Faithlife Sermons

Out of Control pt 3

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Sermon Notes – Out of Control pt 3

Exegetical Outline – Ecclesiastes 3

  1. God has sovereignly appointed a time for every purpose/desire on earth (1).
  2. God has appointed times to bring about life and times to conclude it, times to restore and times to destroy (2-3).
  3. God has appointed a variety of responses to the events of life (4-5).
    1. Each activity is appropriate in its time and place (weep, laugh, mourn, dance).
  4. God has appointed a variety of activities in life (6-7).
    1. No single event is all-consuming in itself. The wise person, walking with God, knows when each is appropriate. The unhealthy person is consumed with one end or the other.
  5. God has appointed different relationships (8).
    1. Love/hate for personal relationships.

                                                              i.      God’s hate/wrath for sin put Jesus on the Cross. God’s love for His people kept Him there. It is not completely true to say “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” (see 14x God says He hates the sinner in the first 50 Psalms. Also, see Jn 3:36) God’s wrath does not necessarily eliminate His love. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive for Him. (Ex: Have you ever been extremely angry (even wrathful) at your spouse/child? Did you stop loving them at that moment? Love is unconditional. Wrath is conditional. When we deny the righteous consequence of wrath, we destroy a proper picture of holiness in our mind & heart. God never turned a blind eye to sin, nor did He forgo His wrath to redeem us. However, when we fail to love unconditionally through our wrath, we destroy a proper picture of God’s unconditional love. You cannot deny the abundance of passages where God passionately and wrathfully disciplines His children, while remaining faithful to His promise to love them.

    1. War/Peace for corporate relationships.
  1. Solomon repeats the truth that there is no profit to our labor (under the sun) (9). #. The manner in which God has given us the “task” of temporal pursuits and eternal desires is such that we will not grasp all God’s work from beginning to end (10-11).
  2. Our greatest pursuit should be to enjoy God’s goodness by doing what is good in our lifetime. (12-13)
  3. Our security should rest in God’s sovereignty and result in awe and trust. (14-15).
  4. God has appointed a time for judging every matter and every person even though in this world it appears that wickedness replaces justice and righteousness (16-17).
  5. The manner in which Solomon believes God has tested mankind to show them that they are no different than animals (under the sun) is by giving them the same fate and making them from the same source (18-20).
  6. The only person who knows where the soul of man and beast end up is God (21).
  7. The reason we should be content with what we have been given in live is because God will bring us to see eternity (22).


Homiletical Outline – Eccl 3

  1. I can REST in God’s control (1-8).
    1. He prescribes beginnings & endings (2-3) Remember Life’s cycles.

                                                              i.      Don’t panic when its time to end something.

                                                            ii.      Don’t panic when its time to begin something.

    1. He prescribes appropriate responses (4-5). Embrace Life’s responses.

                                                              i.      All are appropriate in their time.

Illus: Mother’s response to 9/11 tragedy.

    1. He prescribes a variety of activities (6-7). Select Life’s activities.                                                               i.      Each of these is necessary. Each is ordained by God. When we over emphasize any extreme, we become unhealthy.

Illus: Balanced activity

    1. He prescribes different relationships (8).  Tackle Life’s Relationships.                                                               i.      Hate is not necessarily God’s opposite for love. God is love. He can be nothing other. However, hate arises from a violation of God’s character of holiness. God can love us and hate us at the same time. However, His holiness demands His wrath against sin and those who refuse His offer of forgiveness will experience His full wrath. Both war and peace are necessary in the fallen world we live in. However, only peace will exist in the eternal kingdom, because sin will not!
  1. Successful living requires FAITH (10-11) [Deut 29:29]
    1. You will never live successfully by focusing/doubting what is not for you to know while neglecting what is obviously revealed. Illus: Prayer that results from faith
  2. If I believe that God is good, I will ENJOY Him! (12-13).
    1. How can we be filled with anything but joy when we realize what we have been given in Christ? If true, abiding joy does not characterize us, then we are trusting in something other than Christ. Find out what it is and dig it out!
  3. If I believe that God is in control, I will TRUST Him. (14-15).
    1. You will never understand the complexities of life. An unhealthy attempt to do so will stifle faith rather than build it. Instead, seek to know God as He has revealed Himself and you will become supernaturally comfortable with living “Out of Control.”
  4. If I believe that God is just, I will REMEMBER Him (16-17).
    1. What you sow, you will reap (Gal 6:7). This passage can either be a tremendous blessing or burden in your life. Its up to you. If you believe that God will execute His judgment, you will obey Him and be abundantly rewarded for eternity. If you don’t believe, you will be gravely and grievously disappointed.

