My sermon today is about the hedge. Did you know that there's a place in the Bible that tells you how to get out of bed, and it tells you when to set your alarm clock, and it tells you how to start your day, and it tells you how to take off your pajamas, and it tells you what clothes to put on. This is an awesome verse. This detailed manual of early morning procedure is found in the book of Romans. It was our scripture reading today. Did you catch all that in there?
Look at Romans, chapter 13, verse 11. Come over here in your Bible. It says, “And do this understanding the time, the present time, the hour has come for you to awake from your slumber because your salvation is nearer than when you first believed.” Do you believe that?
Our salvation is getting nearer, isn’t it? You look at the value of your retirement savings, and you look at that house you're trying to sell and you look at all the jobs that are being lost. I think that Michigan has the most and Georgia is number 2 in job loss just in the last month. It's bad out there, and it says, “Now it is high time, now is the time for you to wake up out of sleep.” We need to know the times. We are in the sleep of sin because the apocalypse is coming, and as modern Christians, too many of us are sleeping spiritually.
Ephesians chapter 5, verse 14 says “Wake up.” Now I know that some people are really good at snoring, I mean, they can almost shake the house. But you cannot snore your way into the kingdom of God. You've got to wake up. It just has to happen. We must wake up. The judgment day is coming. Do you sense that we’re living in the last days? Do you sense that? I believe we are, and several people have said, “You know, should I be selling my house and moving to the country or somewhere? What should I do? Is the time when we can’t buy and sell, is it almost here?” And I said, “Well, you know, I don't know.” I'm not a prophet, but I know that those days were predicted many, many centuries ago, and the time just might be right here right now. We've got to wake up.
Why should we wake up? Verse 11 says, “Because you understand the present times.” Do you listen to the news? As you listen to Fox news or any other newscasts, do you get a sense of how bad times really are, and God's Bible studying remnant people know what these horrible things mean, because you have been studying the scriptures, haven't you? You're immersed in Bible truth. You've been reading the books, and the end is so near that we’re looking it in the throat.
I went into the business of one of my church members here at the McDonald Road Church, and on the door of this business it has a picture of a big water bird, and he's about to swallow this frog, but the frog finally woke up and grabbed the bird by the neck. He's halfway down the throat, but he's got the bird by the neck and the big bird can’t swallow him. And I think that picture is so neat. The frog is already in his mouth, but the desperate frog has reached out and grabbed the bird by the throat, and so the bird can’t swallow him, and I will tell you what that bird is. That bird is the end of time. We are staring the end of time in the throat. We are looking at the last movement. That's what I believe, and the frog is us. So it's time to wake up. We’re staring the end of time in the mouth. The frog has overslept.
So what is the last moment that we should set our alarm? Look at verse 12. “The night is nearly over, the day is almost here.” You want to set your alarm to ring before the Son comes. Before the day arrives. You must set your alarm, you must wake up before the close of probation, okay? Before probation closes, when the Son comes up, it's too late, when the Son comes, it's too late to be saved. The day of the coming of the Son refers to the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. We must wake up before Jesus comes, because it’ll be too late then.
And what should we do when you wake up. The first thing you need to do is mentioned in verse 12. It continues, it says, “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness.” Let us cast off our ungodly clothing. Put off the nightclothes. Cast off these works of darkness. Throw them away. That's how you should take off your pajamas. Cast them away. Throw them away, and some people when they wake up, their room looks like that. They've thrown the towels here and the socks are over here and the underwear is here and it's a mess. You'd hate to be married to a person like that, wouldn't you? But as Christians we must quickly get rid of our nightclothes. It's a shame to appear outside in your pajamas. You don't go to work in your pajamas. Take off your garments of darkness. When the Son comes, when Jesus comes, if we’re still dressed in the garments of sin, if you're still dressed like that you will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. So we need to take off our nightclothes.
And this scripture passage is so bold as to even tell us what those night clothes are. It tells you what kind of clothing you need to shed. That you need to cast away. That you need to take off. Look at verse 13. Here’s some of the clothes you need to throw away. “Let us behave decently as in the day time, not in orgies or drunkenness, not in sexual immorality or debauchery. Not in dissension and jealousy.” And then the last part of verse 14, “Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Those are things that you need to cast off before Jesus comes. We are to literally cast off our night clothing. The sinful garments of indecency. We need to be a decent people. The sinful garments of orgies, it says. These are wild parties. If you're invited to a party like that, you’re a teenager, you know what's going to go on there at that party. Don't go!
