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Living A Good Life: Chasing After Wind, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2024 10:00 am

Living A Good Life: Chasing After Wind, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 26, 2024 10:00 am

In Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon says that he denied his heart no pleasure.  The result? Nothing was gained.  It was a chasing after wind.  Pleasure is a poor substitute for our hearts greatest need.  As Blaise Pascal said, this infinite abyss can only be filled with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, God Himself.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. In Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon says that he denied his heart no pleasure. The result? Nothing was gained.

It was a chasing after wind. Pleasure is a poor substitute for our heart's greatest need. As Blaise Pascal said, this infinite abyss can only be filled with an infinite and immutable object. In other words, God himself. Let's listen in. This is part three of a study on Ecclesiastes 2, 1-11 from the series titled, Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey.

It was first preached on March 4, 2018. The position, the center of one's life, what you put there in the center, in that diagram, that object of worship, the position that motivates, the position that defines, that satisfies. Hear Solomon saying this, I put pleasure on the throne and it slipped right off. It can't stay there, because pleasure wasn't meant for the throne.

It's not lasting. It cannot be one's purpose. Pleasure cannot be one's purpose.

Yes, we were designed to enjoy pleasure, but if pleasure itself is the pursuit, then you have it on the throne and it's going to slip right off. It will leave you wanting. Solomon needed more. He said, nothing can fill me up. If you're a student, you've probably read Ernest Hemingway, a great author.

And he was considered to be the man's man, the epitome of the 20th century man. At the age of 61, after having it all, wine women sung a distinguished literary career. Hemingway chose to end his life and he left a note saying, life is one thing after another. The wrong thing was on the throne. That's the end of a life of idolatry with the wrong thing on the throne, pleasure.

What sadness that is, isn't it? And that's why that's why Solomon here in verse 11 is pondering this void in his life. All of this stuff that he pursued, parties, projects, possessions, people to serve him, endless service of people, music, physical pleasure, prestige, all of that he amassed to himself. And he said, I still have this void.

There's nothing to fill it up. And that idea came from, as we know it today, it came from a statement by Blaise Pascal. This is what he says, what else does this craving and this helplessness proclaim, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace. This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object. In other words, by God himself.

That's the well-known statement today, every human being has a God-shaped hole in his life and only God can fill that hole. And it's true. And this is what Solomon is discovering. And that's why he writes this book. That's why he writes it for us today.

He has that came up and said, oh, you read this, it can be so depressing. We have to remember that these are the inspired words of the living God. And what Solomon is describing here is not necessarily what scripture is prescribing for us in this paragraph.

We learn from Solomon's example. I put pleasure on the throne and it slipped right off. It cannot fill me up. I stopped at nothing. And it can't fill me up. It can't give me true satisfaction. So I encourage you this morning, what's on that throne at the center of your life?

What is it that you devote yourself to? As Blaise Pascal put it, it's got to be something infinite and immutable. And there's only one object in the universe that fits that description. And in fact, he's not in the universe. He's transcending the universe because he made the universe.

And that universe includes you and me and he made it all for himself. So as Solomon concludes this paragraph today, pondering the void, what I want to encourage you to do and challenge you to do is to pursue the I am. That immutable infinite object of worship, the one who promised everlasting life.

He is the one who alone must occupy that place of preeminence at the center there. He alone is the one you ought to devote yourself to as the purpose of your life, the end of your life. And all of those other things surrounding it, they revolve around what is at the center of your life. So that in my experiences of entertainment and partying, that that revolves around Christ. All the projects that I take on, they revolve around Christ. All the possessions that I have, they revolve around Christ. All the performances that I pursue, that revolves around Christ.

The physical pleasure that I seek in my life, that revolves around Christ. Whatever prestige I have in life, it revolves around Christ. Why does Christ belong in that position? Because what is at the center is what is worshiped. What is worshiped is what defines you, it's what satisfies you, it's what motivates you.

It's your purpose to pursue. My question is this, do you know Him as He truly is? Do you know Him as He truly is? Do we worship a God who has disclosed Himself and revealed Himself? Or do we worship the God of our imagination? Do you know Christ? He made some very well known claims.

The God-man as He walked this earth, because God came and spoke to us in person. Do you realize the claims of Christ? Listen to them.

They are staggering. That a man could say this. Listen to the claims of Christ. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger. Whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

That is permanence, that's permanent novelty. There's only one that can provide that. He said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. And He said, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And everyone who lives and believes in me, listen to this, shall never die.

Four words that follow that statement that Jesus said to Martha. Do you believe this? Do you believe this? Or is it platitude? Is this religious speak?

Or do you believe it? Is this one truly at the center of your life so that all the stuff of life revolves around Him? If you want to experience permanence and the satisfaction for which you are designed, He has to be there. And whatever else might occupy that space needs to go.

Because it will and it will leave you wanting. Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jesus said, John 8, I am the I am, the self-existent one. You see, He is the one that rightfully occupies that space in every man, woman and child's life. As Blaise Pascal said, that infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object. And there is only one that fits that description and it is God.

Pascal was right. So is Solomon in the conclusion of this book. It's going to take us a while to get there, but we have to understand this book in all of its context. What's at the center of your life? What do you devote yourself to?

Consider the claims of Christ. I am the bread of life. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty this morning?

Are you feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with life? That means you've got something else at the throne and it needs to go. Jesus Christ needs to take preeminence. Are you ready to give that to Him this morning? Father, move in our hearts today and accomplish what you desire to accomplish. As you have spoken today, help us grasp the heights of your plans for us, Father. Move in us by your Spirit. Rescue us, O God, from the idols that claw their way up onto the throne of our lives and leave us wanting. Refresh our souls today, Father, through your Son, the Lord Jesus. Thank you for what you have done and thank you for what you will do. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight and Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-19 13:01:16 / 2024-02-19 13:05:17 / 4

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