It’s Time (Part 3)
May 2, 2021
In 1899 just months after being sworn in as governor of New York, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Chicago which remained one of his most well-known and well-loved oratorical masterpieces. In it, he calls the technologically-growing, wealth-amassing Americans to be wary of the life of ease:
In speaking to you, men of the greatest city of the West, men of the state which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.…
I preach to you, then, my countrymen, that our country calls not for the life of ease, but for the life of strenuous endeavor. The twentieth century looms before us big with the fate of many nations. If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease, and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by and will win for themselves the domination of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified; for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.
Not only are those words needed by our general public again, but they are words that are applicable in the life of the believer as well. As believers we cannot expect a life of ease; in fact, we should anticipate a life of labor — not just in serving one another, but in pursuing Christlikeness and fighting sin. Our sanctification is a gift of God’s grace, but it is mediated through His Word and through our hard labors. It is interesting how frequently the Scriptures speak about the hardness of this labor (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 15:58; Eph. 6:10ff; Phil. 2:12; Col. 1:29; 1 Tim. 1:18; 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 3:10-12; Heb. 11:32ff; 12:3-4; Js. 5:10-11; 1 Pt. 1:13).
But the hard work of sanctification should not be a deterrent to our pursuit of sanctification. That reality should invigorate our purpose and plan to pursue obedience. In Paul’s word in Romans 13 —
It is time to intentionally act on the salvation we have been given.
It is time to aggressively pursue sanctification. In these verses, Paul calls us to three actions and provides us one extended motivation for our actions. This morning we consider Paul’s final calls to action.
- It’s Time to Do Something (v. 11a)
- Why We Should Take Spiritual Action (vv. 11b–12a)
- It’s Time to Put Off Sinful Deeds (vv. 12b, 13, 14b)
- It’s Time to Put on Christ’s Armor (v. 12c, 14a)
- The principle stated (v. 12c)
- The principle applied to one particular desire (v. 14a)
- Don’t do something ungodly
- Do something godly
- Think something Christlike
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 13:11-14 (Pt 3).
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.
Photo from WikiMedia Commons.