“He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?””
On the back jacket of Knowing The Times by D.M. Lloyd-Jones we read the following important words. “Every Christian has to be able to apply biblical principles to the age in which they are living.” The calling to biblical discernment is absolutely vital to living the Christian life in this twenty first century. Much of the present weakness in the mission of the Church in this world today is owing to the fact that we are, to use the words of a friend spoken many years ago, Biblically Illiterate. We have difficulty, even as Christians understanding clearly what the Bible teaches.
We are living in a particular time in history. We are in what Peter calls the last days as 2 Peter 3:2 tells us. This is a time, stretching between the two advents of the LORD Jesus Christ, in which the Gospel is being proclaimed and is advancing. With it comes conviction of sin, judgment, a call to real repentance, and the announcement of cleansing from sin to all who receive the One at its centre, the Son of God who gave His precious life as our sacrifice of atonement. Such blessing cannot be earned, or demanded. It can only be received by faith. This is trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross for us. As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23-25a, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood – to be received by faith.”
In the text at the head of this post there is a particular concept of time, which is used to describe the times in which we are living. It does not refer to time as passing, one minute after another, but as the significant time. It is that time in which God is acting in history. For Jesus He meant His time. Did His hearers understand that the One who was speaking to them was the Son of the Living God who had come to bring them salvation from sin? Do we understand what is being offered to us in the Gospel?
When we look at Luke 12 we see that there is a shift in focus. Jesus has been speaking to His disciples outlining the life of discipleship which they are to live as His followers. He then shifts focus to the crowd who have been listening in. Jesus reveals that His primary purpose, as well as the primary purpose of all His followers is evangelistic. There is a world which we are called to proclaim the Gospel to.
There are significant times in history. There are times of warning, of judgment, of repentance, of grace, and of revival which come upon us. There are times when God’s Gospel work is to be consolidated and there are times when it advances boldly. This applies not only to the big movements of history but also to our own personal lives. We hear the Gospel clearly and know that we are being called to make a decision to believe in the LORD Jesus Christ.
What this means for us is that we are called to search the scriptures seeking to understand God’s invitation to us personally to believe the Gospel. This is vital! Have we committed ourselves each day to prayerful meditation and reflection upon God’s Word? Do we wrestle with the Word of God that we might unearth its treasure? Do we apply it personally to our lives, our Church, our city and our Nation?
God is calling His people to repentance and to believing the Gospel. Have we heard Him, and do we believe Him?