Faithlife
Faithlife

All Is Vanity!

Ecclesiastes: Chasing After the Wind  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 9 views
Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions

Announcements

Prayer Meeting: Tuesday night at 6:30.
- 1 Peter Sermon Series: The title “Elect Exiles” is taken from the opening verse. Begins next week.
- Amos Sermon Series: Will be the series for our Evening Worship Service which we hope to begin mid-late January.
Grace Youth Ministries (GYM): Jr. High and High School students are welcome to join Matt Balocca for a time of games, teaching, and discussion.
- **Grace Youth Ministries (GYM):** Jr. High and High School students are welcome to join Matt Balocca for a time of games, teaching, and discussion.

Call to Worship & Opening Prayer

Luke Sermon Series: Join us at 4pm tonight as we near the close of the book of Amos at our afternoon worship service. In two weeks we will transition to the Gospel of Luke.
- **Luke Sermon Series:** We will finish Amos in our Afternoon Worship Service in a few weeks. Then we will transition to the Gospel of hope you can join us at 4pm.

Opening Prayer

Men’s Study: We’ve got a good group of men gathering here at the church on Saturday mornings at 10am to discuss the Heidelberg Catechism. You can talk to Daniel Anrig if you would like more details.
- **Men’s Study:** Some of the men will be gathering here at the church on Saturday mornings at 10am to discuss the Heidelberg Catechism. You can talk to Daniel Anrig if you are interested in more details.
- Based on the Call to Worship.
Women’s Study: Looking at at study by Tim Keller on Romans. Starts next Tuesday (9/5) 6:30am. There will also be an evening study with Linda Jones. Talk to Linda if you are interested in attending that.
Ladies Night: On the first Wednesday of each month at the Panera in Clovis at 6:30pm. Kicking off next Wednesday (9/6).

Pastoral Prayer

Adoration based upon opening songs.
Hurricane Harvey: Residents in Texas who have suffered great loss due, including the lives of several people. We pray for the rescue and safety of those who remain in life threatening situations. We thank you for the 1,000+ lives that have already been rescued. We pray for the families of those who have lost their homes and other valuable possessions.
Federal and Local Government: Wisdom in handling this disaster response. Opportunity to show
Metanoia Correspondence Ministry: Tim McCracken has 24 men, and more to follow, who would like to begin corresponding with members of local churches.
Correspondence Ministry: Tim has 24 men, and more to follow, who would like to begin corresponding with members of local churches.
Radius International: Some recent graduates are in their last few days or weeks before they head to the field.  The formal Radius training lasts only 10 months... the task of making Christ known where His message has never been preached takes years.  The faint of heart don’t show up here as students. They truly are an incredible bunch to teach!
International Missions: Some recent graduates are in their last few days or weeks before they head to the field.  The formal Radius training lasts only 10 months... the task of making Christ known where His message has never been preached takes years.  The faint of heart don’t show up here as students. They truly are an incredible bunch to teach!
- Confession of Sin:
- Thanksgiving for Pardon:
- Civil Authorities:
- Christian Ministry and Mission:
- Salvation of All Men:
- Sanctification of the Saints:
- The Afflicted:

Offering

1 Timothy 6:6–8 ESV
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
## Offering
, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Introduction

Open your bibles to the book of Ecclesiastes. We’re kicking off our series looking at the first eleven verses this morning. You will find Ecclesiastes somewhere near the middle of your bibles, following the books of Psalms and Proverbs.
While you’re turning there, let me say a brief word about the author. Although historically, Ecclesiastes has been linked to Solomon, there is no mention of his name, unlike Proverbs and Song of Solomon. That alone gave Martin Luther reason to think it was someone else. In addition, the language points most likely to a post-exilic time period (3-4 centuries after Solomon). So who was it? We don’t know. Therefore, it seems best in my opinion to call him what he called himself, “the Preacher.”
Ecclesiastes 1:1–11 ESV
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. 8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

Introduction

The landscape of politics is filled with numerous frustrations. The President is upset with his staff. Staff members point their fingers at each other. Republican Senators are dissatisfied with the lack of progress being made on anyone’s agenda. The Democrats have to at least appear frustrated in order to keep the focus on the President’s failures. In the end, it’s a gigantic mess.
In the midst of the political turmoil, we find social frustrations are rampant. Racial tensions ignite around flags and statues. Violence and hatred erupt with no clear end in sight.
For many, Facebook has become an outlet to air out those frustrations. Back in March, a professor from UCLA suggested that Mark Zuckerberg take some responsibility for enabling Trump’s election. He suggested that Facebook begin adjusting the algorithm that determines our news feeds in order to balance out the information we are seeing. Since Facebook has become a primary news source, and that’s true, it should be held accountable as one (that’s assuming accountability exists currently...).
And now, I’m sure I’ve got a good number of you also frustrated…Frustration and discontentment are a way of life.
As we turn our attention to Ecclesiastes this morning, it is easy to relate to the frustrations of “the Preacher”. He has tried just about everything to find purpose and meaning in life, and he has come up empty. In addition, his audience is likely living in exile, thus receiving little hope from their government.
Our commitment to a God-centered interpretation of the text feels impossible here. Even when talking about creation, the Preacher makes no mention of God.
He seems to possess an overly pessimistic outlook upon life. He comes across as hopeless in this introductory poem. What is the ultimate result of man’s toil? Nothing!
We will come to see that the Preacher is not always Debbie Downer, but he is realistic, unwilling to sugarcoat things. He opens with an unpleasant truth:
The quest for life’s meaning begins with an honest assessment of your discontentment.
Life Under the Sun is Frustrating (2-3)
Earth Remains Constant (4-7)
Man Remains Discontent (8-11)

