God’s Appointed Time | Christmas Sermon

March 11, 2012

Topic: Christmas

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:11


God has put dreams and desires in our lives. We all have goals we want to accomplish and situations we believe to turn around but so often when things are taking a long time, when the going gets tough we tend to think negatively and get discouraged. Maybe you have started well, with great enthusiasm only to realize that you are hitting a dead end. Are you waiting indefinitely for something? Have you ever asked God for something very genuine, and you seem to get no answers for it? Is there still hope when the future seems dark? Do you realize that there is something called God’s appointed time?

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. This simply says, “God is in control. God has a perfect time for everything under the sun. So your life & mine are in the hands of God. God keeps the clock. And God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Galatians 4:4-5

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

God has a set time for everything under the sun. In this passage, we find that Jesus was born not by accident, not in an ordinary way, but God timed it perfectly to suit his eternal purpose.

The Greek word for time here is “Kronos” from which comes our word “chronology” the orderly progression of events, when everything follows proper sequence, & is exactly right. The word here indicates that God just didn’t decide on the spur of the moment to take advantage of an opportune time; rather, God planned & orchestrated the sequence of events, & when the time was just right, He sent His only begotten Son into the world.

1. God’s Appointed time in the life of Jesus Christ

Galatians 4:4-5

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.


Now, when you give a special gift to someone you want the timing to be just right. You usually don’t give a birthday gift before or after. We want everything to be just right and we carefully select and present our gifts to our loved ones at the right time.

Likewise, when God sent His Son into the world everything was perfectly right.

A. Culturally

Alexander the Great had conquered the world. With him came Greek culture, Greek philosophy, and the Greek language, which was the most precise, the most descriptive, and the best of all ancient languages.

Greek was the language of the 1st Century, the language of the common people, the language that everyone could understand, a universal language, just right for the quick spread of the gospel which portrays the message and life of Jesus Christ.

B. Politically

Alexander the Great died at age 33 of venereal disease. He was able to conquer the world but he could not conquer his lust. As he lay on his deathbed his generals gathered around waiting to find out who would inherit his vast domain.

History reports that Alexander said, “I bequeath all of my holdings to…” and everyone leaned forward and held their breath. Alexander said again, “I bequeath all of my holdings to…the strongest.” Immediately a Civil War broke out and the empire began to crumble.

Nearly 3 centuries later, a Roman by the name of Octavius came into power. So impressive was he that the Roman Senate decided to make him their ruler. But they didn’t like the title “king,” so they chose the word “Augustus,” the “August One,” Caesar Augustus.

Luke picks up his pen & writes

Luke 2:1

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

God worked through the history of the world and used Alexander for the influence of the right language. God then dismissed him and used a pagan dictator (Roman, Caesar Augustus), a pagan government, and a pagan decree to make sure that Mary and Joseph made the 130 km journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that Christ would be born in Bethlehem just as the prophets had foretold.

You can also see God’s timing in the life of Jesus. Have you ever noticed, as you read the Gospels, how often you read the words, “the time has come,” or “my time has not yet come”?

Mark 1:15

“The time has come,” he said. Whose time? Who is watching the clock? Who determined that this was the right time? God.

Once Jesus’ brothers asked him to go down to Jerusalem and perform His miracles there. But Jesus said:

John 7:6

Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.”

In John 7, His enemies try to seize Him, but they are unable to do so:

John 7:30

At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

After the celebration of the Passover in the upper room, the breaking of bread, and the initiation of the Lord’s Supper, the whole language begins to change in the gospels and we read that the time has come. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prays:

John 17:1 

Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. To His disciples, Jesus said:

Mark 14:41 

The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.

Then Jesus said to those who have come to arrest Him:

Luke 22:53 

But this is your hour when darkness reigns.

Romans 5:6 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Now, does that say anything to you? If God was in control of timing during OT days and if God was in control of timing during the life of Jesus, then God is still in control of timing now.

2. God’s appointed time in the Bible

Acts 17:26

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

In Genesis 24 Abraham sends his servant to their hometown the town of Nahor to find a wife for Isaac. The servant felt the pressure of his task and he didn’t want to fail. So when he arrived there he knelt at the well of Nahor & and prayed that God would help him do this job. He prayed that God would send the right young woman to the well and that when he asked for a drink, she would also offer to water his camels.

Now what do you think the odds are that a young woman, when asked for a drink of water, would freely volunteer to draw enough water for his camels, too? The odds probably aren’t too good. But that was his prayer and as he was praying, the Bible says that Rebekah came to the well and filled her water jar.

Genesis  24:17-19

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” 18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. 19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.”

The servant knew instantly that this was the girl that God had picked out for Isaac. At just the right time and at just the right place God sent Rebekah to meet the servant, and she ends up becoming the wife of Isaac.

