Fear God

Fear God

J.C. Thompson |

What’s the Point?
Message 4 Fear God
J.C. Thompson
January 16, 2022

A. Introduction

  1. Today we finish our series on Ecclesiastes called What’s the Point?
  2. Our Theme Verse today is at the very end of the book from Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT) - 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
  4. Solomon wrote this book to help others see what is the meaning of life. Today we will come upon Solomon’s closing remarks, his conclusions about life here under the sun.

Solomon’s conclusions:
1. FACE your mortality. (Ecclesiastes 9:1-6; 11:7-10; 12:1-7)

  1. Solomon has been clear throughout this book that we are facing our own demise in this life and we would profit from considering our own mortality.
  2. Ecclesiastes 9:2 (NLT) - 2 The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.
  3. Solomon gives 6 pairs to show us that death is coming for all of us regardless of the way that we live.
  4. This flies in the face of some preachers who will tell you that if you will just obey God that blessing will come your way.
  5. But that should cause us to ask the question, “What’s the Point?” One of the main goals of Ecclesiastes is for you to ask and answer that question: If I am going to die, regardless of how I live? I cannot prolong it or improve my quality of life or avoid death, What is the point of living?
  6. Why live the right way if I am just going to die; suffering the same fate as an evil person? But Solomon here says that to us it is meaningless. In other words, based on our observations under the sun, we suffer the same fate, but Solomon is advocating this is not the case with God who see and judges all things.
  7. Solomon also expresses a need to see life regardless of your stage or age in it.
  8. Ecclesiastes 11:7-10 (NLT) - 7 Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. 8 When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.
  9. 9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
  10. Solomon gives advice to those who are older and younger.
  11. To the older folks he says that they should enjoy every single day, but expect dark days and do not put as much hope in the future of this life under the sun.
  12. To the younger people, he wants them to enjoy their youth. But not to enjoy it in spite of God’s commands.
  13. You see the benefit of both of these groups. The wisdom and maturity of the elders and the vigor and zest of the youth. Both living life under the sun even with its disappointments, but following God’s commands.
  14. ILL: Youth Wild Oats
  15. Solomon is not advocating for young people to waste their life, instead to enjoy it living within the parameters that God has set for you.
  16. This is also one of the great sorrows of our life: We were meant to live, but we all end up dying because of our sin (Romans 5). Solomon wants us to realize that the more we fight against this truth, the more we become frustrated at the lack of control.
  17. Because of sin, death is waiting for you. The sooner you embrace that information, the more fully you can invest yourself into life beyond the sun.
  18. But we often spend our time relying on things that are certain.
  19. Ill: Refrigerator Not working
  20. Would you consider placing your life into the hands of God rather than keeping your life in your own hands?
  21. APP: What are you doing in order to maintain in your life what you would call certainties? What are the things that you think you can control in this life?

2. FIND pleasure in today. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; 10:1-20. C/R: Deuteronomy 33:25)

  1. Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 (NLT) - 7 So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! 8 Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!
    9 Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
  2. Here Solomon provides a few examples of ways to enjoy your life here on earth.
  3. Eat good food (7), Drink wine (7). Now I’ve talked about this before but it is one of the things that we should be doing on a regular basis. Our food and drink are to be received with thanksgiving and joy.
  4. It is also important to note again that this is not advocating something different than the Bible reveals to us elsewhere. The Bible does not condone drunkenness and the Scriptures also teach us that we are to consider others’ convictions in our decision as well.
  5. Moderation is an ok position for a Christian to take and no alcohol consumption at all is a reasonable position to take as well. But we should not be in conflict over this or treat someone differently because of it. So, a nice glass of wine, or a glass of bourbon is not sinful and it is ok to enjoy it.
  6. Then Solomon suggests that we should wear fine clothes and a splash of cologne. Other translations might say “anoint your head with oil” those seem very different.
  7. But they are very similar. The dry climate of the Middle East would have meant they would have put oil on their face to keep their skin moist.
  8. He is talking about wearing nice clothes and enjoying a good skin care routine.
  9. Solomon also advocates for you to enjoy your spouse. Their company, their friendship, and even physical pleasure with your wife.
  10. Fellas, put your nice clothes on, some cologne, find a nice restaurant and take your wife on a date and have the best time! Enjoy it.
  11. Solomon also encourages us to find joy in our work and hobbies.
  12. These earthly gifts are meant to also make our heart groan for the gifts of life after earth.
  13. In reading Ecclesiastes, we may not see clearly what Solomon believes about the afterlife. We do know that he knows of judgement, but he talks about eating and drinking a lot.
  14. We see Jesus living this way as well. He seems to be around food a lot. This is a picture of what is to come.
  15. Sometimes you hear that the way that Christians should think is not to enjoy the pleasures of this world. But that is not a biblical idea.
  16. Christians should not enjoy sin. But Christians should enjoy the blessings of this life even more than those with no faith in a Creator. Not only can we enjoy the benefit these things bring to us, but they also grow our affection, praise and honor to God. 
  17. ILL: Prayer before dinner and after dinner
  18. Solomon in Chapter 10 also warns of foolishness. Wise people do not do foolish things.
  19. Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 (NLT)2 A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. 3 You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street!
  20. Solomon here is just again showing us that wisdom and foolishness are seen in behavior and choices.
  21. Unfortunately, we have seen a great disservice here in this country when it comes to how Christian thought it taught. We sometimes catch that it is what we believe, or what we think about God and His World rather than what we do.
  22. But in Chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes, he shares that we discover wisdom or foolishness in people by their choices, not by their thoughts. That is not to say that what we think is not important, but faith without deeds is dead says James.
  23. Real, enlivened faith changes hearts and results in benevolent living to honor God and serve others.
  24. APP: How are your actions showing your joy in the blessings of God?Who have you shared your blessings with?

