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2007-05-26_Charge from an Old Failure_Ecclesiastes 12_Megan Barfield Graduation

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Charge From an Old Failure

Ecclesiastes 12:1     |     Shaun LePage     |     Megan Barfield Graduation; May 26, 2007

I.      Opening

A.    Congratulations. Honored to be part of this day because you are a very special girl—kind to younger people, respectful to older people, serious about faith and study—its an honor to be part of honoring such an honorable young woman.

B.    I’ve graduated 3 times in my life, don’t remember who spoke, what they said; I’m determined that you will remember; today (for your charge) you get the wisest man who ever lived. May be surprised that it’s not me—heir to the throne of King David: Solomon.

C.    One of the most amazing, yet puzzling men of the Bible is Solomon: “Wisest man who ever lived…greatest king on earth…wealthiest king on earth” (1 Kings 3,10,11). And yet he was also one of the greatest failures who ever lived.

D.    Title: “A Charge from an Old Failure”—not me, Solomon. If Solomon could be here today, I believe he would say what he said in Ecclesiastes—a charge he gave as an old man looking back on his failure. Overview:

1.     Ecclesiastes 1-11: Living your life “under the sun”, without remembering the One “over the sun,” leads to a meaningless existence. But, remembering God makes life under the sun meaningful—a gift to be enjoyed.

2.     Then Ch 12—sad-faced old man, Eccl 12:1 (Megan repeat the 9 words; NIV.)

II.    Body: Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth” (5 parts)

A.    Word #1? “Remember.” Remember the word “remember.”

1.     “Remember!” I imagine Solomon pausing a little as he said it—or perhaps tearing up as he wrote it down: a short, four-letter Hebrew word meaning “bring to mind.”

2.     A writer named Joshua Herschel once wrote, “Much of what the Bible demands can be comprised in one word: Remember!”

3.     We think of it as an involuntary thing to remember, but that’s not the idea here at all. The idea is to willfully, diligently keep God and His purposes at the forefront of our decision-making. What does it mean to remember? Remember who God is. Remember who you are. Remember what is right and true and good and evil. Don’t let the world or college or boys or yourself distract you so that you forget who and what is most important.

4.     The opposite of “remember” is exactly what Solomon did. High-handed sin! “Forget You, God! I will do what I want, when I want and how I want!”  Learn from that old failure. Choose to remember.

5.     How do we remember? Simple. Bible study. Worship. Prayer. Why is it that so many college freshmen walk away from the faith? Distracted by the fun, excitement and freedom ; confused by false teaching. Stay connected to family, church.

6.     Megan: Remember!

B.    Word #2? “your.”

1.     Not “the”—significant! Never forget that “the” Creator is “your” Creator. He has paid a high cost to have a personal relationship with you and I know for a fact that you have a personal relationship with “your” Creator. He is yours. You are His.

2.     Megan: Remember your (Creator)!

C.    Word #3? “Creator.” (Reminder about Who God is and who Megan is)

1.     No matter what you hear, never let go of this fact: There is a Creator. Foundational to the meaning of life. You don’t get everything from nothing—only from a Creator.

2.     Call Him this sometimes. Pray to Him as “God” and “Father” and “Lord” as well as “Creator”! High and lofty title—speaks of His power and sovereignty.

3.     Remember you are created—identity issues. Dignity as a person created in the image of God, humility as a creation of the Creator. Potter and clay. Sober about identity.

4.     Megan: Remember your Creator!

D.    Words #4,5,6? “in the days.” (2 things)

1.     Not “in the weeks, months or years” Remember: Your walk with your Creator must be daily. If you push God into the weekends, Sundays, you will tank. Let God be the center of your daily existence.

2.     “Days” should remind you of the brevity of life. James 4:13-15 says, “13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city (or this or that college), spend a year there (or four or eight), carry on business and make money (spend a lot of money).” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”—the top consideration as you plan should be God’s will, and life is short, so don’t waste it on “God-less” pursuits. Make it count!

3.     Megan: Remember your Creator in the days…!

E.     Words #7,8,9? “of your youth.”

1.     This links this verse with what he said just before: 11:9: “9 Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see…” This is Solomon’s way of saying, “Carpe Diem!” Seize the day! Enjoy yourself, Megan! It’s not sinful to be young and naïve and to chase your dreams and to want to live life to its fullest! Your “youth” should be some of the most care-free days of your life—enjoy them!

2.     But, lest we misunderstand him, he adds a “but”: “but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.” In other words, enjoy your youth, but remember that you will be held accountable for how you enjoy your youth. You are free to enjoy your youth, but all freedom is limited in some way.

3.     Illustration: You are free to drive a car (or at least, you will be someday), but you’ve got to wait until you get that license and you’ve got to stay on your side of the road and you can’t go too fast and you’ve got to go the right direction on a one-way street and you’ve got to stop at red lights, etc. You can pretend you have absolute freedom and disobey all those laws, but you will suffer the consequences: license revoked, expensive tickets, wrecked car, death, etc. And, you can pretend you have absolute moral freedom and disobey all God’s laws, but you will suffer the consequences: spiritual emptiness and confusion, messed up family relationships—even disease and death.

4.     Megan: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth! Enjoy your youth in God’s will, within the God-given boundaries of Scripture.

III.   Closing: Megan, learn from that “old failure” who looked back on his youth knowing he did not “remember his Creator in the days of his youth.” (Repeat verse 3X, then everyone; Pray)

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