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Rom. 13.11 thru 14 Doug Sermon Study

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Sermon Study                                                                                       Doug Swanson

Text: Romans 13:11-14

1.      First impressions

B.     Record your first impressions of the text:

                       ·      The tone of the passage suggests a sense of enthusiasm and urgency in Paul.  There is a certain tension in something that is about to happen but has not yet come.

                       ·      Contrast of imagery: sleep/awakening, light/darkness, night/day, walking properly/orgies, drunkenness, etc.

                       ·      Points to the future.  Clear connection to the eschaton.

                       ·      Uplifting and encouraging.

                       ·      Responsive.  That is responsive in the now to the salvation which is promised in the not yet.

                       ·      The continuation of a fuller thought of argument.

                       ·      It is more of a response to the why we live a certain way than and answer to what should we do to live properly.

                       ·      Change seems to be an impression.  The night is far gone and the day is at hand.  What used to be is no longer and is been replaced by something better.  This could also be thought of as new beginnings.

                       ·      Paul refers to the concept of “putting on” twice within these 4 verses.  This might suggest emphasis of a point he wants to be sure is understood.

B.     Questions about the text:

                       ·      How does one cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light?  In the same way what does it mean to put on Christ?

                       ·      What response is Paul trying to elicit in his readers?

                       ·      What does it mean for something to be “at hand”?

2.      Textual Study

A.     What does the text say?

ESV:

11 Besides this1 you know the time, that the hour has come2 for you to wake from sleep5, For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off3 the works of darkness and put on the armor4 of light.

13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1Kai touto:  This section is introduced by the conjunction kai and the accusitive form of the demonstrative pronoun touto.   As such it provides both a link and a transition to the information that immediately proceeded.  It does not separate this section into a completely new train of thought but serves as an indicatior that what follows is “in addition” to what was already said.

2h]dh BDAG offers the following definition: A point of time prior to another point of time, with implication of completion, now, already, by this time. (p. 434) Paul’s address at this point his one of excitement, anticipation and urgency.  Within this first verse he uses 2 words with the meaning of now, hdh and nun.  What is currently translated “That the hour has come” may be better translated “that the hour is now”.   Likewise the placement of nun at the very beginning of the of the second clause in vs. 11 serves to emphasize that Paul wants his readers to be focused on the immediate aspect of their coming salvation.

3Use of the subjunctive.  Wallace writes “The subjunctive is used to ‘to urge some one to unite with the speaker in a course of action upon which he has already decided”.  (p. 464)  This functions the same as the 1st person imperative.  In addition to a;poqwmeqa“”let us cast off” Paul uses the hortatory subjucntive 2 other times: enduswmeqa ”[Let us] put on” (vs 12) and peripathswmen “Let us walk” (vs 13).  Use of the 1st plural subjunctive also serves to associate Paul himself with his hearers.

4Greek: o[pla.  BDAG offers these definitions: 1. Any instrument one uses to prepare or make ready.  2. An instrument designed to make ready for military engagement, weapon.  When translated as armor it suggests a more defensive posture to the statement.  If translated as “put on the weapon of light” it gives a more aggressive embodiment to the action Paul is calling them to.  Taking light to refer specifically to Christ it also reveals that Christ is to be used offensively against the darkness.

5Greek: u”[pnou  BDAG suggests that this can mean sleep in the sense of a divine command but that it is also used in imagery, signing Rom. 13:11 to mean, bid farewell to the works of darkness.  This draws a solid parallel to Paul’s following exhoration to put off the works of darkenss.  He is essentially saying the same thing two times in two different ways.

