Father Time

Posted: December 20, 2017 by keystoneyouth in Incomparable
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Incomparable-series-Y

Attention Funnel: What Decade Did that Take Place??

 Introduction:

  • The final way that God is different than us that we are going to look at is that God is eternal.
  • God is not bound by time. He has no beginning and end.
  • This is obviously different then us. We are dominated by time. We have 24 hours, 7 days, 12 months, and perhaps 70-90 years. That’s it.
  • It is impossible to escape time.
    • One year, I decided I was going to try to do it. My goal was to never look at a clock for the entire year. I would just set alarms on my phone telling me when the next thing was there for me to do. I quickly realized how foolish this was, not only because I would have to look at a clock to set my alarms, but also because I would spend so much time trying not to look at what time it was that I would end up wasting a lot of my time.
  • One of the most well-known passages on time is found in Ecclesiastes chapter 3. It’s a passage quoted at funerals, in well-known songs, and by famous movie characters.
  • And it’s a passage that teaches us to learn to live not only under the rule of time, but under the rule of the one who controls all time.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

 Big Idea: The timeless God orders all of our times.

 Main Points:

  • Our lives are full of good and bad times.
  • Because God is outside time, He orders all our times.
  • We can live as ones who know the ending.
  • We can know the ending because the incomparable God became one of us.

Our lives are full of good and bad times.

  • The poem in Ecclesiastes 3 captures the range of our lives in 8 verses.
  • It lists of many good things – birth, laughter, healing, dancing, hugging, love, and peace.
  • And yet it also lists off many bad things – death, killing, weeping, mourning, hating, and war.
  • Ecclesiastes 3 captures so well the fact that because we live in a world created good but tainted by sin, our lives will be full of both beauty and ugliness.
  • Like a beautiful painting of the sunset that has had ink spilled across it. There are still parts that are breathtaking, while there are also large black splotches all over it.
  • We long for a life that is only full of the good times on this list, but we also know that our lives in a fallen world are full of the bad times as well.
  • God wants to teach us to live wisely in the midst of all of those times.
  • 1) Realize life is not all bad and life is not all good.
    • The pessimist is convinced the bad times never change (it’s all negative gloom and doom). And the optimist is convinced the good times never go away (It’s all butterflies and smiles).
    • The pessimist often misses the good, and the optimist often is unprepared for the bad.
    • Many people hate the winter. They hate that the short days and the cold weather that blasts them in the face every time they step outside. A lot of people even face a seasonal depression in winter, feeling like there’s not any good that is happening. But to view the winter as all bad is to miss the goodness of hot chocolate, nights by the fire, cheesy Hallmark Movies (I’ve bought in), and the beauty of snow.
    • Many people love the summer because of the long days, warmth, and ability to be outside. And yet the person who does not believe there is a winter coming is unprepared when it drops below 60.  You see this every time it snows in like Georgia. Schools are shut down for like a week because it snowed one inch. Why?  Because people were not prepared for the possibility that it might snow.
    • Apply: If you feel like your life is all gloom and doom… it might be good to spend some time thanking God for the small good things that are there.
    • Apply: If you think that bad times will never come… it might be good to remind yourself that life is not all good. Be prepared for when life may not be all that you wanted it to be.
  • 2) Learn how to respond to other people well in the midst of what they are facing.
    • Are they in a time of weeping… then they need someone else who will weep with them.
    • Are they joyful and celebrating… then they need people who will celebrate alongside them.
    • Just as it seems out of place to play Christmas music in August or to wear sandals in the winter snow… so also it is foolish for us to not respond to other people according to the times that they are facing.
  • 3) Those older then us most often have more wisdom then us.
    • Why? Because they have seen and lived through more changing seasons then we have.
    • They know what it’s like to mourn the loss of a dear relationship, but also what it’s like to laugh with a new friend.
    • They know what’s like to go to be at war, but also what it’s like to enjoy peace.
    • They know what it’s like to see someone born in their arms, but they also know what it’s like to sit by someone’s bedside as they die.
    • As young people, it’s really easy for us to be arrogant and think that we know better because we have gained some knowledge and can ask a couple questions that our parents can’t answer. But when we see that wisdom is gained throughout life’s experiences, it humbles us and teaches us to value those who are older than us.

Because God is outside of time, He orders all of our times.

