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Living a Good Life: Prepare to Die, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: Prepare to Die, Part 2

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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March 14, 2024 10:00 am

In this message, Pastor Rich reminds us that Whatever difference we can make for eternity happens now.  This life is a gift entrusted to us for a time.

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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 9, King Solomon confronts the idea of death and offers us wisdom about how to live in a way that prepares us for death. In this message, Pastor Rich reminds us that whatever difference we can make for eternity happens now. This life is a gift entrusted to us for a time. What does it look like to live it out in light of eternity? Let's listen as Rich answers this question from the text. This is the second part of a message from Ecclesiastes 9, 1-10. It was first preached on June 24, 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. Every one of us have an element of madness in our hearts. Are you willing to confess that? Now, some of us are. Some of us are not. Let me tell you why he says madness. Because we have a propensity for an irrational departure from infinite satisfying good.

Good with a capital G, which means it's a person. We have a proneness to depart from him thinking we know better. He is infinite satisfying good and we think we know better. Now that's insanity.

That's madness. And yet we struggle with that every day, don't we? This is what Solomon is saying.

This is the root of the problem. This is at the root of the brokenness of life. All the unfairness in the world, all the fights and the wars, all sadness and brokenheartedness. All of it comes back to this evil and madness.

This irrational tendency is in the heart of man. So are we divinely appointed to live a hard and unfair life and then just die? It sounds kind of dark and hopeless, doesn't it? As Dwight was reading this, it sounded like, man, this is kind of dark.

I need something to lift me up. There's darkness here, isn't there? When we recognize that something is very, very wrong and we recognize that the place where it's wrong is right here in my own heart and mind, that's when we are led in Scripture to recognize the rescue of God's provision through the redemption of Jesus Christ.

Because he's the one who makes all things new. You see, there is hope in this. That's why we didn't stop at verse 6, we went all the way through verse 10. But look what he says at the beginning of verse 4, But he who has joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Now, some of you might have that plastered on your refrigerator or maybe on the rearview mirror of your car, right? A living dog is better than a dead lion. The living have hope. Why does he say that? Jesus said, because I live, you shall live also. So there is hope. A living dog is better than a dead lion.

Why would he say that? Here's why. Because the living can actually do something that makes a difference for eternity. This gets to the meaning and the purpose of life. And it is other than self-indulgence before you wander off the radar of existence. That's not life, that's existence.

And yet, if that's the case that someone is living, then they've missed it entirely. Because it says here, the living know that they will die. The living know that they will die. What's the point of him saying that?

The point is this. If you know that you will die, you can prepare for it. Have you prepared to die? How do you prepare to die? If you don't prepare to die by being gloomy and lighting candles in a dark room and wearing black, that's not what he's talking about.

How do you prepare to die? You do so by having lived well, making the most of this temporary trust. Making the most of it. How shall we, the writer of Hebrews says, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

The greatest gift God has given you is himself in the person of his son Jesus Christ. To offer you that remedy from the madness that exists in here. The living have hope. So, we prepare to die by having lived well, making the most of this temporary trust. So, let's talk about making the most of life. And that's what Solomon does now as we continue at verse 7.

To make the most of life. And we prepare to die with true grit. G-R-I-T. Somebody said this to me, I use the southern word grits. No, I didn't say grits. You don't prepare to die with grits. Just with grit. G-R-I-T. Grits has nothing to do with living well. Well, some of you might disagree with that.

I like fried grits, by the way, but shrimp and grits, I just don't get that. Anyway, look what he says here at the beginning of verse 7. Go!

Go! This is a commission. It's a commission to live enjoying God's gifts and the life that He has entrusted to you. There it is. Now, this isn't forgetting everything that he said in verses 1 to 6. Something has gone terribly wrong. But the living have hope.

And where it has gone wrong is in the heart of mankind. And so, as he says, enjoy life, he gives us four things here in these next few verses to prioritize things that make a difference in your life. If you're going to live well, these are the things you ought to pursue.

And none of them have anything to do with material stuff. Just need to get that out there. G-R-I-T.

Pursue these to live well. G, verse 7. Go eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart.

And the Baptists are all in shock. That's really in the Word of God? Gratitude. This is gratitude. Eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart. This is not a verse that says, get all you can.

It doesn't say that at all. Because, listen to this, self-indulgence is the enemy of gratitude. Learn that. The more you indulge yourself, the less grateful you will be. This is about contentment and joy. In other words, what Solomon is saying in verse 7 is, live your life as a thank you. Live your life as a thank you. Instead of a sense of entitlement, this is what I deserve.

If you're bent on life, pursuing what you think you deserve, again, you have built for yourself a bubble of an imaginary life. But you need to live your life as a thank you. Instead of entitlement and making demands or worshipping things instead of worshipping God. Because if you worship things, you end up abusing them.

And that definitely leads to unhappiness. And he says in verse 7, the end of verse 7, for God has already approved what you do. The NIV translates that, it is now that God favors what you do.

Here's the meaning, here's the sense of this. All activity in your life, and you're just looking at your life but God sees all of us together and all people, the billions of people around the world and throughout all history, right? All the activity in your life, whether it's pleasure or difficulty. All of that activity is woven into the tapestry of his purpose.

Every bit of it. So live your life as a thank you. That's why the scriptures say, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica, in everything demand your rights. In everything, grumble. Or, in the things that you like, give thanks. See, it doesn't say that. Does the Bible really say, in everything, give thanks?

It says that. You know why I know that? Because that's the very first verse I remember memorizing. In everything, give thanks. For this is the will of God. Let your life be a thank you to God.

Because here's the point, Chris mentioned this earlier. If you know God, if you know God for who he truly is, and you have a glimpse and you have grasped the grace of God in your life, it will manifest with gratitude. It will inevitably lead you to gratitude. Because if your life is not manifesting gratitude, then you probably have some kind of a misunderstanding of God. You need to know God for who he is. Gratitude is so key. It needs to be a key component of our lives. That's why he says what he does in verse 7.

So, make the most of your life by pursuing gratitude, developing gratitude. Secondly, look with me at verse 8. Let your garments be always white, let not oil be lacking on your head.

Okay, Rich, explain that one. Garments always white, let not oil depart from your head. That is as opposed to someone walking around in sackcloth and ashes. Now, this is not a fashion statement I'm making here today, okay? Why would somebody walk around in sackcloth dumping ashes on their head? Shame, they're mourning.

They're alone, leave me alone, I'm going to mourn. And when he says, let your garments always be white and let not oil depart from your head. Do you know what he's saying?

This is the Rich Powell translation. Make sure you party. Make sure you party. What he is commending is relationships.

Because you are designed for relationship. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-14 12:16:18 / 2024-03-14 12:20:48 / 5

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