3. FEAR God. (Ecclesiastes 12:8-14. C/R: Proverbs 2:1-5; 9:10)

  1. Vanity, Vanity, all is Vanity were the first words of the Preacher and the last words here. (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 12:8)
  2. Ecclesiastes 12: 8-12 (NLT) - 8 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”
    9 Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. 10 The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. 11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
    12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.
  3. Wisdom is beneficial, it is helpful.
  4. A “goad” is a pointed stick used by shepherds to guide sheep away from danger and into safety.
  5. The words of the wise, especially the Word of God should be a comfort to us even thought it might not feel good to hear the truth initially.
  6. Solomon was not some scholar shut away from others. He was living life right alongside them and he decided to share his wisdom with us by recording it.
  7. Essentially this book is like that truth. These sayings are hard and difficult. Face death, we will all die, your bodies decay and waste away, enjoy your life while you can, don’t waste your money on frivolous investments, work hard, enjoy life.
  8. But they are not only painful, they are true.
  9. He wrote us to us the truth. But that truth is also a delight.
  10. I’ve met many people who disregard the Gospel saying that it is completely fabricated, old stories of an old world. Fiction, etc.
  11. But those people are using their “issues” with the Bible to keep God at arm's length. They allow themselves to live life on their own terms. They don’t wrestle with how their actions, words, and thoughts impact anyone but themselves.
  12. But these words are also heavenly.
  13. Then he ends his book with these two verses.
  14. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT) - 13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
  15. What’s the point? How and Why should we live our life?
  16. I want to use another translation to pull some more richness from this text.
  17. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV) - The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
  18. This is the WHOLE DUTY of man. Every thought, dream, effort, plan, aspiration. WHOLE is about God.
  19. God will judge everything, good or bad.
  20. I want to share a tool with you today that is the picture of Ecclesiastes, but more fully it is a picture of the Gospel.
  21. For those of you in here that your WHOLE DUTY is not concerned with God, this is the message, this is what you are denying.
  22. If you are a follower of Christ, this is a tool to share the Gospel with others using what you’ve learned from Ecclesiastes especially.
  23. This is not the only tool but it is one and one that you can use today.

4. 3 Circles Example

  1. God’s Design – God has a design for our lives. He has a design for our choices, our marriages, our families, our work. When we live by God’s design, we get to experience His blessings. The problem is that we do not choose to live by God’s design. When we live apart from God’s design, the Bible uses a word to describe that choice. That word is Sin.
  2. Sin – when we sin, when we leave God’s blessing to live life our own way, we end up in a place called brokenness.
  3. Brokenness – we all know what brokenness feels like, shame, guilt, rejection, fear, failure. When we experience brokenness, we try to fix it. This is what Ecclesiastes taught us so well. This world is broken, look at it. We try self-care, promotions, home projects, substance abuse, religion, we try to make more money in a desire to fix what is broken. We call these solutions.
  4. Solutions – we use solutions to try to mask, escape, lessen our brokenness. While this brokenness hurts, it is also our helper. Solomon, by showing you the brokenness, wants you to see that there must be more than what is available to us under the sun. We cannot solve our brokenness using our human resources, it must come from God. The Bible tells us that God’s answer is the Gospel.
  5. Gospel – The Gospel is simply the Good News. Jesus came to earth and never lived life apart from God’s design. But Jesus was tortured and put to death on a cross for the sins of the world. While Jesus was on that cross, God put the sins of the world onto His Son and Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. After that, Jesus announced that His work was finished and He died. They took His body, put it in a tomb and 3 days later He was raised from the dead.
  6. The Bible says that Jesus was raised from the dead to prove to the world that He is God and that what He said about Himself and God was true! Jesus came to forgive our sins and heal our brokenness. The change we need does not come from us, it comes from God. The Bible says that we must do is to Repent from our sins and Believe the Gospel.
  7. Belief – When the Spirit reveals our brokenness, He also reveals our need for a change. Much like Solomon’s understanding that life under the sun is not enough, the Spirit reveals the same to you. Then convinces you to place your faith in Christ. You respond to the Spirit’s leading by repenting of our sins.
  8. Repent simply means to change our mind and change our direction. When you place your faith in Christ, repentance and belief are the first steps of obedience to Christ, The Spirit will come into your life, empower your obedience and begin to heal the brokenness in your life. Then you begin to live, together with the Spirit inside of you, Jesus’ example before you and God’s presence around you to recover and pursue God’s design for life.
  9. Recover and Pursue – Today you can begin to live in God’s Design once again. You do this by continuing to Communicate with God, Connect with Others, and Care for others
  10. It is important to know that just as we’ve learned in Ecclesiastes that our lives will not be perfect by placing our faith in Christ, but our sins will be forgiven our brokenness will be healed and we can begin by faith pursuing God’s design in our life today.
  11. ONSITE: If that is you and you want to place your faith in Christ today, will you just come down front and talk with our CARE VOLUNTEERS?
  12. ONLINE: IF that is you and you want to talk to someone about finding faith in Christ, call 864.688.8355 and someone will connect with you today.

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