682 WINGS AS EAGLES
238 ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING
Opening Prayer & Announcements
506 I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR
Scripture Reading: Psalm 74:12-17
381 BLESSED ASSURANCE
Sermon: Making the Most of Winter
Invitation: 488 JESUS I COME
541 HE KEEPS ME SINGING
366 HEAVEN CAME DOWN
Sermon: Is it Worth it?!
Invitation: 253 TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
- Making the Most of Winter John 12:23-26Scripture Reading: Psalm 74:10-17Consider where Christ is heading at this time. Think about was he about to face in the coming pages? What was He prophesying about.Understand this, He was about to lose everything.· His freedom· His fellowship· His friends· His father· His fitness· His lifeHe was about to go through the most agonizing and horrific time anyone has ever experienced.Yet He says also that he wants us to follow him there.He has this one guarantee that gives us at the end of the statement:He that follows Christ; serves Him; and dwells with him; the Father will honor that man. That is the one promise we see here.There is not the promise of long life, riches, or ease – But God will honor that person who will go with Christ wherever Christ dwells.Some things that will hopefully be an encouragement to us in when the dark days come and troubled times seem to abound.I. Times of winter are common and ought to be recognized for what they areIn the Bible there were many times when the winter was coming and adjustments were to made because of that.While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.In the Word of God we see how often Paul would get ready and deal with the coming winter.And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go.Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.I know these are speaking of a real, physical winter, but there is application we are going to see in our lives with these truths.Just as winter time is a fact of our live and you must service your heater, get the wood ready, get the coats, hats, and gloves out of storage - there also things we need to do spiritually speaking in our lives, not just in the physical winter time, but also in the spiritual winters of our lives which often can be in the physical winter as well.II. Times of winter are part of God’s planThe truth is they are part of God’s creation. They are part of the seasons that he puts us through. This is both true in nature as well in as in our lives.For some, they constantly do all they can to escape winter – but it should not be the goal of Believers. Instead we need to realize that the winter is good for us.It is a carnal thing to hate the winter that God has made, that is what worldly carnal people do, they try to escape a reality that God has given to them.It was that Paul’s company in their desire for easy winter just went on in the most convenient path and ended up shipwrecked.And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.The winter is part of God’s plan though, because there are some things that should and ought to be accomplished during this season where there is little growth that you may not have time for in the time of harvest.Another reason people don’t like winter is because they don’t like how dead everything looks. They don’t like it. Everything is brown - there doesn’t seem to life anywhere. That brings me to the next point.III. True long term growth occurs in the winterWhat is winter time for? Why does God give us a winter?It is a time when fruit bearing plants have time to deepen their roots and strengthen themselves for the coming season.All the growing is done below the surface. Long term abiding fruit is going to be the result of planting deep below the surface which will Spring-up and be a strong plant and ultimately bear fruit.That is exactly what Christ himself illustrated to us. He was that seed that was planted into the ground. It was not an exciting time, it was a discouraging time for most – they all had left him. They did not see how that this could turn out for good, but everything God did was ultimately meant for the saving of souls.Friend, winter time in a church or winter time in your life can be difficult, but his down time; this slow time should not be wasted; it should be a time where that we use to strengthen and deepen our roots in the Lord; with our family, with church leadership; with other brethren.This may be a winter time in your life because of the loss of a loved one; or because of loneliness or missed companionship - where you don’t have as much interaction with others because of sickness - it could be many reasons.Maybe you don’t have as many friends as you would hope; perhaps there is not the excitement of service as there once was. There have been several times like that in my life.I can honestly tell you still today that is absolutelyIV. The winter is a great time to make sure your foundationsWinter is not a time of lot of planting or a lot of building – obviously some is always occurring and efforts always should be made. But it is a time where planning and making sure of foundations.We have planned already – we have mapped out the year as a church – but we as a church and each of us as individuals and families should also be looking to make sure and strengthen the foundations.A. Make sure the foundation of your salvationWherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?B. Makes