Sermon #92                                                           Luke Sermons


     Title:            Discerning the Time

     Text:            Luke 12:54-59

     Subject:       Discerning the Times in Which We Live

     Date:            Sunday Evening – January 12, 2003

     Tape #         X-41b

     Readings:     Ron Wood and James Jordan



In Luke 12:54-59, our Lord Jesus speaks specifically to the common people, the people who heard his doctrine, 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.

·        These who followed them were also blind, willfully blind.

·        Both the religious leaders and the people who followed them, our Lord here denounces and rebukes as hypocrites.


Luke 12:54-59  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. 55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. 56 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? 57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? 58 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. 59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.


Proposition: It is our responsibility, in the day in which we live, to observe God’s work and discern the times in which we live, and thereby to judge what is right.


In this message, I want to make two, plain, simple statements, enforce them from the Scriptures, and drive them home to your heart by the power of God the Holy Spirit.


I.       First, I want you to see 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.


Luke 12:54-57  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. 55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. 56 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? 57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?


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 Cor. 2). What he is saying is this:—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 had departed from Judah.

·        Daniel’s 70th week had been fulfilled.

·        Elijah (John the Baptist) had come.

·        Our Lord’s miracles 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 in1 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.


A.   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  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


2 Thessalonians 2:1-16  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,


1 Timothy 4:1-3  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.


2 Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.


Revelation 20:1-8  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.


1.     These are days of horrid apostasy.


2.     These are times of unparalleled evil—Moral—Political—Spiritual.


3.     These are times of horrible indifference and lukewarmness.


4.     These are times of universal compromise.


5.     These are times of ambiguity and tolerance toward everything abominable and utter intolerance for the truth and glory of God.


B.   What does this day require of us? What do these present, perilous times demand of you and me?


1.     A Bold, Uncompromising, Unflinching Adherence to the Singular Authority of Holy Scripture.


2.     A Distinct and Decided, Untiring Declaration of Gospel Doctrine.


3.     Faithfulness, Dedication and Sacrifice for the Cause of Christ.


4.     A Clear Recognition of Our Most Important Priorities and Our Most Weighty Responsibilities.


5.     A Diligent Watchfulness Over Our Own Souls.


C.   This is God’s day and these are God’s times.


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 Need.

·        Greater Opportunity.

·        Greater Means of Usefulness.


II.    Now, I want you to look at verses 58 and 59 and learn this.—If you are wise, you will make it your business to be delivered from your adversary before you meet your Judge.


Luke 12:58-59  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. 59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.


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 5:17-21  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


2 Corinthians 6:1  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.


1 John 1:9-10  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


1 John 2:1-2  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.


Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


Galatians 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:


Colossians 2:12-15  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.


1 Peter 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


The time is short. Judgment is at hand. Be reconciled to God!