Illus: Scene at end of “Schindler’s List”

    1. An illustration that God is good (we will ascend upward), He is in control (he determines who will) and that God is just (His judgment will determine fate, not physical death). (18-21).
  1. A proper faith will produce LASTING contentment (22).
    1. Solomon searched his whole life to find it and it took him until parting words to realize it. Do you want to wait that long? Response: What do you need to let go of in this world to further enjoy God?

·         Have you set your joy on obtaining material possessions?

·         Have you set your joy on achieving personal accomplishments?

·         You will never find true joy until you find it in God.

                  What do you need to give up control of to further trust God?

·         Have you set your joy on controlling your circumstances?

o       As long as things go your way, your joyful. Can you see the futility of that mindset in the world we live in?

                  What needs to be removed from your thoughts in order to remember God?

·         Have you become more concerned about man’s approval than God’s? Remember who you’ll stand before at the brink of eternity and you’ll be less apt to compromise before man during this temporary life.

Illus: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. What are you clinging too tightly to? What is the “Isaac” in your life that you need to offer back to God? Will you trust He’s in control of it? Will you believe He will bring you joy when you let go of it? Will you remember who has the final word in your life? Let’s Pray.


    1. Preaching Ideas

  1. Use vs 1-8 to highlight the need for tension to sustain/support life. Bones could serve as a physical illustration. Bones produce tension in our bodies in order to sustain life and motion. Osteoporosis is a series disease that weakens the “tension” (strength) of the bones and thus hinders life.  

Illustrations:

Mother’s response to 9/11

She wished she could model Jackie Kennedy’s stoic response to her husband, JFK’s, death. Why is this seen as strong? That is not what God has prescribed. Mourn and weep with all your heart, then accept what God has prescribed. (See David’s response to death of Bathsheba’s son – 2 Sam 12:13-20).

Balanced activity

Don’t quit too easily. Don’t obsess when God wants you to release. Don’t idolize the temporal at the expense of moving forward. Don’t throw away flippantly at the expense of progress. You will never be a good speaker if you aren’t a good listener (He who cannot listen has nothing of value to say, I spend 20 hrs listening before I speak these messages). Your listening is in vain if you never choose to speak. There is no formula to this balance. It requires a constant dependence on God and others.

Prayer that results from faith

We are all so prone to praying and seeking answers (or worrying about) to those things not promised to be revealed while neglecting those that are clearly revealed. This is not to say God won’t speak to us about these things. Rather, it is to say “why should He when we won’t obey what is so clear?” Examples: We pray and pursue God’s will about a new car, home, job, ministry opportunity, etc but neglect it concerning His will for us as a husband, father, mother, wife, son/daughter, member of His church, etc. As a result, I don’t believe He truly speaks to us. What we often here is our own personal desires speaking rather than the voice of God. I don’t know about you, but when I really want something, I’m a master at justifying it in my mind and my heart. I’ve learned to ask myself if my desire for this thing or opportunity is a result of a lack of obedience to what God has obviously revealed. You see, when I fail to love my wife the way God desires and reveals. I become discontent in my marriage and begin filling that lack with other things. Maybe a hobby, a career pursuit, another relationship. Rather than praying for God’s will to work out in my marriage, I begin asking Him to meet my needs in other ways (promotion, more money, bigger home, etc).

Scene at end of Schindler’s List

There is a scene at the end of Schindler’s List that I believe captures the heart of what the Judgment Seat of Christ will entail, when all Christians are judged for our actions in this life (not for salvation, but for eternal reward). The movie tells the story of Oscar Schindler, a WWII profiteer, who made his millions using Jewish prisoners to operate his factories, only to spend it all to save them from being executed by the Nazi regime. One of the final scenes shows the 1200 Jewish people Schindler just brought to freedom using his fortune to purchase their freedom jammed into a warehouse. Schindler is standing just outside the warehouse when it finally hits him, the significance of what has happened. The fortune he had started off acquiring was now converted into human life. Seeing the value of human life compared to the fleeting value of money, he pulls a ring off his finger and begins weeping at the thought that this ring could have purchased another persons freedom. How worthless that ring appeared when compared to the value of what it could have saved.

            I believe the judgment seat of Christ will be much like this. We will view our lives through God’s eyes, and we will see perfectly for the first time the value of the things we pursued in life. When we see the value of eternal things, we will be crushed at the thought of all that we pursued that had little or no eternal value. If we believe God is truly just, we will remember Him now in our decisions.

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