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Living a Good Life: What Gives Purpose to Life, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: What Gives Purpose to Life, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 30, 2024 10:00 am

For all his efforts, Solomon realized he would die just like the fool who shunned instruction. There would be no difference. What then makes life purposeful?


Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. King Solomon found his ambition, efforts, and accomplishments to be grasping at wind. Even the noble call of pursuing wisdom came up short when he realized that for all his efforts, he would die just like the fool who shunned instruction.

There would be no difference. What then makes life purposeful? And how do we pursue meaning in this life that will carry us through eternity? In this episode of Delight in Grace, Pastor Rich addresses these questions from Ecclesiastes 2, 12 through 26. Let's listen in. This is part two of the message, which is part of a series on Ecclesiastes called Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey.

It was originally preached at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem on March 11th, 2018. It's a horrible tragedy. That's the kind of perspective that he's giving us. But we need to have an understanding that there is incidental death and there is incidental life. There is also essential death and essential life. Does life stop at death?

Which death are you talking about? If you're talking about when the Spirit is separated from the body, does life stop? Not for the believer, it doesn't. It depends on what you mean by life. Life in the sense of the Spirit and the body being one whole, yes, that stops because the Spirit is separated from the body.

But we learn from D.L. Moody, we learn from Billy Graham, we learn from the Apostle Paul. To be absent from the body is far better in the presence of the Lord. And yet practically we can be living and trudging along in this world with the perspective that life stops at death and it does not. Death, the incidental death, is merely walking through a door.

And that is, by the way, the testimony that the church had in the first couple of centuries of the church before it just became a religiously culturally accepted thing. But when the church was a unique entity in contrast to the culture of the ancient Roman Empire, the Christians had the reputation that when they went to the funeral, they were just simply saying goodbye to a friend, sending them off to a different place, expecting to see them again. Life doesn't stop at death.

Death is merely separation. This is a perspective that we're not getting yet from Solomon, but it's something that we need to consider. Because look at verse 22, what has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? What has a man?

What difference does it make? So we come then to the end of chapter 2 and I think we find here the key to satisfaction. There's a glimmer of hope at the end of chapter 2. Verse 23, for all his days are full of sorrow and his work is vexation. Rich, I thought you said there was hope.

I'm just reading scripture. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. Rich, I thought you said there was hope. It's true. It's true. There is hope when you understand that if all we have is under the sun, that means we have to look somewhere else.

Right? The key to satisfaction is not in this world. The key to satisfaction is not found in this world. Number one, it's not found in man's accomplishments and that's where so many people look to for their satisfaction.

But it's not found there. Let me quote to you from one of the men who was one of the most accomplished men in the history of the world, Steve Jobs. He says, quote, it's strange to think that you accumulate all this experience and it just goes away. So I really, listen to this, I really want to believe that something survives that maybe our consciousness endures.

Do you hear the longing at the heart of this man, one of the most accomplished men in the history of the world? But he had nothing to hang on to there. It seems to Jobs untrue to reality that for something as significant as the human self, death would be just an off switch.

It's merely click and you're gone. That did not settle well with him at all. In fact, he's a good representation of all of humanity. That doesn't settle well with anybody. It didn't settle well with Solomon.

That's what he's communicating here. And so what he says in verse 23 makes it very clear that if we're going to have any satisfaction, if we're going to have any hope, we've got to look somewhere other than under the sun. You see, Solomon had reached the height of humanity. Nobody had or experienced more than Solomon did, not even today. He had reached the height of intelligence, being an intellectual. He had unprecedented wisdom. He had reached the height of wealth, the height of pleasure. He had experienced it all.

That's what chapter 2 verses 1 to 11 are about. He held nothing back. He experienced all there was to experience vanity.

It's chasing after the wind. He had reached the height of power. He was a very powerful king. You see, he had reached the height of, you know, what more could he find?

What more could he want? And so listen to Solomon saying, if I don't find it, no one will. If I can't find satisfaction under the sun, no one will. Because I've tried it all.

I've looked everywhere. I've experienced everything. I have reached the apex of humanity.

I'm not satisfied. He had and experienced it all. 3,000 years go by, not much has changed. Mankind will always be mankind. Nothing's new.

We're going to learn that in the next chapter, right? In 2014, Microsoft acquired the Swedish company that created the game Minecraft. The deal made Marcus Person a billionaire, who then promptly outbid Beyonce and Jay-Z for a Beverly Hills mega mansion worth $70 million.

Equipped with a movie theater and 15 bathrooms, each having a toilet that cost $5,600 each. Now that is the epitome of meaning, isn't it? On August 29, 2015, Person posted a series of tweets that captured his gnawing sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. 4.48 a.m. The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance.

4.50 a.m. Hanging out with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people able to do whatever I want, and I've never felt more isolated. And on and on the tweets go. You see, things don't change. People who have had and experienced it all continue to have the gnawing sense of dissatisfaction.

There's nothing under the sun that's going to bring that. So the key to satisfaction is not in man's accomplishment. Secondly, it's not in man himself. You're not going to find it within yourself.

Francis Schaeffer says of Solomon that Solomon had reached the place of modern man in 900 B.C. The height of fallen humanity without God, without a in-the-moment acknowledgement of God. Kind of like the Harvard philosopher who wakes in the middle of the night haunted by this thought. How can it be that this world is the result of an accidental big bang?

How could there be no design, no metaphysical purpose? Can it be that every life beginning with my own, my spouse's, my children's, spreading outwards, is cosmically irrelevant? You see, that's the perspective of life simply under the sun. Life is cosmically, every person is ultimately cosmically irrelevant.

The same event happens to the wise and to the fool. But as Tommy Nelson says, to say it is good, a man has to go outside of himself. He has to go look somewhere beyond the sun. He has to go outside of himself.

You see, here's the point that becomes clear from this. Because Solomon had reached the epitome of humanity and left up to his own wisdom under the sun, man can only recognize the void. The void, that's what Pascal calls the abyss, the void in himself.

That's all he can do. And here's the point, you can't look to the void to fill it. There's nothing in the void that you can use to fill that void. And that is something that every human being has. Which is why Solomon says, life is full of sorrow and vexation. It is painful, it is frustrating, and that's exactly the truth that we get from Genesis 3 verses 17 to 20, where God comes down into the garden ready to talk to Adam and Eve. And Adam and Eve had now crossed a boundary, they had trespassed one of God's loving boundaries. He said, don't eat of that tree, and they had eaten from it.

So God let them know what life was going to be like now. You have chosen to go your own way. You, as a branch, you have severed yourself from the tree.

I'm going to sustain you, but I'm going to let you see what life is like, severed from the tree. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 13:09:52 / 2024-02-19 13:14:04 / 4

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