The Gospel of the Kingdom: Interpreting the Times

Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

It’s time to awaken the church that Christ is building!

As Jesus went into Galilee He proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) A nearly identical summary is also given in the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew 3:2, 4:17 and Luke 10:9. This is the ‘good news’ message Jesus announced at the very beginning of His ministry. Jesus traveled from town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the gospel of the kingdom (Luke 8:1).

Luke 11:9-10 compels us to: “Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. It goes on to say, “All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking.”

In this time of chaos and uncertainty the Church must correctly interpret the times so that we will know what the Father would have us do. The number one weapon Satan deploys in these last days is deception (see Beware of the Spirit of Deception). The primary description of his activity in the book of Revelation is that he is “the deceiver of the whole world” whose underlying activity is accomplished as he “goes forth to deceive the nations.” America and the church is no exception! (Revelation 12; 20:8)

I previously shared some insights on discerning the times based upon what I had been sensing in the Spirit beginning in 2008. See Discerning the Times, Discerning The Times (Part 2), and Spiritual Discernment and the Prophetic. I also wrote several posts on the importance of having wisdom and discernment in this new era. See A Time To Discern And Position, A Time to Discern and Position Pt. 2, A Time to Discern and Postion Pt. 3, Time to Discern and Position Pt. 4, and It’s Time To See More Clearly (Repost).

God is the master communicator. Through creation He has revealed His presence, wisdom, and power. Through the Scriptures He has revealed much of His Person, plans, and purposes. God set a “plumb line” in the nation of Israel to measure the truth and righteousness’ of the people and their rulers (Amos 7:7-8). At that time there was no justice in the land (3:10), the poor were afflicted and exploited (2:6-8; 5:11), and the judges were corrupt (5:12). That same plumb line is revealed throughout the New Testament Scriptures and useful today. Second Timothy 3:16 (Voice) says, “All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, andtraining for a life that is right.”

God’s plumb line is important for aligning our lives with His perfect uprightness, but also for discerning His voice in a crooked and perverse generation. In the midst of all the noise in the world, we must be able to distinguish God’s voice clearly. Development discernment is not so much about knowing the future as it is about bringing the Kingdom of God to bear on the time and place in which we live.

Spiritual discernment gives one the ability to know and be informed of what is happening in the spiritual realm. Without discernment and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, we cannot discern the times and know what to do. In this time of uncertainty the enemy will attempt to cloud our spiritual vision and defuse our discernment to lead many down a path of destruction.

Times have changed drastically – globally, economically, politically, and technologically. If you spend any time watching or reading the news, listening to current political dialogue, or observing the shift in cultural trends, you know it’s easy to become discouraged, distracted and/or unsettled. As believers, our paradigm should not be shaped by cultural trends or current events. We must resist operating within the culture’s comfortable paradigms and instead step beyond them. Our hope is found in Jesus Christ and the promises God has given His people. Our confidence is in knowing that we have eternal life, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us (1 John 3:1-3).

For the believer there is hope beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ has opened the door to heaven for us by His death and resurrection.” -Billy Graham

Understanding the times we are living will be of critical importance moving towards the future. In the Old Testament, the sons of Issachar were known as men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do (2 Chr. 12:32). In the New Testament, the Pharisees were seeking to test Jesus’ authenticity by demanding that He show them a sign from heaven. Jesus replied, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but are you unable to discern the signs of the times?” The Pharisees had know clue what was taking place right before their very eyes every day. Nor did they understand what God was doing.

God’s Word not only gives us an historical analysis of His interactions with man. It also shows us how to live in the present and connects us to eternity. He is involved in our comings, goings, and doings. We can glean certain general principles from both the Old Testament and New Testament regarding discerning the times. By living in communion with God and knowing His Word, we can learn to discern and actually increase in discernment over time.

Hearing God’s voice and discerning the times will be critical for the days ahead to help us maneuver strategically through the times that are on the horizon. We can do so by living in communion with God and knowing His Word. We can learn to discern and actually increase our discernment over time. Jesus said “My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” (John 10:27).  As believers we are to respond appropriately as we hear His voice, and not follow the voice of strangers. In order to follow Him, you must know Him intimately.

PRAYER

Father, give me discernment so I can ask You what I really need to know and see. Open my spiritual eyes to see You and Your heavenly hosts. I don’t want to miss a moment of what You have preordained for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard unless otherwise noted.

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