Seasons and souls – Some of us came to Jesus in a strange season of our souls. Some of the people we know will experience strange situations this year. Can you be the one Jesus will send to them? Will we be ready?

New Year Sermon

Seasons and Souls

By Pastor Delbert Young

Seasons and Souls

Seasons and Souls

Scriptures: Genesis 1:14, Genesis 8:21-22, 1 Corinthians 15:46, John 3:1-2, John 19:39, Luke 19:2-3, Acts 9:3-6, 1 Timothy 2:1-4

I would like for you to take a moment and think about a few people for whom you care who do not serve the Lord. How many leaves remain on their branches (movie “A Thousand Words”)? We have so much time only so many words. Even if those you think about are young, they are wasting years. Sadly, we all know people who are losing leaves. The saddest part of it is not that they are not doing something for the kingdom of heaven, but that they are missing the joys and adventures that come with salvation. I would like for you to take a moment and think of one or two people who seem to be putting off coming to Jesus for whatever reason. Keep them in your thoughts as I talk today.

Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,

Genesis 8:21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

Genesis 8:22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

That passage is fascinating. It seems that verse 22 is out of context. God had just redeemed Noah from the flood. Noah offered sacrifices. God promised never to destroy earth again. Then God said, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” What has seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night got to do with redemption?

This next Wednesday will begin a new year. What does that mean? Scientifically, it means we get to begin a new 365 day trip around the sun. We get to begin a new year with new adventures. We get to begin again. God is a God of beginning again. He created his universe with many built in beginnings again. For example, every year has twelve months. Months are determined by the moon orbiting the earth and going through its phases. That orbit happens twelve times in the earth’s 365 day trip. Every month has a first day and we get to begin a new adventure again. Maybe it’s the adventure of making the month’s house payment or car payment, but there are new adventures we begin every month. God enjoys us beginning again. Every twenty four hours the earth revolves one time to make a day. Every day we get to get out of bed and begin a new adventure of life again. It may be the adventure of going to work, raising the children, going to school, or spending time with friends, but there are new daily adventures. God loves us to begin again. Also, every year has within it four new seasons – new winter, new spring, new summer, and new fall. Every season we begin again the adventures held in that season. We have just experienced one adventure of this winter’s season – Christmas. Our lives are full of beginning again with the new adventures.

The apostle Paul was teaching about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 and using the universe as an example to make his point. He said that the natural things came first and then the spiritual. Let’s read what he said.

1 Corinthians 15:46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

His point is that if we can understand the natural we can also understand the spiritual. There are seasons of life. We each have them. We have winter times when life seems cold, icy, unproductive, dormant, the nights are dark and longer. There are spring times when we have hope and life is blossoming. There are summer times when life is warm and productive and everything is green and luscious. There are fall times when things slow down, the colors of life change and that we thought would be forever green dries up and withers and falls. At this very moment, though it is scientifically winter, some of us are in a summer time, some a spring, some a fall, and some a winter. Paul said first the natural and then the spiritual. We can look at our lives and tell the season.

The reason I am saying all this is because those people that I asked you to think about a few minutes ago (who you want to come into the kingdom of heaven) will have their seasons this new year also. We will be able to look at their lives and determine the season they are experiencing. Seasons are the best way to tell what time of year it is. If we were to have a Rip Van Winkle experience and sleep for a long time, we could awake, look around, and know the time of year we were in. If it were icy and cold, we would know it was winter, etc. And if in the natural all four seasons are experienced in every 365-day journey, we know that in the spiritual every person will have seasons every year as well. What I want us to see today is that God will deal with each person in one of those seasons during this year. Let me show you what I mean.

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. He was having a winter time. The things of the Pharisees which he was a part, were cold and unproductive.

John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.

John 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from . . .”

He came to Jesus and heard about being born again and Nicodemus was born again. He was right there at cross when Jesus was crucified. Most of the disciples had run, but Nicodemus was there.

John 19:39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.

A lot of people come to Jesus in the dark night winter times of life. Some of us did. Those people that I asked you to think about will have winter nights this year. We must be aware of this and if they come seeking, we must be ready to explain to them how to be born again.

But everyone doesn’t come to Jesus during their winter times. In fact, some people refuse to come to Jesus if things are bad in their lives. They say if God loves me then why am I going through winter? Or they say if I don’t’ serve God when things are good, I am not going to when things are bad. Peter and his brother Andrew were spring people. They were operating their fishing business when Jesus passed by. Things were not bad for them. It wasn’t winter. They began following Jesus and did for the remainder of their lives. Some of us began following Jesus in a spring time of our souls. Nothing was really bad. We simply laid down what we were doing and began following him. Some of the people you are thinking about will be spring people. We can’t miss the opportunity.

I see another spring person that I want to show us. The rich young ruler came to Jesus in the spring time of his life. He was young and blossoming. Things were looking good outwardly. He came to Jesus asking what do I need to do to have eternal life (Mat 19:16). Jesus told him what he needed to do, but he wasn’t willing and went away sad. We all need to realize that some people will not do what they need to do. They may go away sad, but at least we tried.

A summer person was Zaccheaus (Luk 19:2). His life was productive. The Bible says he was rich. Things seemed they couldn’t be better. He was healthy and wealthy, but he wanted to see Jesus.

Luke 19:2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

Luke 19:3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.

You remember the story about climbing into a Sycamore tree and then the tremendous impact that Jesus had upon his life. I see my life like this when I came to Jesus. My wife and I had experienced winter, but as far as I was concerned, it was summer. We were making more money than ever. We had everything we wanted including a great family. But something inside of me wanted to see Jesus.

Some of the people you know and love will be summer people when they come into the kingdom. It may seem they have it all together, but inside something wants to see Jesus. We must be aware of that season.

There are also fall people. A man named Saul who became the apostle Paul was a fall person. He had succeeded as a Pharisee, but things were changing in his life. One day he took a fall and Jesus spoke to him.

Acts 9:3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Acts 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

Acts 9:6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

It was a strange time for Saul. Some of us came to Jesus in a strange season of our souls. Jesus sent a man named Ananias to Saul. Some of the people we know will experience strange situations this year. They may even take a fall and during that time the Lord will speak to them and call them into his kingdom. Will we be ready? Can we be an Ananias to them? Can we explain Jesus to them and pray for them and baptize them? We can if we are sensitive to hearing Jesus and aware of that season. Ananias was given a vision about Saul. Ananias remained in a place of prayer to hear from the Lord and that is what I am going to ask us to do this year.

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone –

1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

I have given you two bookmarks. On the bookmarks are seven places to list people that you care about and want to come into the kingdom of heaven this year. I want us to commit to praying for these people. I am not asking you to list seven people. I am asking you to list the people for whom you will commit to pray and be sensitive to the seasons of their lives. What we will do at Life Gate is to consistently give opportunities for us to use to invite people and help them come into the kingdom of heaven.

Here is what I want to do. List the name(s) of the people you will commit to prayer on both markers. Make one to keep and place in a prominent place to remind you to pray and be sensitive to the seasons of their lives. I want to make this a solemn act of worship. I am asking you to bring the other bookmark down and place it in the basket to be prayed for every Sunday as a part of our service. I will pray for them during the week as I pray in here. You are also invited to lite a candle for your card signifying that you will be a light (flame) to them. Also, there will be bookmarks out to access during the year and place into the basket. Every year we will rejoice over the ones who have come into the kingdom of heaven and make new cards for the next beginning again year.

Other Related Sermons:

Parables of the Kingdom Intro – sermon video audio notes

Treasure and the Pearl – sermon video audio notes

Net – sermon video audio notes