THE SEASONS OF OUR CHURCH LIFE
A message delivered by Rev. Godfrey
A. Catanus on September 22, 2002 at the worship service of the Northwest
Filipino Baptist Church.
There is a time for everything, and a season for
everything activity under heaven:
- 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
- a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
- a time to search 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.
The title of our message this morning is : " The
Seasons of Our Church Life".
I thought it is relevant to speak about
"seasons" because tomorrow, September 23, will be the first day of
Autumn. It is my prayer to challenge our hearts that as the season moves and
changes, that we become serious about our Christian life, and that as a church,
we will understand the purpose why we are here, and why we do the things that we
OUR LIVES FOLLOW A FIXED PATTERN
Like the seasons of the year, our lives and our church
life go on a motion of change that follows a fixed pattern. Like for instance,
as our text this morning reminds us, there is a season and a time for every
matter under heaven: For example, there is a time to be born, and a time to die.
SEASONS ARE FIXED BY GOD
We know that the seasons are fixed by God. We know that
the patterns are fixed because of His purposes. Add to this, notice, that the
pattern is irreversible. You don’t die unless you were born first. All of this
come because everything in this world are ordered by God. This order in creation
suggests the existence and reality of God. It is but foolishness and
intellectual arrogance to deny this.
Now, there are four seasons in our year, namely summer,
winter, autumn, and spring. I know that we can find corresponding applications
from these in the Scriptures. However, this is not my intention this morning,
Rather, I wish to share with you the seasons or times for us as a CHURCH. These
are seasons of activities.
All of our activities fall within a fixed time. All of
us have twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 12 months in a year. With
this in mind, it is therefore important that our activities must be planned so
that we do the most important things in their order of priority.
Let me suggest four seasons or activities that are
important in our life, and in the life of our church.
I. WE HAVE THE TIME TO WAIT. By this, I mean, A
TIME TO PRAY.
I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer; O Lord my
God. – Psalm 38:15.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me
and heard my cry. – Psalm 40:1.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait
for God my Savior; my God will hear me. - Micah 7:7
Because we are already at the last quarter of this
year, we know that we have so much to catch up with. Some are our personal
plans. Some are also the plans of the church: We need to catch up in our
evangelism, discipleship, building maintenance, and many more. Yes, we need
to be moving and doing. But important as these things are, we need to pause
for a moment – we really need to PRAY.
DEFINITION OF PRAYER
The Westminster Cathechism defines PRAYER as "
the offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His Will in
the name of Christ with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgment
of His Mercy."
Prayer is important in our lives and in the life of
the church because:
1. This was what the disciples asked Jesus. They
said, " Lord, teach us to pray."
(Luke 11:1). Notice that they did not ask, "
teach us to sing, to preach, nor teach us theology", but they asked,
" teach us to pray". Notice further, they did not even ask, "
teach us HOW to pray", but "teach us to pray" – meaning,
don’t just teach us the principles of prayer, but the PRACTICE of prayer!
- 2. Why did they ask Jesus this kind of question?
I dare say, because they have
- observed the importance of prayer in the life of
- He prayed all night before choosing the
disciples - Luke 6:12-13.
- He prayed earnestly in Gethsemane before the
cross– Luke 22: 39-46
- The Power of Jesus’ ministry was because of
the power of his prayers’…
- Unfortunately today, we don’t regard prayer as
that important. You know what?
- Prayerlessness is Sin – 1 Samuel 19:23
- Some don’t pray – James 4:2
- Many don’t know how to pray right – they
pray wrongly – v. 3
- Some pray, but their prayers will not be heard-
- " If I had cherished sin in my heart, the
Lord would not have listened"
- Psalm 66:18
" Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short
to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated
you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will
not hear." Isaiah 59:1-2
Oh, it is time and season to pray!
A.C. Dixon, says, " When we rely on
organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we rely on education,
we get what education can do; when we rely on eloquence, we get what
eloquence can do, but when we rely on God, we get what God can do.
