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Preaching the Gospel from Ecclesiastes

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2021 4:00 am

Preaching the Gospel from Ecclesiastes

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 15, 2021 4:00 am

Most of us could use some guidance when it comes to talking to others about where they’re from or where they’re going. Learn how Ecclesiastes 12 helps us address life’s greatest questions and points us to the Gospel, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The all of us at one point or another in our lives will wrestle with ultimate questions like where do we come from, where we going for most of us leaving those questions unanswered can be unsettling today on Truth for Life. Alister Greg takes us to Ecclesiastes chapter 12 provide a backdrop for how we can answer those questions find contentment ultimately share the gospel when we come from, where we going questions that are in the minds of men and women with relative frequency when they either lie in their beds or fly and turbulence on the plan or view the arrival of tiny children or watch the encroachments of Alzheimer's. Take a loved one into that strange place.

My brief in these three mornings is to think about preaching the gospel. The challenge of preaching the gospel always is the challenge of bringing the divine content of the message into the human context in which that messages meet to be delivered. We have God's word to us by way of revelation, we have the immediate environment and world in which we live. And then we have the challenge the privilege the opportunity the responsibility to try somehow or another to bridge those two islands and to make contact with those who are our listeners suggesting this morning is that we might use three questions as a means of unpacking what is essentially the message of the preacher or the professor here in the book of ecclesiastics. So first of all we think in terms of the very question of origins. The question of origins origins.

If you like, and the issue of personal identity. Einstein, whom I've been thinking a lot about recently because I'm reading a book on Gandhi and Gandhi was impressed with Einstein. Apparently Einstein says in his credo, our situation on this seems strange every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay. Without knowing the why's and wherefore's is a nice thing to have on the front of the teacher. Do you think you could put on the back.

Have a nice day. In contrast, the teacher here says no that is not the case at all.

The teacher says you're not the product of some kind of chance evolutionary process. You're not a collection of molecules held in suspension.

You have actually been created in God's image and you been created in God's image with an innate understanding of eternity and you have that for example in verse 11 of chapter 3 where he says he has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end so that you have this great duality this amazing paradox in man, by means of God's creative purpose and for your homework. You can read the whole of ecclesiastics and you will find that this truth concerning the origin of man is reinforced. For example, 11 five as you do not know the path of the wind or how the body is formed in a mother's womb so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things, which ties in with our reading from Psalm 139 been fashioned intricately.

As says the psalmist in the womb of your mother. You're not a random chance event. You don't exist as a result of tying plus Mac surplus chance there is a reason why so many in the contemporary generation. Luke feel and act as lost as they do because they are lost because they have had dismantled for any notion of the creative handiwork of God so they do not know where they come from contemporary generation has no picture on the front of the box just random pieces and no means of putting them back together again know the approach of the preacher here is the approach of Paul. Interestingly, when he addresses the hybrid people in Athens. He starts off the God who made the world and everything in it as his opening line. While I know he does an introduction I see your religious people. You have nice touches and everything else. But as soon as is done night and told him that the gardener made the universe doesn't live in temples built with hands and he's not in need of any one of you invite your need of in.

He has now established an entirely different view of the world from that was represented by the philosophers there in Athens and that is what the Bible dies man cannot know there is ultimately no intellectual road to go. That's why apologetics can only unsettle the worldview of those with whom we talk and cannot lead a person to Christ. Only God does that. It may chip away at her view, it may undermine their convictions and may do all kinds of things to establish it, but if that was the case.

Only people who could follow the rational argument of apologetics would be able ever to come to faith in Jesus Christ and everything about that some of your are so daft you could never follow the arguments and you would even be a Christian today what it not for the fact that you understand I don't know why God's wondrous grace to me is being made no or why unworthy is ion botany for his own, but I do know I have believe, and in the very core of thy conviction is the fundamental biblical answer to this question. Where I come from the fact is that this life that we live originated in God made in his image before the rest tying for the was nothing there was God is a life which is also unsatisfactory and that's why in the early chapters of Ecclesiastes.

The professor takes is down all the dead-end streets and I'll leave you to go down the road of intellect, the pathway of pleasure, the dead-end street of materialism for all their is nothing new under the sun.

If I'm not a moral being made in the image of God, to whom I am accountable, then who am I and my my jeans and my what I wear, I just might genetic code. If I'm not a moral being made in the image of God, to whom I am accountable, then who am I know we were thinking in terms of preaching the gospel from Ecclesiastes. This is the kind of thing that we can be doing and we can speak with a measure of conviction and hope kindness concerning origins. Secondly, we can speak. Also with people conviction concerning the transients of life.

