THE OUTER LIMITS:ECCESIASTES  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  59:10
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Agitated With Solomon: Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 1 Kings 3:2 Chronicles 1 1 Kings 3:10-12 Becoming A Church Of 100

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THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIASTES Agitated With Solomon Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 We live in an instinctually curious world. But what is instinct what is curiosity - why do we have this unquenchable desire to know? We experiment to learn - and everyone has that drive. Has instinct ever made you curious? How do fish simply WANT to swim upstream to the place of their birth to lay more eggs - so that the next batch will do the same? Recently I was standing in my kitchen and I felt a sharp poke, I turned around and someone had a knife and had poked me in the back with it - I slapped it out of their hand and everyone started laughing. Apparently there had been a scientific method based experiment with a tested hypothesis within 1 poke, I’d throw the knife - hypothesis proven, we’re so curious that we even have created a method to follow FOR experimenting because we want solid conclusions. We have control groups - and methodologies. My father-in-law drinks a ridiculous amount of Dr. Pepper. That said, one time we decided to see if he could REALLY tell the difference between it and a knock off. We conducted a double blind study - and before he ever tasted one, he put it up to his nose and knew it was the knockoff Dr. Best from Wal-Mart- we’re a curious people. Solomon was wise in fact, the scripture books attributed to him (Proverbs Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon) as author are in the genre of wisdom literature. The first 24 chapters in the book of Proverbs are about wisdom and its importance. 1 Kings 3:2 Chronicles 1 we see the story of Solomon asking for wisdom from God - and God delivered. Here is why this is important. We’re supposed to be drawn through these thoughts of Solomon to asking the important question: “is there anything to life outside of God”. Solomon will apply approaches to logic and wisdom in trying to answer that question, and that’s what we’ll see this morning. And for us an inquisitive people - we’ll be on that quest whether we know it or not, the quest of finding joy and satisfaction, purpose and meaning - it’s part of the fabric of who you are. You may not even recognize that you’re on a quest, but you are -and the question is (spoiler alert here) will you seek it out under the sun cutting off God, or - will you do as Solomon will eventually reveal in the later chapters - through God, and gain perspective. Maybe you’re an academic type, and you’re trying to logic your way to explaining life. Your perspective is wrong - you cannot figure it out from this angle. Maybe you're a pleasure seeker and you try to figure out purpose and meaning through pleasure, your perspective is wrong you cannot figure it out from this angle. Maybe you’re an accomplishment person you need to be about setting and making goals, there will always be another; your perspective is wrong you cannot figure it out from this angle. And so Solomon concludes, it’s all meaningless the great question this book lingers to that conclusion is… but is it really and your inquisitive mind will find God if you work at this question, is it really? I pray that Solomon has you frustrated and agitated today, vexed maybe. It’s from this place, that you’ll find God and that you’ll find a care for people around you and the community around you who are far form God, so stick with Solomon through the vexation to the solution, we’ll peek at it today. Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 (ESV): The Vanity of Wisdom 12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. Note what Solomon has done he’s applied his heart to seek and search - what is saying here is that with all the effort of everything he has, leaning in with great strain. Not like some kind of haphazard attempt. Have you ever seen half-cocked attempts at something? There is a difference between someone with talent and an eye and you. Have you ever noticed that? When someone with talent and an eye takes a picture, it just comes out differently. That is why these baby pictures from Pinterest - they don’t live up to the expectation. Someone with talent took them, and then you took them… and well… When you don’t have the perspective or ability the end product isn’t good, that is what Solomon is running into. Even with all his wisdom, which is impressive and God given, he cannot eliminate God from the perspective and answer his question. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. Verses 16/17 show that his desire to apply all his wisdom while he’s a very wise man, using every tool for thinking, however, he’s removed an important angle. He is no longer one who fears God, he worships idols, false Gods, and from this perspective, from this angle he tries to find a logical angle on life. He’s trying to recreate that baby picture - but without perspective and the eye - he’s eliminating God from his quest for meaning and it’s missing the key. How do you understand this world through logic? Even using all the capacities of wisdom, Solomon is not able to find a logical conclusion for living. Separate from God, Solomon desires to know what can only be known through God. However, he cannot. This is his lament from verse 13, Ecclesiastes 1:13 (ESV): 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. Solomon’s quest has left cracks in the veneer - remember to last week when we studied how rich Solomon was, when we added his Gold riches from the book of Kings we found that even the salary cap for the Philadelphia Eagles we cannot approach his wealth - but that’s not enough to sustain him as he asks why is the world what the world is? We live in a world that doesn’t have the immediate connection to a good God who we resist by our nature. And so the pursuit to know why things are the way they are, without