike in front of a hell-bound world.
We are told to make "not provision for the flesh." The word
"provision" means "forethought or planning". The idea is this, we
are to avoid any and all attempts by the mind to allow for the fulfilling
of fleshly lusts.
We are guilty of assuming that sin begins with the devil. He thinks
it up and he tempts us with it. Well, that occurs occasionally. More
often, sin begins a little closer to home, James 1:14-15. Long as we
live in his world; there will be within us a pull toward the things of the
world. However, we do not have to fall into any temptation, 1 Cor.
10:31. We will sin, but we do not have to!
We will be tempted. but we do not have to yield, Rom. 6:14.
When we allow our minds, hearts, wills and emotions to rule our
lives, they will make provision for the flesh, because the are still
heavily influenced by, the flesh and by its wicked desires. However,
when we allow the Spirit of God to control our thinking, we will not do
what the flesh wants, but we will do what the Spirit wants, Gal. 5:16.
The whole idea here is that we are to control the mind, heart, will
and emotions so that they are under the power of the Spirit of God.
We are to give no thought to the desires of the flesh. Sounds tough,
but the Spirit of God is able to give us the victory in this warfare, 1
John 4:4, 1 Cor. 15:57.
Conc: How long has it been since you remembered that you have a duty as
a believer? I would just remind you that you have a duty in three areas
1. You Have A Duty To The Savior - This is a duty to live right and to
serve Him faithfully until He calls you home. It is a duty to be all He
redeemed you to be! Are you fulfilling that duty?
2. You Have A Duty To The Saints - This is a duty to carry out your
responsibilities to the church. When you joined this church you took on
the duty of supporting this work with your time, your tithes and your
talents. You have a duty to watch after one another, to pray for one
another, and to help one another along the way of life. For those of you
who took positions as leaders and teachers in this church, your duty
runs even deeper! You have a duty to be faithful. You have a duty to
be prepared. You have a duty to be on time! You have a duty to set the
right example of personal sacrifice and devotion to the Lord Jesus.
Many are not fulfilling their duty this morning! Are you?
3. You Have A Duty To Sinners - This is a duty to tell a lost and dying
world about a crucified and risen Savior. There are people perishing all
around this church. When was the last time you personally told
someone about Jesus Christ? When was the last time you discharged
your duty to the lost?
Duty has been defined as, "An obligation: something that somebody
is obliged to do for moral, legal, or religious reasons" A sense of duty
to the will of God is missing from the lives of many believers today. They
think they are saved and they think that is enough. I would say that with
salvation comes a sense of responsibility to serve the Lord until He calls us
home. Are you discharging your duty faithfully before the Lord? Would you
say you are everything you should be? Would say that you are less today
than you were at some point in the past? Or, would you say that you like
the soldier I told you about at the beginning of the message, totally derelict
in your duty? Regardless of where you are, there is always room to be
more like He wants you to be. Whatever your need might be this morning,
salvation, a closer walk, repentance, etc, there is help in this place if you will
come before Him.