Faithlife Sermons

Out of Control pt 5

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Sermon Notes – Out of Control pt 5

Exegetical Outline – Ecclesiastes 9

  1. After pondering the mysteries of life in his heart, Solomon explains that all of a righteous and wise man’s deeds are in God’s sovereign control despite the earthly response one receives (1).
    1. Use Romans 8:28 to support.
    2. Emphasize a proper biblical perspective on life that is absolutely necessary to experience the joy God promises.
  2. The wrong result of the earthly fate of all men being death, regardless of what kind of life a person lives, is increased evil and insanity throughout one’s life (2-3).
    1. Tie in Eccl 8:10-13 here for deeper truth.

Illus: Failure to remember God’s justice.

  1. The only hope in this life is simply life itself, for the dead do not know anything nor possess anything (4-6).
    1. A dog was the most despised of animals and the lion was revered. Hence, Solomon is saying it is better to be alive without honor than dead with it.
    2. AKA: Don’t waste your life, its all you get!
  2. Solomon’s conclusion about life’s vanity is to enjoy the life you’ve been given by God, for if you are alive and properly enjoying life, He has approved it. (7).
    1. Remember, it is God who gives gifts & enables us to enjoy them when we please Him. (see 2:25-26).
  3. Solomon exhorts us to live life in celebration & purity (white clothes) and under God’s blessing (oil) (8).
    1. Note: Solomon encourages us to enjoy both the necessities and the luxuries given by God.
  4. Solomon exhorts us to enjoy the family God has given us, for this is the reward in this life for our labor (9).
  5. Solomon exhorts us to work diligently at whatever work we find, for death will cease all our activities (10).
    1. Illus: Use a person who has temp or perm lost health and their desire to be able to work again.
    2. Col 3:23
    3. 1 Cor 15:58
  6. Solomon repeats that a successful earthly life is not guaranteed by exercising earthly abilities, because eternity and God’s plan overtake all. Likewise, a man never knows for certain when his life will end (11-12).
    1. Note: Time and chance reflect an earthly perspective on life. Eternity and God’s sovereignty may look like “time and chance” when viewed through the eyes of an unbeliever or one lacking faith. God does not reveal all things to us, so we must walk by faith.


Homiletical Outline – Ecclesiastes 9

  1. I must TRUST my sovereign God with my future (1).
    1. Health, wealth & prosperity are not tied to faith and right living in any simplistic way.
    2. Perfect obedience does not guarantee a problem free life (Jesus example).
    3. Life has mysterious twists that we don’t understand, but God does (Rom 8:28)

                                                              i.      Do you believe that God will use your circumstance for good? (sickness, family crisis, financial crisis, etc). If you don’t you will never find joy. You will be at the mercy of a broken and battle scarred world.

    1. This is the heart of true joy. It is not found in this world but in God. We can have true joy while on this world
  1. My lack of FAITH will result in a wasted life (2-3) (8:10-13)
    1. If I don’t think justice will come, I will live with earthly perspective. #. If I waste my time fretting over those who appear to be getting away with evil, I will miss my opportunities for eternal impact.

Illus: Two wrong reactions: (1) Live like hell denying God’s coming judgment. (2) Live like you’re the judge, trying to bring justice to every wrong action. Both of these are a waste of time. Both fail to examine our own life in light of God’s truth. The first examines his life in light of the world. The second examines everyone else’s life in light of God’s truth.

  1. If I am ALIVE, I am useful to God (4-6).

Illus: If you weren’t useful to God, He’d get rid of you! Quit denying God’s sovereign control by thinking your life is unimportant.

Illus: Explain idiom of Dog vs. Lion.

    1. Don’t waste your life!
    2. How can I make the most of what’s left?

                                                              i.      Understand God’s purpose for you!

                                                            ii.      Quit making excuses for the life you’re living!

                                                          iii.      Take one step of faith (don’t set yourself up for failure).

  1. Since I am useful, I must. . . (7).
    1. EMBRACE my life (7-8). Illus: White clothes = celebration/purity; Oil = God’s blessing.
    2. ENJOY my family (9)
    3. ENGAGE my work (10).

