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One Man’s Sunset is Another Man’s Dawn.

Ecclesiastes 3
9 January 2011

Introduction

A few days ago I was watching a movie with my boys called “An American Tail: Fievel
Goes West.” In the movie there is a sheriff who had been a hero but now had grown old. The
people of his town needed him to be a hero again but he thought he had just grown to old.
Then a young mouse named Fievel gets him to agree to train a cat to be a dog and the new
sheriff.

The end of the story, however, is that the old dog (the sheriff) discovers that he wasn’t to old
but that he was simply moving into a new season in his life. As he sits on a mountain
thinking about the new season that lay ahead he says to Fievel, “One man’s sunset is another
man’s dawn.” He was trying to explain to the young mouse that it was now his season to be
the hero and that he, the sheriff, would be moving onto other things.

This little saying caught my attention. All of us, no matter who we are, will go through
different seasons in life. We will have seasons of preparation and seasons of reaping. There
will be seasons of joy and of sorrow. The writer of Ecclesiastes says it like this…

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a
time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time
to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to
weep and a time to laugh, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a
time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a
time to keep and a time to throw away, time to tear and a time to mend, a time
to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for
war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiates 3:1-8)

A God of Seasons…

We serve a God of seasons. We see it in creation. God created the four seasons that are based
upon the rotation of the Earth as it orbits the Sun. The seasons change as the earth moves, but
the sun in our planetary system remains constant, and everything revolves around it.

In many ways we see the signature of the same artist in our lives. Much like the earth, our
lives should revolve around the Son, Jesus Christ. Our lives will change, and we will enter
and exit many seasons, but the Son remains constant yesterday, today and forever.

But just like our Scripture verse says, “…to everything there is a season.” Every aspect of our
lives is as to a season. And there is a purpose for those seasons. There is a reason for the
season. There is a purpose for the process.

• There are seasons you didn’t want to go through. But through those seasons you
learned some things. And you wouldn’t have learned them if hadn’t gone through
some things.
• There are seasons you’ve gone through, that you don’t know why you had to. But
there is a reason for that season.

And just because you are going through some stuff, or have gone through a rough season,
doesn’t mean God is finished with you because,

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One Man’s Sunset is Another Man’s Dawn.
Ecclesiastes 3
9 January 2011

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the
day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

It’s not just any old work, but a good work. You’ve just stepped into a new season.

This morning we are going to take a quick glance at the life of one disciple that I believe
almost everyone can identify with: Peter. Peter went through many seasons in his life and we
have the benefit of reading about those seasons in the Bible.

As we look at Peter’s life, we will discuss three key principles about stepping into a new
season. If you are taking notes this morning write these down.

1. Stepping into a new season brings NEW CHANGES

Change is inevitable. It’s going to happen. We look outside at the world around us and notice
things are different today than they were 10 years ago, last year or even yesterday. But
remember we serve a God of seasons.

Even in His creation, He created the seasons. And each season is different than the others.
Some are meant for things to grow, and others for things to die off. Hello, anybody. In some
seasons the days are longer, in others the night.

Some times it seems your days, your mountaintop experiences with God last a long time, but
then there are those seasons when the nighttime seems as if it will never end. In those long
nights when the tears seem like they will never stop flowing, but it might have taken a little
longer in some seasons than others, but the morning did come, and the tears ceased and joy
returned to your spirit.

But God gives us revelations and truths to propel us into new and different seasons. Why?
Because we are creatures of habit and if He didn’t change things we would become
complacent in one place.

I remember as a kid, I looked forward to summer. And if were up to me it would be summer


all year long. I didn’t want to go to school. But the seasons had to change. There was a time
to play, but the season had to change for school to be in session so I could learn some things.

Looking at Peter, he entered into a new season when Jesus called him to follow.

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon
called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for
they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you
fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew
4:18-20)

One day Peter was just an ordinary fisherman until Jesus came walking by. When Jesus gave
Peter the word, his life was changed.

Jesus said follow me and I will make you. Peter stepped into a new season, and was changed.
He was made into; transformed - from nobody to somebody. In other words, Jesus was going

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to make Peter something he wasn’t before. This was more than just a change of jobs for
Peter. It was a total transformation of his entire life.

The word “make” in the Greek can also be translated “shoot forth.” Like a seed that has been
buried under the ground suddenly begins to “shoot forth” from the soil in the form of a
sprout. The truth is, the seed was busy under the ground doing what it was supposed to do for
that season. Then, in the right season, it shifted toward doing something else: producing.

Like that seed in the ground Peter was being prepared for his new season through the old
season. His learning to fish would not just provide him a way to eat but would serve as a way
for him to understand his calling to be “ a fisher of men.”

ILLUSTRATION: I remember a time in my life when I was the church custodian (the
one who mopped and cleaned up after everyone). I remember thinking, “How is this
going to help me be a better preacher or pastor.” What I did not understand then was
that in that season God was preparing me to learn to serve, to develop skills that
would help me to know what it takes to maintain a church building and a whole lot
more. If not for that season of my life there would have been a smaller harvest in the
next season.

I am sure that many of you have passed through similar seasons. Some of you who are still in
high school wonder if it will ever end. Some of you in college wonder if it will be worth all
the expense and study. Some who are working jobs that do not pay well are wondering if
there will ever be another opportunity for you. The answer to all these questions is, YES!
Here is the catch. You must be willing to take seriously the season you are in, learn
everything you can and develop yourself for the next place God has prepared for your life.