Then there’s Joseph. Remember, he was the favorite son of Jacob and grandson of Isaac. He had a coat of many colors, and his brothers were all jealous of him. So, one time when he went out to see them, they decided to strip off his coat, throw him into a cistern, and let him die.

But at just the right time a caravan making its way to Egypt came by and they thought, “Why not make some money off this deal? Let’s not leave him here to die, but let’s sell him as a slave, instead.” So they did.

At just the right time Joseph arrived in Egypt. Just at the right time, there was a need in a military man’s house for a servant and Joseph got employed there. When the time was right, he was accused wrongly and put in prison. In the prison just at the right time he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and Joseph rose to great power in Egypt.

And at just the right time the famine struck, and his brothers made their way to Egypt. The family was reunited. Years later Joseph said it exactly right when he told them:

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. You would have gone through some tough times of pain, rejection, and trouble but God has intended for your good, and at the right time he will lift you up.

Moses was born to Israelite parents when the king had put a decree to kill all the male babies. At just the right time the baby Moses was placed in a little basket and set afloat in the river Nile. And at just the right time Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. And at just the right time the baby cried so that Moses could grow up in the household of Pharaoh.

At just the right time David came to the battlefront and saw Goliath flexing his muscles, boasting of his power. At just the right time Esther was made queen when her people were about to be exterminated. And her uncle Mordecai said to her:

Esther 4:14 

Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Do you see the timing? God is in control.

Daniel 2:21

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. We need to understand that God is in control of time. Nothing is happening in this world that is surprising to God. God doesn’t say, “I didn’t know that was going to happen.” God is in charge. And we see that in the events of the OT.

3. God’s appointed time in my life

Psalm 31:15

 My times are in your hands.

Romans 8:28 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Now that is a wonderful promise. Things have happened in my life at just exactly the right time, and yet it was not because of anything I had done. Doors were opened, opportunities offered, help received, honor came, and promises fulfilled. God keeps His promises! If God can do that to me, he can do that to you as well.

Just look back on your own life, you can comprehend god’s timing in your life until now. Think of the circumstances, opportunities, people, events, ups, and downs in your life. It is all timed by God. The fact that you are attending City Harvest AG Church and the friends you have here is also timed by God. He has a set time for your life.


Chuck Colson tells about going to Salem, OR, with his Prison Fellowship Ministry & preaching to prisoners there. Kathy Tracolie, a singer who went with him, sang the song, “My Life is in His Hands.”

After the service was over, one of the inmates came up to Kathy & said, “I really want to thank you for singing that song. It ministered to me so much.” He said, “My soul was dry.”

She asked, “Why is that?” He answered, “Well, I’m here in prison, & I received a letter this past week from my wife asking for a divorce. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. But now I realize that my life is in the hands of God, & that somehow it will be okay. I want to thank you for singing that song.”

Five days later, Chuck Colson & Kathy Tracolie were in Chicago, IL, more than 1,000 miles from Salem, OR. They were preaching & singing in a prison there, & Kathy sang that same song, “My Life is in Your Hands.”

Afterward, a woman who had never been to a Prison Fellowship meeting before came up to Kathy & said, “I want to thank you for singing that song. My soul has been so dry.” Almost the same words.

Again, Kathy asked, “Why?” She said, “Well, my husband is in prison, too, & I felt like I couldn’t put up with it anymore. So, I wrote him last week & asked for a divorce. But I’m not at peace about it.”

Her husband was the man they had met back in Salem, OR. Just a coincidence, I guess. Just a coincidence? Kathy was able to minister to her, & now God is healing the marriage & bringing them back together again.

It doesn’t always happen like that, does it? You don’t always get instant answers to your prayers. It doesn’t always work out the way we hope it will. But here’s the promise, folks. No matter how difficult it may be, no matter how tough life may be, no matter how disappointing things might be in your life, God is still in control.

4. God’s appointed time for the end

God has an appointed time for the end. Paul writes in

Romans 13:11 

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. “Wake up!” he says. If you’re a Christian, rejoice. One of these days we’ll hear the trumpets blow. We’ll hear the voice of the archangel, & we’ll see the glory of God coming in the sky. Are you ready for that?

But if you’re not a Christian, be concerned, because the clock is ticking for you, & there is not a lot of time left. Or will you take advantage of this opportunity, realizing that in God’s chronology, He has led you to this moment when you can give your heart & your life to Jesus Christ?


Have you asked yourself what time it is in your life? Does anything seem hopeless to you today? Are you faced with an impossible situation at work? Up against an impossible situation in a relationship? Burdened by an impossible situation with your family? Troubled by an impossible situation financially? God has an appointed time for your situation and when he answers, he not only takes care of your need, but it will be for a greater purpose.

I proclaim the deliverance of God and blessings of God’s appointed time upon you in Jesus’ name. Amen!

For similar sermons,

The Journal of a Praying Prophet | Habakkuk 

Dealing with life problems | Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:20

The Way to a Blessed Life | Psalms 32