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Turn with me to the Book of 1st Chronicles. I want us to think about a very important question. It is a question which should be of concern to us all. It is especially important for all who are endeavoring to serve Christ in the generation in which we live – WHAT DOES OUR DAY REQUIRE OF US? As I preach the Gospel, I try to address those issues that are relevant to us. I try to answer questions that men and women are asking. Surely this is a question you and I should ask ourselves. — WHAT DOES OUR DAY REQUIRE OF US?
(1 Chronicles 12:32) “And of the children of Issachar, [which were men] that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them [were] two hundred; and all their brethren [were] at their commandment.”
It was the peculiar honor of the sons of Issachar that — “they were men that had understanding of the times.”
TROUBLE IN ISRAEL
Israel was passing through some troublesome, unsettling times. Critical issues had to be faced and dealt with. The Lord had now established David as king over His people. But Saul had just been slain. And some of the tribes of Israel did not know what to do. The question of the day in Palestine was, “Who should be king?” Many in Israel did not know whether to accept David as their king, or not. Some were inclined to seek a king from Saul’s family, and would not commit themselves to David. Others boldly came forward and proclaimed David as their rightful king.
- From among the Benjamites were mighty men and helpers of the war. — “They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow” (vv. 1-2).
- From among the Gadites were men of might, men of war (v. 8).
- These mighty men who came to David in Ziklag were utterly devoted to the king. — “Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.” (v. 18).
- From among Zebulon there came to David men expert in war who could keep rank, and “they were not of double heart” (v. 33).
Among these bold and valiant men were the children of Issachar. And in our text the Holy Spirit singles out these men for one particular and very significant characteristic. He says of the children of Issachar that they “were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
I do not doubt that this sentence, like every sentence of Holy Scripture, was written for our learning. These men of Issachar are set before us as a pattern to be imitated and an example to be followed. —— If we would be useful to our generation, nothing is more important than this: — We must understand the times in which we live and know what it is that these times require of us. The wise men in the court of Ahasuerus “knew the times” (Esther 1:13). Our Lord Jesus Christ rebuked the Jews, because they “knew not the times of their visitation,” and did not “discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3; Luke 19:44). We must take heed, lest we fall into the same evil. We must seek the grace and wisdom of God to understand the times in which we live, and to know what Israel ought to do in these days.
I have but one purpose bringing this message. I want to stir up our hearts so that we may consider what it is that our own times require at our hands. Every age has its own peculiar dangers; and, consequently, every age demands special attention to peculiar responsibilities. I am going to speak very plainly today, without reservation, because we are living in very difficult times. We are endeavoring to preach the Gospel of the grace of God in the midst of the most perverse and most deluded generation that has ever lived. You will forgive me if I speak bluntly and forcibly. Our day demands it. — “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8)
Proposition: The day in which we live demands men of courage, boldness, and extremity for the cause of Christ in this world.
1. What is going on in the religious world around us?
There is more religion in the world today than ever before. Men, and women, and children are being converted to some form of religion or another every day by the thousands. New churches are started every day. Most of those with which I am familiar are conservative, fundamentalist churches, with basically the same doctrinal beliefs (The Book — The Blood — The Blessed Hope). Religion has become big business in America. But the souls of men and women are worse off with the religion of our day than without it. Our generation is perishing under the demonic hypnotism of modern day religion. Someone said, “Modern day religion was hatched in hell, and the devil sat on the eggs.”
I do not question the sincerity, devotion, or zeal of most religious people. I simply question the foundation upon which they have built their hopes of eternal life. And if they have built upon a false foundation, in the Day of Judgment their houses will crumble and crush them into hell. I do not question the fact that modern day religion is emotional, or that it reforms the lives of men, or that it produces zeal and morality. But I am saying that modern day prophets of deceit, while they encompass land and sea to make their disciples, are making immortal souls twofold more the children of hell than they were before. They are enemies of the cross of Christ.