sure the foundation of your walk with God1 Corinthians 3:9-15It is important for me to know and understand why I am doing what I am doing – and to make sure that I am doing it with the proper motives and attitude. I don’t want to waste my time on this earth that God has allowed me to serve him on.I don’t want to waste my effort in doing the right thing, but with a faulty foundation in my reasoning. I want to do God’s way.1. Seeking to strengthen our walk with GodBut Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;2. For the love of GodThere is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.3. For the love of the brethrenFor, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.4. For the love of my familyAnd, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.5. To bring honor and glory to GodThat the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.V. Remember, after the winter comes the SpringI know that is not very deep; but when we look at our where we are at and what God is doing – and though it is a time of seemingly being stagnant or even losses – we know that with patient and faithful consistency – the Spring will come again.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.Life is full of victories, times of waiting, sometimes there are even setbacks. The longer we serve God; the more we are able to handle and deal with these changes. But for some; the winter hits them hard:This is especially true of the young and the young adults.Our young are not yet used to the hard times and our young adults are hit with the difficult seasons for the first time in many regards.Remember, the time of winter is part of God’s plan; the time of winter does not always constitute a bad thing or failure; winter time should be used as a time to prepare for growth; it is the time that make sure our foundations; because the Spring is sure to come.Best thing to ever happen to me was to have a hard youth a difficult time in the Marines especially.Those two years of traveling the Far East, after getting my life right with God and losing my friends - it was a hard winter time of my life, a wilderness experience - but oh how I grew. How it helped me to be the man that God wanted me to be becauseMaking the Most of Winter John 12:23-26
If you want things to grow, you plant in the springtime, and then you cultivate in the early summer, and you reap in the fall. And even the winter, as it comes with its cold, prepares the way for another springtime.
And it's the same way in our life. Why do we have difficult times and joyous times? Why do we have sorrow and grief? Why do we have both pain and happiness?
That man has done, man can do; and what has never been, may be. Plowmen have become gentlemen, and tailors have sported into members of Parliament. Tuck up your shirtsleeves, young hopeful, and go at it. Believe in god, stick to hard work, and see if the mountains are not removed. A faint heart never won a fair lady.
Don’t wait for helpers. Try those two old friends, your strong arms. Every man must carry his won sack to the mill. You must put your own shoulder to the wheel and keep it there, for there are plenty of ruts in the road. If you wait till all the ways are paved, you will have light shining between your ribs. If you sit still till great men take you on their backs, you will grow to your seat. Your own legs are better than stilts; don’t look to others, but trust in God and keep your powder dry.
Don’t be whining about not having a fair start. Money you earn yourself is much brighter and sweeter that any you get out of dead men’s bags. A scant breakfast in the morning of life whets the appetite for a feast later in the day. He who has tasted a sour apple will have the more relish for a sweet one; your present want will make future prosperity all the sweeter.
As for the place you are cast in, don’t find fault with that. You need not be a horse because you were born in a stable.
As to a little trouble, who expects to find cherries without stones, or roses without thorns? He who would win must learn to bear. The dog in the kennel barks at the fleas; the hunting dog does not even know they are there.
Everybody who does not get on lays it all on competition. Good workmen are always wanted. There’s a penny to be turned at the worst booth in the fair. “Times are bad,” they say; yes, and if you go gaping about, times always will be bad.
Many don’t get on because they have not the pluck to begin in right earnest. They who set stout heart against a stiff hill shall climb it yet. What was hard to bear will be sweet to remember. If young men would deny themselves, work hard, live hard, and save in their early days, they need not keep their noses to the grindstone all their lives, as many have to do.
If you want to do good in the world, the little word “Try” comes in again. There are plenty of ways of serving God, and some that will fit you exactly as a key fits a lock. Don’t hold back because you cannot preach in St. Paul’s; be content to talk to one or two in a cottage. Very good wheat grows in little fields. Little pigeons can carry great messages. Even a little dog can bark at a thief, wake up the master, and save the house. A spark is a fire. A sentence of truth has heaven in it. Do what you do right thoroughly, pray over it heartily, and leave the result to God.
C. H. Spurgeon