Illus: God has created us all to do different things. Do them with gusto. You don’t have to be a pastor to deeply please God. You don’t have to neglect your work and do more around the church to please God. You just have to do what He has equipped you for with all your heart (Col 3:23; 1 Cor 15:58). One of the greatest testimonies for Christ’s church is a person wholeheartedly working for the Lord. I frequently meet new people whom in our conversation I ask them what they do for a living. Often times I’ll try to find out if they have any contact with people in our church whom I know are in their line of work. I know a number of people in our congregation who perform their God-given work with great integrity. When these people realize they come to our church, they become curious about who we are. We also gain a positive reputation based on your faithful representation of your calling in life. There may be no other single activity you’ll spend more time at in your life than your work. How you do it could be your greatest avenue of glorifying God and reaching others. If you have allowed it to become a downer, you are responsible for ruining your own life and eliminating your impact in our world.

            (Now, you may be saying, “My line of work isn’t all that important” or “I’m certainly not the best at what I do.”  Or “No one really notices my work, so it can’t be that significant.” Or “I don’t make that much money, so my job must not be that valuable.” Solomon sets the record straight.)

  1. My success in life is determined more by ATTITUDE than achievements (11-12).
    1. God is less concerned about what you do than He is how you do it. (Do you realize the greatest king in all of Israel was prepared for his role by tending sheep and living as an outcast). No other character in all the Bible is mentioned in more chapters than David. You know what made David so pleasing to God? Whatever he did (tending sheep, living as an outcast, king) he did with gusto. #. Do I have the right PERSPECTIVE?

Will I be content with my role/pay? Will I accept this as God’s will?

    1. Am I in the right PLACE?

If you cannot do the above and have the freedom to leave, then you must move.

Conclusion:

            Face the fact that we have no control over what our future holds or even how long that future will be. We do, however, have control over our attitude in life. The person with the biggest house does not win. The person with the biggest bank account does not win. The person with the most significant job does not win. The person with the greatest number of achievements does not win. The person with the best attitude does. We need to stop fretting about the future and start facing the fact that we all need an attitude adjustment. In fact, right here and right now, God wants you to make a decision based on these truths concerning the rest of your life.

  1. What is it in this world that has too much of your trust? It will result in a wasted life!
    1. Take a step of trust toward God. #. What lie are you believing that says your life is of no value? You’ll fulfill that lie unless you embrace the truth.
    2. Find your purpose, quit making excuses for not fulfilling it, take a step of faith.
  2. What excuse are you using for your improper attitude?
    1. Embrace your life, enjoy your family, engage your work.


Illustrations

GREED: Bernard "Bernie" Ebbers is the former high school basketball coach who turned a tiny telecommunications firm into the industry giant of WorldCom.  In 2005, he was sentenced to prison for his role in an $11 billion fraud that led to WorldCom's collapse and bankruptcy in 2002.  On September 26, 2006, Ebbers left his upscale home in Jackson, Mississippi to serve a 25-year prison sentence.  Unlike most who go to prison, Ebbers was allowed to drive himself, and his trip to the Oakdale Correctional Complex was tragically ironic: He drove his Mercedes.  There are numerous stories about Ebbers' benevolence and his role in church, yet his failure to remember God’s justice ultimately led to his downfall.  No matter who you are or what you do, a failure to remember that God is just will lead to tremendous loss, regardless of whether or not you're ever convicted on earth.  And even if you are able to drive a Mercedes to prison, or worse yet, your grave, you still lose. Houston Chronicle, 9/27/6, p.D3

 

Reading – Ecclesiastes 9:1-2

So I reflected on all this, attempting to clear it all up.

I concluded that the righteous and the wise, as well as their works, are in the hand of God;

whether a person will be loved or hated –

no one knows what lies ahead.

Everyone shares the same fate –

the righteous and the wicked,

the good and the bad,

the ceremonially clean and unclean,

those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.

What happens to the good person, also happens to the sinner;

what happens to those who make vows, also happens to those who are afraid to make vows.

This is the unfortunate fact about everything that happens on earth:

the same fate awaits everyone.

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