2. Stepping into a new season brings NEW CHALLENGES

There is no doubt when Peter was called to follow Jesus that he was faced not only with
many changes in his life but many challenges.

• His faith was challenged by stepping out of a storm battered boat to walk on the
water.
• His feelings were challenged when one minute he was proclaiming Jesus the Son of
God, and the next minute being rebuked by Jesus, and being called Satan, and having
Jesus turn his back on him telling him to get behind him.
• His traditions and prejudices were challenged when he followed Jesus into Samaria.
• His humility was challenged when the Son of God, the Light of the World, the Alpha
the Omega, the Beginning and the End, lowered Himself to the point of a servant to
wash Peter’s feet.
But in all these instances, Peter stepped up to the challenge.

However, there is one particular time when it seems Peter stepped into a season of failure. He
went from a follower of Jesus to one who followed Him at a distance.

As Jesus is on trial Peter was warming his hands by the fire in the courtyard. People began to
recognize him and began to ask Peter if he knew Jesus. Two times he denied knowing the
Lord. Then he was asked a third time and he became angry, cursed and denied knowing

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Jesus. At that moment the trumpet sounded what is called the “rooster crow” and Peter
stopped dead in his tracks.

Earlier that day Jesus had told him that before the sounding of the “rooster crow” he would
deny Christ three times. But what appeared to be a failure was actually an opportunity for
Peter to know Jesus better. The Scriptures tell us that when Peter realized what he had done
he wept bitterly, repenting of his denial. The next thing we know Peter is the keynote speaker
at the most famous Christian conference the world has ever known: Pentecost.

Jesus told Peter to go to Jerusalem and wait, because there was something coming. He told
Peter not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit descended. In the Upper Room Peter, and
119 others, began seeking God. Their hearts were fixed on one thing: the promise of Holy
Spirit empowerment. They sought God with all their hearts and God responded by fulfilling
His promise to send the Holy Spirit. God consumed the eager hearts in the Upper Room and
many, many more throughout the thousands of years since.

Just like then, God wants to consume your heart, you life and everything about you. He
desires for you to be empowered for the season He has planned for your life. It may require
us to seek God more than ever, it may require a time of repentance or a time of fasting, but
we must not give up because we have failed. We must hold to the confidence that God has
begun a GOOD WORK in your life and He will do whatever it takes to bring that to pass.

There are times in our lives when we miss what God has in store for us, just like Peter. We
convince ourselves of something that takes us out of the will of God. Or we get in a hurry to
do the will of God and move before the time is right. In these times we feel like a failure and
that God has given up on us. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

Just like Peter, we need to repent and then do the next right thing. The Lord will help us to
get back on track. We may have to walk through some things we didn’t want to but in the end
the Lord will create a “new path” for us to do His will and fulfill our purpose on this earth.

3. Stepping into a new season births NEW CHAMPIONS

Peter was transformed from a fisherman into a powerful disciple of Jesus Christ. Those who
had known Peter three years before were, no doubt, amazed to see the new champion God
had made him into.

God has transformed us by His power. And God is calling His champions to step into a new
season. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and reminded them they had once been dead in
their transgressions but God had made them alive (Eph. 2:1, 5). But being born again by the
grace of God is not the only season we will enter into in our lives…it is the first, but not the
last. Paul goes on to tell the Ephesians that He had “prepared in advance” numerous good
works for them to accomplish.

You have been regenerated by the power and grace of God – for a purpose. You are called to
do the good works he has predestined you to do. This means that God has a multitude of
seasons for you to go through in order to prepare you for the “good works” and then
accomplish them. Each thing God has prepared for you to do – He has also made a way to
prepare you for the task.

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Ecclesiastes 3
9 January 2011
Just like a boxer spends months training for a ONE fight, God takes us through trials and
temptation. He also gives us joy and blessing to prepare us for those great works He has
prepared for us.

In the end, if we will allow God to have His perfect work in us we will be CHAMPIONS – if
we will learn to trust in God’s timing and God’s preparation. Like Peter, we may have ups
and downs walking with God but in the end the plan of God will always make us a
CHAMPION. I like the way Paul put it to the church at Corinth…

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ


and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2
Cor. 2:14).

Conclusion

Folks, all of us will go through seasons in life - they are inevitable. But let us remember that
while the sun is setting on one season of our lives that the sun is raising on another. Seasons
will be eternal. Death is simply moving from one season to the other. For the Christian who
has walked with the Lord the season will be one of joy as we enter into the reward promised
us by God through Christ. After all, the sunset of Jesus’ crucifixion was the dawning of a new
season of grace and salvation.

Whatever season you may find yourself in today I want to remind you that it is in the plan of
God. He has ordained for you times of trouble and times of prosperity. Learn to understand
where you are and to remember that He is the Lord of that season. He will accomplish in you
what He will and He will accomplish through you what He wills – learn to enjoy the season!

Communion

I think that as we begin this new season called 2011 we should enter that season by
remembering what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. The way we remember the sacrifice
of Jesus at Calvary is through participating in the Communion.

On the table in front of me are the elements of communion: wine and bread. The wine
represents the blood Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins. The bread represents His body
that was broken for all us, giving us access to salvation.

Here is what we are going to do.

1. We are going to pray seeking God for forgiveness and for direction for the year 2011.
2. Then AS YOU FEEL LED you can come and take (1) piece of bread and eat it, and
(1) cup and drink it.
3. After you have received communion just begin to worship the Lord and rejoice in the
God of your salvation.