recognizing God, is a painful burden - and you can only conclude that everything is meaningless. That’s what he’s resolving in verse 15; Ecclesiastes 1:15 (ESV): 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. Solomon in his seeking to know the world through his wisdom has become intensely frustrated because the world cannot be known or understood when you’ve discounted God. And so his perspective is off and the off perspective is bringing him to a maddening conclusion - this cannot be understood. Knowledge from the Internet, advancements in science and knowledge have not improved the world, rather things are crazy. Don’t get me wrong the world is WAY better I told you last week in fact I promised to show you the video of the little girl that helped me change my radiator. I can watch videos of hydraulic presses crushing things, I can watch back yard scientists learn about burning steel wool with a 9 volt, its a curious life but some how without God its dissatisfying However, it is still true that elections raise figureheads to win or lose and not truly a quest for bettering people - and so Solomon in all his wealth and wisdom concludes: 18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. Maybe you can understand his vexation - In verse 13 Solomon used wisdom to understand and it resulted in futility from his vantage point under the sun. Now he examines wisdom it’s self - his Wisdom was granted by God as we see in the book of Kings 1 Kings 3:10–12 (ESV): 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. With this he has moved from wisdom and knowledge to madness and folly (verse 17) - so wisdom’s pursuit of truth, and understanding even wisdom it’s self separate from God is elusive and is meaningless unable to bring to me significance, and pleasure. Again he concludes it delivers only sorrow and grief he is despond, bitter and vexed he has decided that applying wisdom has increases sorrow, maybe this election season has greeted you with sorrow and vexation as you’ve considered it independent from any party narrative. Maybe you’ve had taste of that bitter vexation; maybe you’ve concluded with Solomon it’s all meaningless. Maybe you’ve seen the sorrows of the world. Maybe you’ve wished you’d not turned on the news, and known about the horrors of this life. It’s easier to cover your eyes - and point your head down at the ground and now know what’s going on around you. Maybe it’s easier to not know what Trump said on a bus. What’s Hillary did with emails and didn't do for Marines and Ambassadors to the US in Benghazi - maybe its easier not to hear of news stories of mothers who murder their infants and fathers who rape infants, police officers who in anger drag their children up the stairs bruising their bodies - maybe looking at it all leaves you vexed I want to encourage you to orient your gaze differently, consider God not man and be encouraged. I want you to be encouraged by this, this world without God cannot deliver any meaning from life. Is Ecclesiastes hopeless and discouragement fantastic, if you seek meaning and significance outside of God? What if you apply God given gifts to that pursuit, you’ll be left vexed, like sand from the beach in Your socks, you’ll be angered by the gruesome truths of this life and that is where the world and community around you, is. So what if we recognized that knowing that we have a unique angle when we look through God to understand this life and to find satisfaction. I believe that we’re here in the city, on a God sent mission full of people with a curiosity and desire to find meaning and significance and do we want to be used by God to help people find him? Why are you here? Not here existentially in life, on earth in the cosmos, but at Transcend Church in Harrisburg PA. Why are you in the city. Why are you in that chair? Because God has sent you to bring him glory, and to show him worthy. But also because people are dying without him. They’re living tortured existences in the quest they don’t even know they’re on, and they need His church to bring His Gospel, and so we’re committed to growing our presence here, because He has a people that don't yet know their His. They’re, like solomon, seeking to make since of the world through wisdom. And so, it’s so completely important that we’re here in the city. Churches are running, dying, shrinking away from the city, people are abandoning her - and leaving a people abandoned in the city, without a gospel witness with the ONLY conclusions that can be given when you work through solomon’s angle, personal wisdom and logic under the sun. And so our goal and our calling in the city, is to be a people who apply not personal wisdom, and riches to find meaning and purpose, but to be a gospel witness of people who know God, who love Jesus, and who look to the spirit of God for their daily purpose and pleasure and knowledge, who seek to do God’s will and who saturate the area with hope and love, guys that’s why I want us to take on a goal a specific goal to double our presence in the city, in our neighborhood by the end of January 2017. To be a church of 100 people, who are seeking after God, doing his will, and living as a God focused presence and community - will you join together with God in this vision? As you go through this week, I want you to pray, specifically about how God has called you to this church. IN this city. At this time. I want you to pray about being open to going after this goal, because I feel that it is our calling from Him to be his gospel witness here, and now. That’s why he’s put us here. IN this place, at this time, in this building - now us, his people need to respond to his calling. SO, I want to give you two goals for prayer this week and lets see what God will do. 1, God will you bless your vision here - church of 100 worshippers. 2, Pray God how can I serve you in the vision, church of 100 worshippers. Becoming A Church Of 100 THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIATES – Agitated With Solomon Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 6 of 6 Sunday 10/9/2016
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