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Let's Be Serious

YOLO Chats  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:02
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Good morning.This morning as we continue in our study through Ecclesiastes we will be changing directions for a few weeks.Most of the first part of the letter deals with our journey looking for what will bring us fulfillment, purpose and happiness.A lot of what we looked at was written to help us learn that there are two places people will look to find that fulfillment, purpose and happiness.One is to what the author called “Things under the Sun.”This was his way of saying if you look at the things that this world usually focuses on they will disappoint you even if you get them.But the other way is to live for the things Above the Sun, meaning things that have eternal value.Of course that is not so easy to do.Because we can’t see or touch those things it is hard for us to imagine those will bring us what we are looking for.So last week in case you were not here Solomon made a huge statement about how God has a plan for each of us.The way we learned that was by looking at how the Bible refers to God as the master potter and we are the clay.With that it is meant to help us understand that when God sees us He knows how to take our formless, unfulfilled life and make us into who He wants us to be.So now here we are and can stay with this concept about the clay and the finished product.All of us are somewhere between here and here.Nobody while they are on this earth is finished.What we will learn today is that going from here to here is serious business.Solomon wants us to know that this is not to be taken lightly.The section we are going to look at today when you first read it my guess will be to think, this makes no sense.He is going to give us some statements like, it’s better to go to a funeral than to a party - sounds fulfilling doesn’t it?Sorrow is better than laughter - who wants that?That is where many live and you come to church to see how to change that.But what we will learn and our take home for today is He is trying to stress the point: Living Life is Serious Business.Here is what we should see. A serous life does not mean a gloomy or depressing life.Living seriously is what will be the very thing that will give you purpose and you can’t be fulfilled without purpose
Ecclesiastes 7:1–10 ESV
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity. Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart. Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10  Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
I had to laugh when I first read this about a good name.Because names do paint a picture.There are some good names and some bad names.Meaning some people have ruined names for everyone.Think of Bible names, there are good names and bad names.People like to name their kids after Bible characters.Cain and Abel.I have met several Abel’s but very few Cains, why because his name makes you think of a murderer.It’s not a good name.Jacob and Laban, I have known many Jacobs but who names their kid Laban? You think of a cheater.Girls names, lots of Rachel’s, Rebecca’s, Mary’s but who names their daughter Jezebel or Delilah? Why? Names paint a picture, Satan, Hared, Judas, Hayman, Adolph.That is where Solomon starts this section.We should aim at having a good name.Not because of what we are named but because of who we are and how we live. So when people think of you it’s good.That is where Solomon starts this new direction.As we come to this chapter it is now teaching us how to live while we are on this journey of life.And it is with the specific goal on how to take it seriously.The way he teaches us this in this chapter is by giving us 11 “Better Than” statements.But what is funny about most of them is they go opposite to what we would think.He makes some statements like it is better to go to a funeral than a party. Who would say that?Like if I asked you, Hey what are you doing after church today, would you like to go to a party with me or to a funeral, what would you say is better?We will see once we understand what is said here it is why we are doing this series YOLO Chats.You only live once, let’s do it right.What helps us do it right is the purpose behind the “Better Than” statements here.The first on is:
Ecclesiastes 7:1 ESV
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.
A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
Sounds a little crazy right? The day of death better than the day of birth.This is not telling us that life is so miserable and so the day you die is better than the day you are born because it is over.This is all about purpose and how you lived.He is just giving us the starting point.Live in such a way that your name puts a smile on people not a frown.Have your name of the thought of you bring a good feeling feeling to people not a bad one.I know many will say, I don’t really care what people think of me.That is a bad way to live.You should care.The reason why has to do with what we learned last week.God has a purpose for you being here.He is taking you from a piece of clay to something of purpose.He wants you displayed to all.Let them see in your life something of value.Live in such a way that people would want to remember you and even name their kids after you.THAT IS PURPOSE.The next Better Than’s will really confuse
Ecclesiastes 7:2–4 NCV
It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die, and everyone living should think about this. Sorrow is better than laughter, and sadness has a good influence on you. A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time.
NCV
2  It is better to go to a funeral
than to a party.
We all must die,
and everyone living should think about this.
3  Sorrow is better than laughter,
and sadness has a good influence on you.
4  A wise person thinks about death,
but a fool thinks only about having a good time.
Funeral or party, Sorry or Laughter, Think about death or having a good time?When you first read these you would think this is crazier than Solomon having 1000 wives. But these three verses are to help us be sober minded.Meaning to help us Be Serious About Living.His point is simple but maybe something we don’t think about.This is it.YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement.That is an appointment that all of us will have to keep.You will die. Solomon is saying it is healthy to think about that.Why is that healthy?It’s meant to change the way you live.It’s meant to get us to think about that day.Here is what is interesting.In Solomon’s day they didn’t have full understanding about what came after this life.Jesus brought clarity.Many times Jesus did the same thing as Solomon and taught that there is something after this life.Most of the time Jesus taught us about this was not to scare us about going to heaven or to hell.It was always meant to get us to know and understand that how we live here will determine what our life is like there.That is what the parable of the talents is about, that is what He was talking about when He brought up storing up treasure in Heaven.It was not to get us to think about hell but to get us to think about heaven.So we should think about it.Maybe we need to do a series on heaven some time.But let me give you something to think about today.First of all it’s about a big wedding. Listen to this
Revelation 19:6–9 ESV
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns. (This is about the King)
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Yesterday the royal wedding took place between Harry and Megan.It is estimated that 3 billion watched thinking how amazing, a real fairy tail, a commoner marries a prince.That isn’t supposed to happen.I’m sure most girls watched thinking how lucky I wish that was me.Exciting.That pails in comparison to what we just read in Revelation.We are invited to be the bride of Christ.Whatever that means.One day when we finish our journey here that is an event we will participate in.We should think and pray about that.Let that sink in.That should motivate how you live now.Not out of fear but out of gratitude.But it should also make you answer the question, have I accepted the invitation?It’s out there for you? If you have accepted it Be Serious And Live Like it.That is what we should get out of this.
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