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Living a Good Life Designed for God, Part 4

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2024 6:21 pm

Living a Good Life Designed for God, Part 4

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 23, 2024 6:21 pm

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.  Let’s listen in.

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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. Today is the final part of the message. It was first preached on February 25th, 2018 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. 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 of 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 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 a 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 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 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 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? Number seven is a question that I ask constantly and I have received great sadness of it as a pastor dealing with many, many people, many who call themselves Christian. Do I perceive the character of God according to the comfort of my circumstances or the content of his self-disclosure? Number eight, do I find participation in worship and Christian fellowship optional or vital? Read the scriptures long enough and you'll discover that the scriptures say that worship and Christian fellowship is vital to your spiritual health and yet we find it optional. Sometimes you read a good thing on Facebook, sometimes, occasionally. Here's one.

If for you going to church is optional, then don't be surprised that your children will find Jesus unnecessary. I want you to take seriously these questions and this, again, this is not exhaustive. Take this seriously. Maybe add questions to this. Make this a part of your discussions, your interactions with each other, your fellowship with each other.

What other questions can I ask myself to honestly determine? Is my perspective of setting my heart to know wisdom? Is it a perspective? Is it an earthbound perspective? Is it a spiritual perspective? Is it a spiritual perspective? Or is my perspective one of a migrant? I'm simply passing through, headed toward the greatest treasure.

I'm not going to find my greatest treasure here and now. Only that way can you make sense of the journey. And that's why Paul said, if there is no truth, only that way can you make sense of the journey.

And that's why Paul said, if then you have been raised with Christ. And that if is a sense. It's a sense. If this is true, then seek the things that are above.

What is that? That's beyond the sun. Seek the things that are above. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Are you a resident or are you a migrant? I leave you with that challenge this morning. Stand with me, please. Father, your word is true. Your word is like a sword. It is a mirror. Father, may we be honest with what we see in the mirror this morning.

The mirror of our souls and our hearts and our minds. Lord, I pray that you would find humility in the mirror of our hearts and our minds. Lord, I pray that you would find humility and honesty in us to deal with how you are challenging our hearts and our minds this morning. Oh, Father, I pray that you would rescue us from setting our heart to know wisdom as residents, as if our greatest treasure is here and now.

But it is not. Find us to be your people, Father, seeking first the kingdom of God as migrants through this temporal, material existence. But help us, teach us, draw us, Father, to be people longing for your presence, the fullness of joy and pleasures evermore.

Thank you, Father, for what you have done and what you will do. If you are here this morning and you have questions about what you've heard, you would like to seek clarification. I will be up front for a few minutes. We'll be glad to engage with you on these matters. Please come.

Let's talk. So, Father, work in our hearts by your Holy Spirit. May we be submissive and humble to what you are doing. We pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. 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 / 2024-01-23 20:59:13 / 2024-01-23 21:03:48 / 5

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