B.     How does the text say these things?

Characteristic to most of the Pauline epistles the manner by which Paul asserts his message is through the development of an argument.  In his opening phrase he draws his hearers attention to the eschatological perspective central to basic Christian understanding.  In doing so he exhorts to “wake up from sleep” by grounding them in the first subordinate clause with the knowledge/reminder that their salvation is at hand.  He then reiterates the situation in the imagery of night and day.  The night thus corresponding to the present evil age and the day corresponding to the eschaton.  In response to the new day which is at hand he calls for his readers to respond likewise by putting off the sin of there lives and putting on the weapons of light.  Clearly Paul see this in terms of a spiritual battle which continues to rage until that very day arrives and desires for his readers to continue in the fight in light of their coming salvation.  He continues with further exhortation now more directly focus on aspects of daily living.  His use of “walking properly as in the daytime” is clearly a reference as to how one is viewed in the public eye.  He contrasts this with a variety of blatant “sins” suggesting that they are incompatible for a person who professes a life redeemed in Christ.  One’s confession and one’s actions must be congruent.  He then ends with an alternative response, which reflects the same sentiments as vs. 12 of putting on Christ as the only reasonable and necessary response, while casting out the sin of the flesh.  Verses 12b and 14 form an AB – BA structure as they parallel each other in reverse order. 

C.     What does the text do?

Function:  Paul’s address to the Roman’s in chapter 13:11-14 is an exhortation to his readers to live Godly lives in light of the certainty of the close of the present age.

Significance:  Our text for today comes from Paul’s epistle to the Roman’s.  Unlike all of Paul’s other letters, Romans is the one letter written to a church he had never visited.  For that reason Paul is not specifically exhorting, correcting, or admonishing an issue among a people of which he is familiar.  Rather his intent is one of preparation for his intended visit on his way to Spain and also to lay out that basic system of salvation to a church which had not yet received the apostles teaching.  Although there was already some assemblance of a Christian church that had been started in Rome his tone is clearly missional as he begins with the most basic understanding of mans sinful nature.  He then moves to discuss the topic of justification through faith and the freedom that is received in the sanctified life.  Our text falls within the closing chapters of the book in which Paul’s turns to the application of righteousness practiced.  The once sinful life, which has been redeem in Christ demands a change in lifestyle as reflected in one’s behavior.  At the time of writing Rome could be characterized as a city of many sinful pleasures.  The satisfaction of the flesh was part of daily living among the pagan.  To a young church it was like a deer living among wolves so Paul encourages them to put off the sin and desire of the flesh and put on the light of Christ.  He does so first in appeal to the law in the proceeding verses and then by means of the eschatological end.  He clearly points them to the now and not yet paradox in which they live.  On account of Christ and the promise of the age to come Paul encourages them to live Godly lives that is consistent with the righteousness they have received.

D.    Exegetical Statement

Paul is exhorting the Roman Christians to be vigil in leading lives that are congruent to the new life they have received in Christ.  He does this in light of the clear reality that the last day is imminently at hand.  They must live in constant preparation for what is yet to come, their final salvation.


 

3.      Contextual Study

A.     General Context:

Much of the general context regarding the book of Romans in terms has been covered in section 2C Significance, above. Below is a brief outline of the major divisions of the text taken from the NIV Study Bible.

I.        Introduction (1:1-15)

II.     Theme:  righteousness from God (1:16-17)

III.   The Unrighteousness of all mankind  (1:18-3:20)

IV.  Righteousness Imputed:  Justification  (3:21-5:21)

V.     Righteousness Imparted: Sanctification  (6-8)

VI.  God’s righteousness vindicated:  The problems of the rejection of Israel  (9-11)

VII.            Righteousness Practiced  (12:1-15:13)

VIII.         Conclusions  (15:14-33)

IX.  Commendation and greetings  (16)

The outline further exemplifies the logical progression Paul uses as he details the Gospel message. The major theme, which sets the stage for the entire book, is expressed in chapter 1 verses 16-17.   Thematically it is best expressed as “righteousness from God.” Our text falls towards the end to the letter in the section described as righteousness practice.  Here Paul does a masterful job of tying his statements back to earlier sections of his letter, thus showing his hearers that the life he encourages them to live today is an integral part of the entire plan of God’s salvation.  For example, his focus on salvation immediately makes the connection back to the overall theme of the book found in chapter 1.  The exhortation, which figures prominently recalls and reemphasizes his earlier council found in 6:12-13, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” And also 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”[1]   His recognition the the present age is not yet over and continual renewal is needed echoes the eschatological tensions of the later half of chapters 6, 7, and 8.[2]  From a general Christian context of the time, the idea of putting off and putting on was common in early Christian parenesis. 

