Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SIGNS OF THE TIMES (Luke Chapter 12)

Luke 12:54-56, “He also said to the crowds, ‘’When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’  And so it happens.  And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.  You hypocrites!  You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

The people of Jesus’ day were able to discern and predict, by changes in the sky or the wind, what the weather would be.  They had learned over time how to forecast what was to come.  We, in our day, are even better skilled at such things.  We have radar and satellite capabilities that allow us to accurately predict the weather even days and weeks ahead of time.

But while they demonstrated some interpretative capability in the physical realm, Jesus chided them for their woeful deficiency as to the spiritual.  They were unable to “interpret the present time.”  Their inability was not because of lack of information.  Jesus, the Divine Son of God, was present amongst them.  Their promised Messiah was right before them.  But most refused to receive Him as such (Cf. John 1:11).  John the Baptist had proclaimed Him.  Jesus’ countless miracles testified to the truth about Him (John 20:30-31).  He spoke as no man had ever spoke and did things no man had ever done before.  But they were oblivious to the obvious regarding the truth. Jesus spoke words of pending judgment, but as in the days of Noah (and as they will be in the day of His second coming), they were oblivious, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38).

We live in an oblivious age.  There is much concern in our day regarding “global warming” (now deemed “climate change”), but woeful ignorance regarding the drastic changes in the spiritual “climate.”  Jesus warned of the things that would proceed His second coming: false Christ’s will “lead many astray.”  He said that there would be ”wars and rumor of wars…famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:4-9).  He called such things “the beginning of the birth pains.”  “The whole creation has been groaning together (under sin) in the pains of the childbirth until now,” but most have no ears to hear (Cf. Romans 8:22).

We have likewise been warned of specific concerns that would characterize the last days.  “There will also be false teachers,” Peter warned (1 Peter 2:1).  We should not then be ignorant to the prevalence of false teaching and the need for us to exercise discernment (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:21).  Paul wrote of the need to “realize…that in the last days difficult times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1).  We should not then be surprised then by the present moral free-fall that is taking place in our society (Cf. Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).  We were warned that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (2 Timothy 3:3).  We should not be surprised then by the reality that much of the modern church has little appetite for the truth.  We were warned ahead of time that the church in this age would be Laodiciean in nature (i.e. self-confident and self-assured; Cf. Revelation 3:17).  So we should not be surprised to learn that its ministrations are too often of a Christ-less, cross-less, gospel-diminishing variety.  We were warned ahead of time that of the “mockers’ who would come in the last days who would dismiss the reality of God’s pending judgment (2 Peter 3:3f).  It should not therefore surprise us then that in our day that few take such matters seriously and even many in the church refuse to acknowledge the existence of sin and hell.  Any spiritually minded person can’t help but realize that drastic changes are taking place both in society and in the church.

The sons of Issachar were commended inasmuch as they were “men who understood the times, with the knowledge of what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).  They had wisdom to perceive what God was doing by way of making David King.  They stood by David and garnered support or him.  Our day has desperate need of men and women who understand the times.  The church needs them and families do to.  The clouds of pending judgment are on the horizon, nothing less than genuine faith in the Risen Lord can save a soul.  Those who understand the times fix their eyes upon Jesus, urging others to do the same.  They pay attention to the Word as they live in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return (2 Peter 3:19).  They are not oblivious to the signs of the times.

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