Discerning the Time

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Don Fortner

“And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when [ye see] the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. [Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, [as thou art] in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.” (Luke 12:54-59)

In these verses our Lord Jesus spoke specifically to the common people, the people who heard his doctrine and saw his miracles, those men and women who claimed to believe God, who claimed to be the people of God. Yet, he denounces them in exactly the same way as he had denounced the scribes, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, as hypocrites. Their teachers and preachers were blind men, but willfully blind as well. Both the religious leaders and the people who followed them, our Lord here denounces and rebukes as hypocrites.

Our Responsibility

            First, we must understand that it is our responsibility in this day, the day in which we live, to judge what is right by discerning the time in which we live (vv. 54-57). Our Master is not here suggesting that natural men have spiritual discernment. The Scriptures universally declare that the natural man is totally blind to all things spiritual and ignorant (1 Corinthians 2). What he does tell us is that his claims as the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world were so evidently true that the only reason the men and women of his generation did not acknowledge him as such, the only reason they did not judge what was right was the fact that they were not honest. They were hypocrites. The scepter of civil government had departed from Judah. Daniel’s 70th week had been fulfilled. Elijah (John the Baptist) had come. And our Lord’s miracles clearly attested his Messiahship.

Yet, the men and women of his day refused to acknowledge that which was manifestly true and right. Why? — They chose their religious customs and refused to give them up. They preferred the approval and acceptance of men to the approval and acceptance of God. They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. They loved religion, but hated God. They were unwilling to be separated from family and friend for the truth and glory of God.

We read in 1 Chronicles 12:32 that “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” Oh, how desperately we need such men today! Israel was passing through some troublesome, unsettling times. Critical issues had to be faced and dealt with. At a time when the cause and kingdom of God was under assault, the men of Issachar understood the times and stepped forward. They knew what had to be done, and they did it. I repeat, — we desperately need such men today.

Let us judge, discern, and seek to understand the times in which we live. I ask only that we read the Book of God. In the light of the plain statements of Holy Scripture, I assert that we are living in perilous times of Apostasy, divine judgment, and spiritual darkness, such as the world has never seen before (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-16; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Revelation 20:1-8).

These are days of horrid apostasy. These are times of unparalleled evil, moral degeneracy, political corruption, and spiritual darkness. These are times of horrible indifference and spiritual lukewarmness. These are times of universal compromise. These are times of ambiguity and tolerance toward everything abominable, and utter intolerance for the truth and glory of God.

What does this day require of us? What do these present, perilous times demand of you and me? Times like these demand of God’s people a bold, uncompromising, unflinching adherence to the singular authority of Holy Scripture, a distinct and decided, untiring declaration of gospel doctrine, and faithfulness, dedication and sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Times like these demand of us a clear recognition of our most important priorities and our most weighty responsibilities, and a diligent watchfulness over our own souls.

This is God’s day and these are God’s times. Let there be no mistake about that fact. This is the day God has made for us. What a great day in which to serve him! I would rather live in this day than any other. Never was there a day that provided the church of God with greater needs, greater opportunities, and greater means of usefulness than we have at our fingertips.

Day of Grace

Now, I want you to look at verses 58 and 59 and learn that this is the day of grace and salvation. If you are wise, you will make it your business to be delivered from your adversary before you meet your Judge. Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow will be too late. The Lord Jesus here compares us to a man on his way to meet the magistrate, the judge, with an adversary. You and I are on our way to meet the God of Glory on his great white throne judgment seat. The adversary walking with us is God’s holy, condemning law. If we are not delivered from the claims of this adversary before we meet God in judgment, we must forever be cast into hell.

The only way we can ever appease this adversary is by a mighty Advocate, who has a payment, a sacrifice by which he is and must be satisfied. That Advocate and Sacrifice is the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:9-10; Romans 8:1; Galatians 3:13-14; Colossians 2:12-15; 1 Peter 3:18). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God. The time is short. Judgment is at hand. — “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com

(HL : http://www.donfortner.com/bible_class_lessons/luke/luk%20084%2012v54-59%20Discerning%20the%20Time.htm)

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One thought on “Discerning the Time

  1. Pingback: Discerning the Time | For the Love of His Truth - Christian IBD

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