And it says drunkenness. Don't go. Don’t get drunk. You know something? There's a secret to that. If you never taste it, you'll never get drunk. Just don’t put it to your mouth. Don't touch it. Stay away from it. I've never gotten drunk because I've never touched the stuff. I've never tasted it. And debauchery. Sexual immorality which includes lust and pornography. Stay away. Cast those things off. Promiscuity. Immoral living. Don't do it. Be pure. And then it talks about jealousy here and envying and desires of the sinful nature. Avoid evil. Throw those things off. Cast them off.
And where are you supposed to cast them? Well, you might guess. Cast them at the feet of Jesus. Let Jesus take care of those things. Give those types of things to Jesus. Give your mess to Jesus and began to live victoriously. You can do it through the power of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and then once you have cast off all those things, then what are you supposed to do?
Well, look at verse 12. The last half says, “Put on.” Now here’s what you're supposed to get dressed in. “Put on the” what? “The armor of” what? “Of light.” Put on the armor of light, and verse 14 says, “Rather clothe yourselves in” what? What should you clothe yourself in? The Lord Jesus Christ. There’s your clothes. That's the name of your clothes. Put on the robe of the free righteousness of Jesus Christ. You can’t buy it and even if you could buy it you couldn't afford it. You could never afford that garment, so just accept it. Jesus offers it to you free of charge. He paid for it Himself. It's not free to Him. It cost Him everything, but it's free to you. All the Bible says that you have to do is put it on. That's pretty simple isn't it? And it's your size. It’ll cover you.
Now notice the procedures that Adam and Eve dealt with, back here in the beginning, in Genesis the third chapter. I would like for you to notice, Adam and Eve were already awake before they sinned. They weren’t sleeping, were they? They weren’t spiritually asleep. They were wide awake.
Number 1, Jesus the Son was already with them. God's presence was there in the Garden of Eden. They already had it. The Son was there, and they had no clothing of the night to cast off. They were pretty good, and they were dressed in robes of light. How do we know that? Patriarchs and Prophets. “The sinless pair wore no artificial garments. They were clothed with a covering of light and glory such as the Angels wear.”[PP45] That's what Adam and Eve looked like. So long as they lived in obedience to God this robe of light enshrouded them.
Now notice these verses here in Genesis, chapter 3 and verse 7. “The eyes of both of them were opened.” When was that? When they sinned and they realized that they were what? They were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. That's what they did, and then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden. They had good ears to hear somebody walking, and it was at the end of the day, “and they hid from the Lord God, their God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord called on the man and said, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ And God said, ‘Who told you you were naked?’” Who told you that? And you see the answer. There is no answer here. There’s no answer. Things quickly disintegrated. Satan caught them sleeping. Spiritually sleeping.
Number 2, they broke their connection with the Son. They no longer have that connection. That's what sin did.
Number 3, sin actually entered their life, and number 4, they lost the robe and ended up dressing in fig leaves. After Adam ate the apple, or whatever it was, soon the thought of his sin filled him with terror. “The air which hitherto had been a mild and uniform temperature,” it says here in this same book, page 57, “the air seemed to chill the guilty pair. The love and peace which had been theirs was gone and in their place they felt a sense of sin. A dread of the future, a nakedness of the soul and the robe of light,” listen to this, “the robe of light which had enshrouded them, now disappeared.” That light was gone. They were naked. Totally naked. No covering, and God had to make garments for them. He made them out of animals, and that animal had to be killed to cover Adam and Eve, and 100% of God's creation never had to wear any garments, including Adam and Eve. God never designed for anybody to have clothes. The manufacturing of clothing should never have had to happen. There should never have been a Sears and a J C Penney with clothes in, because God provided every one of His creatures with a covering. We lost our covering because we sinned and therefore manufactured clothing is part of our ward-robe. We have to have ward-robes. We have to have closets, which we never would've had to have. Chest of drawers and that type of thing. This is a large expense to the human race.
