THE OUTER LIMITS:ECCESIASTES  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:41
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The Dissatisfaction Of Everything You Want Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 Genesis 3:4-5 Psalms 104:115 Proverbs 23:31-32 John 4:14 Ecclesiastes 1:13 Empires of Dirt

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THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIASTES Solomon & Johnny Cash Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 The Dissatisfaction Of Everything You Want In his book on writing, Douglass Wilson gives advice to the young writer and it goes like this: “Live an actual life, a full life, the kind that generates a surplus of stories”. The books of scripture that leave me most perplexed, and interested, and scandalized yet looking and thinking hang in a storied picture frame - Job, Hosea, and Ecclesiastics. I remember once walking through an old house, a mansion of sorts, with amenities that were in their day awesome, but today the sort of technologies that lay at the butt of jokes whole house intercom systems, a wall mounted pencil sharpener in a wooden wall lined office, and shag carpeting - but the paintings of the owners and their families told stories… Solomon has left this behind in his vexation, vanity, and meaninglessness and it takes us on a ride of sorts - an interesting sometimes-frustrating ride that is designed, by God, to bring us on a journey that ends with total satisfaction with God in this life. Solomon want's your attention and he's lived a life that deserves it he’s lived an actual full life that generates a surplus of stories. He want’s your everything, your anger, your frustration, your vexation, your complete lack of satisfaction in every pleasure in this life - because he want’s to spin it up into a ball of energy, something you have to get rid of - and he want’s to spend it. Have you ever watched an elite athlete who expends energy and power and effort in their craft, a fighter, a wrestler, a football player - prepare. Phelps Face Maybe you saw it, maybe you’re not existent in the world but the intensity of Phelps face, drawn out when the situation and the music meet. …. Maybe you've heard of the man in black, Johnny Cash - maybe you haven’t. But he pairs with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Solomon in a vexing perplexion of Solomonic Ecclesiastical proportions - delivering to you in a hand-basket the dissatisfaction of everything you want; forcing you to consider where do you turn when everything isn't enough. And I don’t mean everything, I mean everything. Because when all that exists aren't enough something, else, must. Because of nothing, nothing comes, so from something all things came, and to that thing - all things point. When you go after the things, the products of the main thing, they’re exhausted - drugs, sex, alcohol and so this book is the most important to our generation, to our American world who has ALL things. Ecclesiastes 2:1–11 (ESV) The Vanity of Self-Indulgence 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. The endlessness of good isn’t. In fact, ignorer to know good, we needed it to stop and evil to begin. Think back to Satan in the garden: Genesis 3:4–5 (ESV) 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Maybe you’ve heard of this before. God’s protection in the garden was good and for their good. He was their protection however, when they stopped trusting God - oh it was on. That’s where we are now, in a world that doesn’t trust God. With a society who celebrates lack of God, then revolts at Clinton and Trump who echo us holistically when they stopped trusting God, Satan was right, they knew good and evil, the came up to the point of derision of God and Evil, they crossed it and immediately after it became clear the difference - when before they didn't have the contrast to know… now they do, and we see it too. We live in a world whose fabric is woven with evil, and so - it’s hard to know which thread is good, and which is evil Psalm 104:115 15  and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. And then: Proverbs 23:31–32 (ESV) 31  Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32  In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. What is this - it’s good it’s bad - but I want to encourage you, and I think this is Solomon’s madness when we’re oriented on God 1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2  I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. Solomon looked for meaning and wealth, and now - un-restrained glut. Pleasure. All that he could take, and more. Solomon lived a Nike Ecclesiastes 2:10 life - just do it. What is, or what was it - it was ANYTHING. This is not a Christian worldview anything that was a sinfully unrestrained anything and I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. This isn’t a mighty highbrow life he lived; he was living in the trenches of gluttony. And fellow American here we sit. All that exists isn’t enough - so something else must exist, but Solomon has blocked that perspective from his quest - he’s looking only under the sun for his answers. We live in a saturated world of glut - the global entertainment industry is posed to break 2 trillion dollars in 2016 with the us market generating 479 billion dollars in 2012 and the us only being 29.2 percent of world wide revenue at 1.6 trillion, we’re inundated with an entertainment and gratification culture. It calls to us, it lies to us. When is the last time you saw a commercial depicting a life destroyed by opiates, never - only relief from pain, the last time a college student passed out in a pool of blood from a driving related injury - never, only good times. And so we go after momentary pleasure, just like Solomon’s own experiment - but don’t we know how it ends? Solomon goes on 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Verse 10 is amazingly important - then we’ll go back. Because you’re reading this, and it’s the Bible and he’s just said I partied, and had unrestrained sex with multiples upon multiples of partners - and we’re waiting for it - it was awful, I hated it, it was sinful, God despises it, but it never comes! He has no regard for God, and look what he says in verse 10, my heat found pleasure… wait, he just said, I liked it all - guys I want you to camp here with me, this is profoundly honest, and I think it will align with your life. And he continues in part b of verse 10: and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. It came up empty, the pleasure was momentary, then like a loaded gun it was time to toil for pleasure, and so the pleasure had to be greater- because it isn’t enough at the same level it has to amplify - All that exists isn’t enough - and so something, else, must, exist. In the midst of his heroin addiction Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails released his song Hurt, on the album downward spiral in 1994. Later Johnny Cash covered it. What an odd thing - but Cash loved the song, and the video is moving and compelling and it’s Solomon’s very conclusion. Cash was in and out of addiction cycles, toward the end of his life, which stopped in 2003 he’d been recording songs as a man reflecting back on a rough life. One of those was Reznor’s Hurt - I think this illustration from our pop culture, fits Solomon’s own reflection of his life. We have to remember that this Bible it knows life. It’s not some sanitized version of life that isn’t reflective of experience; it knows all of it, the depths and riches of good, and evil - Cash sings “Hurt” and as you hear the words What have I become? My sweetest friend Everyone I know goes away In the end And you could have it all My empire of dirt. You see the video clips back and forth between his rock star days, and recent shots of the abandoned from a flood crumbling Johnny Cash Museum - and the man in black hands shaking, is months from death -= he knows the pleasure, the toil and the fleeting nature of it all. And so, Hurt - written by a depressed addict who said “I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, isolated and totally alone” passed down through Johnny cash pointing through the meaningless trophies and memories of a life of total fame and glut - through the chorus: What have I become? My sweetest friend Everyone I know goes away In the end And you could have it all My empire of dirt Into Solomon’s lesson - it’s all meaningless all the pleasure circles you back around, all the toil - with only momentary pleasure, and so Solomon desires to spin up all that energy, all he toil you’d spend working for pleasure, money, and wisdom, out of a life that deserves your attention, when all that exists aren't enough something, else, must and oh if we could point all our lives, and all our toil and all our affection at God, knowing that He is so good and so satisfying more pleasurable than money, possessions, drugs and alcoholic put together, sexual pleasure - these are only temporary pleasure, and so Jesus says: John 4:14 (ESV) 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” This is what Solomon is spinning up all your energy for. And he doesn’t even full know it - Jesus satisfies us fully, the drink that finally quenches and delivers more than pleasure that costs toil, Jesus brings us fully to rest in God - who is the something else, that exists and that all toil drives us for, God is the answer to the quest that everything pushes us to, that Solomon lamented in 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. BUT - this is because his view is under the sun - Ecclesiastes isn’t the despond of addiction, or Johnny Cash’s sorrow - it’s God anthem and beckoning to His children - I want you to know under the sun, fully, so that you can know me - fully. Empires Of Dirt THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIATES – Solomon Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 8 of 8 Sunday 10/16/2016
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