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THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIASTES-The Hope Of Joy & Satisfaction: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

THE OUTER LIMITS:ECCESIASTES  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  53:43
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The Hope Of Joy & Satisfaction: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 Proverbs 12:15 Ecclesiastes 1:3 Romans 12:2 Ephesians 5:16

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 The Hope Of Joy & Satisfaction Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 Hey guys, I’m going to open up here and share a secret about myself - ok. And it’s odd because I grew up around the ocean. Swimming in South Florida - boating, just doing stuff near and in the ocean - but here is the secret, there isn't much I’m afraid of and I mean that, but I’m a little weirded out by the ocean. It’s for the same reason I’m slightly uncomfortable in the dark and on roller coasters; that is this, I like to be in control of my environment. When I’m in the ocean, I am keenly aware that this is NOT my environment. Not only am I a single inability to make another paddle or stroke away from death - but I’m pretty sure at all times, since I cannot see what’s below me, that the ocean is swarming with sharks and other man eating sea creatures who thrive on lower extremities - and they’re eyeballing and making biting strokes at me regularly. Every brush with sea vegetables is a stroke of certain death and so I come out of the water and I’m surprised every time. Now stay with me here - if you know me you may know that I’m not necessarily a beach person. Let me tell you what I mean, I don’t like the sand or feeling salty and sticky - and so I like the beach if it was more on my terms and here they are: 1. There can be VERY little travel from the water to a shower (and not the awkward public shower head beach side thing) I mean a full on personal shower. 2. I want a paved beach, no sand (not even at low tide). However, I want a sand area for leisure activities like paddle ball and digging - but it shouldn’t blow over to the paved side (where I’ll spend most of my time) 3. Birds are un-welcome 4. There should be both no trash and no trash cans With my 4 demands met, I’m ready to go enjoy the beach on my terms - but that is not the beach - and guys I’m slowly learning to enjoy it anyway (but to be clear I'd rather just be at home because I’m a home body). Solomon is laying out list of demands to be happy to and they’re the groaning of a workaholic. In these 9 verses and 250 words, if we turned them into a card game, and placed every word on a card - you'd have a 1:20 chance of hitting on one word/concept, work - defined as Toil, Striving, and/or Work. This is the lament of a workaholic; how appropriate for our day - because here is the secret of the workaholic, it’s not that they enjoy work and productivity (though that’s what they say) just like the person with the sloppy desk says (that’s how my mind works) there chasing after their joy and satisfaction, through their work - and it cannot provide those things it was never designed to bring about joy and/or satisfaction. The balance is - you CAN work hard, from a joyful satisfied place, and that’s where Solomon needs to get. Lets hear from him: Ecclesiastes 2:17–26 (ESV) 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. Powerful words… so I hated life. I want us to pause here, to rest here and catch the weight of this. Joy, Satisfaction lay here for us in these passages, but we find them through a sneaky approach. Ecclesiastes is to be a book of vicarious leaning, if we’ll let it. Proverbs 12:15 (ESV) 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. We’ve spent the majority of the first 2 chapters building a foundation for the writer, Solomon. Demonstrating that he is trustworthy experienced, wealthy, and wise. Would you learn from someone how to construct something, who has only read about it, but never done it? No - Solomon has been there and done that AND has been given wisdom above any wisdom that would ever come and so we’ve established that he’s trust worthy - we’ve followed his Journey to find joy and satisfaction in life and we’ve come to his ultimate conclusion - I hate life. Is this you, have you been here - are you here… Why - we’ll he’s glad you asked because in the next 8 verses he’ll tell you all about it and it’s based on this platform: because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. This concept of striving after wind, it’s frustrating and so heart breaking - it’s a logical impossibility that we’ve tasked ourselves with - it’s why we find rest in Christ, and simply toil without Him. Guys - Solomon’s problem and the problem with Ecclesiastes is he wants desperately to be satisfied in life. And even working to be satisfied, in wisdom, effort, luxury (all the keys we know for joy) are toil - and temporary and it’s vexing and exhausting - his search for joy without God and so now his life is spiraling. A man for all intents and purposes should be happy with money, position, power, relationship, and possessions - but without God it’s all without any deep meaning - we’re not shallow creatures, were deep and have deep need. Like my need for joy and satisfaction at the beach is unattainable, so too is Solomon’s without God, except that Solomon created his beach - he got to the end that he thought would make him happy and it wasn’t. And So we come back to Proverbs 12:15 (ESV) 15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Ecclesiastes 2:18–21 (ESV) 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. Solomon seems to have reached an end - he deterred that all this hard work he’s so consumed with has made him hate life it’s self - the now the product of his work cannot even be enjoyed because someday it will just go to some lazy person who didn’t work for it - ho hum, Solomon is vexed. Church here is what we have to see in Solomon - he is this workaholic, wise, rich, powerful, fulfilled by possessions man who is angry because he finds meaning in NONE OF IT. When we seek to find joy and satisfaction through idols (work, possessions, power, etc.) the energy and level of hope we put into that same idol, we’ll have a pent up anger towards that idol, or indirectly - life it’s self. When we learn to place our eyes on God and leave our joy and satisfaction on him, wives and children and