I want us to understand the times in which we are living. I want us to know what is going on in the world around us. These religious con-men, who call themselves preachers, evangelists, soul-winners, and prophets, are corrupting the Word of God and making merchandise of the souls of men for their own personal gain. They either ignore or pervert the basic issues of the Gospel of Christ.
- Who is God? (Exodus 33:19; 34:5-7).
- What happened in the Garden? (Romans 5:12).
- What happened at Calvary? (Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:12).
- How does God save sinners? (Romans 3:24-26).
2. What about the people who are in these Arminian churches, where the works of the flesh and free-will are made the basis of salvation. — Are they lost?
I know that most of you came out of such churches. We all have relatives and friends in such churches. But these things must not be allowed to cloud our judgment. We must answer according to the Word of God. There is but one Gospel.
- I know this — No one is saved who does not hear and believe the Gospel of Christ (Romans 10:14-17).
- I know this — Arminianism, free-willism, decisionism, easy-believism, of any form or denomination, is not the Gospel. — “It is the mystery of godliness that God made himself man. It is the mystery of iniquity that man makes himself god.” (Syd Buggins)
- Therefore, I must conclude that no one is saved in a false religion.
NOTE: In His good providence God may graciously use anything, even Arminian fundamentalism to cause His elect to seek Him. But the Word of God forbids us to look upon any one as being saved until he hears, believes, and confesses the Gospel of Christ.
Illustration: Bobbie Estes
NOTE: Any person who rests his soul’s salvation upon anything, in any measure whatsoever, other than the Lord Jesus Christ is lost in darkness and sin. Salvation is in Christ alone — Not Christ and the Church — Not Christ and the Lodge — Not Christ and an experience — Not Christ and a decision — Not Christ and baptism — Not Christ and works (Galatians 5:2, 4; Romans 11:6).
(Romans 11:6) “And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
(Galatians 5:1-4) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
I am gravely concerned for the generation in which we are living. This generation has been thrown a curve, and they have followed it to the ruin of their souls (2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 10-15).
(2 Corinthians 11:1-4) “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in [my] folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him].”
(2 Corinthians 11:10-15) “10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
One thing that gives me comfort in the face of this apostate religious world is the blessed fact that it is not possible for God’s elect to be deceived. For the elect’s sake, this time of tribulation shall be shortened.Christ’s sheep know His voice and hear it. — “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). — “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye now all things” (1 John 2:20). God’s elect shall not be deluded by the false Gospel being preached in our day, because they know the truth. It has been established in their hearts.
3. What does our day require of us?
The world has never known such perilous times as these. Men today are perishing in a church pew, going to hell with a prayer on their lips, a song on their lips, and a Bible in their hands. Surely this day demands something from us. It demands men with courageous hearts, bold spirits, and extreme dedication to the Gospel of Christ. The souls of men and the glory of Christ compel us to be men of purpose and determination.
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!
Divisions: What does our day require of us? What must Israel do in this day? What do the times in which we live demand of the people of God? — 5 things.
1. A Bold, Uncompromising, Unflinching Adherence to the Authority of Holy Scripture.
2. Distinct and Decided Views of Gospel Doctrine.
3. Faithfulness, Dedication, and Sacrifice in Preaching the Gospel of Christ.
4. A Clear Recognition of Our Most Important Priorities and Our Most Weighty Responsibilities.
5. A Diligent Watchfulness over Our Own Souls.
THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
What does our day require of us? — First, it requires from us who believe a bold, unflinching, uncompromising adherence to the authority of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
We must recognize that in the Church of God there is but one voice of authority. It is not the pope. It is not human tradition, human custom, human logic, or human desire. It is not the Church Covenant, the Church Confession, or the Church Constitution. The only voice of authority in the Church of God is the Word of God. — The Bible and the Bible alone is our only rule of faith and practice.
- All of our doctrine must be derived directly from the plain statements of Holy Scripture.
- All of our ordinances must be derived directly from the plain statements of Holy Scripture.
- All of our practices must be derived directly from instructions and practices of our Lord and His apostles.
