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Helping Youth Have Fun And Rejoicing in Old Age

Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:32
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Helping Youth Have Fun and Rejoicing in Old Age
Ecclesiastes 11.7-12.8
ROC 5/27/15

I. Introduction

1. Pre-introduction

i. Thank you for your prayers these past two weeks, I have been blessed

2. SO let’s pray

i. Lord, I feel the worries people have for the young generations and also the way older generations are tossed aside,
ii. May you enable the church to be different from the world where al people in your image are valued and challenged to be more like you

3. Catch- Do you know how long have teenagers been around?

i. The word teenager first appeared in 1941 of the reader’s digest
1. Now, there has always been young people in their teen years, but this was a first time that a separate age group was created between being a child and an adult
2. Up until then the great depression in the 30s, very few people went to high school
a. But with all the roaming young people due to there being no jobs, people got worried
b. It was the Hitler youth after all that helped raise a dictator to power over in Germany
ii. Youth groups didn’t exist until the 50s
1. But suddenly people saw the soul of the church in youth, they had to reach them, and thus came up with all these ways to try to get young people saved
2. Some were good, others turned church into a place of entertainment , which would try to rival the world in getting your attention for a short bit of time
3. Sadly, what you win them with is what you keep them with and the problems of the seeker sensitive movement created a generation of people who loved church without Jesus Christ
iii. There are two important factors here as the older generations both feared the youth and saw their future in them
iv. And being a young person is the time you get to answer who I am
1. Sadly, because it’s a time of discovery, the world has very low expectations on teenagers
a. People say they’re going to rebel and get in trouble,
b. They’re expected to sin in some major way that you will have to keep off social media so future employers don’t find out.
2. But the bible calls young people to be defined by your relationship with God
a. He can let you know who you are in your strengths and trails
b. We cannot treat them like non people because we believe you can know the deep things about God,
3. At the same time, we cannot expect them to be the same as the experienced… their stage of life must be different

4. Review of the preacher’s message

i. We’ve hit the final section of Ecclesiastes as he drives us toward the conclusion of needing to fear God and obey his commandments
ii. Previously he has spoken about what to do when the you don’t know the future
iii. Now he reminds young people what to do when they do something about their future… we all get older.

II. How do we help young people be godly and prepare for old age

1. Youth must learn to fear God in the trials of youth (11.7-10)

i. Explanation

1.1. Young people can expect difficult days (7-9a)

a. He talks about light of good days and darkness of bad days as Ecclesiastes is so true to this fallen world. Ever since Genesis 3, Adam and Eve, this world has problems and so will you.

i. One of the struggles of a young person is that they think the world is great, some of you haven’t experienced the evil of this world yet
ii. So, those dark days hit them harder because they’ve never seen them come to an end before
iii. so we must warn them that there will be bad days, yet v8 makes clear, these bad days too are soap bubbles, they pass… There are good days coming too the sun will rise again

b. Young people can Rejoice!

i. Being happy and serving God are not enemies
ii. Rejoice means to be elated, delighting, and while we sometimes make a distinction between happiness which is temporary, and joy which lasts
1. Luke 6:23 tells us to rejoice and leap for joy when our names are spurned because we have great reward in heaven.
2. But it can also be enjoyment of blessings God has given us
Joel 2:23 ESV
“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.
iii. Young people, have been given by God unique gifts and time in life that God wants you to enjoy… not just hear don’t do this or do that.
1. We need to encourage a theology of fun, where young kids to young adults know they can have fun in special times in life
iv. C.S. Lewis has this famous quote in reference to this that you’ve probably heard before
1. He says that God does not consider our desires too strong and we need to deny them... have less fun, be more serious
2. No, he says our desires are too weak. we want to be satisfied with video games, sports, drinking, complements, possessions… or whatever it is like a child sitting in a bud pit, making mud pies and saying no to an all paid cruise.

c. Walk has to do with the way we live our lives as he says do want your heart desires and go after what you see with your eyes

i. Remember, God want to bring you joy
Trans: But the joy is found sometimes in sacrifice

