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January 11, 2021 4:32 pm
Good morning we are starting a brand-new series in the book of Ecclesiastes. So get your Bible turn to Ecclesiastes chapter 1 and Y are turning their you may not know this but just just how much of our dollar.
Do you think is digital means that it doesn't is not paper would merely paper dollars you got your wallet how much of her currency is digital 90% of our currency is actually digital it's electronic. It sits on a computer somewhere and just think about that for a second, let's say there was a big explosion and we lost all power.
Something happened in. You know, this pandemic turned into a zombie apocalypse or something. What happens then to all that currency is gone is the thing you know something we once had and could move all sorts of purchases across the world now was absolutely gone.
Were talking about an Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is very interesting book. Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes is a book that seemingly dark it presents a different side of life that I think a lot of times we read that book. It seems almost hopeless, and I think when you're reading the book of Ecclesiastes. For the first from 11 chapters and it seems pretty hopeless until the very end. Chapter 12 and, finally, takes a turn in and and the writer gets to the point where he's like yes this is what this all means, but we don't know exactly for sure hundred percent who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. It seems probable that the book was written by Solomon King Solomon and read verse one of chapter 1 it says the words of the preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Now it's it's a book about wisdom it fits in the wisdom genre so you got Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, song of Solomon Ecclesiastes would be one of those books in the wisdom literature category and this would be a very unique book even in the wisdom literature category have it almost sounds like a sarcastic bite to it. It's your resume is the motivational posters in the be something like positivity or real real is reality and it has something below it was really funny and because nothing to do with motivating you, but more demotivating you and in Ecclesiastes almost feels that way when you read it so were talking through the book of Ecclesiastes.
Theirs is a couple of things.
A couple of things that can go through the whole book. What this word vanity. Maybe your translation says meaningless.
You see, and in verse two vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity and I were reading from the English standard version, but depending on the translation you have might say meaningless vanity might say something else. This word literally means breath or vapor or wind, it's a word that is translated in several books in the Old Testament is an idol or false God.
It's an interesting book when you read your interesting word may read this word vanity in English standard version translates that as vanity were to talk about this idea of chasing the wind.
The pursuits of think about just somebody you said I'm going to try to catch the wind today. Never go outside in a windy day.
They see the wind blowing to the trees and they start running after the wind. You would think that person was a crazy person because of course they're not going to catch the wind.
Imagine like someone is that you find the end of a rainbow I would keep driving my car. You see a rainbow down the road to drive my car to get to the end of the rainbow, you're never going to get to the end of the rainbow. It's in an endless pursuit of something that'll never be achievable and I think the book of Ecclesiastes really talks about is this idea of these endless pursuits of of worthless pursuits that people engage themselves in in these pursuits. People think are so important in life and in reality they're nowhere near the importance that we put that that kind of value one. It's over and talk about worthless pursuits alter the book of Ecclesiastes writer.
There probably Solomon writes about indulgence.
He writes about wisdom, he writes about all these good things he writes about bad things that people pursue after they live their lives for me talks about the other day.
It's all vanity is all meaningless.
It's all a vapor it's all chasing after the wind. Solomon had it all. Look at Solomon's life. He had planned he had cattle he had livestock. He had all that she wanted. He had hundreds and hundreds of wives if not thousands of wives. He partook in everything he wanted to partaken and it was still meaningless. We realize with the life of Solomon know it's a it's a very tragic life is when Solomon starts out as ruler over Israel. The economic fell under some big shoes to see his dad was David. David had built this kingdom in Israel and conquered land at the land of the land in Israel now was this superpower and in that area. Solomon then gets to build on build the kingdom up so he builds the temple and he builds all sorts of things and in kings and queens are coming into his kingdom, giving him gifts separate gifts of for Gypsies got fame is that power is get wealth to get everything that man would possibly want.
So he indulges himself.
He takes pride in whatever he what he builds and makes in at the end of his life. Possibly when you're leaving the book of Ecclesiastes is life is not that the same that it once was to see all the women that he married Val believe different things they took his heart away from the Lord, and he took his heart away until these other pursuits.
Very interesting if Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes probably did.
This is a book of a man.
See commanders probably pretty depressed and how he spent his life just like money and time. Our lives are a resource that we spend adequate.
Solomon is trying to do is help us understand what we are spending our lives on and what I want to encourage you today is to think through what you're spending your life on what pursuits are you trying to go after good bad and what this whole series is hopefully going to do is is going to shatter perception of what is is meaningful in life.