husbands - can be to enjoy, not to find enjoyment from. Work and finances can be to enjoy, not to find enjoyment from - Church Solomon's’ idols are failing him in joy and satisfaction Ecclesiastes 2:22–23 (ESV) 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. Solomon knows that he doesn’t even work for himself - he’ll just build it to leave it and so he’s angry. What if I did get my paved sandless beach with no trash and no trashcans? A) It would get old. B) I’d just have to give it to some fool that didn’t work for it and if that’s all that would give me joy and satisfaction or could give me joy and satisfaction- I’d never find it. Solomon’s vexation was even deeper - he's wise, he’s the king, he's rich beyond measure - and short of God, this place isn’t enough. Maybe you’ve realized that too - maybe you think you’re just another step away and so you’ll keep working… I pray that you’ll learn by proxy, through Solomon. That next step you’re working for, it's not enough. Maybe you’ve realized that - maybe you’re just wallowing in depression that too is toil. It’s work to lie around and hate things - discontentment and depression are vexing and toilsome and I don’t have the cure. But lets stick with Solomon because there is rest here; Ecclesiastes 2:24 (ESV) 24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, Wait, what’s this - a conclusion about God? Solomon had added a layer to the scan lines where we see a glimpse of God. Ecclesiastes 2:25–26 (ESV) 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Note the change in tone and tension here as Solomon has a glimpse of joy and satisfaction from recognizing God. What do we gain from all our labor under the sun Ecclesiastes 1:3? He concludes verse 24 there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, And so then, verse 25 reveals a HUGE secret: Ecclesiastes 2:25 (ESV) 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Enjoyment is a gift, from God. Then recognizing that truth brings out a joy and satisfaction because you’ve found God THROUGH the enjoyment that God gives IN this life. Are you about enjoyment - or simply about gathering and collecting? Solomon was missing God, not things, money, people, and worldly pleasures - but he was missing the key to true joy; God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy we see in Ecclesiastes 2:26 - I’m gone the relief of your friends, wife, husband boyfriend/girlfriend, children, coworkers else if we don’t have this joy and satisfaction our lives as a sinner or someone who misses the mark of God we’re about verse 26 says gathering and collecting and it’s meaningless… doesn’t that sound like the workaholic’s life? We need to stop working for work’s sake - and work because of God or; our lives will bear the weight of all our hopes for joy and satisfaction IN this life. And we’ll hate life. We’ll feel so deeply weighted we may hate life, we may take it out of friends and family, we may take it out on ourselves, we may not leave the bed - those we love cannot and should not and are not able to bear the weight of our hope for joy and satisfaction they’re not meant to bear that weight. The NY times reports in June of 2016 that the average A-V-E-R-A-G-E American watches 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV per day. Guys - if you work 8 commute for 1 and do cook/eat in 1 you're at 10 hours then spend an hour doing “stuff” mow/laundry, clean etc. you're at 11 - then spend 30 minutes going to sleep and waking up you’re at 12, hours that are spent, add in your 5 of TV you’re at 17 you’ve only got 7 hours to spend sleeping or otherwise live life. If that’s the pattern for the Christian and work and the expectation of work that extends beyond your job - how will you ever serve someone, participate in activities with church - you’re too busy …watching TV. No wonder we’re not reading our Bibles, or serving - we’re too busy watching Empire, walking dead or… wait for it, football. I think we should consider our joy and our work up and against Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. And Ephesians 5:16 (ESV) 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Church, I’m not trying to beat us up. I mean I’m the guy who watched the ENTIRE season of Last Chance U in one night… who plowed Breaking Bad and who watches NFL football and some college football; I’m saying, lets be willing to look at our patterns of living, because I don’t want to hate life, but I don’t want to love it either. I don’t want to hate work, but I don’t want to love it either I want to have joy and satisfaction in all aspects of my life because God gives me those things - then everything can be in it’s place, and I’ll not place the hope of joy and satisfaction on idols finding an outfacing of hate and anger and depression in direct proportion to my previous hope in those idols. I want to love God and live life and work because I love Him and I want to find rest, and joy in knowing this life - is tertiary then I can work with a loose hold and light grip. Some of us need to rest as we work, some of us need to get to work, and still others of us need to work less. I don’t have a magic bullet - you need to consider yourself before God. What has you exhausted? Consider that the work of your life isn’t meant to be joy and satisfaction, rather that we work out from those things - and know that for the person for whom God is included in their world view and who is now in Christ redeemed to God - we know the end of our work, and life of joy and satisfaction is not simply lost at death, rather we have a kingdom impact in our day-to-day living. Though we may be forgotten under the sun in years to come, we’ll have impact on those to whom we were called to live among. Then return to your God, and work hard as you leisure and enjoy Him - you wont find joy in your work, but you can be a joyful worker. Because of Jesus hard work for profit that would not die, that would not fade away - but rather Jesus’ food was to do God’s will and accomplish it and so that accomplishment gives us joy and satisfaction because of our salvation and reception to God, church I pray you’ll find rest here in Jesus finished work - do you need that this morning for the fist time, or as a reminder to seek joy? The Hope Of Joy & Satisfaction THE OUTER LIMITS: ECCLESIATES – The Hope Of Joy & Satisfaction Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 6 of 6 Sunday 10/30/2016
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