Summary: This sermon is taken from the Latin expression, "Carpe Diem," or "Seize the Day." It's about seizing those opportunities God gives to us.
Seizing God’s Opportunities
John Wycliffe lived 200 years before the Protestant Reformation that ushered in a belief system that moved the church away from Roman Catholicism and towards a belief in God and the Scriptures as the source of divine revelation.
Wycliffe, and others like him, seized the opportunities provided by God and helped to shape the eventual Protestant Reformation.
The opportunity came when he pastored a church in Luterworth, England. At this time the church in Rome was demanding money from England. It seems that they were struggling through a serious financial downturn.
Wycliffe advised the local officials to tell Parliament not to comply, and it was these sorts of opinions that eventually saw him on trial for heresy.
The Pope issued five “Bulls,” or indictments against Wycliffe. And so Wycliffe took that “bulls by the horns,” and told Rome that it was full of bull, and yes these puns were fully intended.
Wycliffe said, “I am ready to defend my convictions even unto death … I have followed the Sacred Scriptures…”
He went on to say that the Pope and the church were second in authority to the Scriptures.
This didn’t sit well in Rome, but because Wycliffe was so popular in England they put him under house arrest. This presented Wycliffe another divine opportunity, as he was now able to write against Catholic doctrines like Transubstantiation, the Catholic belief that the bread and wine literally turn into the body and blood of Jesus. He also wrote against “indulgences,” or a person’s giving money to the church as a way of buying favor with God.
This was the catalyst that eventually led to the Protestant Reformation, and because of it Wycliffe is called the “Morning Star of the Reformation.”
There’s a saying, and one that came into my realm of thinking when I saw the show, “Dead Poets Society.” It’s “Seize the Day,” or in the Latin, “Carpe Diem.”
If I were to put a definition on what it means, I would say that it’s to take advantage of each day and the opportunities it present as if it were the last day. It’s to squeeze out of each day all that we can, and all that the day affords us. It means not to waste a single day, because once that day is gone, it can never be retrieved.
For believers in Jesus Christ, it means that each day should be used to its fullest potential for God’s purposes and kingdom. Therefore we are to seize every day for God, and make every opportunity that presents itself, count.
The choices we make concerning the opportunities God places before us determine which road we travel in this divine adventure God has called us to take.
Basically it means that every one of us has a divine mission in life.
Today’s message concerns King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and his faith journey when he picked a fight with the Philistine army. Actually, in this story we see two life journeys both of which had the same faith opportunity, Jonathan and Saul.
God wanted to deliver the Philistines into the hands of Israel. In fact, God delivered the Philistine army right at Israel’s doorstep. It was like God as saying, “Here Israel, these Philistines that have been tormenting you for all these years, well here they are, all wrapped up and ready to be defeated.”