Summary: The believer should stay as far away as possible from anything that would damage their testimony and the name of our Lord.
A. Have you ever been late for something important?
1. The Home Alone movies were some of my favorites. I think they accurately portray what a young boy would do if his parents left him home alone-whether on purpose or accidentally.
2. In the first two movies, the family is about to embark on a family vacation but oversleep. When they finally wake up and realize they only have a short time to get to the airport, the scenes are amusing. Everyone is running around. Confusion reigns. But they make it. In the first one, Kevin is left home by accident. In the second, he gets on the wrong plane and ends up in New York.
3. There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve overslept because the alarm clock didn’t go off. I would suddenly awake, look at the time with a confusing stare, make sure in my mind that this was really a day I was supposed to go to work, then jump up and feel as if I was behind for the rest of the day.
4. For others, being late is more of a habit than an occasional thing. I recall one church my dad pastored. There was a gentleman in the church who was a very dedicated member and Christian but he was fifteen minutes late for every service. I think he was actually on time, just his time and not church time.
5. Sometimes we miss out on important things when we are late. Think of a door prize drawing with a wonderful prize, but you had to be present for the drawing. They made the drawing, you were running late, they drew your name, you weren’t there, they drew another name and you lost out.
6. Paul has previously given us some examples of responsible living and what it entails. Now he reinforces that by reminding us the hour is late. Time is running out.
I. Right Living Remembers Time Is Limited (vv. 11-12)
A. God’s original intention may have been for his world and the people he created to exist forever. But being all knowing, he knew humans would sin and that sin would not only corrupt them but also his world.
1. Since the wages of sin is death (6:23), our bodies age and die.
2. Sin also brings death to everything else in the form of corruption. Nothing material lasts forever.
3. Jesus tells us to store our treasures in heaven where moths will not eat, rust will not destroy and thieves will not steal. When we store them on earth, all of the above can or do affect them. (Matthew 6:19-21)
B. Jesus also instructs his followers to work while it’s day because the night is coming. (John 9:4)
1. While Jesus says the night is coming, Paul says the night is almost over.
2. Paul is referencing the night of evil while Jesus is referencing the necessity of doing our work for him quickly.
3. The conclusions are the same, however. We only have a limited time to do God’s work.
C. The lateness of the hour should determine how we live.
1. Whether we are alive at Christ’s coming or whether he comes for us at death, the result should be the same.
2. Right living involves the personal attention to our spiritual lives and attention to God’s work as we realize the end may be near.
3. One translation puts it plainly: Time is running out. (NLT)
4. At death, it will be too late to get our spiritual houses in order or to tell anyone else about Christ.
5. The work we do and are required to do must be done now.
6. It should be the believer’s desire to live a lifestyle that would be Christ approved. We don’t want to be ashamed if Christ would come and find us with things in our life that should not be there.
7. Believers are responsible for being spiritually alert, morally upright and diligently serving as we await Christ’s return.
8. Since we don’t know when he will come, there will be no last minute opportunity to get things settled just as there is no guarantee that we will know before we die. Just as it is foolish to live wickedly and depend on having a chance before death to change, so it is foolish for the believer to live with known sin in their life and think they may have an opportunity to change before Christ’s coming. Such an attitude is evidence of a heart not right with God.
D. Paul’s use of the night also gives us encouragement.
1. How often do we tire of living in this sinful world with all its disappointments, diseases and shortcomings?
2. I’ve experienced it with many people in my ministry, but I distinctly recall my dad and grandfather being ready to go home.