And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. (I Chronicles 12:32)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (II Timothy 3:1)
I cannot doubt that I Chron. 12:32, like every verse of Scripture was written for our learning. These men of Issachar set before us a pattern to be imitated and an example to be followed. It is most important to understand the times in which we live and to know what those times require.
THESE TIMES REQUIRE:
I. A BOLD AND UNFLINCHING MAINTENANCE OF THE ENTIRE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE DIVINE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
- This is an age unbelief.
- This plague of unbelief should not surprise us.
- The skepticism of the times should not shake your faith.
- The three facts that skeptics and infidels have never explained away:
- The Person of Christ Jesus.
- The Inspired Word.
- The effect Christianity has had on the world.
II. A DISTINCT AND DECIDED STAND UPON THE DOCTRINES AS TAUGHT IN THE WORD OF GOD.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Timothy 4:1-4)
- The men that stand out the most in the Christian faith are men who stand up for the cause of Christ.
- The average person cannot tell you what they think about many Bible doctrines.
III. AN AWAKENING AND A LIVELIER SENSE OF THE UNSCRIPTURAL AND SOUL RUINING CHARACTER OF FALSE RELIGION.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (II Peter 2:1)
- The challenge of false religion – they are out there spreading their lies.
- The consequences of false religion – the damnation of souls.
- The conqueror of false religion – Christ.
IV. A HIGHER STANDARD OF PERSONAL CONSECRATION AND AN ATTENTION TO PRACTICAL GODLINESS IN DAILY LIFE.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
- The price one must pay – some people will not like you or maybe they will persecute you.
- The pathway that leads to this goal maybe a lonely path – you may walk alone.
- The position that is possible for us to reach – acceptance with God.
V. SEARCHING FOR THE OLD PATHS THAT WERE ESTABLISHED BY THE MASTER HIMSELF.
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16)
- The path to personal salvation.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
- The path to power.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(II Timothy 1:7)
- The path of purity.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
(I John 3:1-3)