NOTE: Every church, every doctrine, every custom, and every practice must be examined in the light of the Bible. We must neither add to nor take from the Word of God (Isaiah 8:20; 1 John 4:1).
(Isaiah 8:20) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”
(1 John 4:1) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
NOTE: It is time for the people of God to search out and find that which has been written of God for our learning and admonition (2 Chronicles 34:14-21). It is long past time that we returned to the simplicity of the New Testament — In Doctrine! — In Practice! — In Worship!
(2 Chronicles 34:14-21) “And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD [given] by Moses. 15 And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. 16 And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do [it]. 17 And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. 18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. 20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying, 21 Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great [is] the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.”
What does our day require of us? — Second, the day in which we are living demands that we have distinct and decided views of Gospel doctrine (2 Timothy 1:13).
(2 Timothy 1:9-13) God “hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
The vast majority of professing Christians today are utterly incapable of distinguishing things that differ. Like people who are color-blind, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. They are destitute of spiritual sense. They cannot detect error. They think everybody is right and nobody is wrong. They think all preachers are sound and none are unsound. They think everybody is going to be saved and nobody is going to be lost. They see nothing clearly and do not know what they believe.
Ask the average religionist of our day, no, ask the best religionist you know to explain the basic doctrines of the Bible to you — Redemption — Justification — Regeneration — Sanctification — Predestination — Election — Glorification. You will be shocked at his ignorance.
Modern day religion (Most particularly I am talking now about preachers!) is plagued with three things which prevent doctrinal distinctiveness.
- Ignorance of Scripture — “Ye know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
- Desire to Please the Flesh
Mark what I say, — If you want to do anyone any good in this day, you must throw off your indecision and hesitancy. Pick up your Bible, find out what it teaches and hold distinct and decided views of Gospel doctrine.Religion without dogmatism is meaningless, powerless, and ineffective. God never used a Church or a preacher to accomplish anything who did not boldly stand against the tide of accepted religious tradition, custom, and doctrine.
The test of a loyal soldier is in the heat of the battle. And the loyalty of every preacher will be proved or disproved in those areas of doctrine where the honor and glory of God is being most viciously attacked and opposed in his day.
I am diametrically opposed to this religious world, and specifically to every preacher in Danville, Kentucky in the Gospel I preach. In the most crucial areas of Gospel doctrine they are completely heretical. In these areas I am defiantly immoveable!
Paul Before Felix — (Acts 24:14) “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:”
I repeat, — In these areas I am defiantly immoveable!
1. The Lord our God is absolutely sovereign in all things (Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Isaiah 46:9-10; Daniel 4:35-37).
- In His Eternal Purpose and Predestination
- In Creation
- In Providence
- In Salvation (Romans 9:11-16).
(Psalms 115:3) “But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”
(Psalms 135:6) “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, [that] did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”
(Isaiah 46:9-10) “Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
(Daniel 4:35-37) “And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
(Romans 9:11-18) “(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
“14 ¶What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.”
2. God chose and determined to save His people in eternal election before the world began (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ lived and died as the Substitute and Representative of His elect people, effectually accomplishing complete atonement for us (Galatians 3:13).
In Christ we are redeemed — Justified — Pardoned — Accepted — Sanctified — And Glorified (Hebrews 10:10-14; Romans 8:29-30). Christ is now, and always has been, and always shall be my Substitute. He stood as my Substitute…
- Before the World Was
- When I fell in Adam
- At Calvary
- All the Days of My Life, both Before and Since My Conversion.
- At the Judgment
- And Throughout Eternity
4. God the Holy Spirit regenerates all of God’s elect, everyone of those redeemed by Christ; and He calls them to Christ by the heart-compelling force of His irresistible grace (Psalm 65:4; 110:3).
The new birth, regeneration is not the work and result of man’s free-will; it is the work of God’s free-grace and the result of God’s sovereign power.
We know that salvation must be attributed entirely to the grace of God, the will of God, and the power of God, because man by nature is totally depraved, spiritually dead, and utterly helpless (Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:10-19). — The natural man has no ability to save himself, and he has no desire to be saved by the grace of God.
