Statistics
1457 sermons as of October 15, 2017.
Site Search powered by FreeFind

bottom corner

   
Author:Rev. W.B. Slomp
 send email...
 
Congregation:Immanuel Canadian Reformed Church
 Edmonton, Alberta
 www.edmontonimmanuel.ca
 
Title:The Lord wants us to understand the seasons and the times.
Text:Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 11 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Unclassified
 
Preached:2008-02-07
Added:2008-07-05
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Sing:
Psalm 90: 1, 2
Psalm 111: 3, 5
Psalm 90: 6, 7, 8
Psalm 31: 9, 15
Hymn 48: 1, 3, 4

Read: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15
Text: Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 11
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. W.B. Slomp, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters:

During tax season, a lot of people take a close look at their investments. People want to see whether or not they have been investing wisely. For some people the last year will have been better than for others. It depends on how you invested. If you invested aggressively in stocks or mutual funds, then you may have lost a good chunk of money. If you invested in real estate or in your own business venture and worked hard, then you likely gained a fair amount of money.

It is prudent to invest your money wisely. However, if you do lose some money, it’s not the end of the world. You can always learn from your mistakes, carefully examine your options, and hopefully recoup your losses in the future. With investments in material things there is always hope and optimism.

Time is also an investment. We can invest our time in many things. We can spend our time doing productive things at work, interacting with the members of our family, helping out at church with consistory work or committee work, or studying at school and at home. We can also spend our time watching TV, playing games on the computer, and going to the bar or to the casino. There are many things we can spend our time on. Each day the Lord gives us 24 hours, that is 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds per day to invest.

The Lord also gives us times and seasons. There is a time and a season for every activity under the sun, the Teacher says. These times and seasons are God’s gift to us. We don’t always like that gift. Certain seasons we want to prolong, and others we want to curtail. We don’t like to be limited to certain seasons and times. We do not always like the various times and seasons of the Lord.

The question today is, do we respect those times and seasons the Lord God has set for every activity under the sun? Do we use our time wisely? Do we respect the time that God has given us under heaven? The theme for this service is as follows:

THE LORD WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND THE SEASONS AND THE TIMES.
He wants us to understand:
1. Human times and seasons;
2. Divine times and seasons.

1. The Teacher speaks about times and seasons. He uses two different words in the Hebrew language that are hard to render in the English language. When he says that there is a time for everything he uses a term that means that there is a definite time period allotted to certain activities, that there is a fixed time for everything. The word translated as “season” refers to the specific activity as such. And so, paraphrasing he says, “there is an appropriate season, or a specifically appointed time for each distinct activity.”

That’s true, isn’t it? Don’t we experience that as well? There is a time to get up and a time to go to sleep. There is a time to eat and drink and a time to fast. There’s a time to work and a time for relaxation. There is a time to go to school, and a time to play. There’s a time to be single and a time to be married.

There are also other times and seasons. There’s a time for winter and a time for summer. There is a time for the sun to rise and a time for the sun to set. Can you imagine if that were not so? It would be chaos. Life would be impossible. We need the various seasons. There’s a time and place for everything under the sun.

Can you imagine if the sun did not rise or set at the appointed time? Can you imagine if the stars and the planets in the universe did not have a definite path, and a definite time period for their circuit? The stars and the planets would collide.

And can you imagine if summer or spring would not come at its appointed time -- if you could not depend on the growing season with its specific time frame? If it would be hit and miss? We could starve to death. Our lives depend on the appointed times and seasons. This also gives us security. It gives a certain rhythm to life.

But we do not always like the times and the seasons that God gives us, do we? In this part of the country winters tend to be quite long. Many of us would prefer that it was a little shorter. We don’t always like the times and seasons of our own lives either. When we are young, we would rather be somewhat older. Isn’t that true, children of the congregation? Let me ask you a question: would you not rather be a little older than you are now? When you are 6 or 7 years old, you want to be 8 or 9 or ten, don’t you? You want to be older like the other kids. And when you are eleven years old you look forward to becoming a teenager. And when you are a teenager you look forward to becoming of legal age so that you can drive a car, and have all the other privileges. And when you’re single, you look forward to being married. But then when you get older, it sometimes happens that you would rather be younger again, when you didn’t have the pains and aches that you do now. We are not always happy with the times or the seasons we are in.