B.     Immediate Context

The key to understanding how our text fits into the immediate context lies in how one interprets the kai touto.  The ESV has this translated as besides this, while some simple say “and this” or the NIV “And do this”.  In any case I believe this serves as the introduction to a mini conclusion or perhaps a grounding of this entire section starting as 12:1.   Chapter 12 begins the “righteousness practiced” section with his most notable exhortation to present oneself as a living sacrifice.  He goes on to then talk about how one ought to think about oneself and how to exercise the gifts which God has bestowed.  Further attention is then given to the marks of a Christian beginning in 12:9.  Chapter 13 then introduces a discourse on submission to authorities and then in 13:8 he talks about fulfilling the law in love.  It is then in verse 11 that we come to the “besides this.”  For an entire chapter and a half Paul has been giving description after description of what a Christian should do.  Although this was most likely meant to be encouraging it does sound like a whole lot of law.  So, in the middle of this discourse, which extends out to 15:13, Paul suddenly takes a break.  He lifts their eyes from the road before them and focuses them on the horizon.  There they see the promise of salvation, the second coming of Christ.  It is there in the promise that he reminds them why they should do these things.  Perhaps anticipating an even more practical question Paul addresses how these things can be done.  It is by putting off the darkness and putting on the armor of light.  It is in Christ that they get their abilities, and it is on account of Christ that they do these things.

4.      Theological Study:

A.     What does the text teach?

Parallel Passage Study

Looking ahead to what will be discussed in the Liturgical study, it is clear that the overall focus of the service for Advent 1 is on the return of Christ.  This will be detailed further in the appropriate section.  I see this being the overall theme of my sermon that follows a progression from the vision, to the anticipation to the preparation and ultimately ends back at the vision.

In order to obtain the full impact of Paul’s I found it helpful to try and imagine what he had in mind when writing these words.  From his opening statements it is evident that he has some picture in his mind as to what this coming day of salvation looks like.  In the Luke 21:25-28 Jesus gives us a picture of what the “coming of the Son of Man” will look like. "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."  And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.   So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.   Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.   But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."  Paul has addressed virtually every issue raised in this passage in his exhortation in Romans.  Just as Jesus has given image and prediction of his second coming he follows with an exhortation to prepare oneself and not be caught up in the “sins” of this world.  This is the same pattern Paul uses in our Romans text and the same pattern found in numerous texts that anticipate the second coming.  (Rev. 22:10-12, 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Cor. 7:29-31)

If the vision and expectation of the second coming is always paired with a warning or exhoration to prepare or separate oneself from the world one must understand what lurks in the world in which we live and  two things must be considered. 

Ephesians 5:11 picks up on the theme of darkness.  It reads, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Here darkness is being used with the same essential meaning as in the Romans passage.  The context of this passage is such that Paul is encouraging the Ephesians to walk in love.  This purpose is expressed early in 5:2.  Following that Paul spends vs 3-18 enumerating all the things they should stay away from if they are to walk in love.  Darkness is clearly a reference to the sin of the present age.  Interestingly, just a couple of verses before, in vs 8, the image of darkness and light is used in combination once again.  However, Paul uses darkness in a more direct sense saying, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”  Here he actually calls his hearers darkness rather than referring to the acts of darkness.  This draws an interesting parallel to suggest that little distinction is made the act of sin and the sinner.  Again in 1 Thess. 5:5-6 we hear, “For you are all children of the light, children of the day.  We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us keep wake and be sober.”  (The full text here starting a 5:1 is interesting as it focuses more directly on their knowledge of how and when Christ will return.)

For those whom the Lord has chosen he does not leave them helpless and exposed to battle mercilessly against the evils of the present age.  In our text, Paul reminds the Roman Christians that they look to Christ for their strength and protection.  Ephesians 6:11, 13-17 picks up the theme of putting on the armor of God.  Verses 11 and 13 really draw nice parallels to our text in Romans.  Verse 11, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” And vs 13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”  These verses help us to understand the purpose of clothing ourselves in the armor of God.  It is to be able to stand against the schemes of the devil and stand firm in the evil age.  The devil and the evil age can clearly be linked to the image of darkness previously used in Eph. 5:11 and in our Romans text.  The remaining verses 14-17 details the “items” that compose the armor of God.  This is significant when related to the use of the word o[pla, which gets translated as either armor or weapon.  As noted in section 2A, this really makes reference to any instrument used to make ready for military engagement.  Ephesians 6:14-17 addresses both the defensive armor used to protect oneself, but also the offensive weaponry need to do battle against the enemy.

