A Time For Everything
24/25 JULY 2021 | PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Rev Raymond Fong
Scripture Passage: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | There is a time and season for everything and we can respond to life by trusting God for the uncontrollable, acting in faith for the intentional and preparing for eternity in the present.
Characteristics of Time
Ecclesiastes 3 presents human experience as a tapestry of time in pairs of opposing actions. These actions have 3 characteristics: 1) They have a Literal and Metaphorical meaning; 2) They demonstrate Undesirable yet Appropriate qualities, i.e. every activity has its place in the grand scheme of things; and 3) They are also Uncontrollable yet Intentional, e.g. we often have little control over situations but at other times we have to make intentional choices. How do we respond to the different seasons of life? There are three golden lessons we can learn (T.A.P).
- Trust Him for the Uncontrollable because God has made everything beautiful for its own time, (v.11a) i.e. everything accomplishes a purpose in its own time. We may feel helpless and frustrated when things beyond our control happen, e.g. the explosion of Covid-19 cases, the shocking incident of violence at a school, and we ask if any good can come of these seemingly ugly things. But God says “Trust me.” He is in control, and in its right time, things will be made beautiful because His purposes will be accomplished.
- Act in Faith for the Intentional choices we have to make. We need to know when the right time for the right choice is. To do this, we need to seek His Countenance (presence) and His Counsel (wisdom). Only when we are in His presence and receive counsel from Him, will we know His purposes and can act in faith.
- Prepare for Eternity in the Present because God has placed eternity in the hearts of men (v.11b). We want to know the eternal big picture even though we can’t fully grasp the ways of God. We know one day there will be a time for eternity, and we can start to prepare for it right now by - a) Resting in the portion of life from God (v 12-13), i.e. being content with what He’s given us; and b) Fearing (revering) God and doing good (v 13, 14), i.e. putting God at the centre of our lives and acting justly by helping the least, the last and the lost.
Heavenly Father, we know You hold time in your hands and every season belongs to you. Help us to fully trust in You especially for things which are beyond our control. We know that in Your own time, You can transform the ugly to the beautiful, restoring and bringing all good works to completion.
(Sermon Notes by Desley Khew)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. There is a time and season for everything. Take a few moments to reflect on Eccl 3:1-8. Pick one set of opposites (e.g. v7b silence vs speaking) and share how that has been applicable for you.
2. Verse 11a declares “He (God) has made all things beautiful in His time.” How have you experienced this truth in your life? How does this verse give you hope when unexpected and unpleasant things happen in life?
3. If there is a time for everything, how does that affect the way we make our daily choices?
4. If our lives and the ability to enjoy our work, leisure and find satisfaction is a gift from God, how does that cause us to live a God-centered life with the fear of the Lord?
5. Take time to pray for each other to surrender the past, and trust in the sovereign goodness of God for the future.