1.2. Young people must sacrifice what will hurt them (9b-10)

a. He gives a sober reminder: God’s judgment will come on everything that you do.
b. Hebrews 9:27 makes this clear And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
c. This should be the overriding thought for a young person The fact that you will be judged for all you do
i. Think of this truth as those little bumps on the road When you first learn to drive its sometimes hard to stay straight, so you start to drift to one side of the road… as soon as you start to hit them, the whole car vibrates and you know you’re going off track.
ii. its hard for the young person to keep on the straight and narrow when deciding things for the first time. So, the lives of others must remind them their decisions bring consequencs.
d. They must remove certain things from your life
i. To put away means to sacrifice as in a offering
ii. Things that cause anger or pain can be avoided
And while the preacher is just saying youth is fleeting, so avoid pain while we can,
Jesus informs us that we sometimes have to give up things in the short term for the long term gain.
e. John Piper reminds that that Jesus demand for self denial is another way of calling us to radically pursue our deepest and most lasting joy… they are like the command to be cancer-free and the command to have surgery.
i. For example, in Matthew 13:44 the man finds something so valuable in a field that he is willing to give up everything he has to own that field.
ii. So, we must remember that the commands to remove things… so say no to sin they are commands to find our greatest joy in someone else.
iii. Say no to sin so you can say yes to God’s joy
f. And scripture makes clear there are some struggles of young people?
i. 1 kings 3:7- there is inexpeirience. Solomon asks for wisdom because he is a little child and does not know how to go out or come in. *Young people don’t have the experience to know what to do.
ii. 2 Timothy 2:22 talks about fleeing youthful lusts and instead seek to be holy… there are temptations to being young that are stronger than the old, so you need to remember all the more
g. But what makes things even more difficult is that God doesn’t just expect us to live moral lives… God expects us to glorify Him with everything that we do.
i. We all know we will fail to glorify God Even if you’re a squeaky clean unbeliever, you will do the right things for the wrong reasons. John Piper again- “will power religion usually fails, and even when it succeeds, its get glory for the will, not for God. It produces legalists, not lovers.’
ii. Others of you complain about how people are always judging you or putting you in a box… but remember, God too has a box, and its weight is way heavier.
iii. so our only hope is in Hebrews 9:28, just after he tells us there is a judgment after death “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
ii. Illustration
. People say life is short you better enjoy it. But how about eternity is long so you better prepare for it
iii. Application
1. The Preacher gives instruction—particularly to the young. Youth is a time of health, vitality and opportunity, but is often frittered away in excesses. As George Bernard Shaw once remarked, ‘The trouble with youth is that it is wasted on the young.’ The Preacher exhorts the young not to waste these precious years of their lives.[i]
a. So, do you know who young people need around them to be wise?
b. Those who can tell them how precious their years are
c. There should be a difference in the church compared to the world where relationships are defined by how similar we are and how much we like each other
d. Instead of being concerned about how young people respond to you, you must continue to reach out to love them
Trans: But its not just in the trials we need God, it’s the good times.

2. We must remind them God’s blessings of youth and what will happen in the future (12.1-8)

3 honest assignments of aging

2.1. A pattern set in life is hard to change (1)

a. Its not just enough to fear God like someone is afraid of the heights, you only think about it when you’re near something tall. no, you are called to bring up the name of God to you mind continually
b. You’re beginning to shape the person who you will be and the patterns you will set the rest of your life.
c. You need to learn to remember God in the good times
i. Turn to Deuteronomy 8:11-14
Deuteronomy 8:11–14 ESV
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,
Deuteronomy 8:17-18
Deuteronomy 8:17–18 ESV
Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
1. God warned Israel once they had everything they wanted and times were successful, don’t forget where God has taken you through don’t say it was your power
2. verse 18 commands us to remember God why? it in only God who can keep his promises
3. Why do we need to do bible study often? Because that is how you remember the promises God has given you and that He will do them
ii. Joseph knew that is hard times too
Genesis 39:9 ESV
He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
after being sold into slavery by his brothers, sent away from his home, and tempted to sin. he responded how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?
iii. John Macarthur writes “encourages you young men to enjoy your youth, but make sure you remove anything from your life that will produce guilt and sorrow. How do you do that? By remembering “your Creator in the days of your youth” (12:1). In your old age you’ll be able to enjoy wonderful memories of a well-spent youth”
Trans: The preacher goes onto to describe some of those dark days ahead

2.2. Age means the body will begin falling apart (2-5)

a. He gives a long series of examples to show some of the pains of dark days as people grow older
b. Verse 2 gives the illustration of a storm coming in which blocks out all the good light from 11:7
c. Verses 3-5 gives a number of examples of what happens when those dark days come
i. A story of a rich household as the master is probably dying causes the guards to worry, the strong men to be weak, the female cooks to stop working, and the wealthy women to remove themselves from society.
ii. Days come when you get older and the body doesn’t work the way its supposed to anymore and you’re constantly going to the doctor for this or that.
d. One thing the bible often uses to describe young people is that you have strength
i. Proverbs 20:29- The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
ii. 1 john 2:13 says young men have overcome the evil one and are strong
iii. They have the ability to fight, strength to see a problem and tackle it in a way some of our seasoned saints just don’t have
1. But with many seasons should come wisdom they need,
2. the young have youthful zeal that combined serves God well.
e. If even children are are saved and you know God, they have the ability to serve the body of Christ
i. 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 is very clear that if you have the holy spirit, then you have a spiritual gift that exists to help the church… you are part of the body
ii. The young much to learn, but also much to offer during this season of life
1. We need young to be serving God
Trans: Age sets and pattern, and brings bodily corruption, but 3rd