The question that will always remain when dealing with rational human beings is that of “how do I know?”  how does one know if they are clothed in Christ or in the armor of light.  Galatians 3:27 reads, “For as many of you that have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Just as God does not leave his children defenseless in the battle, so he also does not leave them wondering if they are prepared.  As the God who came down and made himself known to all mankind in Christ, so also he leaves us the sacraments.  He leaves for us something in and of this world that we can see, feel, touch, experience, remember and point to to be assured that we are in fact clothed in Christ.

Systematic Theology

From the LC 6th Petition:

Therefore, even though at present we are upright and stand before God with a good conscience, we must ask once again that he will not allow us to fall and collapse under the attacks and temptations. (100)

Every Christian must endure such great, grievous perils and attacks-grievous enough even if they come one at a time.  As long as we remain in this vile life, where we are attached, hunted, and harried on all sides, we are constrained to cry out and pray every hour that God may not allow us to become faint and weary and to fall back into sin, shame, and unbelief.  Otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the smallest attack. (105)

I have chosen these passages from the large catechism as they help to illustrate the reality of the time in which both Paul’s readers live and the days we live in as well.  Until Christ returns we will all be engaged against sin, death and the devil on a daily basis.

B.     How can I communicate this idea?

All the people in our congregation know what it means to prepare for something which they know is coming.  They know the feelings associated with a big event, perhaps an upcoming vacation, or a holiday and the eagerness with which they look forward to such things.  There is an ability to sustain such feelings and excitement for short periods of time until the event is over and life continues.  Here, however, we have a situation in which the “big event” is a forgone conclusion but its time is yet unknown.  The key is to remind them that we live with that same type of anticipation on a daily basis.  Within the immediate context of year the season of Christmas provides a good opportunity to draws parallels to this idea of anticipation and preparation.  It is a time of year when virtually the entire country gears to celebrate this event.  The actions and activities which we do leading up to December 25th encompass all the same attributes that we should maintain in anticipation of Christ’s return.

5.      Liturgical Study

A.     Diachronic Study

Our text for consideration is appointed for the 1st Sunday in Advent.  Seasonally, Advent 1 marks the beginning of a new church year and marks the first major seasonal shift in may weeks.  Interestingly, the readings from the previous week address the topic of the second coming as well.  However, their focus tended to be on teachings about what that day would be like, not so much the anticipation of it.  This does, however, provide a nice transition.  Having heard what the kingdom of heaven will be like, the attention can now be shifted to the anticipation of it which begins at Advent 1.  The season of Advent is all about the expected arrival of the Messiah.  Like any good journey it must begin with a view of the destination.  As such Advent 1 wants to draw peoples attention to the road that lies before them.  Advent 2 will then focus on the prophetic announcement of the coming Christ in terms of its actual historical event.  Through the prophecy of Isaiah, and cry of John the Baptist the stage will be set for the birth of Christ.

B.     Synchronic Study

As a way of lifting the eyes of the church to the destination that awaits in Bethlehem, it is traditional that the propers for the day focus on the theme of the return of Christ.  As the church relives the days leading up to the birth of Christ we see in history a fulfillment in Christ of what is yet to come.  It is an odd paradox in which the church looks to the past to see the future.  The other appointed readings for the day, Psalm 50:1-15, Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:37-44 clearly pick up on this theme.  The Pslamist writes in 50:3, “Our god comes; he does not keep silence.”  The reading from Isaiah uses a prophecy about Judah and Jerusalem to paint a wonderful picture of what the world will be like after Christ has returned.  Peace will reign over all.  Finally, Matthew uses the story of Noah to illustrate what it will be like in the last days.  It addresses the issue of the not knowing the time of Christ’s return and thus the need to be vigilant in our preparation.  It also highlights that it is only on account of Christ that people will be saved.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing, sinful or not.

