God designed us to work together for the expansion of His Kingdom.
Ecclesiastes 8:15; 12:13-14
After driving home his point about the temporary nature of life, the writer of Ecclesiastes turns his attention to the subject of joy. How can we be joyous when there is futility? Does God want us to be joyous? This final sermon on Ecclesiastes explores the pursuit of joy. God gives us good gifts to enjoy, but they’re not to be the ultimate source of joy. They point us to that source in God alone.
Ecclesiastes 3:16-22; 4:1-3; 7:15-18
We see injustice all the time. It is a part of the human experience. It is so prevalent in our world that we might ask, “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away” (Psalm 10:1)? Is it right to conclude that God doesn’t care about justice? Does justice really matter at all in this world? The writer of Ecclesiastes recognizes the presence of injustice and forces us to ask tough questions like these. As we study through these passages, we’ll find the answers to difficult questions concerning justice.
We will spend much of our adult lives working to earn money, but one day we’ll have to leave all our money and possessions behind. Moreover, while we struggle to earn money, it brings problems of its own. Ecclesiastes forces us to stop our lives for a moment and ask the question, “If life on earth is temporary, and money is fraught with problems, does money really matter?” How do we escape the problems that money brings with it? Is there an answer to the vanity of money?
The observable facts about the world, and our desires concerning it, open up questions about the meaning of life – is there meaning? Why is there pain? Why can we not make pleasure and goodness last? What, ultimately, is the point of it all? While many schools of thought have arisen to attempt to address it, the outlook of Ecclesiastes (and, ultimately of all of God’s word) stands uniquely in the face of evil, the attractiveness of good, and the ultimate futility of it all. The outlook given here points past the futility to the very purpose it serves in the awesome, gracious plans of God for our good and His glory.
We spend most of our adult life at work–9 to 5, punching in and punching out, behind a computer, meeting deadlines. For some of us, work is enjoyable; for others, work is drudgery. Ecclesiastes forces us to ask the question, “if life is temporary, does my job really matter?”
If life is temporary, then why not indulge in it? Ecclesiastes helps us to answer this question. The writer gives a personal testimony of how he indulged himself in wine, projects, people and money–all in search for lasting satisfaction and joy. In the end, he is unsatisfied, but why?
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18; 2:12-17
Wisdom is defined as skill in living or navigating through life. Proverbs heartily affirms our need for it, but the writer of Ecclesiastes forces us to ask, “If both wise and foolish die, does it really matter whether we live wisely?” He readily points out both the benefits and the limitations of wisdom as he questions the necessity of wisdom.
Does life apart from God have lasting value? Too many of us go through our lives without ever asking questions like this one. Yet it is one of the most important questions anyone can answer. We begin a study of the book of Ecclesiastes, where we’re forced to examine our lives from this perspective: why does anything matter?