You don't have to work very hard to do this because if the person with whom we are speaking with him were sharing this good news is honest or tall. Then they know that they are that change and decay is represented in all the need for this is a matter and an anonymous friend case on new word Army went on a water BC he addresses this year, doesn't he. Nothing confronts us like our creature as our creaturely nests more than the watch on our wrists. Does anyone really know Augustine said, what is time if no one asks me, I know. But if I wish to explain it to one who asks. I know no one's time, like an ever rolling stream bears all his sons away.

Our lives are faster than a weaver's shuttle there like a breath in the morning air, and are gone and the writer makes this clear, and he says you better pay attention to the God who made you for the days of trouble, and then in masterful toiletry.

He works his way through this and I guess you've all heard sermons on this and it can be quite tedious working your way through this picture of decay verse three and on when the keepers of the house tremble and usually people take ages working through this trying to impress you with things so try not to do that or tall. Essentially what he's doing here is is bringing to the mind of the reader dawning realization that the aisles of the drugstore that we have so far managed to avoid are now beckoning us is what he say I used to go there say I'll never wear that stuff.

I used to buy the house in my life is making sounds in the night, the house of my life, is thwarting me in the day. I understand what he's doing here in his dental analysis, describing inadequate occlusion. The grinders are starting to cease your wife says why don't you have something a little milk here a little softer, just a little you know is important you think I'm 110 for goodness sake know what you will be if you keep going fearful of heights. I could stand up here and jump off years ago I wouldn't jump off your $450 the day I asked Mildred just just open the car door unfallen because I wanted to know. I opened the car door unfallen because I have to. That's what he said out what is the writer doing here is establishing points of contact with his readers. Actually, the description here is quite remarkable and leads eventually to the fight that man is going to his eternal home. When I asked the question. Where I come from.

I want to know. When I asked the question what I'm I need to know and finally when I asked the question where my going I need to know and so do our friends and neighbors. If they are to make sense of their human existence, origins the middle, the end, what is he do what he speaks concerning the reality of death. He says our lives are fragile there like a earthenware.

Our lives are transient, but there like a broken wheel at the well, there's a last time for every familiar journey, we can say honestly without any sense of overreaching to people when we talk with them. When we share the gospel with them. There will be a time when you reverse your card out of your carriage and You Will Never Dr., American again. There will be a time when you per your key in the law for the last time there will be a time when you kiss your kids or your mom or your spouse goodbye and you will never kiss them again.

You made bank on that is the great taboo.

The only remaining taboo. The only thing that America is unprepared to be absolutely provocative about his dad. You can talk about absolutely everything but the great cover-up of American society. Is this cover-up is not my place to criticize American funerals. There no good. The only decent funerals I've attended and participated in minor exceptions have been conducted in the Amish country for their they know what they're doing. They dig the grave they throw the dart on the family themselves take shovels and shovel the dirt on top of the cough. The average American funeral is a viewing now will be videos there of uncle Billy when he was no quarterback for Notre Dame and everything he's lying there looking better than ever looped in the last 40 years of his life wearing spectacles and no one's ever seen and everybody walked past and says banal things about and eventually they put them up on a plinth and try and drive out of the graveyard financed before any unsuspecting little great-grandchild says, but what do with them now. Uncle Bill what did you now I don't worry honey DVDs going to be fine. I wonder, will it remember your creator before the days of trouble, and you find no health and enjoyment in the and remember this that death is the destiny of every man therefore the living must take it to heart. It is better. He says in chapter 7, to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting, because death is our destiny. And he doesn't stop there. This is not Hinduism, he's not suggesting that you can go down and then you'll be back. Hopefully in a better form.

I just came from India last week I was there in these great huge Hindu temples, watching as people. Nice young couples came and held onto the feet of the monkey guard are held under the keep the feet of the elephant. Gardner went into the shrine of Krishna. I wonder they hope for the hope for another chance and another chance and another chance. Christianity says here's the deal you have one final appointment to face after death comes judgment.

We don't need to say that in a way that shouts is aware from from up on high, we can see it in the way that he says it here kidnapper puts it masterfully. He says dad has not yet reached out to us, let it wrap. Let's change that as an stair is into action. We can see the people. Therefore we shouldn't succumb to complacency. Nothing goes unnoticed. Nothing goes unassessed, not even the things we disguise from ourselves, but also this means that nothing is ultimately futile. The garden is made is cares enough to intervene in this way, so nothing can be pointless or need be pointless and so he says well let me give you the end of it. Fear God fear God again Kidner call the princes in our place, and all other fears and hopes and admiration in their place.

Fear God is all that's available just one thing, it is an Old Testament things New Testament thing as well.

