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Living a Good Life: How to Enjoy Life, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2024 12:10 pm

Living a Good Life: How to Enjoy Life, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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March 8, 2024 12:10 pm

Solomon has some key advice for us about how to enjoy life.  In this message, Pastor Rich looks at Ecclesiastes 8:14-17 to give us truths for facing the beauty and pain of life with God-honoring success.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Solomon has some key advice for us about how to enjoy life. In this message, Pastor Rich looks at Ecclesiastes 8, 14-17, to give us truths for facing the beauty and pain of life, with God honoring success.

Let's listen in. Making sense of the journey is what we need to do if we are to live a good life. Living a good life requires definition.

What is it that defines good? But this is what Solomon is teaching us in Ecclesiastes. As we come to this part of the end of chapter 8, I think he's instructing us on how to enjoy life. How to enjoy life. As I read this and studied this and unpacked it, I think Solomon seems to be writing to himself as if he were writing like the words of the song, Dear Younger Me.

Bart Millard, mercy me. Dear Younger Me, where do I start? If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far, then you could be one step ahead of all the painful memories still running through my head. I wonder how much different things would be, Dear Younger Me.

Dear Younger Me, I cannot decide. Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life, or do I go deep and try to change the choices that you'll make? Because they're choices that made me, even though I love this crazy life, sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride, Dear Younger Me.

I think Solomon said something very similar to that, which is one reason why he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. There are some things in life that don't make sense. One commercial that I remember a long time ago, maybe some of you have seen it, I have no idea what the commercial was for, but it made me laugh. It was this quintessential biker dude, and I think he was promoting some kind of bike insurance or something like that.

But you know, these biker dudes, they have a real tough persona, don't they? But while this commercial was going on, there was this light, fluffy, classical music going on. Now you know those two don't go together, right? And it was so funny, what made me laugh at the end of the commercial, he says, are you sure this is right? This music don't make a lick of sense.

And I remember just kind of rolling on the floor. It just struck me so funny. You had to be there, I guess. Some things just don't make sense, though. There's a lot of things in life that don't make sense to us.

What do we do with that? And in that context, Solomon now in his wisdom, looking back, says, with that being true, here's how you enjoy life. Three things I want to talk about today, how to enjoy life that he teaches us, because the things that don't make sense he talks about in verse 14, there is a vanity that takes place on the earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous.

I said that this also is vanity. Number one way to enjoy life is to understand the brevity. Understand the brevity of life.

Now, this is verse 14. If we're simply looking at life from under the sun, remember, if there is under the sun, then we have to consider that there is beyond the sun. But our perspective is limited under the sun, short of God's revelation, short of his self-disclosure, right?

But all we can experience is under the sun. And from under the sun, some things just don't make sense. You can't fit the pieces of the puzzle together. It's not our job to fit them together. Two things we must understand about the brevity of this life and the things that don't make sense.

Here's what you need to understand. This too shall pass. Life is brief. And the things that don't make sense, this too shall pass. Things are not as they ought to be.

Isn't that true? Things are not as they ought to be. Now, listen, as we say that, there is hope in that statement. Things are not now as they ought to be. But there is one way to be.

But there is one who knows the big picture. And the word that it uses in verse 14, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, that word happens, it means to strike, to touch violently. It's statements like this and occasions like this that cause people to write books like, why did bad things happen to good people, right?

Things that don't make sense. A friend of my wife's, her name was Joy, up in Michigan when we lived up there. Wonderful person, wonderful person in every sense. Her life snuffed out in a car wreck, somebody driving on the opposite side of the road. And you look at that, all the potential she had, the joy that she was to her kids, to her church, the impact in the lives that she had, and her life's gone like that. He's like, you're thinking, there's an incongruity here. You think of predestined, down in Haiti, in his family. The countless hours and efforts and energy he invests in ministering to those orphaned children in Haiti.

And about a week ago, as their house was broken into, robbers and his kids were held at gunpoint while they emptied out the house. You think, this doesn't make sense. Try to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Something that we learn from verse 14 is this, no matter how thought out or well ordered your life, adversity will strike. No matter how thought out or well ordered your life, adversity will strike. No matter how thought out or well ordered your life, adversity will strike.

You will encounter the harsh realities of life. Now again, there is hope in this statement. This too shall pass. Things are not as they ought to be.

Here's the hope. The inequities of this life are not permanent. The inequities of this life are not permanent. The inequities of this life are not permanent. If you're looking at the next chapter, in chapter 9 verse 9, Solomon refers to this vain life under the sun. This vain life under the sun. Meaning this life is short, it is limited, it will end.

All this stuff under the sun. So to enjoy life, we must understand the brevity of life that this too shall pass. The inequities of life are not permanent. But there's another point that I think we need to bring out from this also. Because to put it as in a paraphrastic way, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, it would seem. Right? And we notice those things.

And we're like, why? It doesn't make sense. Here's the second point I want to challenge you with from verse 14. And that is, if you want to enjoy life, don't be a pagan. Now, that's going to need some definition, isn't it? Don't be a pagan. What is a pagan? How do pagans live? There is a rigid cause-effect correspondence to the experiences of life in the mind of a pagan.

There is a rigid cause-effect correspondence to the experiences of life. What do pagans do? It's not that they're atheists, it's that they're atheists. What do pagans do? It's not that they're atheists. Most pagans are not atheists. They believe in some kind of ultimate being or greater being.

But here's their approach. Their whole approach to life is to appease the divine so that they get what they want. That's paganism. Did I just describe your walk of faith? How much of your time and energy is spent in appeasing the divine so that you get what you want?

You see, it's so easy for us to be syncretistic in our faith. The adversities, the inequities of life, when the wicked prosper or the good people, the innocent people, fall. People struggled with this, and it's even recorded in scripture. That's what Psalm 73 is about, where the writer of that psalm says, in vain I have kept myself pure. God, I've struggled to do everything you want me to do.

And it's like, what good is it doing me? Because the attitude there, the underlying attitude is if I do what you want me to do, then you'll do what I want you to do. Now there are very subtle ways that we can do that, but what this is, is from the Gospel of Luke, the older brother, remember the prodigal son, his older brother, he says to his dad, dad, all these years I've served you and you haven't thrown me a party. Reading in the scriptures, my personal quiet time, in March chapter 6, John the Baptist, remember John the Baptist, Jesus called him the greatest prophet, and here he is in jail, and what happens to him? His head gets chopped off because of Herod's step-daughter's request. Just like that. It's like, God, what?

The one you called the greatest prophet and he's sitting in jail and they come in and they just chop off his head, present it to the king on a platter. Doesn't make sense, does it? There's a lot of things in life that don't make sense to us, but things like that can lead us to thinking, you know, if I just do everything God wants me to do, then he's going to give me what I want.

Do you know I hear that so much when people call me on the phone or come and visit me and say, Rich, our relationship's falling apart. I think I just need to get back to church. 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 am.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-08 14:49:08 / 2024-03-08 14:53:39 / 5

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