map
map
The wisdom of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 2

Last week we began a 3 week mini series in the Book of Ecclesiastes

-Written by Solomon
-Ecclesiastes is a book that explores the meaning and purpose of life
-The Book of Ecclesiastes urges us to seek God if we want to find purpose and meaning in life- for the message of Ecclesiastes is this: Life's pursuits are empty without God

An interesting phrase I discovered this past week "Chasing after the wind"

Ecclesiastes 1:14,17; 2:11,17; 4:4,6,16; 6:9

Solomon tried everything and found that if you don't have God at the centre of your life, if you are not living for Him, then things are empty, there is no lasting purpose in them.

To chase after the wind is a futile thing, cause it can't be caught

To many people exclude God and look in the wrong places for joy, satisfaction, purpose, and meaning in life

This morning we are going to pick up where we left off last week- EXPLORING THE WISDOM OF THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES

As for the wisdom of Ecclesiastes from last week, we considered the following points

1. Life is meant to be enjoyed -God's way
2. There are a lot of things in this life that don't make sense- we need to learn to trust God. The unknown, the stuff that doesn't make sense ought to lead us to TRUST GOD
3. Death is coming for us all- we need to prepare for this. We need to put our houses in order, we need to be reconciled to God-for before Him we must all appear
4. It is absolutely necessary to get right with God. He gives purpose to life. In Christ is the forgiveness of sins


Exploring the wisdom of Ecclesiastes Part 2

1. THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING!

See Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

In 1 Chronicles 12:32 it says; "from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do-200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;"

These men of Issachar joined David that they might assist him in turning Saul's kingdom over to David. The real neat thing is it says "They understood the times and they knew what should be done"

This ought to be our prayer and desire. Help me to know what to do and the right time to do it. Such is the wisdom of God that we need- that He is willing to give to us if we ask Him


2. HE HAS SET ETERNITY IN THE HEARTS OF MEN AND WOMEN

Ecclesiastes 3:11

What does this mean?

a. This is what sets us apart from the animals. We have a soul
b. It speaks to our being made in the image of God
c. It means that death is not the end -resurrection of Christ testifies to this as does the entirety of God's Word
d. We are reminded that none can truly deny the existence of God-for He has made Himself known to us

In Romans 1:20 it says; "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

He has set eternity in our hearts and His call is to SEEK HIM WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. As Isaiah 55:6-7 says; "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."

3. BE FRIENDLY. MAKE FRIENDS. THERE IS STRENGTH IN COMMUNITY see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

While often read at weddings this text speaks to strength of community and friendship.

-We need to be friendly.
-Forming and maintaining relationships is an important task (such requires time, patience, forgiveness, love)
-A job of parents is to teach their children how to form and maintain healthy friendships
-Friendly people are peacemakers. Friendly people are generous with their possessions and kind with their words
-We need to learn how to be LOYAL. We need to learn the word "commitment"
-Of course- we need to make friends and bonds with the right people- for bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Some verses

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Proverbs 18:1

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

As followers of Christ we are in community. The Bible refers to us as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) Being together in the Worship and Service of Christ is not optional for us-- it is the command of Christ and for our good (physically and spiritually) We need to be committed to each other ever mindful that we as the body of Christ are the bride of Christ.


4. MIND YOUR TONGUE

Ecclesiastes 6:11 "The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?"

As someone who speaks in public a lot, I'm painfully aware of how reckless speech is damaging. Often I spend some proverbial time "kicking myself" for dumb things that I say-- so in part I'm: praying for wisdom- for the right words, counting on your good graces, not opposed to apologizing when I need to.

As for the subject of the tongue, the Bible has a lot to say in addition to telling us to keep it short and sweet

In Proverbs 18:21 we are told that "The tongue has the power of life and death..."

Ephesians 4:28 says; "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -NO SWEARING, NO CURSING, NO DIRTY JOKES, NO PUT DOWNS

James 1:19 says; "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry"

James 3:5-10 says "the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be."

Interesting note: Ecclesiastes 3:11 ties in to Ecclesiastes 12:10 "The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true"

Note the care he took in the choice of his words!

Public speaking tips/writing tips. Keep it short. Stick to the point. Remember words have meaning. Ask God for help and the Spirit's leading.


5. ECCLESIASTES TAKES US TO JESUS Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 12:11

Note: These aren't the only verses in Ecclesiastes that take us to Jesus

a. In Ecclesiastes 7:20 it says; "Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins."

This verse takes us to Romans 3:10a which directly quotes from Ecclesiastes 7:20 saying; "As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one"

What is our state as people? We are sinners. We are sinners who, apart from Christ, are under the judgment of God

What is the Good News of the Gospel of Christ?

In Christ is the forgiveness of sins. In Christ there is no fear of the judgment to come!

b. In Ecclesiastes 12:11 it says; "The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them

When I think of the ONE SHEPHERD I think of Jesus, the embodiment of wisdom, the only Saviour, God in the flesh- the Word became flesh, the lover of our souls, the one who laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners.

Here the words of Christ from John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

To Christ we must go. We must listen to his voice. In Him alone is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.


CONCLUSION

Ecclesiastes is a book that is full of practical wisdom

-Enjoy your life
-Beware of empty pursuits- chasing wind
-Death, barring the return of Christ is inescapable, so prepare for it by being reconciled to God
-Purpose and meaning is found in Christ
-There is strength in Community, so be friendly, make friends, invest in your brothers and sisters in Christ
-We need to watch our words- the less, the better. Speak life.
-There is a time for everything- our prayer ought to be "Help me to understand the times and know when to speak and act"