            The other aspects of the liturgical setting, introit, gradual, etc. seem to pick up the same theme.  Even the title of the Hymn of the Day, Savior of the Nations Come immediately draws attention to the main theme.

Although the structure of the overall service would lend itself to a focus on preaching a sermon on the second coming of Christ I have still chosen to focus on the exhortation portion of our passage.  As mentioned previously, the inevitability and anticipation of the return of Christ is the foundation on which the exhortation rests.  However, I think Paul was very concerned about the reality that his hearers still live in the time of the not yet and that needs to be dealt with on a daily basis.

6.      Christocentricity

A.     How does this text relate to the proclamation of Jesus Christ?

A review of our text reveals a breadth of theological content cloaked in a host of wonderful imagery.  In terms of the presence of law and gospel, in their strict sense of the words, the law seems to come to bear in a more direct sense, although it is presented in an accusing way, while the true Gospel message seems to exists somewhere between the words.

As far as law content goes, all occasions with the use of the 1st person plural subjunctive (hortatory) and 2nd person imperative, could be construed as law.  These statements, which begin, “let us…” or “do this…” are a call to action on the hearer’s part.  They reflect an action, which God would have us take as it relates to him and the world.  I see also, in the larger context, the law showing through as Paul goes through all the “marks of a Christian” that begin at 12:1.  Direct gospel content is a little harder to come by.  Certainly, Paul addresses the concept of salvation in Christ but he does it in a tangential way.  The amplification of Christ’s return, the image that salvation is at hand serve to remind the hearer about the hope they have but it does not explicitly reveal the gospel.  The truest gospel content comes in tracing the concept of putting on Christ, but asking the question “How do I do this?”  This leads to the parallel passage in Galatians that brings the focus onto baptism as the way we know.  Here baptism can be used to proclaim the gospel in its fullness.

From a function standpoint, what might be construed as law content appears to function much differently.  Paul’s call to action comes across as a rally cry to his hears in much the same way a coach fires up his team at half time.  The players don’t leave the locker room feeling bad about all the things they need to do, or do better, but rather they leave pumped up and excited about the task at hand.  In theological terms it would appear the Paul is working with the 3rd use of the law.  In my estimation the two things Paul says that could leave his hears most burdened are “put on the armor of light,” and put on Christ Jesus.”  These are the most abstract concepts that Paul uses in his discourse.  By nature they beg the question, which we have asked numerous times before, “How do I do this?” or “How do I know if I’ve doe it?”  Ironically, the statements that have the most direct correlation to the name of Christ might well leave one with the most doubt and concern.

B.     What images or metaphors relate to this proclamation?

The texts lends itself best to the proclamation of the gospel by means of the Christus Victor model.  Although the vehicle of the gospel message will come through the connection to baptism, which typically might warrant the Christus vicar model, Paul clearly wants his hears to see Christ as our defender and the conqueror of sin, death and the devil.  His reference to the armor of God immediately puts his hearers in the mindset of military engagement.  Proclamation of Christ as the one who stands victorious, who has already won the final battle and promises us triumph on the last day will be my focus.

The law proclamation will draw from the wider context of the surrounding text.  Reference to the list of things that Paul has laid before his readers as ways they should behave will centralize the law proclamation.  I will talk about how being a person who confesses Christ publicly demands a certain set of behavioral standards.  (I will of course be sure to clarify that on account of Christ our behavior doesn’t impact or salvation.)

7.      Contemporary Setting

A.     Who are my hearers?

The hearers of the congregation, which I have in mind, are of mixed bag.  The ethnic split of the congregation is about 65% Caucasian and 35% African American.  The age demographics are highly diverse ranging from the children of young couples to a high percentage of retired and elderly.  To further add to the complexity there also exist a wide variety of Lutheran backgrounds.  Some people have been LCMS Lutherans all there life and in some instances were baptized in this very church while others are fairly new to such a confessionally based church denomination.  Amidst all the diversity present within the various categories described the most common thread would be the socio-economic class of virtually all congregational members.  Whether black, white, life long Lutheran or not virtually all members are of upper middle class background.  It can then be assumed that to a certain degree the work experiences and daily challenges faced by the whole of the congregation are fairly common.  Culturally between blacks and whites there will be an added dimension but economic status seems to be a common denominator.  In terms of preaching style and content it will be important to consider some of the lower common denominators.  One of the more significant considerations would be to speak on a level understandable by those who are yet learning the basics of Lutheranism.  Use of theological language should be kept to a minimum and when used will need to be explained.