What really has value and how do we appreciate and enjoy the gift of life that God has given us. Ecclesiastes going to go down the dark road. So when we talk about this at there's there's kind of a paradox here that were to be discussing Ultrabook Ecclesiastes has this we think about how big God is goddess big righties. He's all-powerful is omnipresent.
His omniscience all these things than what is man compared to God man is insignificant me is limited to power were tiny speck you into a tall tall mountain very very top. You look down and try to see. I think I can see my house maybe in a world where it is.
It's up to the top Mountlake Genesee Valley here you live in the Canary to come up to know below mender mail and speaking he looked down in Tennessee about the area remove your houses truck and see it tiny coping further space in the stratosphere than you hired that all of a sudden tiny. They got even farther and farther and farther in our solar system and Earth just tiny speck in further further held in or sign our solar system is is a speck in the galaxy and were just one galaxy. And in this whole entire universe, and in the further you go out the more insignificant smaller and you're just one piece on this planet in the middle of this enormous universe. The bigness of God makes us see more insignificant, knowing that the question is what matters.
What matters, so Ecclesiastes you go down that road.
It's gonna focus on the bigness of God and the smallness of man and the plans of man and how we tend to over inflate our own egos and we make ourselves see much bigger than we really are. Now the other side that the Bible still talks a lot about that. We have a purpose in their God has put us here for a purpose and that he wants to use us to a purpose to achieve the ends in which he has put us on this earth to achieve, but Ecclesiastes unit on this road so showing the insignificance of man. So with that Ecclesiastes chapter 1 turned to look at verse two vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun generation goes generation comes but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down and hastens to place where it rises the wind blows to the south and goes around to the north around and around goes the wind and on it circuits the wind returns all streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full to the place where the streams flow. There they flow again all things are full of weariness. A man cannot utter it, the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing what has been is what will be in what has been done is what will be done and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, see, this is new. It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after this whole series. This theme of today service sermon Ecclesiastes chapter 1. Is this at all pursuits in life are no better than chasing the wind.
All pursuits in life are no better than chasing the wind and what I hope to challenge you want today is a challenge you on what is your pursuit in life and and a focus on what really matters. The first thing we see here is he from verse three what is man game while the toilet which he toils under the sun that the writer here talks about toiling. What does man gain all the toil that he toils underneath the sun and works and works and works and work ethic about this for second spend your life working your 401(k) retirement benefits and that hopefully one day you can use those things but a lot of us of the leave number 6570. How many years left on this life to enjoy their retirement and then when Apogee die and what would happen. Joe Gibbs taking it with you so you work your entire life for these things and that one day are going to be gone. What is maintained for all that he toils under the sun. Life is a lose lose bottom-line business life is a lose lose bottom-line business is good likeness of his gifts got heavy gets depressing. We serve thinking through what the writer here is saying about life. But think about this you investing your view to putting money into an investment you were to put money into investment.
He knew that stock was going to grow 10 million% but you were never going to see the fruits of that labor affect your mental lose it all. One day was can be just gone gone walk of investment without being which would you want to put your money there would you want to spend your your your investment into this particular stock will no I don't think anybody got any kind of common sense would say that is a valuable place to put your money.
Life is a lose lose bottom-line business know what is a writer trying to help us understand is that one day we will die one day.
This life comes to an end. So if we are just focused on the here and now and not focused on how this life impacts the rest of eternity that also. We have no what what meaning do we have I think this where Paul talks about prescription.
Chapter 15. He says that the resurrection is in happen the never happened. There is no resurrection of the dead where we hear why we preaching why are we doing any of this.
What value does this have the resurrection didn't happen. There is no life after death there is no what comes after. There is no eternity, so I know we just eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow were going to die see when you put things in perspective of life. We can pour ourselves into use all these different things that we think are going to bring us valuable.
One day we will die.
There's a racecar driver, he probably never heard of them. I'd I had heard of until this week things Jason Leffler. He competed in some NASCAR races race and a lot of other different divisions wants everything to do was to race on dirt tracks and three dirt tracks work the same standards. No safety that you had a lot of NASCAR tracks today and he's going around races NASCAR mean this guy is one of the top drivers in the world get behind a motor vehicle and and and do amazing things with any goes run start tracking what he didn't realize that the front end of his vehicle didn't have the right integrity and that the front antenna loses some of that integrity in his mechanical failure. He winds up crashing right into the wall and he dies these behind the five-year-old son and he leaves behind his his fiancée was about to get married to.
