Summary: This is an introduction to a series of sermons exploring various aspects of what a disciple's life looks like using Paul's image of "clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ."
The Disciple's Life: It's As Easy As Changing Your Clothes... Or Is It?
Last fall we spent a Sunday morning talking about Jesus’ parable of the three stewards. That parable helps us understand our call as disciples of Jesus as a stewardship of the life God has given us. The call to discipleship is a call to a whole new way of thinking and living. Being disciples of Jesus will bring about a transformation in every part of our being and doing. Now don’t hear this wrong: We are not talking about self-help here. We are talking about the very power of God to transform our lives and bring about such a radical transformation in us that the only way Scripture can describe it is using such language as “born anew” or “born from above” or “NEW CREATION!”
Picking up on a theme from Isaiah, Paul talks of this new life in terms of sunrise, a new day and getting dressed for the day.
Isaiah 58:8 "Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."
Isaiah 60:1-2 " “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Isaiah 52:1a " Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city."
According to Paul, being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a simple as changing your clothes! Or is it?
I invite you to turn with me to Romans 13:11-14 as we begin this morning to explore the call to discipleship and what it means for us here and now.
Read Romans 13:8-14 (Invite everyone to read vv8-10)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
I. Understanding the Present Time
1. From “The Centered Life: Awakened, Called, Set Free, Nurtured” by Jack Fortin
a. "I seem to be one person when I'm visiting my mother in the nursing home, another when I'm with my friends at the health club, still another at work, and someone else at church. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping all my separate selves straight. I feel like a chameleon. I wonder, which one is the real me?"
b. “As a single mom or dad, I feel torn to pieces by all the demands on my time. I try to do a good job at work and be a good parent to my kids and take care of my dad when he needs my help. I have no time for myself I feel overwhelmed. I feel as if I don't do anything well. My life seems to be falling apart into a million pieces."
c. “At work I'm being asked by my supervisors to do things that I think are quasi-moral and maybe even illegal, but basically I like my job, and, frankly, I'm afraid of losing it. I'm not finding any moral guidance at church. The sermons and Bible studies never seem to have anything to do with the situations I'm facing. I'm not sure my pastor has any idea of the issues I face at work."
2. Fragmented lives in a fragmented world-
a. The rapid pace of change
f. Unrealistic expectations
h. A climate of fear
3. And then there is Church!
II. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber. Why? Because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
a. The “End” is coming
b. The “End” of the brokenness of this present age