2.3. Aging means there will be a time when it is too late. (6-8)

a. He finishes with the 3rd “before” using illustrations of things coming to an end
b. Ultimately ending with verse 7.. dust returns to the earth
i. Soap bubbles… that’s all your life is. People may look at it and be in awe, but its here one moment, gone the next
c. Psalm 90:10- The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
i. We must not get to depressed at old age
ii. because we have more time to serve the Lord in sowing and reaping (see Ecclesiastes 11:1–6), but also because we have more opportunity to enjoy the goodness of life
iii. I read old saint who was feeling the effects of his age. When I worried that he might be discouraged, he said, “Not at all, because with the Lord, life gets better and better!” For the faithful believer, long life is a blessing from God (Psalm 91:16).[ii]
iv. If we live for “many years,” he says, “the days of darkness will be many” (Ecclesiastes 11:8), and we will taste what is bitter in life as well as what is sweet. Sooner or later we will suffer loss, disappointment, injustice, and grief.[iii]
v. But we never know the day of our death, the day of our judgment before God… for some its 70, for others it is 17.
d. Don’t be like those in Luke 9:59,
Luke 9:59 ESV
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Luke 9:59–62 ESV
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
ii. Illustration
1. I can’t really speak on my authority on the issue of aging, but rely upon God’s and godly people who have been there
This is from 81 year old Susan Hunt, who was former Director of Women's Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America.
Let’s be real—aging doesn’t feel very friendly. Change is disorienting, because we settle into our roles and responsibilities and they become our identity and purpose. And now we face almost daily changes of diminishing physical abilities and energy. We need something bigger and better to make sense of it all. We need an identity and purpose that transcends it all, which is exactly what God provides in the gospel.”
“The gospel imperative to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18) does not have an age limit. The same grace that gives us new life in Christ empowers that life to develop, mature, and flourish. We never finish growing. There is always more grace to experience and more to know of Christ’s love.”
2. The bible’s honest assignment of age shows the need to never stop fearing God
iii. Application
1. There must be a call to Avoid spiritual procrastination because you think there is time Prov 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth
2. Instead, serve Him now! Ps 119:60 I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.
3.But we must avoid spiritual stagnation as well that says I’ve run far enough, let me just turn in the towel.
A recognition of the hard times should make us cling to the grace of GOd all the more so that we will say, wow, something God hapepned… praise God for it

III. Conclusion

1. Cohesion-
i. The wisest man ever thinks young people can handle this truth. They must fear and remember the great God of the universe because you will be judged by him, and yet have fun at the same time!
ii. They also have incredible abilities to serve other, especially the church that your parents and grandparents can’t.
iii. So, we’re going to try to remember to praise God at fun events, and give you opportunities to serve others in this meeting time and outside.

2. Resolution-

Yes, the days of affliction come. Part of flourishing is fervently grabbing hold of the Lord through his promises. He says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Gladness comes with his presence. As you grow older, expectations change. You come to realize that there is no perfect family, church, situation, or society. Because we live in a broken world, we begin to marvel that things go as well as they do because God gives grace upon grace. We look for his intervening hand of love as we work through difficulties. -Ruth Auffarth
ii. Being a young person is a period of certain difficulties, but also great opportunities
iii. Alex and Brett Harris as teenagers wrote the book Do Hard things where they called teenagers to rebel against Low Expectations
1. They stated that in years past there were 16 year olds who were given command of war ships on the sea. And one young man stood toe to toe with a defeated captain who refused to submit to a young man that he would obey or be killed.
2. They call young people to do amazing things.. be involved in politics, make businesses, do great things
iv. But I just want to say how amazing it is to see some of the young people in our church and in others
how you say no to sin.. you deny the temptations of pornography, you refuse to tell lies, and you humble yourselves enough to ask for forgiveness. that my friends, is not from you.. that is a gift of god.
v. Be encouraged and believe God can do great things with them.
1. So rejoice in what He does.
[i] Jim Winter, Opening up Ecclesiastes, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2005), 146. [ii]Philip Graham Ryken, Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010), 264. [iii]Philip Graham Ryken, Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010), 265.
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