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Living a Good Life Designed for God, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
January 22, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life Designed for God, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 22, 2024 10:00 am

In his book Living Life Backward, David Gibson says that keeping the end in view “can change us from people who want to control life for gain into people who find deep joy in receiving life as a gift.”   We were designed for God.  If we try to find our identity and satisfaction in God’s stuff instead of in God Himself, we will always be left unsatisfied. Thank you for joining us in this series on Ecclesiastes titled Living a Good Life: Making Sense of the Journey.  This message unpacks chapter 1 verses 12-18.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In his book, Living Life Backward, David Gibson says that keeping the end in view can change us from people who want to control life for gain into people who find deep joy in receiving life as a gift.

We were designed for God. If we try to find our identity and satisfaction in God's stuff instead of in God himself, we will always be left unsatisfied. Thank you for joining us in this series on Ecclesiastes titled Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey. This message unpacks chapter 1, verses 12 through 18. Let's listen in. This is the third part of the sermon.

It was first preached on February 25th, 2018 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Your choices, your values, your priorities, your attitudes, all of your actions. That's called living life backwards. That's living with the end in view. Your destination informs all that you do in this life as you're passing through. That's setting your heart to know wisdom as a migrant. We have two profoundly good examples of that. Billy Graham just died this last week.

A life, 99 years, a life of integrity and humility. Now you may have found, if you're on social media, you may have found that Billy, you know, there's a quote of Billy Graham, that someday you will read that I am dead. You don't believe a word of it. That actually is a quote that he quoted D.L. Moody.

Okay, D.L. Moody was the originator of that quote. Let me read it for you. It's found in his autobiography that was published in the year 1900. It's a quote that he quoted in the early 1900. Someday you'll read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield is dead.

Don't you believe a word of it. All at that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. And I have the privilege of telling you that when my dad died he had the same attitude.

What a joy. I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher.

That is all. Out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal, a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto his glorious body. That's the original quote. And Billy Graham adopted that. And aren't you thankful for men like Billy Graham who put in so many years of ministry, faithful ministry, with a man of integrity and humility. I call the church back to that integrity and humility.

Thank you Billy Graham for leaving us that example. But that's what happens when you live life backwards. When you set your heart to know knowledge and wisdom as a migrant you live with the end in view. And the goal, the destination informs all of your actions and attitudes as you are passing through this life. It informs the way we live.

It informs the way we live. And then as the person who said, the God-man who came to us, Jesus Christ says whoever believes in me will never thirst, will never die. When he says things like that then you can make sense of it. Yes, at one point my soul is going to be separated from my body but yet I will be alive in his presence. And that's my destiny.

Why? Because I was created for him. And when you keep the end in view it informs everything you do in this life. That's living life backwards. That's living with the end in view. And because Jesus has done the work necessary to reconcile us back to the Father, as we place our faith in him in this transient life as we are passing through, he indeed will lead us back to the Father and that is our destiny.

And it's guaranteed. What a way to live. And that person can live in the joy of never knowing thirst and never dying. In other words, that person can enjoy life because you don't have to worry about mastering it. This is what Solomon is trying to teach us in Ecclesiastes.

The only way you can enjoy life is when you surrender yourself to the fact that you can't master it because it's not yours to master. The under the sun, the vanity part, what that's saying is that's painting a portrait of back at the beginning when man thought he knew better than God. Man is the branch growing off of the tree and the branch thought it knew better and could live life independently. And so the branch breaks itself off from the tree and God says, okay, I'm going to sustain you but I'm going to let you get a sense of how's that working for you to live disconnected from me, the very source of your life.

How's that working for you? Nobody's satisfied. And when he says it is an unhappy business that God has given man to fulfill on this earth, that's exactly what he's talking about.

You're living a life of frustration because you are separate from the very life source of your existence. And he has done the work through Jesus Christ. He's done the work necessary to reconcile us back to himself. That's the grace of God. That's the gospel of grace. That being true, then we can enjoy life because you don't have to master it. Now he says this even in Ecclesia, there are glimpses of this in Ecclesiastes. Let's look at them for a couple minutes here, okay? Look at chapter 3 verses 12 to 13.

I have it up here. I perceive that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live, also that everyone should enjoy one, should eat and drink and take pleasure in all of his toil. That is God's gift to man. Enjoy life because you don't have to master it.

Surrender yourself to the fact that you can't master life. It is not yours to find meaning and satisfaction in the stuff of life because you were created for God. And there's only one place where you're going to find meaning and satisfaction and that is in the one for whom you were created. He also says in chapter 5 verses 18 to 19, behold what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him for this is his lot.

Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil. This is the gift of God. Do you see where the meaning comes from?

It's God's gift. So don't find your meaning and your satisfaction in the gifts. Find them in God because they are from him for you to enjoy. You can enjoy it without it becoming your identity and pursuit. You see eternal life of permanence and unending novelty is found only in God. And David Gibson in his book entitled Living Life Backwards, he says this, keeping the end in view can change us from people who want to control life for gain into people who find deep joy in receiving life as a gift.

There's the difference. One person controlling life for gain, that's setting your heart to know wisdom as a resident. People who find deep joy in receiving life as a gift, that's setting your heart to know wisdom as a migrant because you are headed for the destination where you will find your meaning and satisfaction. You're not going to find it here.

Not in the stuff of here. I want to leave you with a self-assessment of your perspective. Two perspectives I've presented to you this morning from Ecclesiastes. Are you setting your heart to know wisdom?

What is life all about? Are you setting your heart to know wisdom as a resident? You're digging in. Your greatest treasure is here and now. Or are you setting your heart to know wisdom as a migrant? You're just passing through headed toward the greatest treasure.

You're one of those two or maybe a combination of both and that's frustrating. Now let me offer you some questions. This is not an exhaustive list, but you will find there's some alliteration in this. It's what preachers do, you know, as we collect sentences, right? Number one, do I prioritize the kingdom of God or a normal life?

It's a huge, huge lure for us, particularly in our Western prosperous society, isn't it? A normal life. And when adversity comes, all I want to do is just get back to a normal life. Do I prioritize the kingdom of God or do I prioritize a normal life? Number two, am I more about protecting my rights and privileges and privileges or do I have the resolve to rage against the captor?

In the adversities that I face when I am mistreated, am I more about protecting my rights or am I more about raging against the captor? Number three, let's talk about prayer. We've missed it, folks.

The church has missed it today, by and large. You look at our prayer lists. What are we praying for? We're praying for healing and comfort.

It's not necessarily bad, but I have a question for you. Do you pray for healing and comfort more than you pray for holiness and commitment? That's what I'd love to see our church prayer lists all about, holiness and commitment, being engaged in the mission that God has for us, regardless of the circumstances that surround us. Number four, do you pursue pleasure more than revealed purpose? By the way, the two are not mutually exclusive, but if your idea is of pleasure has nothing to do with your revealed purpose, then your perspective is earthbound. Your greatest treasure is here and now. Number five, does the prosperity of things eclipse prosperity of the soul? Jesus said, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul? Ask yourself this question. The pursuits of your life, does the prosperity of things eclipse the prosperity of your soul?

Look at your checkbook, your bank account. Where's the investment? Is it for your comfortable, normal life, or is it in the prosperity of your soul or the prosperity of the souls of others? Number six, do I promote success as achievement of position and possessions? Is that my idea of success? Is that what I promote in others? The success is achievement of position and possessions, or is success functioning according to design, realized purpose? What is my idea of success and how do I promote it in my life and in others? 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, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven 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 / 2024-01-22 12:10:51 / 2024-01-22 12:15:41 / 5

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