Summary: A sermon designed to explore the ways God chooses to refresh those that know Him, love Him and follow Him.
If I were to ask you this morning, "What is the purpose of the seasons"? Many of you could properly identify the benefits of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. God made the seasons for a reason. It is obvious that if the earth was not afforded the changes that the seasons bring that the results could be catastrophic to some parts of the world. Did you know that it was not an accident that an exact distance separated the earth and the sun? Because they are that perfect distance apart the seasons come and go and mankind is allowed to live in somewhat acceptable comfort. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: God intended for man to have a time of refreshing in his physical life. Ecclesiastes 3: 10-13 goes on to state: "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 hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor - it is the gift of God".
God, in His omnipotence, knew what we needed physically and He created it for our enjoyment.
But if God had quit there, if that’s all there was to life, we would still be walking around wondering why we still felt so discouraged and depressed. Many have went to the grave having had everything this physical life could offer. Many have lived a life of self-gratification only to find out in the end that physical refreshing in its self lacked the ability to give them what they really needed.
It is true that we need physical refreshing but God makes it very clear in this third chapter of Acts that we also need what I call a spiritual refreshing. Listen to Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord",
The earth is barren in the winter waiting to be refreshed by the springtime. The Christian life is also sometimes barren needing to be refreshed by the presence of the Lord.
I. Refreshing Comes Through Fellowship (Romans 15:30-33)
30Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. 33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
II. Refreshing Comes Through Giving (I Cor. 16:15-18)
15I urge you, brethren¡-you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints-16that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.
17I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
III. Refreshing Comes Through Witnessing (Philemon 1:1-7)
1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
IV. Refreshing Comes Through Ministry (Philemon 1:17-20)
Paul speaking about Onesimus
17If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay - not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. 20Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.
V. Refreshing Comes Through Exhortation (encouragement; building up) (II Cor. 7:13-16)