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Standing on Sovereignty

Ecclesiastes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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There are times when evil conquests against good, and life is hard. Especially in these times, we believers need to stand firm in faith in the word of God.

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Ecclesiastes

- Life under the sun (i.e. life without God) is hopeless.
- Life with God starts with submitting to God’s sovereignty, even in the tensions of life.
How-to respond to the hard tensions in life:
- first, FEAR GOD. Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen.
- second, understand that prosperity is not always a good thing, and adversity is not always a bad thing.
STOP AND PRAY

- The Danger of Self-Righteousness

:
Ecclesiastes 7:15–18 NASB95
15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16 Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.
- “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
SOLOMON’S OBSERVATION: - The Righteous are not always rewarded. The Wicked are not always punished.
Solomon’s Observation regarding Prosperity and Adversity: The Righteous are not always rewarded. The Wicked are not always punished.
- for to you it has been granted to believe and to suffer for Christ’s sake
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Feb 1906 - April 1945
- if the world HATED Christ, and if we are being conformed to His image, then the world will HATE us, too
Why is that?
- for to you it has been granted to believe and to suffer for Christ’s sake
- if the world HATED Christ, and if we are being conformed to His image, then the world will HATE us, too
- Don’t stand on your self-righteousness. Rather, fear God.
Philippians 1:29–30 NASB95
29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
- Do not be surprised when the world hates us.
John 15:18–20 NASB95
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Don’t stand on your righteousness. Excessively righteous/overly wise means to be self-righteous. Don’t be surprised when you suffer. Because there are NO GOOD PEOPLE.
Don’t give into foolishness either - pursue Christ’s righteousness. Fear the Lord.
Romans 12:3 NASB95
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Don’t give into foolishness either - pursue Christ’s righteousness.
Fear the Lord. Do not think that you DESERVE a good life - that you can earn it. And, do not swing the other way and just live loosely in sin either.
- Wisdom is a good thing. But, a true fear of the Lord comes with humility to realize our sin nature, too.
Wisdom is a good thing. But, a true Fear of the Lord comes with humility to realize our sin nature, too. *Watch your feelings - when your feelings are being hurt, your pride is being humbled.*
*Watch your feelings - when your feelings are being hurt, your pride is being humbled.*

- The Difficulty in Self-Righteousness

Matthew 7:1–6 NASB95
1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

- The Difficulty in Self-Righteousness

Ecclesiastes 7:23–8:1 NASB95
23 I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25 I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26 And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29 “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.” 1 Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam.
: There is NO ONE who is wise by their own effort.
Wisdom is hard to attain by yourself and your own efforts. It takes time.
Folly - or the way of the world, the deception of the devil - does its best to look like wisdom. Folly is very dangerous -
Pleasing to God -
Sinner -
1 John 1:5–10 NASB95
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
- There is NO ONE who is righteous of their own ability.
There is no one righteous of their own ability.
-
Psalm 14:1–3 NASB95
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. 2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
Psalm 53:1–3 NASB95
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God,” They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good. 2 God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. 3 Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
Romans 3:23 NASB95
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
John 3:16–19 NASB95
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
God made men to be upright, but men sinned.
Romans 5:6–8 NASB95
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6–12 NASB95
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
But, wisdom (proper Fear of the Lord) and proper understanding of sin and salvation is good.
The WISE man fears God, knows his need for God’s grace and mercy.
The FOOL who thinks he will get by on his self-righteousness is ripe for the attack of the devil.

So, what does WISDOM tell us to do?

Trust in God’s Sovereignty
Trust in God’s provision
Be prepared to STAND FIRM, knowing that Satan is active.

- Satan’s attack

Ecclesiastes 8:2–9 NASB95
2 I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. 3 “Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” 4 Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. 6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. 7 If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? 8 No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it. 9 All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.
- God gives government to fight evil. Don’t be quick to turn against the government.
God gives government to fight evil
3 Institutions God has set up to fight evil:
Family (, ) - to raise the wicked to know God
Government (, ) - to restrain the wicked
Church () - to redeem the wicked
God set up government, don’t be quick to go against the authority God set up ()
1 Peter 2:17 NASB95
17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
BUT… Authority - Satan attacks through corrupting Authority. Sometimes the authorities of earth can be corrupted - why? B/c man is sinful
- While the authority of the land can be corrupted, God is ultimate Authority.
God is ultimate Authority
God will handle the corruption - we need to have patience. God will deal with evil according to His time.

- So then, STAND FIRM

Ecclesiastes 8:10–15 NASB95
10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. 13 But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God. 14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15 So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
- When wickedness is not immediately punished, the fool says there is no God.
When wickedness is not immediately punished, the fool says there is no God.
When God does not behave like a man, man thinks there is no God - b/c we too often see God in our image.
Romans 1:21–25 NASB95
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
- But it is in the hard times, even the hardest of times, that we must STAND FIRM.
Key Verse
- Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might. Put on the armor of God...
Ephesians 6:10–20 NASB95
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
FEAR HIM OPENLY - When evil men prosper - STAND FIRM!
Romans 12:9–21 NASB95
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
, Garden of Gethsemane,
- Eventually, the Lord will deal with the wicked (), but that is not always done under the sun.
Eventually, the Lord will deal with the wicked (), but that is not always done under the sun.
Take pleasure and rest in God’s sovereignty. Don’t fret over what you don’t know and can’t control (). Trust in what you can know - through God’s word.
Romans 5:8 NASB95
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB95
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
John 3:16 NASB95
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Romans 8:18 NASB95
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:28 NASB95
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:38–39 NASB95
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What now? How do we respond?

Don’t give up.
Don’t give in.

- GOD LOVES TO BE TRUSTED

Ecclesiastes 8:16–17 NASB95
16 When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), 17 and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.
We won’t always understand what is going on nor why the Lord is allowing it.
Don’t give in.
We won’t always understand what is going on nor why the Lord is allowing it.
But God is faithful. God has told us everything we need to know in order to know HIM! ‘
We can have an abundant life that starts NOW.
What about you? What or WHO is your life founded on? Whose righteousness are you trusting?
Ecclesiastes 8:12–Ephesians 6:10
Ecclesiastes 8:12 NASB95
12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly.

Is it going to be well for you?

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