Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ROMANS 13:11-14


  1. In I Chronicles 12:32, the LORD commends the children of Issachar because they were “men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
  2. As Christians we must have that same understanding.  We must know what to do.   To know what to do, we must know our Bibles and we must “know the time” (Romans 13:11).
  3. Unfortunately, many Christians do not know the times.  Many lack spiritual discernment.
  4. That is because they do not know the Bible very well. They do not study the Bible, and what is worse is that many do not obey the Bible.
  5. Churches today are filled with Biblical-illiterates.  I read an article recently about the comedian Jay Leno. During the taping of one of his television shows, Mr. Leno moved through his audience asking people what they knew about the Bible. “Name one of the Ten Commandments,” he said.
  6. “God helps those who help themselves?” someone responded.
  7. “Name one of the apostles,” Leno told them.  No one in his large audience could name one.  Finally, he asked them to name the Beatles. Without hesitation, the answer came ringing from throughout the crowd: “George, Paul, John and Ringo.”
  8. You might be thinking: “Well, what would you expect from the worldly Jay Leno crowd?”  But the situation is far worse than many Christians realize.   According to Gallup, only 16 percent of Christians polled said they read the Bible daily.  (That is why we are in the mess we are in.)
  9. Gary Burge, a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, asserts that biblical illiteracy is at a crisis level not just in our culture in general but in America’s churches.
  10. Mr. Burge points to research at Wheaton College in which the Biblical and theological literacy of incoming freshmen have been monitored. These students, who represent almost every Protestant denomination in the United States from every state in the country, have returned some “surprising results”:
  • One-third could not put the following in order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost.
  • Half could not sequence the following: Isaac’s birth, Moses in Egypt, Saul’s death, and Judah’s exile.
  • One-third could not identify Matthew as an apostle from a list of New Testament names.
  • When asked to locate the biblical book supplying a given story, one-third could not find Paul’s travels in Acts, half did not know that the Christmas story was in Matthew, half did not know that the Passover story was in Exodus (



  1. Too many Christians are sleeping when they should be working.  They are like Jonah fast asleep while the ship is going down.  The heathen shipmaster had to wake Jonah up.  He said to him, “What meanest thou, O sleeper?” (Jonah 1:6).  This wicked old world is like that sinking ship.  This is no time for sleeping.
  2. Do you remember the time our Lord said to Peter, James and John, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matt. 26:38)?  But when He returned they were sleeping.  Our Lord said to Peter: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matt. 26:40).
  3. Our Lord had just told them the parable of the ten virgins.  He said, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5).  Today it does appear that the bridegroom is tarrying and many are slumbering and sleeping.
  4. And so the apostle Paul says that “now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11).  The prospect of the Lord’s return should be a great incentive to holy living.
  5. What causes Christians to fall asleep when they should be awake?  I believe it is because too many Christians have indulged in the stupefying things of this world. They are intoxicated by worldly pleasures; intoxicated by materialism; intoxicated by money, etc. They are like drunkards that have passed out!  And so they are:
  • Sleeping instead of attending church (unfortunately, some sleep when they come to church).
  • Sleeping instead of winning souls.
  • Sleeping instead of reading the Bible.  As I’ve said, too many Christians are Biblically-illiterate.
  • Sleeping instead of praying.  Jesus said in Luke 18:1, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”



  1. If you look closely at Romans 13:12, you will see an important Bible principle: we not only need to “cast off,” we also need to “put on.”
  2. For example, we must “cast off” all wicked and worldly music, whether it is called rock, rap, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, or whatever. If it is sensual and carnal it must be “cast off.”  (If you want to get certain people very upset, start criticizing rock music!)
  3. But casting off rock music is not enough; we must also “put on” the right kind of music.  The Bible says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19).
  4. The Bible says, “putting on the breastplate of faith and love…” (I Thess. 5:8).  You will find this principle all throughout the Bible (cf. Eph. 6:12-17).
  5. Paul says in Romans 13:12, “Let us put on the armour of light.” The Bible clearly teaches that this world is in darkness, and as Christians we are not to walk in darkness.
  6. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
  7. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
  8. The apostle Paul goes on to say, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness…” (Rom.13: 13).  I preached this text one night many years ago, and a lady who was visiting spoke to me after the meeting.  She said that she enjoyed having a few drinks and therefore did not want to get saved.  She was content in her liberal church because they did not teach that one needed to be born again.
  9. Hell is full of worldly, cocktail drinking, cigarette smoking, unsaved church members.
  10. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day…” (13:13).  Next door there is a nightclub.   Ever wonder why they call these wicked places “nightclubs”? In the Bible the nighttime is associated with sin and darkness and drinking and fornication. Paul says in I Thessalonians 5 that we are “the children of the day.”
  11. Have you ever noticed that in the Bible “rioting and drunkenness” (13:13) always go together?   Many of the people Paul was writing to were saved out of this sinful background.  Paul was reminding them they needed to stay completely away from it now that they were saved.
  12. Immorality and drunkenness always go together.  This is what Paul means by “chambering and wantonness” (Rom. 13:13).  He is speaking of debauchery, which is often associated with drinking.
  13. Proverbs 23:33 warns the wine-drinker, “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.”
  14. Habakkuk 2:15 says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”
  15. There are many similar warnings in the Word of God.  “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness…” (Rom. 13:13).
  16. The Bible says to “cast off the works of darkness” (Rom. 13:12).



  1. How are we to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ?”  First of all, remember Paul is speaking here to Christians.  If you are not saved you cannot put on the Lord Jesus Christ until you first repent of your sin and receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
  2. “The old man” which we must “put off” is clearly our former manner of life. If you have not put it off entirely, let me encourage you to do so now by a decisive and immediate act of faith.
  3. If you have trusted Christ to save you, then you must trust Him to help you “put on the new man” (Eph. 4:24).
  4. FB Meyer said, “It does not take long for a beggar to put off his rags and take instead a new suit of clothes, and it need not take a moment longer to put away habits and thoughts, ways of speech and life which are unworthy of the children of God. Do it now, and look up to the Holy Spirit to keep renewing you in the spirit of your mind.”
  5. To put on the Lord Jesus Christ means to walk in the Spirit and to live daily in obedience to the revealed will of God.  His will is revealed to us in the Bible.
  6. The flesh craves attention, comfort, luxury, wicked desires, carnal lusts, worldly pleasures, materialism, and a million other selfish gratifications that would keep us from staying close to the Lord.
  7. The Bible says to make no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14).
  8. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ we will not indulge “in strife and envying” (13:13b).  It has been my observation that few Christians will indulge in rioting and drinking, but there are many who are envious and contentious (13:13b).
  9. Beloved, whenever you think of the word “envy” remember the Scripture that says, “For he (Pilate) knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy” (Matt. 27:18).
  11. According to Galatians 5:21, envy is a sin of the flesh.  And so the Scripture says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).



  1. Romans 13:11 says, “For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”   We are much closer to heaven now than we were the day we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
  2. The Scofield Study Bible says in the margin that “nearer” here means, “nearer in the sense of the full result of salvation in glory.”
  3. Salvation has three tenses: past, present, and future.
  • Past - we were saved from the penalty of sin (hell).
  • Present - we are presently saved from the power of sin.
  • Future - we will be saved from the presence of sin (in heaven).  That is what Paul is referring to in Romans 13:11.
  1. For some people, 2009 could be their last year on earth.   Some people here today may not be here next year. 
  2. Are you ready to meet the Lord?

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