Series: Times and Seasons

Sun am 16 September 2018 – Kobus Swart

1 Cor. 3:21-23; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; Eccl. 3:1-11 NKJV; 1 Chron. 12:32; Prov. 23:5-7 (Amp); (Isa. 28:10, 13); (Acts 8:25-40); (Eph. 2:6)

So often we as Christians pray for things that we already have. We intercede, we pray, we ask, we beg for things that are already ours. A natural inheritance gives us something we did not have before. A spiritual inheritance is different. A spiritual inheritance pulls back the curtain and reveals what we already have permission to possess. Wake up! So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God (1 Cor. 3:21-23). He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32). Just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us, God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God(1 Cor. 2:9-12). It is a sad situation in the Church when people are begging for that which is already theirs. Can you imagine if we can walk in the fullness of all things that have been made available to us by God? Would the Church not look much different? How long are we going to ask for that which is already ours? “Imagine where the Church could have been if every new generation has built upon the victories of the previous generation. Too often the ball gets dropped. When a previous generation passes on a spiritual inheritance they pass on all the knowledge and experience they gained in a certain spiritual area – it happens. It does not have to be written down; it happens” (Bill Johnson). He also says, “When victories of past generations go unoccupied, they become the platform from which the enemy mocks the victories of the past generation. Worse yet, those unoccupied territories become the military encampment from which the enemy launches an assault against the people of God to erase from their memories their inherited victories. When we back off from the standard that God has set, we literally invite the devourer to destroy.” Remember, the way God builds is line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa. 28:10, 13). God does not ignore past victories. Each one of us can look back. We have a history; we have past generations which we come from. Have you inherited all their victories? Are you benefiting from all the victories of previous generations that you were connected to? Think about that.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose;A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labours? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their heart(Eccl. 3:1-11 NKJV). Eternity is in the heart of every man! It is true, and eternity has no beginning and no end. Eternity is eternity.

Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do(1 Chron. 12:32). Does it surprise us that David was blessed to such an extent that he eventually had 22,000 of the sons of Issachar together in his army? Issachar is a spirit discerning the times. Dealing with Issachar is a principle of mastering the times. David needed the sons of Issachar. It was vitally necessary for David to have men who understood the times, or else they would have made vicious mistakes. 

In the natural, creating wealth is based on understanding times and seasons. I am not talking about the prosperity gospel, but I am going to touch on something very practical. When you set your eyes on wealth, it is [suddenly] gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies to the heavens. Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost](Prov. 23:5-7 Amp). As a man thinks in his heart, so is he – this was quoted in the context of a man who says to you, “Eat and drink,” yet his heart is not with you but he is begrudging the cost.

Even Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had the capacity to know the times. Now here is the problem with many Spirit-filled believers: many of them do not have a clue about the times and seasons, but they can talk in tongues and they are anointed. They are so busy with their spirituality, that they fail to discern the times and seasons. They do not create anything new; they just talk about going to heaven. They do not even know how to receive from heaven, but they want to go to heaven. They are so busy discussing doctrine, even though that is important, that they fail to discern the times and seasons. There is a balance required, and I believe this household has made much progress in the right direction. If you think about Moses, and you look at his ultimate commissioning and calling, look how clever God was to allow Moses for the first forty years to be trained in the royal palace. That means he was educated and trained in how to handle wealth, how to handle many things. The next forty years of his training was in the wilderness, all by himself. So forty years in the king’s palace, forty years to know how to endure the wilderness, and the next forty years he had to take Israel through the wilderness period before God took him. As important as spiritual training is, we must not do that at the cost of being practical and with our feet on earth and knowing how to handle the times and seasons on earth. The background in which I grew up in, was so preoccupied with heaven, there was no thought given to prepare for this world – to live a good life.

There is a creative shining forth, coming from God in this next season, which has started already. Take this into your own personal life. Discern the time. I give you an example. On the news this week it was made public that South Africa has entered into a technical recession. This is ten years after the biggest recession we had in my lifetime when everything just collapsed in 2008. Now if they say ‘recession’, how many of us expected it? How many of us are ready for a recession, so that we would not suffer and go through very difficult times?

It has been said from this pulpit, about 12-15 years ago, that there is a poverty mindset in the Cape. I think God has given us grace to come a long way from that mindset, but I am not sure that we are all at the right place yet. The enemy is so clever, he takes the truth and he pushes it overboard like the prosperity gospel has done. The prosperity gospel went all the way to the extreme. I feel that there is a message here for us. If you live in the mindset of “any moment now there will be a rapture, any moment you could go to heaven”, why then would you prepare? Why then would you make provision for your children, for your next generation? Discern the times and seasons, think ahead but do not allow the enemy to hijack your mind into something that is not spiritual and totally ‘money possessed’. That is not what it is about. 

We must discern the times and seasons! The early Church changed the whole of the Roman Empire. Korean Christians changed all of Korea. European Christians changed Europe. The Church can stay spiritually on course but also be wise with investment, we can make a difference. King Solomon had twenty-four businesses. Our world is going to change at an alarming rate in the next decade or so. We must be awake and ready; study the times and seasons and be led by the Spirit of God. When the Father decides to release His works on the earth, He does not necessarily give it to Christians. He gives it into the atmosphere (example of Steve Jobs and the iPhone). God is busy releasing new concepts, new ideas; where are the Christians? Waiting for the rapture? Wake up! Motor cars and the whole concept of travel are going to change. There is an opening in the heavenly realm. Prepare yourselves to receive. God wants to use His Church. He is waiting for Christians to be awake. God is looking for progenitors of a new future. A progenitor means a person or a thing from which a person or animal or plant originates; an ancestor or parent. God is looking for progenitors of this new era, a new world that is lying ahead. A new heaven and a new earth, we do not know to what degree we will participate in that but God is looking for co-workers, line upon line, principle upon principle.

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God and brings out what God planned all along (1 Cor. 2:9-10 – Msg).

I heard about people that when God wants to send them, they go into their prayer room, close their eyes and open their eyes in the country where God wants to use them. Spiritual transportation! Elijah and Philip experienced it (Acts 8:25-40). We are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). How much do you know about the heavens? We need to wake up. If anybody still operates in anger, in lust for recognition or in your self-definition based on identity and association, then you really cannot see when dilation happens. Time dilates, time can open up, there is a precious moment when time opens up and then we have to see it and enter. When we read the theories about the universe and science, we usually associate that with atheism. It is sad because you do not have to be an atheist to be a scientist. If we look at our young people, I am wondering what the real calling of God on their lives is. We may have great talent which will blow our minds in ten or twenty years from now what they are going to be, and where they are going to be. There is a time beckoning for discoveries. It is God’s universe, not the devil’s universe! It belongs to God. You can believe in science and God at the same time but then your rational scientific mind will not be able to accommodate both. Science and faith are not necessarily in conflict with each other.