Just like that the blink of an eye. Life is over and we think about life everything but death and that that is where the hardest things we deal with in life rental. The loss of people we love the loss of people we care about its difficult, challenging doesn't make sense.
It it it out. It always hurts. It is never is something where we were just one day someone you care about and love deeply, you're never going to get to a place we just go okay I got it make sense happy, never happy you make in the place of understanding or of our place of acceptance, but we still miss the people we love. And I think when it comes to life. Death is one most difficult things we deal with not just for those we love, but also for ourselves for really being honest. Death is a reality that we all face. Honestly, it's what you don't like to think about gone down there that rabbit show before reminder what happens when I die, you know what what happened fight when I do die you know what's can happen to my things and what were people I care about.
Were they going to do if your how to do like a life insurance policy, and she can talk about death like it's just this random thing is happening in sight so personal. Almost as weird to talk about it. Really, watching like life insurance commercials you like talking make a life insurance commercial like people to watch this you need it. You don't really want to talk about it. It gives such such as weird emotional experience that we we have to wrestle with because death is strange. We live our lives if were not going to die.
We pretend that it doesn't exist and that there is no death at the end of all of this will would rather just not think about it, but the truth business Solomon writer here of Ecclesiastes helps us realize that this coming life is a lose lose bottom-line business. One day you're gonna die lose it's just that's the matter of the issue so all this things always toils all the strivings that we work in a work and work in. Maybe your whole life is working for the weekend is like I got this week in time and this is my time.
And that's give me the time when I get to enjoy myself. That's it. What is I get you can your life. Or maybe you love education you want degree after degree after degree after degree was a picture of the end of your life. Maybe you're acquiring more things, wealth, possessions, your trial of the Solomon lifestyle and plan your life would you attain what dismay can get gained by the all the toil and what you toils under the sun, the great question.
The second thing we see here is that your life will be outlasted probably forgotten your life will be outlasted probably forgotten. Look what he says here in verse three, four generation goes in the generation comes with yours rings forever generation goes in generation comes our generation will be gone one day's thing about this like you know your great great great grandfather. Do you know what that life was like to know that his friends and you know the people that he knew and you know all of the that the people who were influential at that time you place in history probably don't.
There's a select group of people that we would remember million from a generation from now. But even in that group of people.
The further time goes along decades and centuries.
The more they are forgotten and the more there forgotten, the more their forgotten theme of this with their whole digital world that we have now one day if we do not have anything digital electronic permit. If there was if we wound up being a multi-planetary species going to Mars and other planets that have an earth were to blow up the merchant to find out the history there.
We do have any kind of storage of that magic just trying to figure out what happened here. What's the history we would be forgotten. So the only things that retain information is is pieces of electronic data storage and that retains all of her history. Your life probably will probably be a lot will be outlasted probably forgotten to give her regarding Chester Arthur, if you're really big history buff. Maybe you have humans or 21st president.
Most people do not even remember who Chester Arthur ever was. He was elected in office. He came after Garfield Garfield was assassinated and that while he was an assassination attempt at later he died from that attempt and a later time, but Chester Arthur came into politics and at the time he's president United States.
He was probably the most fashionable president we've ever had so little fun fact. Impress your friends.
Yet, one of the best mustaches of any president just look them up see a picture. He was awesome.
Get 80 pair pants that he owned. He has so many projects he wanted to do to the White House them to beautify it. So what he does as he is like probably the first White House yard sale that's ever been, had a history of the White House's. He unloads 24 wagon loads of stuff. Some of them are crazy historical things like Lincolns things in Adam's things and all these like really amazing to me that he just getting rid of so we can fund like some special projects. He wants to make his house nicer for the four years that is there. Chester Arthur was a unique guy but truth is I that a lot of us of her to be honest, probably don't even know who that was.
Is the president of the United States. So, how much more do we think that if were living for our own legacy that our legacy will last. We die were probably going to be forgotten night shouldn't be something that keeps us makes us upset or worried or afraid because at the end of the day. If we have Jesus and this is the hope which were minute really hammer home in the end, but if we have Jesus you have everything.
He will not be forgotten.
He will live forever.
We will live forever in eternity with him but it's all under his banner, his legacy, his kingdom life be outlasted probably forgotten talks about the sun rises and goes down one thing it can remain the same as the same during Chester Arthur Stein.
