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Living a Good Life: Certain Uncertainties, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 10:00 am

Living a Good Life: Certain Uncertainties, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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March 19, 2024 10:00 am

Life offers uncertainty. We cannot control or predict our circumstances.  Yes, much about life is unknown.  So where do we go for wisdom for how to think about and engage with life and its uncertainty? Many of the voices elevated in our culture appeal to our senses and desires, but offer foolish advice.  In this message from Ecclesiastes 9:11-18, pastor Rich reminds us that we must tune in to Jesus’ quiet words of wisdom, allowing His work on our behalf to guide our choices and attitudes.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. We can all acknowledge that life offers uncertainty. We can't control or predict our circumstances.

Yes, much about life is unknown. So where do we go for wisdom for how to think about and engage with life and its uncertainty? Many of the voices elevated in our culture appeal to our senses and desires, but offer foolish advice. In this message from Ecclesiastes 9, 11-18, Pastor Rich reminds us that we must tune in to Jesus' quiet words of wisdom, allowing His work on our behalf to guide our choices and attitudes. You're listening to part two of a message titled Certain Uncertainties. It's part of a series on Ecclesiastes titled Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey. To hear the whole sermon or to listen to other messages in this series, you can go to www.delightingrace.com. When you get to be a certain age, you start thinking, am I ever going to be successful?

Right? Be successful today. I challenge you, how do you define success? Be successful today because you can't count on your calculations.

There is a second thing that we cannot count on. By the way, if I may, I asked Kyron's permission to share this, had lunch with him Friday. And when he was a camp director down in, was it South Carolina?

He said he was at a conference, I guess, up at ABC in West Virginia. And they went caving in Virginia. And you walk in the cave and it's really tight and there's a very small path and you've got these lights. And Kyron says, you know, it was kind of scary, kind of claustrophobic. And I had no idea where I was going.

It was really kind of spooky. He says, but Tom was the leader. And as long as I stayed near Tom, he knew what was ahead.

As long as I stayed near him, things were okay. Do you see a connection here? And Kyron equated that to where he is now and I'm sharing this with his permission, okay, where he is now. Kyron has had a plot twist in his life. Kyron and Margaret have had a plot twist in their lives. But Kyron loves God and he's following Christ. And sometimes it seems like the walls are closing in and there's a dark corner up ahead and he doesn't know where it's going.

But he recognizes that as long as he stays close to Christ, he's okay. You can't count on your calculations because a plot twist is going to come, isn't it? Here's a second thing that you cannot count on. And I'm going to give it to you right up front and then there's a little story here in the paragraph. The second thing you cannot count on is the crowd.

You cannot count on the crowd. What he has here in these verses, particularly verses 13 to 16, is the recounting of the siege and the sage. I think this is a true story that Solomon is recounting. He leaves the people anonymous, but I think he is recounting actual history. And it's the story of a siege of a small city and this powerful king was coming against the city and building up all the siege against it.

A few men in the city. And in the city there was this poor man and the poor were not recognized, but he was wise. He was very wise. And through his wisdom, he delivered the city. We don't know how that deliverance happened. It could have been numerous ways. But at any rate, he delivered the city through his wisdom.

And so the city was spared. But you skip ahead and the wise man was not recognized, he was forgotten. And what's worse is that his words of wisdom became disdained. And he was forgotten altogether. His wisdom was forgotten in principle.

It's kind of sad. And what Kyle and Dalish say about it, I think it's really good, is he was not listened to because he does not possess an imposing splendid outward appearance in accordance with which the crowd estimates the value of a man's words. He didn't have the image. He didn't have the status or the image of somebody you ought to believe.

And so he wasn't heeded. Although he did deliver the city. But who were the big losers in this scenario? He was the citizens of the city. They were the real losers. Why is that? Because they forgot the voice of wisdom. They listened to a more impressive voice, although that voice was a foolish one.

I want to move this right to application for us today. You say, well, I'm not a crowd follower, Rich. Are you not? I challenge you to consider that this morning. To make an assessment. Over a century ago, Soren Kierkegaard warned that the age of the crowd was upon us. In such an age, said Kierkegaard, people would not think of deciding for themselves. They would follow the advice given to children going off to a party.

And here it is. Look and see what others are doing and then behave like them. Does that not describe our culture? We judge our needs by what other people have.

So the question in application of this little story in verses 13 to 16. What is the loudest, most influential voice in our culture? Well, it could be a number of things, but I think there are two primary candidates. One is entertainment and the other is academia. And there is a blessed space for entertainment in God's economy.

And clearly for academia, for learning, for knowledge. But in these venues, there is a prevailing worldview with an agenda. And this is that loud voice that is speaking that tends to be drowning out the voice of the poor wise men.

So entertainment and academia are not the problem. They are simply the venue of communication. The problem is the message that they by and large are communicating.

And what is that? It's the voice of foolishness. Do you know what that voice of foolishness is today? It's secularization. Secularization being defined as the self is the center of all.

Don't tell me you're not a crowd follower because it's natural. The self is the center of all. And it is proclaimed through the megaphone of popular songs and popular shows and popular sages in the halls of academia. Secularization, the self is the center of all. And these can be very influential whether it's popular songs or popular shows or profs, influential people.

And it happens like this. Take a show for example. You have a likable character on this show. Probably very good looking. A likable character. And you can identify to some degree with that character. Maybe not in the looks but you can identify with their position in life.

Okay. And they draw you in that way. You like them and you can somehow they get to the point where you can identify with them. And you then can sympathize with them because they have this dilemma in life. And then with that dilemma they take a course of action that is contrary to God's character and purpose. But because you like them and you sympathize with them and you can identify with them.

Then this course of action that they have taken that is clearly contrary to God's character and purpose. You become a little bit desensitized to that. Because, well they're so nice and I can identify. I like them. And don't you mess with my music or my best, my favorite shows.

Don't you mess with them. And when they become, when sinful behavior becomes something to which we are a little bit desensitized. It becomes normalized.

Right? And they normalize foolish behaviors that are ultimately destructive. See as verse 18, wisdom is better than the weapons of war but one sinner destroys much good. Sin is destructive.

Did you know that? When we drift away from God's character and purpose it is by definition destructive. And we can be so easily lured to it because of the megaphone of popular songs, popular shows and popular sages. What is it that they are communicating?

What is the message coming out of these megaphones? The maximization of choice is our fundamental pursuit. That's the message of secularization where the self is the center of all. I must maximize my choices because it is after all my choice. Why? Because it's my life.

Do you see how that is purely under the sun? And because maximization of choice is a fundamental pursuit that means that you craft your own identity. And therefore it is right and appropriate for you to follow passion and abandon principle.

And included with that is a very healthy suspicion and often times a necessary separation from authority in order to realize the true self. 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 / 2024-03-19 12:25:44 / 2024-03-19 12:29:58 / 4

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