Second Lesson: Hebrews 13:5-8, 14:

5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 14For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

 

Psalm for the Day: Psalm 139b on Page 117 in Christian Worship

O Lord, you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mothers womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

   your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you;

   your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

   were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

   How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

   they would outnumber the grains of sand.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son

   and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,

   is now, and will be forever.   Amen.

 

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 25:1-13:

[Jesus Said,] “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

 

First Lesson/Sermon Text: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

Sermon Outline:

Introduction: The opening chords are simple, yet instantly recognizable. If you ever hear them in a movie or a TV show, you know that the show is set in the 1960’s, quite possibly in the Vietnam War. They are the opening chords to the Byrds’ #1 hit from 1965, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” When played in the context of a movie set in the 1960’s, it gives the impression of inevitability. The things that played out in the ‘60’s played out just the way they did and there is no way to change it now. As much as people wanted to change the calamitous events of that decade: war, assassinations, protests, unrest, etc., those events all happened. It expresses a certain futility and a vain desire for things to have turned out differently than they did. Today, we are advancing from one year into another. We see events out of our control and might feel a bit of futility when reflecting on the events of the past year and we might look ahead to the year to come with a bit of apprehension and a bit of dread. As we look back on the past and look forward to the future, we look to the words of Solomon to find the comfort that our God has for us in this changing of the year.

To Everything, There Is A…

I. Time under the sun

II. Purpose under heaven

 

I. Time under the sun

  • A little about the book of Ecclesiastes: Written by Solomon late in his long life
  • He had pursued a very earthly and hedonistic life for much of his adult life
  • He had discovered that there wasn’t much meaning in doing that and wrote of it
  • This book seems to indicate that he repented of his earthly ways & turned to God
  • In it, he speaks of the earthly way of thinking as life under the sun (no God)
  • That leads us to this very famous section at the beginning of chapter 3 of the book
  • In this section, he describes, in a fairly short section, many of the events in life
  • As you look through this list, you notice a couple of things about all the items
  • First of all, good and positive things are perfectly balanced out by negative things
  • They come at you in rapid succession with very little time to catch your breath
  • It is a perfect summing up of the way we live our lives with good following bad
  • As you hear this list, think of how many of them you have experienced in a year
  • There have been times of health and times of diseases, calm and conflict, etc.
  • How many of those things seemed completely out of control to you this year?
  • It makes you look ahead to the year to come with a bit of apprehension, what next
  • However, there is an expression that Solomon uses that gives us comfort and hope

II. Purpose under heaven

  • He writes that there is a time to every purpose under heaven: under God’s care
  • It is a reminder to us on this day that nothing happened without God’s knowledge
  • Nothing happened without his guidance and care. He gives purpose to all things
  • God has affirmed that to us in passages like Romans 8:28 and many others as well
  • We know that our God is always pointing us to the heaven he has won for us.

 

 

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