      As they meet to gather this day, they will have just gone through the Thanksgiving Holiday and will no doubt be looking forward to the Christmas season.  The stores will be filled with all the signs of Christmas and the radio will be blaring Christmas songs.  The anticipation of the holiday will be on the for front of their mind for the next 4 weeks.

B.     How do they relate to the text?

It goes without saying that this is not first century rome and thus there are many differences which separate the original hearers from today’s congregation.  However, in relation to this text we can still draw some significant parallels.  In particular Paul is concerned that his hears have become sleepy or complacent in terms of their anticipation of the coming of Christ.  This is reflected in his statement that it is time for them to wake from sleeping.  As the letter was written some 55 years after Christ’s ascension it isn’t a huge stretch to think that the passage of time has cause such a reaction in people.  Human nature would tend to dictate that the longer time goes on without the fulfillment of an event the less people tend to stand at the ready.  What can we say now that 2000 plus years have passed and we still await his return.  We talk about his return and believe in it but do our actions reflect urgency which Paul called his original hears to maintain?  It may be safe to assume that we all suffer from some sleepiness in this area.

In contrast, my hearers for today are going to identify with some of the “sins of the night” which Paul calls them to put off.  It seems that Paul called into question the dual personality of the life that walked upright in the daytime and indulged in such revelry at night.  Given the makeup of the congregation this type of duality of a persons life does seem to quite fit on an overall basis.  This is not to say that sin isn’t a problem but this would need to be used metaphorically to make it more tangible and meaningful to them.

C.     How will this sermon effect their lives?

                       ·      From culture to sermon

As mentioned in section 3A the primary cultural influence which will accompany the hearers if the anticipation of Christmas.  However, this will have been pressed upon them from a secular and commercial vantage point.  Sure many of them will confess that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and so forth but the reality is that they will be looking forward to the family celebrations, the meals, the gifts, the lights and for the children, Santa Claus.  It becomes a bit of hard work and purposeful though to maintain the Christian theme of Christmas.  Some might even be feeling a little anxiety over the entire affair as this tends to be a season in which the time to get everything done is in short supply.  An initial reading of the text might tend to be received with a sort of “deer in the head lights” response.   They well will hear it but not know what to make of it.  Christmas tends to be looked at as a birthday celebration for Jesus so talk about waking up and salvation being at hand might catch them off guard.  In light of the passage of time and its effect as described above the doctrine of the second coming may well be understood as primarily a teaching and not some much as an active event that could happen at any moment.  Simple questions like, “What do you mean be prepared?” or “ How do I do such a thing?” might well be raised in their minds.

                       ·      From sermon to culture.

Through the sermon the people will be brought out of their condition of complacency and invigorated with the imminence of Christ’s return.  They will be reminded that even today we live with that reality just out of reach.  With that in view, they will be shown that they are the elect of God.  The putting on of Christ is known by holding firm to one’s baptism and partaking in the Lord’s Supper.  As such, one who belongs to God is in the world but not of the world.  This demands actions and behaviors that conform to the will of God not to the currently prevailing morals and standards of the present culture.  The focus on the second coming should serve to bring to the forefront the hope we have in Christ and the foundation for which we make Godly choices on a daily basis. 

8.      Focus/Function Statements

A.     Focus: 

Because Christ will return to reclaim his kingdom we should remain vigilant against the hazard’s of backsliding and complacency of this world as we await patiently and eagerly His return.

B.     Function:

To invigorate and encourage those who live yet in this age to live lives in accord with the Word of God empowered by the work of Christ, to stand ready for the coming age amidst the trials and temptations of this world.

      


----

[1] World Bible Commentary, Word Books Publisher, Dallas texas, 1988, p. 784.

[2] Ibid

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