The imminence of the Lord’s coming is under consideration here. The apostles use this great even to urge believers to live more holy lives. This portion is no exception. In Romans 13:8 Paul says, “In view of the soon return of the Lord, owe no man anything except love. Love is a debt which cannot be paid in full.” Romans 13:9-10 is very practical in their application. [Mention the five commandments; the others are summed up in the one. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”]
Love thinketh, seeth, and speaketh no evil.
Love doeth no wrong.
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love is as strong as death.
Many waters cannot quench love.
Romans 13:11 - “Besides this knowing the time that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.”
The Soon Return of the Lord
Discerning the Times – See Matthew 24
(The signs are ominous):
- Wars and rumors of wars
- Nation rising against nation
These are the beginnings of sorrows. (For knowing the time also see Luke 21:29-30, Luke 17, and Luke 21:24) The Bible indicates that in the closing days of God’s grace to man there will be an increase in lawlessness and disobedience. There is lawlessness and disobedience in every country. Student rebellion and campus riots are common. Policemen and law officials are challenged, fought and killed. Wars and rumors of wars abound. There is no peace. Civil war is common. Famines occur. Countless multitudes are suffering from malnutrition and starvation. Twelve thousand people starve to death each day. If in the next thirty years our population doubles how many will die of starvation then?
If there is rebellion and rejection of authority now, what fearsome conditions will exist by the year 2000? To further enlighten you to discern the days in which we now live, read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. It is high time to awake out of sleep! Spiritual sleep or indifference is one of the deadliest enemies of the soul. It was while men slept that the enemy sowed the tares. The whole world lieth in the wicked one. Let us now see what can happen when men sleep or become indifferent.
Greek mythology—The Siege of Troy by the Greeks - For ten years they besieged it unsuccessfully. Finally, they built a huge wooden horse, filled it with soldiers, and then pretended to sail away. The Trojans, in exultation, dragged the horse within the walls. That night, in the darkness and while the Trojans slept, the Greek soldiers crept from their hiding place and opened the city gates. The waiting Greeks poured into the city, massacred the people and burned their city.
Belshazzar - The king of the Babylonians failed to recognize the signs of the times. See Daniel 5. [Describe Babylon, the feast, and the writing on the wall: numbered, weighed, and divided] Because of his blindness, unwillingness, and indifference to the conditions around him, Belshazzar lost his empire and his life. Has Satan, the God of this world, so blinded your eyes that you are asleep, insensitive to the lateness of the hour and the signs of the times? (For the God of this world, see Matthew 16)
It is time to wake up! Our text says, “It is high time to wake out of sleep.” The night is far spent, the day is at hand and our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. We are living in the last days. The coming of the Lord draweth near. The clarion call of the Gospel is “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.” See Ephesians 5:14.
Now, is our salvation nearer than when we first believed?
Paul calls this “that blessed hope and glorious appearing.” In Romans 8:22, Paul depicts the spiritual Christian as waiting for the redemption of the body. When this takes place, we will be sons in the fullest sense. The curse will be removed from the earth. [Describe some of the conditions in the liberated world] The night is far spent and the day is at hand.
Are you ready for the Lord’s coming? “You can discern the face of the sky.” Mark 13:33-37 says,
“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
Thoughts on the Lord’s Coming
The Certainty of His Coming - The Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the Lord’s coming. There are 1,845 references to it in the Old Testament and 318 in the New Testament. For every prophecy of the first coming, there are eight on the Second Coming. He is coming:
- Personally (John 14)
- Quickly (Revelation 22, 1 Corinthians 15)
- Unexpectedly (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
A former Israeli Prime Minister said, “We are living in the Messianic Age.”
General MacArthur said, “I will return.”
The Lord Jesus said, “If I go, I will come again.”
Most believers know of the “certainty of the Lord’s return.” What we don’t know is the “time of His coming” (see Matthew 24:36). The Scriptures teach us that we are to observe the signs that would tell of the nearness of His coming. Then “knowing the time” or “recognizing the events” around us, we can take the necessary action for our future well-being.
Prophetic truth is flashing its warning signals from every direction to our generation. Some examples of this are:
The return of Israel to Palestine and her being able to stay there
The forming of the Common Market = The revived Roman Empire (The Wall)
The awakening of China = The kings of the East
The rise of Russia = The king of the North
The ascension of the Arab nations = The king of the South = the focus of world attention on the Middle East
The apostasy of Protestantism
Famines (worldwide)…pestilences (AIDS)…earthquakes (Mexico, Columbia)
The unrest and restlessness among the nations
The lawlessness and rebellion against authority in every country
The summit talks - “Peace, peace then suddenly destruction cometh upon them.”
Lastly, but not the least, there is the knowledge of explosions in science and technology.
Daniel says that “knowledge shall be increased” prior to the Lord’s coming. Knowledge has increased more in the last 50 years than during all previously recorded human history. Think of the tremendous development in communication…the Acts – the Sciences.
Consider the field of medicine: biology, surgery, chemistry, physics, agriculture, electronics, etc. Man has topped what many believe to be the “secret of the universe,” the splitting of the atom, and the discovery of atomic energy by nuclear fission. What is the purpose of me reminding you of these prevailing conditions? It is to acquaint you with the nearness of the Lord’s return to earth.
Again, Romans 13:11 says “And that knowing the time that it is already the hour for you to awaken out of sleep.” Spiritual sleep and indifference are two of the deadliest enemies of the soul. 1 John 5:19 says, “The world is lulled to sleep in the lap of the wicked one.” See what can happen when men sleep? It is time to wake up, “the night is almost gone, the day is at hand.” “Where is the promise of His coming?” We are living in the last days. See 2 Timothy 3. “The coming of the Lord draweth near.”
At least seven years before the Lord returns to the earth, the rapture will take place. For this is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. We are not looking for signs. We are listening for footsteps. “I can almost hear the footfall.” [Describe the Rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. Two persons in one bed: one taken, the other left. Two women are working together: one taken, the other left. Two men shall be in the field: one taken, the other left.]
In the days of Noah they ate and drank while Noah preached, they married and were given by marriage…until the day that Noah entered into the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. As sure as the flood came…the Lord will come. In the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought and sold, they planted, and they divided. But the same day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone and destroyed them all. “The coming of the Lord draweth near, therefore be ye also ready.”