5. All of God’s elect are safe and secure in Christ (John 10:28).
Though heresy abounds on every side, we are not fearful for God’s true children. The ark of God is safe. Not one of God’s elect shall ever perish. We are kept and preserved in Christ. Neither the demons of hell, nor men, nor Satan himself, nor even our own sins shall ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
We are accepted in Christ! The sole basis of our acceptance with God for time and eternity is not what we have done, nor what we shall do, but what Christ has done for us. It is not our faithfulness, but His faithfulness, — It is not our righteousness, but His righteousness, — It is not our obedience, but His obedience that causes God to accept us.
God will never charge His people with sin!
- We are free from sin!
- We are free from the law!
- We are free from danger!
Men may charge me with extremism, or divisiveness, or antinomianism as they may please. I am determined, God helping me, to be faithful to these principles of doctrine so long as I live. In the Day of Judgment my Master will clear His servant of the false accusations laid against him and the Gospel of the grace of God.
FAITHFULNESS, DEDICATION, SACRIFICE
What does our day require of us? — Third, these days of religious deception in which we live demand of us faithfulness, dedication, and sacrifice in preaching the Gospel (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
(2 Timothy 4:1-5) “I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
God has graciously revealed the Gospel of His grace to us. But He has not given us the light of the Gospel, so that we may hide it within the walls of our own Church building. It is our privilege and our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel of the grace of God to the men and women of this generation.
- Let us be faithful in our allegiance to Christ and His Gospel.
- Let us dedicate ourselves to the work of preaching the Gospel.
- Let us be willing to make any sacrifice necessary to preach the Gospel to this generation.
What does our day require of us? — Fourth, these days of terrible religious deception demand that we clearly recognize our most important priorities and our most weighty responsibilities (Matthew 6:9-10).
(Matthew 6:9-10) “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.”
I realize that we all have responsibilities in this world. But these days of peculiar trouble and desperate need demand that we disentangle ourselves, as much as possible, from the cares of this world (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).There are matters far more important than our personal cares and desires.
- The honor and glory of God are being attacked.
- The Gospel of the grace of God is being mutilated.
- The souls of men are being damned by the religious tom-foolery and idolatry of this will-worship generation.
What does our day require of us? — Fifth, the day in which we live demands of us a diligent watchfulness over our own souls.
We must holdfast the profession of our faith and the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. We must not allow Satan, by his subtlety, to turn us away from the simplicity of Christ and the hope of the Gospel.
I urge you, as you care for your souls, to do these four things:
- Avail yourself of every opportunity to hear the Gospel.
- Read and study the Word of God.
- Call upon God for grace and illumination in private prayer.
- Do all that you can to keep your soul in communion with Christ. — Meditate upon Him! — Remember Him! — Worship Him! — Commune with Him! — Endeavor to live for His honor.
Do you have wisdom enough to understand the times we are living in? Would you know what our day requires of you?
In reference to your own soul: — You and I live in times of peculiar spiritual danger. Make your calling and election sure. Be sure that you know Christ.
In reference to the souls of others: — Try to do a little good for the souls of men before you die. Strive to be useful.
- Highly esteem those who preach the Gospel for their work’s sake.
- Pray for those who preach the Gospel.
- Do what you can for the preaching of the Gospel.
- Pray that God will send forth laborers into His vineyard.
- Be prepared and ready, at a moment’s notice, to go yourself.
Now, turn back to 1 Chronicles 12. Look at the end of the chapter. Let me show you what happens when God raises up such men for his Church and Kingdom. When these mighty men came to David, all Israel was made of one heart and there was joy in Israel (vv. 38-40).
(1 Chronicles 12:38-40) “All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel [were] of one heart to make David king. 39 And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them. 40 Moreover they that were nigh them, [even] unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, [and] meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for [there was] joy in Israel.”
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
 Danville — Sunday Evening — April 3, 2011
Todds Road Grace Church Preachers’ School — Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tape # AA-13
Readings: Don Raneri and James Jordan
2 Samuel 23:1-22