Faithlife Sermons

Watch Your Step!

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Is God just an idea to be considered, a path of life to follow or is he the Creator of the universe and Lord of mankind. There are so many today that treat God as just a simple idea that can be dismissed as quickly as the idea came. This causes an irreverence to God as a person.

What is God to you?
For many people God is simply an idea, a concept, or the imagination of some that need the unknown answers to life. To others God is religion, an object for worship and prayer, or a set of rules to be followed. And yet to some, God is a connection, a relationship, an unexplainable unity with the Creator and designer of all things.
What is God to you?
Is it our place to sit and weigh the facts about God and determine on an individual basis who God will be in our lives; or is God a person to be known and understood, a truth to be discovered and explored through the revelation and acts He has given us.
More and more the world is becoming intolerant of the idea that we can have a personal relationship with God. To believe in the Creator God would mean that we are his creation and would make us subject to Him. So the world, including most of Christianity has marginalized God and his person so that we can live anyway that we want to live and not feel the guilt or consequences of our actions.
We agree with morality as long as we set the standard. To have morality imposed on us is said to be a threat against our freedoms and rights. So we can take it or leave it. This concept of a supreme Lord is convenient when it suits us. We might pray to Him to help us. I mean, what could it hurt, right.
But God forbid we be held accountable to His words or for our actions. The Bible has so much to say about the power of the tongue to both bless and curse, to heal and destroy. It also speaks of the accountability we have for every word that is spoken.
Before we jump into Ecclesiastes I want to review a passage from Romans as Paul is quoting Psalms to the church.
Romans 3:10–18 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
What we are going to find today in Ecclesiastes 5 is the first peace to puzzle to the answer of life.

“We must fear God.”

To fear the Lord is to respect him as the Creator God.
To understand his true nature that is balanced with Love, Grace, Forgiveness, Righteousness, and Judgment.
It is the Lord that sits in judgement on us and not we on Him.
We have lost the fear of the Lord before our eyes.
Proverbs 1:7 ESV
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Solomon had his time of questioning the Lord. He allowed others to influence his reverence of God. There was a time he sacrificed to many gods to please his many wives, and it turned his heart from the Lord.
But now at the end of his life, as he has time to reflect on his actions. He remembers who gave him the wealth and wisdom of his life and begins to fear God once again. He begins to interact with God again not as an object but as the person God is.
I believe we can find 3 nuggets of wisdom here in chapter 5 that will help us realize the necessity to fear God as the almighty.

To Listen is Better than Sacrifice

Ecclesiastes 5:1–3 ESV
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.

Watch your Step!

We still use phrases like this today:
You oversteps your bounds
Learn to tread lightly
The house of God should be a place of listening and learning as we have come to hear from God.

Reverence the God of the House.

The temple has always been a place that was set apart for God’s people to come and experience the presence and power of God.
When people come to visit Reliant we send out a survey to get their feedback on the experience they had. We ask the question: “What what your first impression of Reliant?” The greatest compliment we can get is when people say I felt the presence of God as soon as I came into the building.
People still come to church hoping to meet and be moved by God.
There is something special about the place where you experience God.

God desires more than the sacrifice of fools.

What good does it do to come together and help the poor and gather resources for our community if we don’t listen to the teaching of the Lord.
What good is the sacrifice of fools that don’t even know they are doing evil.
It is better to listen and learn than to fund your foolishness.

To Pay is Better than Empty/Foolish Vows

Ecclesiastes 5:4–6 ESV
4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?

Your words matter and God is listening.

There is an overwhelming truth taught in the Bible: The less you speak the better off you are.
People will hold you to your words.

Vows are binding contracts.

We exchange vows in marriage
You exchanged vows with God is salvation.
I will have no other gods before you the one true God.
I will repent of my sin and walk in your ways.
I will honor you as the Lord of my life and follow your will and commands.

God takes no pleasure in fools.

Do what you say you are going to do.
Pay your vow.
Don’t say it was a mistake. Count the cost before you speak.
Don’t let your mouth lead you into sin. Or as my Dad used to say, “Don’t let your mouth write a check your butt can’t cash.”
God will collect whether you want to pay or not.

To Fear is Better than Foolishness

Ecclesiastes 5:7 ESV
7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

God never speaks idle words.

Isaiah 14:24 ESV
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,
Heeding the word of the Lord will turn the foolish to wise.
Rejecting the word of the Lord will make the wise foolish before the Lord.

God will hold you accountable for your actions and your words.

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 ESV
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Matthew 12:36–37 ESV
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Next Steps:

Before you enter your house of worship “guard your steps” and reverence the Lord.

Spend more time listening and learning than talking.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Measure your words before you speak knowing that God is listening.

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