The message today is: hypocrites cannot discern the signs of the times because they operate and focus on the level of the flesh (physical level, and mind and emotion -soul level). They are not mindful of the things of God but the things of men. They are not spiritually discerning. Jesus stated clearly that no one can see and enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again of the Spirit. Why cannot many 'Christians' see or hear God and live by the Spirit? The reason is the same as mentioned. To be born again of the Spirit, one must believe and obey the word of God as led by the Holy Spirit. Mere knowledge in the mind will not make one a born-again Christian. The willingness to know God in the Holy Spirit, through being joined to Jesus, and be of one spirit with Him, and the focus on spiritual matters rather than flesh matters, are prerequisites for being a spirit-led Christian, a true son of God. Only sons of God can discern the signs of the times and know Jesus as He is, the Son of God, the Christ. Only sons of God can overcome the devil.
The watchman's Bible study notes are in bracket.
New King James Version (NKJV)
The Pharisees and Sadducees Seek a Sign
16 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites![a] You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet[b] Jonah.” And He left them and departed.
Watchman's notes: (The hypocrites do not really mean what they say, pray, proclaim or sing. Even when they quote a lot of Bible words in their 'displays' of religiosity, they would not gain or give life if they are not led by the Holy Spirit. To them signs are mere physical things, something that could give them physical sensation and they feel good about. Jesus had performed many miraculous signs but they still asked for more!)
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?[c] 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Watchman's notes: (Even the disciples were not spiritually discerned. Today many Christians have the same problem because they focus on the flesh realm -physical and soul- and ignore the spiritual truth. Only spiritual truth sets one free from bondage, including that of the flesh -the old nature. Jesus said His words are life and spirit. Reading His word needs spiritual discernment.)
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
Watchman's notes: ( Only God, who is the Father in heaven for Christians, can reveal spiritual truth to His children. Why then cannot many Christians understand spiritual truth? The question everyone needs to ask is: am I a child of God? Do I have a spiritual relationship with God as the Father in heaven? Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God to me personally?)
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Watchman's notes:(the key difference between the children of God and the children of Satan is: the children of God are mindful of the things of God. God is Spirit. Only those born of the Spirit are His children. They are spiritually discerning. Their focus is on God- hear His word, do His will and live His divine nature, as led by the Holy Spirit.
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Watchman's notes:(the spiritual man is not afraid to deny his flesh, his old nature, his 'self'. True disciple has no difficulty to follow Jesus as he walks and lives through the Spirit, living the kingdom of God's life even on earth.)