The Lord God, however, gives us these various times and seasons. The Teacher says that he has made everything beautiful in its time. Each age has its own beauty. Each season has its own beauty as well. And we have to cooperate with God’s timing. In other words, don’t rush things. Accept the various time frames that God has set.

Young people, don’t rush your age. Don’t be in a hurry to get older. Don’t look for your happiness at a later date. Enjoy the season of your life now. Your happiness does not lie in the future. Your happiness is now. Don’t think that once you’re a teenager that then life will be better. Don’t think that you will be happy once you are out of the house or that you will be happier when you are married with children rather than single. The time for babies and dirty diapers will come soon enough. Don’t rush it. Wait for the time to be ripe. And when the time is right you will enjoy it, even dirty diapers. Don’t think either that you will be happier once the time comes when your mortgage is paid off, or when you are retired. Accept the time frame of God. Enjoy the seasons that God gives you now. Wait for the Lord. Each age has its own beauty. Enjoy each season within the timeframe that God has set.

Listen to what Moses says in Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

The Lord also gives us difficult times, painful times. There are times of illnesses and distress. There are times of insecurities and turmoil. Those times are also given to you by God. The Lord God has a purpose with those times in your life. Don’t try to do away with those difficult times through illegitimate ways. Look to God to give you the solution. Don’t come with your own wisdom, but with God’s wisdom. Don’t force the issue. Study God’s will. Know his Word. Think about why he is disciplining you. He only disciplines those whom he loves. There is a reason for everything that happens under the sun. The Lord God has a purpose with everything.

And don’t forget throughout all this that the Lord God loves you. He does not want you to come to harm. Don’t forget that he gave his only Son to save you from this world full of pain and misery. That was the greatest act of love ever performed here on earth. And that was God’s act of love for you.

Also use your time wisely. The time that God gives you is his gift to you. Don’t squander it. Time is not like your investment portfolio. When you lose some money on the stock market, you can always recoup some of your losses. That’s not the case with time. Once you have spent your time, it is gone forever.

Let’s face it, none of us makes perfect use of our time. We waste our time in many ways. We can’t recoup that wasted time. And therefore we may not squander God’s gifts. We can, however, re-examine the way we spent our time in the past, and do something about it in the future. We can resolve to do better. It is important that we have the right attitude with regard to time.

We may not steal the time that belongs to our employer. An employer pays you to work for a certain amount of time. And when you squander the time that he pays for, then you are a thief.

The same thing is true of all the time you spend here on this earth. God has given that time to you to use. And he also paid for your time here on earth. Do you know how he did that? He did that through his Son Jesus Christ. If it were not for him, you would not be able to spend any time here on the earth. He purchased your time here on earth, from the day you were born to the day you die. Every second here on this earth is his gift to you. And if you do not use your time here on earth in the proper way, then he will hold you accountable.

For you see, the time that God gives us here must be used for the glory of God. It must be used for the furtherance of his kingdom. It must be used in order to promote his name here on earth. That doesn’t mean that we all have to become full-time preachers or missionaries. No, you can glorify God’s name in every activity that God gave you under the sun. If you do not use your time in the way that God intended it, then you sin against him and you need to ask for his forgiveness.

Does that mean that you should be working all the time? Not at all. God also gives you times of leisure. He gives you time to recharge your battery, so to speak. The Lord Jesus himself also withdrew at times from the crowds because he needed the rest. But also our times of leisure are God’s gift to us. We are responsible to him.

And so, think about it. Think about how you spend your leisure time. Think about how you spend your time when you think nobody is looking. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back at his own appointed time. He could come back today or tomorrow. And then the angel is going to blow the trumpet. Where will he find you when that happens? Behind a computer looking at pornographic pictures or in a movie theater looking at dirty movies? Gambling in a casino? In bed with someone to whom you’re not married? Doing drugs? Getting drunk? What do you do with your times of leisure?

Some people think that they are born to party. They work hard so that they can have times of leisure. That is the real thing that drives them. They want to have a good time and to be able to afford it. Some people work hard all their lives so that once they are of retirement age they can go to an exotic and warm country to indulge themselves. And they tell themselves that they deserve it. Do you? Is that how God wants us to spend our retirement? There is so much work to be done in the kingdom of God. There is so much to be done to the glory of his name.

