The Greening of the Year
Bethel Church–Jackson, Michigan
April 26, 2020 AM
Pastor Ken Pierpont
The Greening of the Year
Bethel Church | Jackson, Michigan | Ken Pierpont, Lead Pastor | April 25, 2020 AM
Introduction: In Genesis God promised that as long as the earth remains the cycle of the seasons will continue. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”” (Genesis 8:22) Seasons will not cease as long as the earth remains. We have God’s word on it.
We are again on the brink of warm, sunny days and evenings among the flowers in the yard. We’re in the greening of the year. It’s like the whole world is blushing with young love. We never tire of it.
Last night our little Hope America went into her room in a baggy sweatshirt and closed the door. A few minutes later she came out in a wedding gown of shocking beauty. So winter melts away every year and springtime arrives with all the glory of a young bride.
The crocuses push valiantly through the snow. The daffodils spring up and begin to dance in the sunshine. The Magnolia bursts into magnificent blossom. The redbuds open in a purple haze along the lane. The Dogwoods flower on the wooded hillsides. The air is alive with the fragrance of lilac again and the morning and evening are noisy with a blessed symphony of birdsong. Blessed be God… Springtime is coming… again!
[Darkness and Disturbing Things Around Us.] There are things around us that are dark and disturbing though, and I would give you an account of them if I thought you needed it – but the ubiquitous media stream evidence of human depravity into our homes, and cars, and businesses, and offices non-stop. We don’t need any more detail.
Unrelenting evidence of sin’s curse surrounds us. Stories of disease, death, division, self-interest, abuse of power, greed, lust, murder, theft, perversion, betrayal, pride, violence, tragedy—politics, news, sports, and weather are tucked between breezy adds to sell everything from insect repellant to insurance, from laundry soap to ladders, from basement repair to plumbing services to cemetery property.
Young chirpy model-types in short skirts and perfect teeth sit between talking heads in crisp always navy suits and chat about the mayhem that plagues our earth as if they were swatting flies away or brushing ants off the table at a picnic. News outlets hawk their slant on the facts. It is often frustratingly not as much truth and information as it is a bald entertainment product. (My apologies to real newspeople) Sometimes it’s downright shady business like a carnival hawker trying to empty the pockets of the vulnerable on the midway.
Lately the evil has been hitting closer and closer to home. The disease. The death. The loss. The fear. The anxiety. And when the evil hits close to home, or when the tragedy touches a friend, or when a series of painful things hit us at once, we are tempted to be overcome by the evil around us.
[How to Keep From Being Overcome By Evil.] How can we keep from being overcome by evil? Knowledge of evil will not overcome evil. Brute force will not overcome evil. Law will curtail evil but the law cannot overcome evil. Legislation will not overcome evil. First-century Christians in Rome must have had a sense of evil pressing in on them. Paul reminded them of the teaching of Jesus and said, “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (see Romans 12:21) (T) How DO we keep from being overcome by evil?
—Take Evil Seriously… I think Jesus would have us remember with every earthquake, every whirlwind, every misuse of a child, every death by disease, every disfigured thing that we are at war with evil on a cosmic level. These dark and evil things are not the things described in the Apocalypse, but they are enough like them that the Lord knows it would remind us of them and that is not all bad… That can be a good thing.
When evil appears in any of its grotesque forms, we should remember that there is evil in each of us and it must be overcome. There is evil in the world and it must be resisted. It is real and it is dark and it is powerful and it is inevitable and we cannot overcome evil in the world any more than we can overcome evil in our own hearts without divine help… (T) So we must take evil seriously…
—But Live With Hope/Confidence in the Promises of God. The springtime of God’s promises must arrive in our souls over and over again. Here is what I know: Jesus wants us to take evil seriously, but he does not want us to be defeated and live as victims without hope. As God wants brokenness to sober us He wants his promises to give us hope. Even the simple promise of the arrival of spring should quicken our souls with hope that God always does what he says:
[The virus is a reminder we are in a Cosmic Conflict now.
But Spring is a reminder of God Promises Prevail.]
Let me suggest that every hint of the return of spring
remind us of the promises of God.
Promises of a New Heaven and New Earth
—Jesus promises Peter a New Heaven and New Earth. Matthew 19:28 in the regeneration—the new world…
—He was referring to a promise from Isaiah 65:17-25; 66:22-23 New Heaven and New Earth.
—Peter picks this up and preaches this same promise after the resurrection…. In Acts 3:21 he called it: …the times of refreshing… restoration of all things… and calls them to repent.
—Peter refers to it again: 2 Peter 3:1-13 New Heaven New Earth… 13 according to his promise we are waiting with confidence—hope!
—Paul: Creation will be redeemed and restored: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20–21, ESV)
—John: Rev. 21-22 New Heaven New Earth
—Jesus: Matthew 6:10 “…your will on earth as it is in heaven…”
1. We invest in eternal this (ill) young man delivering pizza and investing…
2. We do not despair because we are driven by a powerful hope-confidence. Pour over the promises. (ill) looking at pictures of our home before we moved here.
3. We live holy lives… 2 Peter 3:11-13
4. We model repentance and call others to repentance (Acts 3)
We do not despair because we know the One who with the Father and the Spirit spoke the worlds into existence has promised that as long as the earth remains the greening of the year will come around again. Spring will follow winter.
Conclusion: Springtime in Galilee
Springtime in Texas
Springtime in Michigan…
I told everybody. Springtime is coming. I’ve seen it
You are going to love it!
We must be those who overcome evil with good. We cannot allow our spirits to be dragged into the swamp of despair. I am among those who will continually strain to hear the sounds of spring on an April morning. I will continually trust that He who conceived such wonder and beauty and life and spoke it instantly into being, will one day push back evil like spring overcomes winter every year. I long for that day.
Until then I will conspire with others who would overcome evil with good. I will speak and tell and write good words. Good words are powerful words. I will make videos. I will shout it from the rooftop. I will conspire with others to do good deeds.
Who is with me?
Rise up oh church of God have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and strength and might
to serve the King of Kings!
We will tell all who will listen. We will pray. We will love. We will invite. We will encourage. We will have gospel conversations. We will Zoom and Skype and FaceTime. We will share and teach and protect and deliver groceries. We will plow and we will plant. We will teach and doctor and nurse and respond and keep the peace. And we will build and sew and fabricate and send cards.
…And when in the evening in the greening of the year we sit on our porch and breathe in the fragrance of spring our hearts will be filled again with hope that one day evil will be overcome by good. So I say:
Welcome back, the greening of the year.
Welcome busy farmers.
Welcome children on bicycles
Welcome garden chores and golfers and fishermen and women
Welcome sunning turtles.
Welcome Sand Hill Crane chicks.
Welcome hopping crows.
Welcome Loons on the lake
Welcome genial breezes and welcome sun on my head.
Welcome front porch talks among the peepers and crickets and owls…
Welcome Greening of the Year
Welcome back spring…
Because you always remind us that God keeps his promises…
…even so come Lord Jesus…