In the same hundred years from now sons can arise go down and be nightfall. See mountains in Loehmann's probably still be out there in Ogden. The winds can keep going around verse 67 stream still to run to the sea. I love how Psalm talks about that that the sea doesn't fill out you know that it just kinda continues remain the same cc ocean's many says this in verse 11 there is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. Again, it's what you looking for living for your own legacy because you legacy probably is not going to be there third thing we see here is that all pursuits in life are unfulfilling. In verse eight, the writer says all things are full of weariness. A man cannot utter it, the eye is not satisfied with seeing the ear filled with hearing. The writer talks about this. It's going to weariness of life that as we continue to do the things your same things over and over and over again every day you get up pretty good work, come home to dinner my watch a show for bad go to bed, get up the next day go to work, come home just dinner watch a show go to bed. Over and over and over and over and over again. Their small little things like changes and celebrations in but you know in the older you get, the more you see the monotony of life and discomfort and that for sure the routine but the same thing happens over and over and over again, nothing new. You know, it's maybe a new problem we had built this problem before overdoing this problem now let's count weariness. The same thing. He says that the eye is not satisfied with seeing where the ear filled with hearing. And the more we see in the more we hear seems like the less satisfied we find ourselves ever just been so hungry I just ate and ate and ate and just couldn't feel yourself or maybe work.
You are so hungry and you tried to fill yourself up with, you know, some of those are like rice cakes or something your site map. I am not getting full because our celery I can think you burn more calories eating celery than you do eating it and actually fills you up so you can eat me celery you're actually workout and don't like it doesn't fill you and sustain you and so like that. There's things like that we do these pursuits in life we we go after we go after him.
We go after him and ultimately think they don't fulfill us completely. Were still wanting more. Still, wanting more. Now if you notice about just that you miss pass year 2020. Right. We had a really really rough year but something you may not know is statistically in the world. Global poverty is at the lowest it's ever been. Global hunger is at the lowest it's ever been. Literacy is the highest it's ever been wars of the lowest they've ever been. Star Wars still illiteracy still hungering and that child mortality. But all those things are best places they've ever been in the history of this planet and yet you know it's gonna suicide and how can we have all these amazing things happening over here and yet there's this sadness run fulfillment with life that wording we could stop over life is not worth living and that becomes more more thing we see Alexis and probably butchered his name Alexis day Tocqueville said this in 1830s and his observations on America. He said there is a strange melancholy that haunts the inhabitants in the midst of abundance.
There is a strange melancholy that haunts the inhabitants in the midst of abundance were these people have everything and yet there is sad how in the world could you be sad when you have everything. How can you be sad when you don't have hunger you have to worry about your your children dying of common illnesses and yet people are still depressed people are still looking for fulfillment in life and they cannot find fulfillment because all pursuits in life are unfulfilling.
The pursuit itself, gaining more progressing, more weeks. We think that we have to gain in progress mean look at all the technology we have right now you can watch whatever movies you want with subscription service. Any of these things in on your TV at home the Internet with information that I'll write her fingertips.
We can press a button on our phone and have food delivered to your house in note 500 years ago they would go outside. They gonna take their weapon with them and they get a track down an animal they have to find that animal for days and got killed an animal they gonna clean that animal which I cook the food. Hopefully the cooked out all the diseases I get sick from it and die and then negatively enough food to feed their families and and and that's life every single day chopping firewood there there making sure that no other enemies are not trying to destroy them or kill them, so there protecting their homes and we have all this writer, fingertips, and we are unfulfilled. When underwriters trying to help people understand is that if we think these pursuits in life are going to be fulfilling to us were wrong there entirely unfulfilling and no matter how much effort and energy we put into those pursuits were going to come up short every single time off pursuits in life are unfulfilling. It's just for chasing the wind were chasing after the wind I would attach it to catch at this time. I know if I just run a little bit further to catch this wind were crazy were no different similes lost her mind and we live our life day after day after day after day doing the same things over and over and over and over again. Why it's human nature, it's as part of us were were born with this piece of us. I think it's the nature of the death of of what we recut we come into the world with that we pursue all this junk. And finally, this your achievements are probably not a special as you think your achievements are probably not a special as you think. I remember when I was a kid and he played soccer, but T-ball all the different sports and played in the season, would you get got a trophy.
Are you got a metal and it was like the first time I got was trophies. I thought it was the coolest thing ever excited understand how that all the other kids got one too and as you said, I got this awesome trophy. This is so cool I got a trophy for just playing the game, but it's meaningless. I do anything to earn that my parents, I never soccer the kid he was out there chewing on the grass got the same trophy. I did know no matter how hard he played how getting plate we all got the same trophy anything in life, we get these trophies get these awards we get these things in achievements look at me look at my look at my wall.
