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Living a Good Life: Certain Uncertainties, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: Certain Uncertainties, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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March 20, 2024 10:00 am

Life offers uncertainty. We cannot control or predict our circumstances.  Yes, much about life is unknown.  So where do we go for wisdom for how to think about and engage with life and its uncertainty? Many of the voices elevated in our culture appeal to our senses and desires, but offer foolish advice.  In this message from Ecclesiastes 9:11-18, pastor Rich reminds us that we must tune in to Jesus’ quiet words of wisdom, allowing His work on our behalf to guide our choices and attitudes.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. We can all acknowledge that life offers uncertainty. We can't control or predict our circumstances.

Yes, much about life is unknown. So where do we go for wisdom for how to think about and engage with life and its uncertainty? Many of the voices elevated in our culture appeal to our senses and desires, but offer foolish advice. In this message from Ecclesiastes 9, 11-18, Pastor Rich reminds us that we must tune in to Jesus' quiet words of wisdom, allowing His work on our behalf to guide our choices and attitudes. You're listening to part 3 of a message titled Certain Uncertainties. It's part of a series on Ecclesiastes titled Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey.

To hear the whole sermon or to listen to other messages in this series, you can go to www.delightingrace.com. Wisdom is better than the weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Sin is destructive.

Did you know that? When we drift away from God's character and purpose, it is by definition destructive, and we can be so easily lured to it because of the megaphone of popular songs, popular shows, and popular sages. The maximization of choice is our fundamental pursuit. That's the message of secularization, where the self is the center of all. I must maximize my choices because it is, after all, my choice. Why? Because it's my life.

Do you see how that is purely under the sun? And because maximization of choice is a fundamental pursuit, that means that you craft your own identity. And therefore it is right and appropriate for you to follow passion and abandon principle. And included with that is a very healthy suspicion and oftentimes a necessary separation from authority in order to realize the true self. This is the message coming through the megaphone, and we see it playing out today specifically in the popular songs, popular shows, where sexual relations without marriage are the norm, the overwhelming norm.

Have you become desensitized to that? Same-sex relations are also becoming the norm through this megaphone. Why? Because it is up to you to craft your own identity. June is Pride Month, and in the month of June, dozens of libraries in dozens of major cities across the nation invited drag queens fully dressed up to come in and read books to the children in the libraries.

Because you craft your own identity, and it's communicating the message to these young pliable minds that gender is fluid. Is that what God says? Are we becoming desensitized to that to any degree?

Oh, but they're nice people, yes, but that's not what God says. You see the megaphone, that loud voice of verse 17, that loud voice is calling very, very strongly today. And what is popular with the crowd, what is popular with the crowd is this, that the sacred has become common. The sacred has become common. Life is common. What happens in the marriage bed has become common, and it has lost its sacredness.

Have you become desensitized to that? Not only has the sacred become common, but the destructive, the self-destructive is something to be proud of. And what Jesus says, very clearly, Matthew 7 and verse 13, enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. That's where the crowd goes, because they're not listening to the voice of wisdom, they're following the crowd. With all of these things being true, with these megaphones speaking so loudly, do you know what also is true? Despair is on the rise.

It is very true. A question for you this morning. Are you willing to evaluate what brings you pleasure? Are you willing to evaluate what brings you pleasure or a sense of fulfillment?

That fulfillment may be physical, it may be emotional fulfillment, it may be intellectual fulfillment, it may be spiritual fulfillment. Are you willing to evaluate what brings you pleasure and fulfillment? If you are not willing to evaluate these things, is that not foolishness? Are you not abandoning the voice of wisdom?

Because clearly Solomon makes it very clear the two things you cannot count on to make sense of lifers. Number one, your calculations and number two, the crowd. Because the crowd is following that loud voice coming out of the megaphone, abandoning the voice of wisdom. What chief fool's voice might you be hearing? Whether it's at home on your TV or right there on your device.

This little god that we now keep in our pockets. I have one too, so it's not the device that's evil. But you know there's a lot of foolishness that can come across that thing.

Are you discerning? We need to refocus. Instead of following the crowd, we need to refocus.

And the refocus includes this, it's again very similar to the last one. And that is that you are designed to know God and enjoy Him. That is how you measure success, not by the crowd, not by what the crowd is doing. Because this is what you were designed for, that is where you will find your deepest, richest, highest, ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction. Because you are designed to know God and enjoy Him. And that does include enjoying His gifts.

You see, that is the measure of success. And when you enjoy God's gifts, you live life as a thank you. Quiet words of wisdom, quiet words, look at verse 17. The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

A ruler that is chief of fools, that megaphone that is drowning out the voice of wisdom which the crowd is following. What are the quiet words of wisdom? The unimaginable things that God has in store for those who love Him. They have been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. And they are available to us through the redemption of Jesus Christ and the reconciliation that He has brought. That you as a rebel held hostage by your rebellion have been alienated from God and Christ has purchased you back to God. The one for whom you were made.

That's the voice of wisdom. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way in Hebrews 2-9. But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Namely Jesus crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.

So that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. That's you and me. You know what we have in this picture of verses 13-16? It is a picture of Jesus Christ. It's a picture of Jesus Christ. The city, who is the city?

Well that's easy, we are. And who is the mighty king laying siege against the city? Now some of you are probably, oh it's the devil.

No it's not. Who is the mighty king? It is God. It is His necessary holy wrath against unrighteousness. And so who is the poor wise man who delivers the city? It is Christ.

He has delivered us by offering Himself for the city. And who is the loud fool, the chief of fools? He is the God of this world who has blinded their eyes. And He has made every attempt to drown out that voice of wisdom from the poor wise man. And who are the losers? The losers are those who ignore and despise the wisdom of the poor wise man. The wisdom of salvation and reconciliation that comes through Jesus Christ. You see folks, the gospel is not popular. The gospel is not popular.

And those today who try to make it popular are making a big mistake. The gospel is not popular but, but it is wisdom that delivers from destruction. And it restores the soul, it makes wise the simple. It rejoices the heart and enlightens the eyes and it endures forever.

So the refocus is this, instead of following the crowd, refocus this way. Let the gospel be your identity and your quiet guiding voice. Thanks for joining us here at Delight in Grace. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in Him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-20 12:12:34 / 2024-03-20 12:16:35 / 4

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