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Pastor’s Paraklesis: Keeping Alert

 

“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 is strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” ( Romans 13:11-14 NKJV)

Paul emphasizes to the believers at Rome that they must have a high standard of moral conduct. The reason: Jesus is coming soon. Paul lived with the view and hope of the soon return of the Lord. He challenges his readers to do the same.

I have been thinking about what Paul was saying to believers in AD 56, and asking myself what would he would be saying today, 1,944 years later? Here we are at the dawn of a new millenium. Christ’s coming is 1,944 years closer than it was in AD 56. I believe he would be looking at the spiritual sleepiness that is present in many believers and congregations, even many ministers of the gospel.

We need to cultivate an appropriate view of wakefulness.

What things are luring you to sleep? As I pose this question, especially to us who are in the ministry, what things are luring us so that our minds are not sharp concerning the Christian life? Satan is out to devour anyone he can possibly deceive.

We need to cultivate an appropriate view of awakeness. The soldier who sleeps at his post will bring his own death. He could be court martialed, or if the enemy attacked while he was sleeping he would be killed. In ancient Rome, a soldier who slept on duty would be executed on the spot. We praise God that Jesus already took that judgement for us. We do not have to live in fear of failure. We are in a battle, however. If we desire to be effective, we must be spiritually awake.

The attack that seems to be the most severe for us is the attack that Satan makes on the mind. He wants to lure us asleep. When our mind gets dull then works of darkness will prey upon us. When we have not gotten the proper amount of rest, we become targets of giving into temptations.

So then, Paul gives us the antidote. “Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12 NKJV). The way we dispel the darkness in a room is to turn the light switch on. The darkness disappears when the light comes on. Paul is saying to us, put on the “armor of light” to “cast off the works of darkness.” Putting on the armor is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ will make us sensitive to guarding the appetites of the flesh. The command is not to make any provision for the flesh. If we are submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, how are we going to be comfortable making provision (fostering sensual desires) for the flesh?

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2000

About the Author: Carl J. Halquist retired in 2014, most recently serving as the Senior and Visitation Pastor at Trinity Assembly of God in Mt. Morris, Michigan. In full-time ministry since 1964, Pastor Carl has served Assemblies of God churches in California, Indiana, and Michigan and served as a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, Michigan District for 5 years. Carl and his wife, Sandy, live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and he continues to provide pulpit supply for the Michigan District of the Assemblies of God.

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