Faithlife Sermons

The Veil of Evil

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Prayer
Ecclesiastes 3:16–4:3 ESV
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? 1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
As we look at this passage today, we’re no doubt going to see [the world] from TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES...
We’re going to see it from God’s perspective, and we’re going to see it from man’s perspective...
And we’re actually going to jump around in our text today...
As there’s a section in the middle of this passage that will actually finish the sermon with...
and so let’s actually start with chapter 4 verse 1, and then we’ll circle back to chapter 3 after that...
Ecclesiastes 4:1 ESV
1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
As we make our way through these verses today, take notice of a couple of phrases that we’ll see again and again...
“I saw”...
“I said in my heart”...
SEEING these things in the world…his HEART then declares…!
Again I SAW - all the oppressions that are done under the sun.
SLIDE: Under the Sun: A Veil of Evil

Under The Sun

Solomon looks out in this world…UNDER THE SUN...
And ALL around him - as far as he can see - there is OPPRESSION...
PEOPLE - Oppressing - OTHER PEOPLE...
Now I DO NOT claim to be a history buff...
…I did what i needed to do to get by...
BUT
If we have ANY knowledge at all of American History…we KNOW that what lines the path of American History is = OPPRESSION...
...of ALL kinds!
Race against Race
Creed against Creed
Religious Beliefs against Religious Beliefs
Oppression is something that has always existed....post Genesis 2.
Now it’s easy to point to the BIGGER examples of oppression…throughout our history...
But even on a smaller scale, we know that various forms of oppression occur every day...
Those with more:
power
influence - WIELDING that power over others!
Listen to this:
I had been in my new job for fewer than six weeks when Syrian government security forces came in and arrested everyone in the office and took us away.
It was February 16, 2012 and I had just started work at the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC) in Damascus - an independent not-for-profit organization that records human rights abuses in Syria. I wasn't completely blind to the dangers of the kind of work I was doing but I somehow didn't think this would happen to us. I thought I was untouchable.
For the first few days of our arrest, I thought we would be OK.
They took my whole office - nine men and six women - to an air base and we were questioned by air force intelligence but there was no torture. They kept us there for 25 days.
As the days dragged on we started to get frustrated - why were they keeping us so long without releasing us or putting us on trial? We knew our rights! We told them we were going to go on hunger strike if they didn't let us out and that annoyed them so they handed us over to the 4th Armoured Division, a military unit headed by president Assad's brother, Maher al-Assad.
I was put in a small room with about 80 other people. It was so crowded, we had to sit down in shifts while the others stood up because there wasn't enough room for us to all sit down on the floor at the same time.
Every now and then they would take a few people away to be tortured. When they came back - if they came back - there wasn't even enough space for them to lie on the floor.
I was in there for 33 days.
One day, out of the blue, they transferred me to a military court for trial and then I was sent to an ordinary prison for 20 days, where I had access to food, clean clothes and medicine. You know you've been in a bad place when an ordinary prison in Syria looks good.
When I was released, alongside two of my colleagues, we had been forcibly detained for 86 days.
I wasn't a bad person - I wasn't fighting for Islamic State or the Assad regime - but they took me away anyway. For 86 days, my family had no idea where I was or whether I was dead or alive. Sometimes I didn't know it myself.
This is just ONE story…of - an endless number of stories...
Solomon LOOKS out and sees this -
Ecclesiastes 4:1 ESV
1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
So Solomon holds up THE OPPRESSED and he says - they had NO ONE to comfort them!
POWER rises up AGAINST the weak...
Wherever there is power there is the temptation for its misuse
And we see this all throughout society do we not?
We see this on a national scale…as in the case of rulers
Proverbs 28:16 ESV
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
We see this on a local level...
Ecclesiastes 5:8 ESV
8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
AND we see this even in the church...
1 Peter 5:1–3 ESV
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
UNDER THE SUN - Wherever there is power there is the temptation for its misuse...
Not only that - but I would also say - Wherever there is power, there is the temptation for its gain!
How often do we see the BULLIED - become the BULLY!??
How often do we see the ABUSED - become the ABUSER!??
Satan is alive and well - He will take MAN’S fallen NATURE - and he will distort the image of a God of Justice in whose likeness we are created
What’s the result?
SLIDE: Under The Sun: The Veil of Wickedness