Now, look how awesome is this Sawyer trophies and all your achievements and all the things you've ever done in your so proud of those things, especially you think they are, you notice about leaving just like the Olympics but is like withered swimming or running. People keep beating records is not like I'm I guess people may be different in some ways, but were finding different ways to push ourselves and the physical body and their achievements in the how fast we can be and how fast we can swim at best begin by How far we can run and people keep beating records.
Just think about that you break break the world record in five years from now, some the speech of record and gingersnaps must be. It's their record juniors and then they beat their record. How important is your achievement. Your forgotten the slow guy now every speed near your time is a how I like just unsatisfying.
That is where we were so proud of what we got Vincent looking from behind us and just one up us and will continue to one up us for the rest of human history are achievements in a special as we think they are. I think it were just chasing the wind.
It's going after the wind running up the wind look at me, look what I've done. Look, I've accomplished nothing's now I hope you're utterly depressed after hearing all Ecclesiastes chapter 1 okay so were so insignificant.
What's the point that what's the point.
Now the writers no way to check for 12 to give you some of the point. But I'm jumping ahead here and give you the point is this that is insignificant as we are is a tiny speck on the earth.
Jesus still loved you even in your sinfulness even in your unrighteousness. Take human flesh to take your punishment on the cross to die for you to pay the price for you to redeem you because he loves you. The God of heaven who created this entire enormous universe care enough about you to die for you, cares enough about you that he gave his life for you that he was humiliated, humiliated because he loves you is the most amazing contradiction we have to see the bigness of God in our insignificance before we can understand how special how amazing the gospel really is that in all of this, Jesus loves you.
Jesus came after you. Jesus died for you. He knows every single hair in your head. He knows your plans. He knows your intentions. He knows your heart. He knows what you pray for he knows your concerns and we have to wrap both of those together we live in a culture where we want to jump into this idea of love love Jesus and is so amazing it absolutely is amazing.
I think I've were what I find most fascinating about who God is, but you can't understand the depth of God's love until you understand how really insignificant we are the center achievements is not what we've done is not her history started legacy is not any of our pursuits that God is like. I'm wowed by this. I'm impressed by you. He's like I'm not impressed by anything effectively to life in rebellion to me and instead of giving you your due punishment is wiping off like a speck on the map only to do everything to bring in my kingdom really want my children that is the gospel, so we look at life.
We look at the pursuits of life you really want to enjoy life.
Don't enjoy it for what you can get from it.
Don't enjoy it for just the sake of what you're going to achieve those things are fine to it to enjoy the singer find a still go after Reese got still wants to use us to achieve his ends in the world and we were still God has put us in his role as ambassadors for his mission for his product, process, and forced his plan. All of that is true, but we we must realize this dichotomy and understand our role to understand that we can enjoy life, because we have Jesus what makes life sweet is Jesus.
Jesus makes life sweet. Join God and enjoy him forever spinning our lives understanding, just that the simple joy of enjoying God and join God in our normal everyday life. And when Jesus is what brings you joy when Jesus is what brings you life and you're going through life also in our pursuits. Now take a new name were not pursuing wisdom, pursuing education for the sake of education were not pursuing growing our businesses for the sake of growing our businesses to build our own pockets were not just pursuing material possessions that we have more comfort in life when I just pursuing the weekend so we can have more fun and enjoy her hobbies what we're doing is we're pursuing those things to the ends while we're enjoying Jesus enjoying both Lord, are you chasing after the wind. Are you following the pursuits of life in your is running and running running or so to catch it one day not to catch it, or do you really found that joy comes from Jesus and your joy ultimately comes from Jesus if you like to have a pastor talk with you, pray for you. You can text redemption to 94,000 and we would love to talk with you or meet us next Sunday. Here at redemption church in the building and we would love to discuss with you how we can help you. We can pray for you will gotta be doing in your life spread where we thank you so much. Thank you so much Lord for your word. We thank you so much Laura for even this this depressing text Laura May we have come across this morning.
We got afraid that what it is done is shown. Lord, how great you are and even in our own insignificance. God you found significance in us, not because of anything we've done.
Lord just because you love us because of your unmatched love your your unconditional love for us that as human beings we try so hard to find fulfillment summary things are ultimately unfulfilling helpless ultimately find fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus name we pray