God Of All Seasons
PCC am 3/21/21
The other day I called my spiritual father. He is a third generation preacher and was the first person to introduce me as a preacher. Our conversation quickly turned to the seasons of life. In the spring , summer and fall of his life he loved motorcycles. Our conversation was bitter sweet. He told me how much he missed riding but now that he is in the winter of life. the time had come for him to slow down and give it up. Although he no longer gets behind the pulpit every Lord’s day he does visit a nursing home where he preaches and plays piano. Even though he is in the winter of life he is still a faithful shepherd.
Whether you are in the spring of your life , summer or fall or even winter , Ecclesiastes 3 has something for you.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.[b]
16 And I saw something else under the sun:
In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself,
“God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
Life is not random. God created the universe with structure, order and purpose. He laid out a time and a season for every purpose.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these purposes and how they apply to us.
There is a time to tear down and a time to build. There is a time for us as christians to tear down the strongholds of Satan and build up the kingdom of God. For over half a century Satan has been on a rampage in America , Satan has convinced people to take prayer out of public schools. He has manipulated the the legal system so that ir is no longer a crime to murder the unborn. Satan is a manipulator , that is what he does. He manipulated Eve by twisting God’s word , he tried to manipulate Job by taking everything he had. He even tried to manipulate Jesus using God’s word. It should come as no surprise to us that he is still doing this to this very day. He does anything he can to manipulate people into disobeying God. Satan has into parading their shame down main street and calling it pride. And now he is knocking at the door of the churchouse with legislation that would force churches to employ people that indulge in what God forbids, Make no mistake about it , Satan knows 1 Corinthians 15:33 by heart. He knows that bad company corrupts good character and he will do anything to get his foot in the door of the church. It’s time to put on our armor, draw a line in the sand , stand our ground and tear down the strongholds of Satan.
Right now you are probably saying that sounds good but how do we do it? Well it’s easy. We tear down the works of Satan by building the kingdom of God. John 12:23-26 records this teaching of Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. These are seeds I have bought for my garden. Pretty soon I will start working the soil getting in ready for the seed. This seed by itself is pretty insignificant. But when it dies it can produce a stalk of corn with many ears each bearing many seeds. This time last year God began preparing the soil for the seeds of the gospel. I believe that God actually took what Satan intended for evil and used it for good. I love it when God does that. This time last year the prophets of gloom and doom were telling us that there was a deadly new disease that was going to wipe out a large percentage of the world population. They were painting a picture that rivaled the death angel passing over Egypt, killing the first born. On March 18, 2020 the New York Times reported that as many as 214 million Americans would become infected and 1.7 million of them would die. The prophets of gloom and doom successfully put the fear of death into millions of people that are now seeking answers. The church of England was nearing extinction before Covid-19 and now millions of people are viewing their live stream. No I am not advocating that we livestream our services , scripture teaches us not to forsake the assembly. What I am advocating is evangelism.
There is a time to search and a time to give up. The world around us is searching for answers. We have a commission from Jesus to give them the answer to their question. What is the question? It is the same question the crowd asked on the day of Pentecost , “ What must I do to be saved ?”. We have a duty to answer their question but we must act quickly while the soil is fertile and before they give up the search. If we do not guide them in their search , rest assured that Satan will. He will gladly lead them to psychics , fortune tellers , islam, budhism, agnosticism, secular humanism , ecumicalism and athiesm. Our job is to lead them to Jesus.
There is a time to keep and a time to throw away. We need to hold fast to the bible , the Lord’s church and our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we need to cast off anything that weighs us down and hinders us from building each other up and leading the lost to Christ. Hebrews 12:1-3 says it well. 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
There is a time to love and a time to hate. In Romans 12:9 Paul instructs us 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. We like to say , “ Love the sinner hate the sin” sometimes this can be hard to do. Especially in this day and age when people flaunt their sin. But the fact is God sees sin as sin and their sin is no worse than mine in God’s eyes. It was by God’s grace that someone shared the gospel with us. We need to pray that we can show that same grace to those who need it.
There is a time to find satisfaction in our work. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is a gift from God. If you are an elder , or a teacher , or a bookkeeper , or a graphic artist or an IT specialist or you sanitize the church building , or tithe or support missions, you should find great satisfaction in that work. As a matter of fact your Christian service should be the most fulfilling thing that you do. If you are working for the kingdom you are not laboring in vain and God will provide all that you need for your work.
There is a time to feast and a time to fast. There is a time to come together as a body and share in a fellowship meal. This is something that is somewhat lost in the modern church. But the early church knew the importance of coming together for a meal. Jesus demonstrated this often. He frequently used mealtime as a teaching time. When we come together around the table to share a meal we get to know each other and we deepen our relationships. Remember when you were dating? What did you do to get acquainted? Likewise it is also important to gather around the Lord’s table on the Lord’s day. It was in a teaching moment during the Passover feast that Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. When we come around the Lord’s table we commune with him and affirm or desire for a relationship with him. But there is also a time for fasting. Jesus did not say “ If you fast “ he said “When you fast” . There are times when we need to fast , not just abstaining from food but from anything that distracts us from God. Why do we need to fast? Simply put , we fast to deny ourselves and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I believe this spiritual practice is often more overlooked than the fellowship meal. Thankfully we still observe the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day.
And along with fasting there is a time to be silent. Did you ever notice that God gave you two eyes , two ears and only one mouth? Perhaps that is because observing and listening are more important than talking. Scripture teaches us to tame our tongue but to open our eyes and listen with our ears. Romans 1:20 says20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. And Jesus sain in Matthew 11:15 He who has ears let him hear. There is a time to be silent and listen for God’s voice. There is a time to look at nature and see God’s testimony about himself.And there is a time to go into your prayer closet with your bible and absorb the message.
There is a time to speak the truth in love. After you have used your eyes to observe and your ears to listen and absorbed the message it is time to speak. The world is searching for the truth that you possess .
There is a time to hear.Hearing and listening both involve the ears but are different activities. For example when I am at work I listen to the person I am talking to but I hear a lot of background noise. Listening is intentional while hearing is passive. We do not always stop to listen to everything we hear, something about it must grab our attention and make us want to listen.. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. When we speak we need to speak the words of Jesus. We need to cultivate this habit. The more people hear us talk about Jesus and speak the words of Jesus the likelihood of them coming to saving faith greatly increases.
There is a time to believe. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son , that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. There comes a time when those that have heard the message of Christ must decide based on the evidence that Jesus was who he said he was.
There is time to repent. 13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. We like to rationalize our sin but Jesus clearly teaches that all sins are equal yours is as bad as mine and mine is as bad as yours. We all must repent.
There is a time to confess. Jesus said , “ Whoever acknowledges me before men , I will also acknowledge before my Father. But whoever disowns me before men , I will disown before my Father”. About 5 years ago I worked with a young man that thought he was a Christian. He had been raised in church, made a confession of faith and was baptized. But he would not confess Christ before his friends. He said they would hate him for being a Christian. This young man didn’t get it. You can’t share your faith and deny Christ at the same time. You can’t deny Christ and expect him to acknowledge you before the Father.
There is a time to be baptized. John Mark was a scribe for the Apostle Peter , when you read Mark’s gospel you are reading the gospel as it was dictated by Peter. In Mark 16:16 Jesus said , “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Peter echoes that teaching on the day of Pentecost when the crowds asked what must they do, Peter’s response was “ Repent and be baptized” . Later in Acts chapter 22 Paul tells the story of his visit from Ananias and the charge given to him, “ And now what are you waiting for? Get up , be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. Do you need your sins washed away? Now is the time. Would you please stand as we sing our invitation.