In the news this week we learned that one of the vice presidents, I won't say who, has spent a hundred and 50 thousand dollars on dresses and clothing. Isn't that amazing. Her party provided that for her but she's going to give it to charity afterwards. A hundred and 50 thousand dollars. My, I don't know if I could carry her luggage. That would be a tremendous thing. That's a lot of money on clothing, and why is that? Because we lost our covering that we were originally endowed with. Adam and Eve lost a lot when they sinned. They lost their robe of light and perhaps for the very first time in his life, Adam realized that there was such a thing as temperature. I doubt if he ever felt cold or ever felt hot, cause when you get to heaven, you're not going to be uncomfortable. You’ll be in perfect comfort wherever you are. He had never known hot or cold, and he probably looked down at his arms and saw goose bumps and he thought, “What's that? My arm is not shiny anymore. It's not light. I can see the skin.” And goose bumps appeared there on his skin. He saw himself uncovered. He shivered.
Before sin, that protective covering, that robe of light, insulated them from heat and cold. They would have been comfortable living in Tennessee in the summertime. Imagine having a black car. Nobody buys a black car, hardly, in Tennessee. You park it out in the hot sun, you go to get in it and you sit down on those vinyl seats, or those leather seats, and it's hot. Adam would've been comfortable getting in a car like that. He had no temperature sensation of extra too hot or extra too cold. If Adam’s hand happened to bump into an object he felt no pain because he was shielded. If a friendly hippopotamus stepped on his toes it wouldn't matter. He wouldn't feel any pain. There was no pain in the garden of Eden. No cold, no heat, no tears, no injury, no crying, because of the protecting robe of light. The built-in hedge surrounded them wherever they went. They had God’s hedge. They had His protection. His covering from any physical danger. Wouldn't that be nice if we had a shield like that around us? No germs, no MERSA could get in to us. We wouldn't have to ever worry about getting sick. No speeding bullet could harm us. If there were such a thing for sale today, I doubt if we could afford it. It’d probably looked like an astronaut's thing.
Well let me tell you that God promises us something right now, that is almost as good. It's almost as good. Of course you're going to have to wait until you're changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, you will be given a robe of light like we lost.
But until then, there is something here in our scripture, in Romans, chapter 13 and verse 12. It says that we have a total protective package. Listen to this. “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.” Would God tell us to put on the armor of light if it didn't exist? It does exist. It does. Could it be that some of what Adam and Eve had is still available to us today? I think it is. I think the armor of light is still there, even in New Testament times. Even in postmodern times. It is still available for Christians. You, yourself, can be protected by the armor of light. Your children can be protected. God says to put on the armor of light. You can’t put on something that doesn't exist.
So, what is it and how do you put it on? Well, if you look at Job 1, verse 10, Job had a hedge around him. Not only around him, but his family, his possessions, his wealth. That hedge was there. There was some testing of that hedge, but it came back and God promises just such a hedge to us. In Psalm 34, verse 7, it says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth around about those who fear Him, and it” does what? What does the angel do? “It delivers them.” That's right. Bright angels of light camp around about wherever you are. That's a promise. They're there and they are there to deliver those who fear God. God does promise to place a hedge around His praying people.
Now probably He shouldn't. I wonder if actually that's legal with the laws of the universe, because you see, this sinful world is actually an example of what happens when sin infects an entire planet. This entire planet is infected now with sin, and all those people, the unfallen beings of the universe are watching. We are the theater of the universe, and they are observing what happens when a planet falls and becomes infected. And if God fixed it too much so that each human being who became a Christian and was a born again Christian, baptized, would never catch a cold, then everybody would become a Christian. Everybody would be baptized so they wouldn't get sick. They would never get the flu. They wouldn't get any of these things, and they would all convert to Christianity. No more cancer, and I think God does step in and tweak things probably more than He should, but He can't make this into heaven yet, so bad things do happen to good people.
Do you want the hedge? How do you get the hedge? Well, number 1, each morning when you wake up you need to pray. You need to, in that prayer, do several things. You need to ask God to take your life. You need to give your life to God and ask him to place His protection around you.
Number 2, you need to pray for the armor of light. He says to put it on, so you need to pray for God to place His hedge around about you during that day. Each and every day of your life you need to do this, because Satan is like what type of an animal? He goes around, he's like a roaring lion seeking whom he may do what to? That he can devour here. That's what he wants to do. He wants you to get hurt. He wants you to experience bad things.