One of the problems with mankind is that he easily gets bored. He gets bored with the times and seasons. That is especially the case if you see your life here on earth being spent only under the sun. Then you want to make the most of it as long as you live here on this earth. Such a person will spend his or her time unwisely. He or she does not accept that our times are God’s times. And that is because it does not lie in man’s nature to be content with the temporal. He is never satisfied. He is always looking for something better.

Do you know why that is? Well, that is because, as the Teacher says in verse 11, God has set eternity in the hearts of men. That is quite a profound statement. What does that mean? That brings us to the second point. We have to understand the divine times and seasons.

2. When the Teacher speaks here about eternity, then we have to connect that with what he says a few verses further on, in verse 14, that everything God does endures forever. Nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken away from it. And so that means, as he says in verse 11 that we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

We are full of questions. When will I find a partner for life? When is my illness going to end? When will I die? What is going to happen in the future? You see, brothers and sisters, the problem is that we want to be in control of our future. Ultimately we want to be in control of our own destiny. We want to determine our own times and seasons. In other words, we want to know exactly what God is going to do with our lives. We are always curious about what lies around the corner. God made us that way. But do you know what the problem is? The problem is that there is a limit to our understanding. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

The Teacher says that God has put eternity into man’s heart. That makes us different from animals. An animal is content as long as it has food and drink and safe surroundings. Man is different. God created him different. We have been created with a sense of something that transcends our immediate situation. We know in our hearts that there is more to life than just food and drink. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 1:20, “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.”

Paul says that God’s eternal power and divine nature are clearly obvious to man. Modern man tries to deny that in every way possible. They do not want anything to do with an eternal God. And so they come up with, for example, the theory of evolution. But that does not satisfy them either. They also realize that there has to be something beyond that. In the end they have no answers.

Postmodern man understands that finite man does not have any definite answers. For that reason in the universities of today you will not be given any clear direction about life or about science or about anything at all. In these institutions of higher learning you are not even allowed to come up with clear answers. You have to question more and more. Do you know what the result is? The result is that people are becoming more and more confused.

Do you know what is clear? That man has a capacity for eternal things. Otherwise mankind would not be concerned about the future. Otherwise we would not have the modern environmentalists either, who try to be look beyond this age into the next. They want to find an answer to the various environmental problems. They are looking for a certain utopia for their children or grandchildren. Ultimately, they are looking for eternity. God created man with a desire to escape the bondage within which he is held. Man dreams about better times. He consoles himself by directing his thoughts to eternity.

After the fall into sin the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). Because of sin, eternity has been taken away from us. You need to gain it back. You cannot find eternity within the times and seasons under the sun. You can only find eternity with God. In Acts 17:26, Paul says to the Athenians that God “determined the times set for man and the exact places where they should live.”

Because of the eternity that is within our hearts we can never be satisfied with our achievements and our endeavours. Man feels that within his heart. And that is why he is always seeking for more and better and greater. But he will not find it under the sun. He can only find it with God. And God has an eternal plan for each and every one of us. But we will not understand that plan of God until the life hereafter.

That is the message that has to go out to the people of the world. If you want to be an effective evangelizer, then you have to take advantage of man’s penchant to look for eternity. A worldly person looks for eternity in the wrong places. He looks for satisfaction in the wrong places. He has a false hope. And therefore he spends his time in the wrong way. He has to be taught to look in the right places, with God. That is where you will find eternal happiness. With him you will go beyond the times and seasons of this world.

In Psalm 31:15 David writes, “My times are in your hands.” Brothers and sisters, boys and girls, that applies to all of us. Our times are in God’s hands. The time that God gives you here on earth is a wonderful gift. Don’t squander it. Look beyond the time here on earth. Look to eternity. God has already placed eternity in your heart. Seek it with him. Go with your heart that already has the desire for eternity within it. Do not suppress that desire as the world does.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:5 that we must wait for the Lord for he will return at the appointed time. We don’t know when he will come back. We don’t know when the Lord God is going to call you home either. But when the time comes, will you be ready for him? His time will be your time only if now you spend your time in his presence, in worship, in prayer, in all your activities. Seek the Lord your God and he will give you eternity. Amen


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. W.B. Slomp, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: www.edmontonimmanuel.ca

(c) Copyright 2008, Rev. W.B. Slomp

Please direct any comments to the Webmaster


bottom corner