Remember what Jesus said, I tell you, friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, we be afraid of heat him who can cast your soul down into hell and on that occasion.

Luke says that a vast crowd had gathered. When Jesus said that soldiers, traders, lovers, friends, criminals all working the crowd pickpockets liking all over and all the people are there in this Nazarene figure is speaking, I tell you, don't be afraid of those who kill the body, you want to be afraid of someone be afraid of him who has your eternal destiny in his hands dinner. Wonder if in the crowd. There were the criminals that ended up on either side of Jesus. Somehow or another in the midst of his day. That man just had the phrase don't be afraid of the person who killed you be afraid of what happens after that because it is interesting is that when they are hanging on either side of Jesus on the cross.

The one says to his friend who is verbally abusing Jesus when he says don't you fear God you feel God we are up here getting what we desire. But this man has done nothing and then suddenly I'm somehow wonderfully and mysteriously the penny drops for and he speaks to Jesus and received that wonderful reply. No, we must start, but when we speak in these terms.

We need to understand that the fear that is represented here is a fear which arises from the discovery of God's love for us in our sin, and in our weakness. When I realize that this God who made me knows me thoroughly means to destroy everything that is sinful in me again. He does so because he loves me with an intensely faithful love that fear is a fear which is only known to God's children know it's at this point, which is where we start that we would then if we will have the opportunity to go for coffee with the person that we had been either dialogue and with those who had been listening in on our talk is at this point that that we would then tell tell our friends the gospel ReVia told him the gospel have and on the gospel is all gospel is it is and even when we have pointed out the dangers of neglecting the gospel or the benefits of accepting the gospel we still haven't told him the gospel what God did for us in Christ in order to save us from sin from the devil and from death, that another true and obedient human being has, in our behalf, and is live for is the kind of life we should live but can't, and that he is paid fully. The penalty we deserve for the life we do live but shouldn't that in our brokenness and into our alienation has come one in whom the answer to our alienation is found is interesting when you go down this line and with this I will close that there are so many avenues of opportunity. If you if you go if you went to see Avatar you know that it is a quite remarkable work, Cameron knew what he was doing the no question that there there you have the story of Pandora holy tree where tribal member recent ancestral wisdom are there for the asking.

If you're in need of a little bit like having driving a previous you know you've got a tail and you can plug your tail into the power source and will keep you going for another little while. I was amazed, having seen that people coming out is fantastic.

I really love that idea what you mean having a tail and plugging it into the tree or what you love about noticing.

I love the idea that were free from all this trauma and all this hatred on all the animosity and that there is a place somewhere where you can live in tranquility and in beauty. And I love the idea that tree and what a fantastic garden and free from all of that horrible dreadful ravaging big creatures and things are crushing everybody to bit so I'm glad you feel that way and I understand your longing to read the Bible call you crazy watering the Bible for stupid old book like that. Well, you know, there's a bit in the Bible it actually starts off with a really beautiful garden and a tree does yell. Also good is good. You might like and you know what energy it addresses the desire for a better place and it actually explains all the disablement and the disgruntlement of life and we might see through friends and I think I can understand the sense of depression that someone expressed in coming back out into this ugly world in which we live away from that beautiful garden and then we might say to them. And did you ever read. Mere Christianity and also probably know and then you say this is what CS Lewis said if I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasure satisfy.

That doesn't prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy but only to arouse to suggest the real thing.

I must make in the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same but is then press on to that other country and help others to do the same. Maybe this will be helpful in think about dealing with the gospel.

From Ecclesiastes, all of us can identify with the lack of soul deep satisfaction that comes from this world, but as believers we can use that is common ground for sharing the gospel with others. That's the challenge from today's message on Truth for Life with Alister big. Maybe today's program has left you wondering if you were made for another world, and CS Lewis suggested if that's the case, we want to invite you to visit Truth for story which will find there is a helpful video presentation that explains God's plan for salvation. Now if you listen to Truth for Life regularly you know we spend a lot of time selecting books that we believe will help you grow in your faith. This is the final day were offering a book titled our ancient subtitle is Satan's history activity and ultimate demise. This is a helpful book that exposes the ways in which Satan uses his tricks and his weapons against us in this book points us to God's superior might and his victorious plan of redemption.

You can request your copy of the book our ancient foe.

When you make a generous one-time donation to Truth for Life today. It's quick and easy to give online visit Truth for if you were in prison would you spend most of your time thinking about how to get free promise. That's probably where most of us would land. That's not what the apostle Paul.

Find out tomorrow why he chose to preach the gospel about the pain Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by truth or lying with the Learning is for Living

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