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Wake Up Call Part 10

Wake Up Call  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:35
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Introduction

Eccl. 12
Ecclesiastes 12 ESV
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity. Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes is giving us a series of wake up calls.
“Wake up Call” = a person or thing that causes people to become fully alert to an unsatisfactory situation and to take action to remedy it.
Solomon, in this last chapter gives us the bottom line. What is all boils down to. The essence. The summary.
Illustration: professor gives a summary for test
Solomon wants us to know why he has been giving these harsh words. He says that he would have liked to given “words of delight” but rather had to give “words of truth”.
They are like a cattle goad or a nail in a board. To get our attention, to get us to change. Eccl. 12:11
Ecclesiastes 12:11 ESV
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.
Wake Up Call: Fear God
When many of us hear this we are puzzled. Why would it be a good thing to “fear God”?
Illustration: Different people respond differently to things than others. Knox on the roller coasters. Mother who ran out of the room when they brought out at snake. Alligator keepers — healthy fear
So there is good fear and bad fear.
Definition: While “fear” can describe terror or dread (Gen 3:10), the ot use of “fear” often indicates awe or reverence.
Main Idea: Biblical fear is a healthy fear informed by who we are, who God is, and it moves us to a life of dedicated obedience.

The Fear of God Has a Healthy View of Self

John Calvin: “Nearly all wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves” (Inst. I.1.i).
This is not a new age “find your true self”. And it was not for Solomon either.
Eccl. 12:1-8
Ecclesiastes 12:1–8 ESV
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Solomon has likely been writing his challenging book to his sons and to others who are young. But the challenge here isn’t just to those who are young but to all of us.
Remember our origins — “remember your creator” --- this means recalling and remembering our origins. Where we come from matters.
Illustration: teach people they have evolved from apes and they will eventually act that way.
Remember our coming end (Eccl. 12:1-7)
Ecclesiastes 12:1–7 ESV
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Verse 2—A gathering storm might depict the suddenness of death, “setting forth the fear, melancholy and desolation which grip a household upon which death has cast its shadow.”
V 6 has two pictures of death. In one, a golden bowl is attached to a silver cord; death is the untying of the chain. In a second, a pitcher is lowered down a well. Death is when the wheel breaks, the pitcher crashes, and the waters of life are no longer renewed. (New Bible commentary)
Here Solomon uses a litany of phrases that were likely used to describe death. Like our phrases: “kick the bucket”; “bite the dust”; “keel over”; Cash in his chips; worm food; pushing up daisies; number’s up
And then he reminds us that the “in-between” is just a vapor--

The Fear of God has a Healthy View of God

We should fear God because God is “awful” —awesome — not like we say today
I’ve heard Christian pastors say, “the God of the Old Testament was mean and scary and demanding.” In the New Testament God is loving and gracious. This results in poor theology that divides the OT & NT. But in both we see the same God.
“I love that church because I don’t feel judged.” We should feel judged at church. Not by the people, but by God.
Matthew 10:28
Matthew 10:28 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
We should fear God because he is God. He is righteous. And he is going to judge everyone and everything.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV
For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
If we do not fear God, we will fear something else.
“The default if we do not fear the Lord, is that we fear someone else instead. This is what Proverbs 29:25 means saying, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” To fear people is to hold a person or group of people (parents, friends, spouse, coworkers, etc.) above everyone and everything else. To fear people is to do what other people want you to do, demand that you do, or pressure you to do even if it’s not what God wants you to do.” (Mark Driscoll)

The Fear of God has a Healthy Obedience

Eccl. 12:13
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.
When we have a healthy view of God, naturally moves us towards obedience.
Illustration: driving with a police officer behind—best driving ever!
When we realize that God created us, that life is short, and we are going to die and face God’s judgment; we are going to consider how we are living our lives. We will be motivated towards obedience.
But this type of obedience is not what God desires.
Hosea 6:6-- For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 ESV
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Illustration: The Pharisees—they did all the fear/guilt motivated obedience; but they were not pleasing God
So what kind of obedience do we need?
Illustration: (Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God) Butch McGregor & Gen. Collins (3 types of fear and obedience
This story illustrates the same type of fear we are to have with God.
God is scary! Dangerous! (“No! He is not safe, but he is good.”)
We will face his judgment.
But he also loves us. Enough to die for us. This is the gospel!
And when we fear God this way, we are motivated out of a awe-inspired love!

Conclusion

Solomon gives us some harsh words in this book. But we need them!
Illustration: Joe Noveson - hands crushed now no feeling
“Comfort is the God of our generation so suffering is seen as a problem to be solved and not a providence from God” Matt Chandler
Knox and Watts “you’re so mean”
The fear of God becomes a wonderful thing when we know his mercy and grace.
Questions: 1) Do you fear God? 2) Have you seen and received his mercy and grace?
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