Clothe Yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 13:8-14 (Pastor Heo)
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has 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 orgies 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 sinful nature.
Let me tell my experience.
About 30 years ago, I had the opportunity to join a helping ministry on a small island (Mango-do?) – my church planted a small church on that island (population < 150 – only about 40 families). There was no clinic, hospital, post office, etc. There was only one elementary school – with only 5 students. In 2000, that school closed. One of the students was the pastor’s daughter.
I helped with cleaning and evangelism.
The people were surrounded by water. In ALL directions, they could only see a horizontal line. There was nothing to see except water.
Can you imagine? The most difficult thing was that there was NO water to drink, cook with, shower with, etc. There was NO way to GET water. There was only ONE way to get water: from heaven. It was called “heavenly water” by the people. So, every time it rained, the whole population came out to receive as much water as they could – even 2am. Water seemed to be a savior to them.
I stayed there for 6 days but did not take a shower even though I sweat so much. Through this experience, I think this generation is like this spiritually.
Our generation is FULL of love, but LACK *real* love.
Music, books, movies use the word love so easily.
2 Tim 3 “Mark this, there will be terrible times at the last days. They will be lovers of self, money, physical pleasure.” (sinful, sensual love – but little love of God and neighbors and enemies)
That’s why Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commands.”
“A new commandment I give you: love one another. By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“Whoever does not love, does not know God.”
This means – “whoever does not love proves he is not saved – or does not know he is saved” – because God’s saving power is motivated by his unconditional love.
If we are saved, we have already experienced his unconditional love. To experience this love and then NOT show it to others is to not have experienced this love at all.
“I should love.”
But I have no power to show this agape love.
Today gives us the KEY to this love.
Yes, there are many many reasons for us to love if we are really born again Christians. But there are three reasons here in this passage why we should love: God, our neighbors, our enemies.
3 Reasons WHY we should love
#1 Because we are debtors
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”
Our duty to love one another is called “continual debt.”
v. 7 says “give everyone what you owe him. If taxes, then tax, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This means that ALL kinds of debt must be repaid.
If you have debt, you must pay – without paying, you will go to prison.
In this life, there is only one debt that cannot be paid fully: God’s love.
Apostle Paul confessed: “I’m a debtor – both to the Greeks and Jews – Christ demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, he died for us.”
“This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us first and gave his son as the propitiation for our sins.”
“Try to grasp how wide, how long, how deep, how far is the love of Christ.” (wider, higher, farther, longer than eternity).
This love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. No matter how much we try to repay this love, we can never repay it because God continually pours his love into us.
This is agape (godly, unconditional, sacrificial) love.
If we are Christians, we are debtors to God’s love.
#2 Because love is the fulfillment of the Law
“The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Love is the fulfillment (basis) of the Law.
Yes, as children of God, we are not under Law, but under Grace. We are living under the grace of God, by the grace of God. But this does not mean we are free to live a lawless life.
When we are living by the grace of God, the Holy Spirit enables us to meet the requirements of the Law.
If you practice true agape love, there is no reason for another Law. Our motivation is the love of God in our hearts.
If your WHOLE life is motivated and operated by love for God and your neighbors, we do not need any other Law.
Last time, we studied about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the Bible there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit:
- the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
- the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
These are NOT the same.
- Gifts (9 in 1 Cor 12): Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Power, Tongues, Distinguishing spirits, Interpretation, Healing, Teaching, Serving, Prophecy
- Fruit (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control
- Gift: related to skill, for a purpose
- Fruit: related to character, personality, spirituality
LOVE is BOTH gift and fruit.
- Love is means and end.
- Love is method and purpose.
- Love is the gift of gifts.
- Love is the firstfruit of the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 13 “If I speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love, I’m a resounding gong. If I’m a super genius, with massive mountain moving faith, but have not love, I’m nothing. If I give all I have and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
“Do everything in love.”
#3 Because our salvation is near(er) than when we first believed
“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has 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 orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”
We can see terms related to time here:
- Present time,
- the hour has come,
- nearly over,
- almost here,
Yes, as long as time is flying on, one day, our Lord Jesus Christ will come in his body.
Everyday we are nearer to the fulfillment of our salvation (one day). Tomorrow we will be nearer by one day than today.
And ONE DAY will be our LAST DAY on this earth. Everybody has his own LAST DAY. But nobody knows when this day will be.
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for nobody knows what it may bring forth. You are but a mist and disappear after a little while.”
But THIS one day is not a normal day – it is the FINAL DAY – to receive our reward, blessing, or judgment from Christ. “Christ will bring ALL things into judgment – including the hidden things. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
- Spiritually “slumber” means disregard or ignorance and indifference in activity of good work.
- “Night” = unbelief
- “Day”= faith
- “Put on the armor of light” – the first thing God created was light.
Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” – and then challenges us, “you are the Light of the world”. So what is darkness? The first thing God asked Adam after he sinned was, “Where are you?” even though he knew. This means “Do you not know where you are?” Trying to hide yourself from the sight of God = you are in darkness.
- Test yourself. If you have something you are trying to hide from the sight of God, you are in darkness.
1 John “Whoever claims to be in the light but hates his brother is in darkness.”
There is nothing to hide because all will be exposed in the light (Jesus).
Up to now, we have seen 3 reasons WHY we must love: God, our neighbors, our enemies:
- We are debtors to love
- It is the fulfillment of the Law
- We are nearer our salvation now than when we first believed
Do you agree?
- I must love God with all my heart, mind, soul, strength.
- I must love my neighbor as myself.
BUT, I have no power to do so myself.
That’s why we need the Last verse.
- “I need Jesus Christ absolutely.”
- “Jesus is my clothes, my dress.”
- 예수님은 나의 옷이다.
“14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
“Jesus is my dress.” 예수님은 나의 옷이다.
No one is naked here.
What are the functions of our dress?
Here are 4 functions of our dress (spiritually):
- from cold, hurt, danger, shame
- from the attack of Satan
- the temptation and shame of sin
Even as a pastor, if I’m totally naked before you, I’m so shameful. But Jesus is my protection from all the evil things in this world.
#2 Clothes reveal our status / identity
Especially at that time, clothes showed social rank (king, noble, middle-class, poor)
Even today, we can see this: police, doctors, nurses, uniforms, etc.
Our identity as a Christian is revealed in this world – as a light of the world, aroma of Christ. Can you *smell* Jesus on your neighbor?? ^^
#3 It influences your attitude, tongue, character
- For example, if I put on loose fitting clothes, my actions become loose – and my tongue as well – then my thinking and my language will be loose. Then my head, character, personality will become loose. If everything is loose, my whole life is loose.
- If I wear noble dress, my tongue, thinking, habits, character, etc, will be noble.
- If I put on Jesus Christ, he will continually affect and impact my attitude and character and personality.
#4 They are my company wherever I go
Clothes go together with me all the time. When you see me, you see my clothes first.
If I put on Jesus, people will see Jesus FIRST – wherever you go.
Conclusion: The best way to do and show this kind of agape love (to win souls to Christ) is to clothe yourselves with Christ.
- Love = greatest commandment
- Evangelism = greatest commission
These two pillars go together hand-in-hand, like two sides of the same coin. They can never be separated.