Summary: In these verses Jesus continues his teaching by warning his disciples and anyone else who would listen that there is great wisdom in reading the signs of the times.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 35
“The Signs of the Times”
These are amazing and exciting times in which to live as a Christian. We have been privileged in our lifetimes to witness things that those who lived before us could not even imagine. The world is changing in extra-ordinary ways; we watched as Communism fell in our lifetimes, we look on as every day our world gets closer to acceptance of a one world currency, and eventually a one world leader. Perhaps as no other time in history, people of faith are called to understand the times in which we live. This requires not only aware-ness of our world situation but of an under-standing of Scripture. How tragic that today men can predict the movement of the stars and even put men on the moon, but they are blind to what God is doing in the world. They know how to get to the stars but so many of them do not know how to get to heaven.
Over the last several weeks we have been looking at a message that Jesus preached in Luke chapter twelve. Last week we examined three distinct characteristics of a “good waiter” in connection with the second coming of Jesus. Jesus now continues his teaching by warning his disciples and anyone else who would listen that there is great wisdom in reading the signs of the times.
Today’s passage on judgment is one of those that we would rather avoid. These words my not tickle your ears, but they just might change your heart.
Two things I want you to see about judgment.
FIRST, YOU NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT JUDGMENT IS REAL (vv. 54-56)
“Then He also said to the multitudes, ‘Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is, (55) And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; And there is (56) Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”
The people who lived in Palestine in the days of Jesus’ ministry did not have the modern weather observation equipment of today, but they did have the ability to observe the conditions in the sky.
Jesus asks, Why were they so good at reading the earth’s winds and such failures at reading the spiritual winds? They could read earthly weather, but they neglected the signs of the moral and spiritual climate all around them. Why were they were so shrewd in earthly matters and such dunces in spiritual matters? Jesus calls it hypocrisy, because it was all pretense that they did not know what was happening.
I am amazed at the energy, time and money spent in our modern society to bring us the very latest weather reports from around the globe. Yet the people of today pay far more attention to tomorrow’s weather forecast than they do to their eternal destiny. That is why there is at least a brief weather summary on the front page of the newspaper, but the religion section is buried in an obscure subsection of the paper.
The apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:3-7) spoke of this coming judgment when he said, “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, (4) and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation (5) For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water (7) But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Jesus never called people hypocrites without good reason. When Jesus calls these people hypocrites it not because they were confused about who Christ was, or because they had never heard. His anger is directed against those who were in a position to know the truth and who deliberately rejected that truth.
Paul says in his letter to the Romans (1:16) that the wrath of God will be poured out on those “who suppress (KJV hold down) the truth in unrighteousness.“ It is not that these individuals do not know, it is that they refuse to acknowledge God.
The signs are there for those who are willing to observe them, and they warn of a inferno of judgment against an ungodly world, a fact which most people prefer to ignore or deny. Because of this we have a world culture that in spite of the witness and testimony of the church, continues to reject the good news of Jesus Christ, that calls good evil and evil good, worships money, glorifies sex, makes heroes of villains, kills unwanted babies in the name of convenience, and worships self as the god of all things.