II. WE HAVE THE TIME TO WATCH – By this I mean
it is always TIME TO WATCH HOW WE LIVE.
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be
clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each
other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Pet.
The apostle Peter is simply saying in these verses
that these are the last times. Therefore, we need to live responsibly by
practicing self-control and by being active in prayer. In these
exhortations, Peter emphasized the PRIMACY OF LOVE in our relationships.
Again, he said, ABOVE ALL – LOVE!
In these last days, we need to WATCH OUT HOW WE
LIVE, BY NOT FAILING TO LOVE. You see, love is not an emotion. It is an ACT
– AN ACT OF THE WILL. IT IS A DECISION THAT WE NEED TO MAKE.
Notice also what love can do. It covers the
multitude of sins. This is a quote from Proverbs 10:12. This does not mean
that we condone the wrong or the sins and try to cover them up. No! Instead,
to cover the sin simply means NOT TO BROADCAST IT to the embarrassment and
the destruction of one’s character or person. Love therefore is concerned
about the PERSON and how he can be redeemed or restored.
Notice further in v.11. Peter says that Love should
be also expressed by way of HOSPITALITY. That is, by the way we take care of
strangers. Also, love should be expressed by the WAY WE TALK. WE should be
speaking as though God Himself is speaking. And lastly, love must be
manifested by OUR SERVICE. In all of these activities GOD MUST BE GLORIFIED.
III. WE HAVE THE TIME TO WEEP. By this I mean, a
season of compassion for the lost. This is True evangelism.
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs
of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with
songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126: 5-6
Again, notice the fixed order: You sow – you
reap. You sow in tears – you reap songs of joy. The logic is obvious: If
we don’t sow in tears – we do not reap joy!
WE surely want to reap joy, the joy of salvation of
our families. We want our spouses to be saved, WE want our children to be
saved. WE want our brothers and sisters to be saved. We want our friends and
fellow workers to be saved. Oh what a joy when these things are fulfilled.
But notice the requirements, WE NEED TO SOW IN TEARS.
When was the last time we sowed tears for the
salvation of our loved ones? May I suggest, now is the time or season to
WEEP so that in due time, we shall reap songs of joy!
IV. LASTLY, WE HAVE A TIME TO WORK. By this I
mean, a time to serve God.
" As long as it is day, we must do the work of
him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4.
Brothers and sisters, I believe that our church
does the work of God. The work of God is everything that we do to advance
the kingdom and the glory of our God. Nothing is small if we do them for the
Lord with a right motive.
Notice also that we need to do the work of God
while it is day. While we still have the strength, while we are young, and
while we still have the opportunity,
Jesus said, the night will come and we no longer
can work. It can refer to the night of death- when we lose all the
opportunity to serve God. And death may come at any moment. It can also
refer to the night of the COMING OF THE LORD. When He comes, at the rapture,
then all earthly opportunities will be gone. We who have believed in Christ
will be taken up – and we will face Christ to make an accounting of what
we have done for him.
So, we have the seasons of ACTIVITIES FOR OUR
CHURCH, AND IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES. They are the seasons of PRAYER, OF LOVE,
OF COMPASSION FOR THE LOST, AND FOR SERVICE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.
By the way, they are always in season.
But let me conclude by saying that there is a time
which is very important It is a TIME TO BE SAVED. The Bible says it is NOW.
" In the time of my favor I heard you, and in
the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, NOW IS THE TIME OF GOD’S
FAVOR. NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION." 2 Corinthians 6:2
If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your
personal savior, go to Him now.
Repent of your sins by saying to him, " I am
sorry for the sins that I have committed, please forgive me. THANK YOU FOR
DYING ON THE CROSS FOR MY SINS, AND I NOW TOTALLY DEPEND AND TRUST IN YOU AS
MY ONLY SAVIOR AND LORD.
If you make this prayer in your heart, please write
us. WE would be glad to know you and help you grow in your faith in Jesus