Under The Sun

Our JUSTICE becomes a distorted JUSTICE!
And Solomon speaks to this:
Ecclesiastes 3:16 ESV
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.
We’ve all heard the stories...
So and so wrongfully convicted…sentenced to life in prison...
So and so wrongfully convicted - sentenced to death...
Even now there are multiple documentaries on Netflix that talk about people being wrongfully convicted...
Rachel and I one night decided to watch one of these...
WE WERE HOOKED!!
But then there’s the OTHER SIDE!
people - being wrongfully - exonerated!
There are BIG cases that have taken place where most EVERYONE agreed the person was guilty...
but then…what? - Not Guilty
Now - THOSE situations happened in the public eye - but how about our personal lives?
How many times have you RENDERED judgment on a matter, only to CHANGE your position once you heard both sides...
Once you gathered all the facts?
We DO this all the time!
Yet what does the Bible tell us?
Proverbs 18:13 ESV
13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:17 ESV
17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
We always RUSH to judgment - why?
Because we’re UNDER the SUN....and BEING...
Under the Sun - our JUSTICE is veiled in - wickedness
We see this - and SOLOMON saw this...
And in SEEING it - he declared with his heart...
Ecclesiastes 3:17 ESV
17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.
Being UNDER the sun, our justice is veiled in wickedness...
BUT GOD - being OVER the SUN - judges with a RIGHTEOUS judgement...
His judgement is - FINAL...
Solomon LOOKS at the world - SEES all the oppression...
SEES all of mankind...
TRYING to do what we can to render judgements on matters...
We ALL have to render judgment - EVERY DAY! Do we not?
1000’s of things every day that require us to MAKE judgments!
AND our problem is in - WHAT WE BRING to the judgement table!
What do we bring? When we make judgments in this world, it’s hard NOT for us to bring...
our biases!
our assumptions!
Right?
No doubt we bring our LIMITATIONS to the table...
BUT as we keep seeing - God, who is NOT LIMITED…He - Solomon says - is the RIGHTEOUS judge!
And so Solomon holds mankind up against God - why?
Because Solomon wants us to feel the weight of that Comparison...
He says - God is TESTING the children of man...
What’s the test?
Ecclesiastes 3:18 ESV
18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.
What does he mean?
Ecclesiastes 3:19 ESV
19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.
Are we seeing a theme here yet?
Solomon keeps pointing to this ONE THING…in life....does he not?
At every turn, Solomon uses - THE GRAVE - as his great equalizer!
He says - Listen - we all know the GRAVE is reality for all of us…INCLUDING the beast (animals)
And so from a worldly perspective - Man’s destiny is no different than that of a DOG...
v20
Ecclesiastes 3:20 ESV
20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.
From DUST to DUST…as the saying goes!
THIS - Solomon says - is what the world UNDER THE SUN - has to hope in…the DUST.
But they’re BLIND to IT!
Ecclesiastes 3:21–22 ESV
21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
SO i think verse 22 can be viewed 2 different ways here...
On one side:
The view of the UNBELIEVER:
Solomon says - I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.
He could be saying - ALL that the LOST world has to rejoice in is the WORK that will GAIN him NOTHING....but eternal separation from God.
All the LOST man has in life - is his work...
It GAINS him nothing…and yet that’s ALL he has...
OR
Solomon is viewing this from a BELIEVER’s perspective...
He could be saying - there’s nothing better than that a man SHOULD rejoice in his work...
There IS A KIND OF WORK that is to be rejoiced in...
God-Glorifying work!
Psalm 119:174 ESV
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:92 ESV
92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
*I heard an AWESOME thing this week...
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you drink Apple Cider Vinegar, and it’s something your body NEEDS…you’ll CRAVE more of it
If you drink Apple Cider Vinegar, and it’s NOT something your body needs....You’ll hate it.
I heard that this week and thought - YES...
THAT’S Christianity!
When you’ve been CHANGED by God - through TRUE FAITH...
when you DO the LAW of the Lord - you’ll CRAVE more of it!
When your faith is merely LIP SERVICE…to God
When you DO the LAW of the Lord - you WON’T crave more of it.
You’ll WAR against it.
It will be a BURDEN to you...
But Solomon says - The best thing is when the WORK of the LORD becomes our DELIGHT!!
THIS is how it SHOULD be!
The WORLD is blind and because its blind....Solomon asks a question...
Ecclesiastes 3:22 ESV
22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
WHO can bring him to SEE…as I see?
Who can bring him to SEE - what is coming for him?
Answer - Jesus can!
But how does Jesus do that?
How does Jesus get the world to SEE what’s coming for the world?
SLIDE: Under The Sun: The Hope of Christ in You

Under The Sun

Answer - YOU!
The way the world is gonna see what’s coming....
…BEYOND the grave...
Is by YOU displaying for the world - the Hope of Christ in YOU....
And that HOPE is displayed - as we REJOICE in the God we serve, and the future that awaits us.
Romans 12:12 ESV
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 5:1–2 ESV
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
So how do WE - as Christians, HOLD onto the Hope that we have in JESUS…as the world tries to DESTROY us?
Listen to Jesus here in John 15
John 15:1–11 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
What is Jesus talking about here?
He says:
Abide in ME....Christian…remain in Me...
Abide in my Word…in my TRUTH...
Bear fruit
Bear God-honoring Fruit!
LIVE this way - Jesus says...
and he closes with what?
Read v11...
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full...
Isn’t it AMAZING that the...
SLIDE:
The joy of the Lord is the fuel and the result of abiding in Jesus Christ
The apostle Paul knew this...
2 Corinthians 1:24 ESV
24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.
And so YES - as Solomon showed us today...
SLIDE: SUMMARY
Under the Sun
A Veil of Evil
A Veil of Wickedness
The Hope of Christ in You (not only for us…but for others, as that Hope overflows IN LOVE to those who need Jesus)
Let’s pray...
Related Media
Related Sermons