  • This is what verses 11-15 are getting at.
  • Because God is eternal, because there is no yesterday, today, or tomorrow for him, he is able to give order to all the times in our lives.
  • What God does, endures forever – nothing can be taken away from it or added to it – vs. 14-15.
  • This is incredibly important to us because we want there to be an order and purpose to our times here on earth.
  • I want to know that the times of my life are not just random chance, but rather are being guided and pieced together to take part in a greater story.
    • A series of mismatched bolts and washers where nothing fits together VS. a puzzle where all the pieces fit perfectly in place.
  • However, if there is no God outside of time, there is no bigger picture that all my times are fitting into.
    • Time does not care about me or my story. Time ticks away and slowly grinds me down until I fall back into the ground where I came from.
    • You might hear people refer to time as Father Time. I think it’s because we want to believe that time is personal and cares for us – like a father. But time is not personal and could care less about you and me.
  • Only if there is more than time, only if there is an eternal God who created time itself, is there an order to our times. Because only then are all of our times under the rule of a person who cares for us.
  • Apply: Two things that means…
    • 1) Every time in our lives fits perfectly into the story God is creating.
      • 11 tells us that God makes everything beautiful in its time.
      • That includes all the ugliness and bad times in our lives.
      • God who is outside time sees every single moment in the past, present, and future and he knows how it fits together perfectly
      • The dark pieces in a puzzle make the final picture that much more beautiful as they give contrast to the sun.
      • We are called to patiently trust God with our times, knowing that in time he will make them beautiful.
    • 2) How we live in the present matters.
      • Before I went to college I worked for a group of Amish Framers for almost a year. Essentially my job could be boiled down to cutting wood, and shooting or hammering nails into wood. There’s nothing extra special about that. I can go home and do that with a two-by-four. But it was special because it was part of a bigger plan that eventually came together in houses, hotels, and apartment buildings.
      • Although we may feel that are small acts of love, obedience, and growth don’t matter. They greatly matter, because they are all part of the greater story God is weaving together.
    • And even though we don’t see the full picture now, we can live as people who know the ending.

 We can live as ones who know the ending.

  • We skipped over verses 9-10, but I want to go back to them now.
  • Verses 1-8 have this rhythm to them. They sound wise, they sound like a good song that we can sing along to, they seem like a good movie that we can get wrapped up in.
  • And then vs. 9 smacks into them like a Mac Truck hitting a class house!
  • “What gain has the worker for all his toil?”
  • Or in other words, what do all those times that we’ve been through matter? Death eventually smacks us all in the face.
  • Death is often an abrupt, unwanted end that takes us before we are ready to go.
    • Like that image of living a full life, and only dying when you are good and ready to die is almost always false. Death doesn’t work on our timing. It busts down the door that we have desperately tried to keep shut, and takes us before we were ever really ready to go.
  • We often compare life to a running a race. It’s a bit like running a 100-mile race. There are lots of ups and downs. There are moments you feel fantastic, and moments that you feel terrible. But you keep pressing on through all those moments believing that there is a finish line with cheering crowds, a medal, and a feast of junk food.
    • But Ecclesiastes is telling us if death is all there is, then there is no finish line with fans and a feast. Instead, you run along the entire way looking forward to that ending, only to run face first into a massive brick wall a mile from the finish. You didn’t see it coming, there is no way around it. You are forced to simply give up. And all those ups and downs didn’t matter. The race ended and that’s it.
  • Ecclesiastes wants to teach us that if there is no eternal God, death is all there is for us.
  • But if there is an eternal God, then there is something waiting for us after death.
  • Death is not a brick wall, but rather a wall of cardboard boxes that we burst through.
  • Apply:
    • 1) Death teaches us to make the most of our days.
      • There is a wisdom to be gained from that fact that we will die. It teaches us not to take life for granted. Teaches us to make the most of our lives. Teaches us live knowing that we could be taken away at any moment.
      • But we can live like we are dying at any moment and still live like fools – using all our time here on earth for self-centered purposes.
    • 2) An eternal God teaches how to make the most of our days.
      • An eternal God teaches us that there is life beyond death.
      • And so he teaches us to live wisely in this life by putting our faith and trust in him and spending our lives loving other people.
      • These are the things that matter not just here and now, but for all eternity.
    • Ecclesiastes wants to prepare us for death by teaching us to live here and now in light of the eternity that is awaiting us.
    • Specific application: When you put your faith on the shelf in high school – thinking, “I just want to enjoy my life while I’m young.” You ignore that death could come at any time and that there is an eternity waiting for us. Instead you live as if the only thing that matters is here and now. Don’t be foolish.

 We can know the ending because the incomparable God became one of us.

  • The Eternal God entered into time as a man. And he took part in all of the times of this life – joy, grief, mehh, war, peace, birth, and death.
  • The Unchanging God became a baby. And although he remained fully God, he also was a man who grew and changed during his time here on earth. And he faced the range of circumstances that we face.
  • The Self-Sufficient God became a child who needed to depend first on his earthly mother and father and also needed to learn to depend every moment on his heavenly father.
  • The Omniscient God became a man who grew in knowledge during his time here on earth.
  • The limitless God took on the limits of a human body – experiencing hunger, exhaustion, and eventually death.
  • This is what the gospel teaches – God becomes one of us in Jesus. Why? In order to rescue us from this broken world and forgive us from all the ways we’ve contributed to the brokenness.
  • And we know he succeeds in that because he gets up out the grave – death was not the end for him. And we know that he is coming back again to make everything right and bring those who have put their faith in him to be with him.
  • Is your faith resting in Him and what he’s done for you… if it is then there is a finish line just beyond death, with cheering crowds, a medal, and a feast
  • Or are you determined to have your own way in this life and you continually refuse to look to Christ in faith… then there is an eternity awaiting, but it’s only full of brokenness and bad times of which this life offers but a small taste.

So What??

  • Put your faith firmly in Christ and be confident of the ending in the story.
  • Live now as if death and life after death are where we are headed.
  • Trust that the eternal God is going to make every part of your life beautiful in time.
  • Learn to live wisely in the midst of your current times.

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