The other day, well, back around the first part of September. I'm going to share something with you that I did. You know, the stock market has gone down and I just had a bad feeling about the stock market, and I have been praying and all of a sudden one day in September, it's like the Lord almost spoke to me and He said, you need to get your money out of the stock market, and it was up around like 12 thousand or something then. And we still owed on our house, and He said, “Get that out.” So I called the company right away. I didn't even talk with Cindy, my wife. I called the company and I said, “I want my money.” They said, “You can have it. You're over 65. How much do you want?” Well, here's how much I owed on the house, so I asked for that amount and here came a check in the mail, and I got it out, and I noticed then that the thing just tanked, and it's down in the 8 thousands now. And God had almost spoken to my heart and told me what to do and I did it.
That's the type of relationship that we want to have with God. That He can talk to us and impress us. I didn’t hear a voice, but I got this distinct impression. I didn't even consult my wife. I knew that that's what I was supposed to do and I did it.
You need to pray because the devil is going around and we suffer a lot because we haven't asked God for protection. We haven’t asked God the guidance that He would like to give us. And sometimes I think maybe He does place His hedge of protection around about us, but we, through the day, we get to thinking bad thoughts that we shouldn't think and we start to dwell on these sinful thoughts and we move outside of God's hedge. We do that. When you look at that pornography, when you think about that stuff, you're moving outside the hedge. You’re doing that on your own, and God doesn't build a hedge so high that you can’t jump over it. He doesn't do that.
You need that hedge, and your kids need that hedge. Let me read you something else. “It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, to make a hedge about their children.”[CT 110] And here's how to do it. By earnest prayer, and by persevering faith, you can make a hedge about your children. Your kids need that. Don't start the day without getting that protection around yourself. Don't let your kids start that day without you doing those two things. The book Great Controversy Between Christ And Satan, page 36 says, “We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the protection that we enjoy.”
Many is the time I've been driving along in the car and I get sleepy or something and I think, “Wow, that's bad. That driver was asleep. That driver almost came into my lane,” and I think many is the time that God has sent His angel. Haven’t you felt that in your life, and that He has protected you from a terrible thing.
We need to put on the armor of light. Romans, chapter 13, verse 12. I’d like to read this according to the New Living translation. It says this. “The night is almost gone. The day of salvation is soon to be here, so don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor,” now listen to this. “Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living.” Right living. “As those are who live in the light.” We need to clothe ourselves with right living. It won't save you, but it’ll sure protect you from a lot of bad stuff. We’re saved by Jesus’ deeds, not our deeds, but I want to live a victorious life, don't you? That's part of the armor. This version of the Bible says the armor of right living. Live in the light. Rid your life of evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Put on Christ Jesus.
You know, we have a member in the McDonald Road church that puts in security systems. That's all he does all day long is go out to people's houses and businesses and put in security systems. And even in Collegedale now, people are beginning to put security systems in their houses. Did you know that? We spend hundreds of dollars on security systems for our house, how much valuable is your soul?
You know, Jesus is the security of the soul and we need to do something to secure our souls from evil. Galatians, chapter 3, verse 27 says, “All of you were baptized into Christ and have clothed yourselves in Christ.” The finest clothing that you can ever wear, the clothing that will shield you, the clothing that will protect you, that is your security system, is Jesus Christ. That's what you need to be dressed. If you're not dressed in Jesus, you’re not dressed for success. You know, there are books that say, here's how to dress for success. Go down here to Neiman Marcus and buy all these 5 hundred dollar suits.
You need to dress in Jesus Christ. That's how you will be dressed for success. Only when you are clothed with Jesus and His robe of righteousness will you be a successful Christian. You won't be any other way. The designer clothing that you want to wear, the clothing that is free of any cost to you, the clothing that is tailor-made for you, is Jesus Christ. And I urge you to put on Jesus. Romans, chapter 13, verse 14. “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I want every member of the McDonald Road church, everybody that’s listening to this sermon, clothe yourselves with Jesus. That will give you success, not only in this life, but in the life to come. Ask for that hedge to be placed around you and then you know, you can go anywhere with Jesus.
There’s a song that says Anywhere With Jesus I Can Safely Go. Let's sing that as our closing hymn right now.
Hymn of Praise: #11 The God of Abraham Praise Scripture: Romans 13:10-14 Hymn of Response: #508 Anywhere With Jesus
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 11/15/08