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Living a Good Life: How to Enjoy Life, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: How to Enjoy Life, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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March 11, 2024 10:00 am

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 Truth Network. Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of 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. This is the second part of a message first preached on June 17, 2018 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. It's part of a series in Ecclesiastes called Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey. 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.

Do you know what that is? That's paganism, because what that person is thinking, if I just do what I'm supposed to do spiritually, then our relationship is going to get back together. You know, it doesn't always work that way, because they're approaching it wrong. Have you ever asked yourself the question, what did I do to deserve this? Those are the words of a pagan. Is that what you believe about God? If I just go to church, if I just have my quiet time, then this will work out. Is that why you have your quiet time, so that you can appease the divine, so that He will give you what you want?

Is that why you've come to church today? It's paganism, it doesn't work. God becomes a means to our desired ends, that's paganism.

Don't be a pagan, because in doing so, we understand God in a quid pro quo mentality, if I do this, then you will do this for me, and then we become frustrated when reality is incongruous with our expectations, and we get disappointed in God. There is a song that we sing, I think it's a very, very good song. We have, I think, one of the most excellent repertoire of music in the history of all Christendom.

You can disagree with me, but that's okay, this is America, you have a right to be wrong. This is the song, the perfect wisdom of our God, the verse says, oh grant me wisdom from above to pray for peace and cling to love and teach me humbly to receive the sun and rain of your sovereignty. Each strand of sorrow has a place within this tapestry of grace, so through the trials I choose to say your perfect will in your perfect way.

Do you believe that? Because you can't enjoy life if you don't. I think this is in the background of what Solomon is teaching us here, so if we are to enjoy life, even with all the things that are incongruous about life, the things that don't make sense, we need to understand the brevity of life. This too shall pass, and let's make sure that we're not pagans, we're not syncretistic in our faith. Say no God, enjoy him, walk with him, and thankfully take the sun and rain of his sovereignty. Here's the second thing Solomon says, and we're going to like this verse, look at verse 15, and I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful. Now that makes a good sermon, doesn't it?

That's what we want to hear, but remember he is saying this in the context of verse 14, all the things about life that you don't understand. How do you enjoy life? Number one, understand the brevity. Number two, enjoy the experience. Enjoy the experience. It doesn't necessarily say that all the experience is good, or pleasurable I should say. Enjoy the experience.

I commend joy. Let me give you a Rich Powell translation, well, don't be an Eeyore. Don't be an Eeyore. You can't be a person who is walking with God and have a complaining disposition.

The two are incongruous. Enjoy the experience. Cheerfully, thankfully, use God's gifts. When he says eat, that's sustenance, and drink, and the drink in scripture is very often used in the sense of experiencing something. Eat and drink. Take in the experience and be joyful.

The word is cheerful. Be cheerful, and this is parallel to what he said all the way back in chapter 2, 2 verses 24 to 25. He says pretty much the same thing, and it's parallel very much to what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6.

Don't be anxious for anything, but seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. And so when he says this in verse 15, I want you to catch this now, okay? He says, I commend joy for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful. So when he says eat and drink and be joyful, you do that as a thank you. You do it as a thank you.

Why? Because remember what he said in verse 519? 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. Eat and drink and be joyful, thankfully. Live your life as a thank you to the giver.

That's how you enjoy life. Toil through the days of his life that God has given him. It's like envision a kite, a kite that is flying well up in the breeze can be a beautiful thing but a kite isn't an enjoyable kite unless what?

Somebody is holding the string and you are the kite and you realize that as you are this kite flying in the breeze, somebody is holding the string and it's not you. All the good gifts come from the Father above. I want you to notice something here and we are going to couple verses 15 and 16 together.

Look at the end of verse 15. His toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun. It is entrusted to you by God. God has given it to you.

And then at the beginning of verse 16, when I applied my heart to know wisdom. You see, that's stewardship. When you recognize that life is given by God, the stuff of life is given by God and you apply your heart to know wisdom, that's stewardship. Stewardship is a key element of being able to enjoy life. Life is a stewardship. It's not a possession. It's not yours to do with as you will. It is a stewardship.

It belongs to somebody else. You have been entrusted with it to manage it well. That's part of enjoying life. Enjoy the experience. The gifts of God, they are gifts, yes, but they are entrusted to us. And they range everything from the time that we have, to the food that we eat, to the relationships in our life, the children, the parents, the siblings, all of these are gifts entrusted to us by God. The things that we can enjoy.

Yes, enjoy the experience. But here's the second part. Because each one of these has kind of like a positive and a negative.

Enjoy the experience. But secondly, the gifts of God are not to be the chief good and they are not to be misused. They are not to be the chief good. The gifts of God are not your chief good. And how many people walk through life enjoying the gifts of God, whether they acknowledge their gifts of God or not, but they walk through life enjoying the gifts of God and too many are pursuing those gifts as if those gifts are the chief good. A position, a person, power, all of these are gifts of God. But if we pursue them as if they are the chief good, you're not going to enjoy life.

You'll miss out. And this is an example of the rich fool in Luke chapter 12, remember, he filled up his barns and they were getting stuff so he tore them down and built bigger barns and he takes his ease at night. He says in Luke 12, and it says, eat, drink, and be merry. You're good.

You're good. The gifts of God were his chief good. And what did God call him? You fool. You are not rich towards God. You want to enjoy life? Then don't make his gifts your chief good and don't abuse them.

Don't misuse them either. And that is one clear way that we abuse the gifts of God is when we make them our chief good. When God's gifts are our chief pursuit instead of him, you will be unable to enjoy life with satisfaction.

So Solomon is teaching us how to enjoy life. Number one, understand the brevity. Number two, enjoy the experience. Number three, embrace the mystery. Embrace the mystery. 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. We'll see you next week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-11 12:11:15 / 2024-03-11 12:15:37 / 4

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