1. Life Under the Sun is Frustrating (2-3)

In this opening section, the Preacher states his thesis. It is a thesis he will draw out throughout the book. The primary key word is repeated 5 times in the opening quote:
Ecclesiastes 1:2 ESV
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
The word translated “vanity” is found 38 times in Ecclesiastes. It has a broad range of usage, but literally means: vapor or breath. It’s your breath that appears on a window if you get up real close and deeply exhale. It’s only there for a second or two. The Preacher is comparing everything in life to that breath that disappears.
Psalm 39:5 ESV
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
But its meaning goes beyond that. It is used to speak of things that are frustrating, perplexing, and meaningless. Yes, life is brief and fleeting, but it’s also really difficult to understand. It is confusing and stressful. Oftentimes, if we’re being honest, it feels pointless.
The transmission goes out in one car, so we buy a new one and immediately get into an accident. We get ahead on mortgage payments only to have a medical emergency. Life can frustrate us like that.
The Preacher closes with the same statement.
Ecclesiastes 12:8 ESV
8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Does this mean his pessimism has won? Does he think life’s negatives outweigh the positives? I love Derek Kidner’s response:
Where other writers would commend the light to us directly, Qoheleth does it by making the darkness intolerable, allowing the light only the rarest gleam to provoke the observant into second thoughts.
In verse 3 the Preacher asks the central question of this passage:
- I love Derek Kidner’s response:
- I love Derek Kidner’s response:
Ecclesiastes 1:3 ESV
3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
Where other writers would commend the light to us directly, Qoheleth does it by making the darkness intolerable, allowing the light only the rarest gleam to provoke the observant into second thoughts.
The Preacher will use the word, “toil” (עָמָל) 24x It refers to hard labor, implying anxious or even miserable work. It is often translated as “trouble”.
But, he makes an important clarification about the context of which he’s pondering. “Under the sun” is used 29x. It is man’s life without regard for God. It is a brief life, in a fallen world, oftentimes filled with frustration.
And what is the result? What is the reward for all of our hard labor? The implied answer is nothing.
It is actually the same point Jesus makes:
> **Beale** may faintly echo on the ultimate futility of merely earthly labor (see also ).
Matthew 16:26 ESV
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Psalm 49:7–9 ESV
7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, 9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit.
Matthew 16:26 ESV
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
> **Beale** may faintly echo on the ultimate futility of merely earthly labor (see also ).
The profit is nothing. Remove God from the picture, view everything from an atheistic perspective, and you are left with a pointless, meaningless existence - filled with frustration.
>
The Preacher will use the word, “toil” (עָמָל) 24x. It refers to hard labor, implying anxious or even miserable work. It is often translated as “trouble”.
Luke 12:22–24 ESV
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis probes this point:
Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world...
There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
He mentions our deep desires for love, travel, and learning. But, in the end, Lewis continues...
The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy…
There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.
So how do we cope with this reality? What are we supposed to do considering all the confusion and frustration we face?
- **** depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).
Well, I think the first thing the Preacher is suggesting we do is to face reality head on. The quest for life’s meaning begins with an honest assessment of your discontentment.
Luke 12:22–24 ESV
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
- **** depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).
> **RSB** By contrast, from the perspective of the resurrection, life’s labor is not in vain (; ).
- And that is why, Paul can say in , “*In the Lord* your labor is not in vain.”
- ****
The first proof of frustration the Preacher points to is that…

2. Earth Remains Constant (4-7)

The Preacher provides three examples of the circular consistency of nature (sun, wind, and streams). In each case the regularity of activity points to its pointlessness. The earth is simply a monotonous mass of activity. He opens his argument with a comparison:
Ecclesiastes 1:4 ESV
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
One generation is replaced by another, but the earth remains steady. Think about that. The significance of our work within our own generation is typically miniscule. However, in light of the myriad of generations that have come and gone, while this earth has continued to spin, is even more humbling to consider.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 ESV
5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.
Ecclesiastes 1:4–7 ESV
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
From our perspective, we see the sun rise and set, day after day. It is the same thing over and over again. For the Preacher, the sun is a picture of the monotony of life. The pace is relentless, the sun hastens back to where it will rise again.
The movie Groundhog Day comes to mind here. There is a point where Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is talking with some friends and he sounds just like the Preacher when he asks:
Phil Connors: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered? Ralph: That about sums it up for me.
Next, the Preacher considers the wind:
Again, surprisingly, we find no mention of God. (And we need to be careful not to suggest that God’s good created order is somehow to blame for our sense of meaninglessness.)
Ecclesiastes 1:6 ESV
6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
The path of the wind is not as fixed as the sun, but it to continues to blow in a circuitous fashion. Around and around it goes… Lastly, the Preacher considers the sea:
- Qohelet provides three examples of the circular dependency of nature (sun, wind, streams). In each case the regularity of activity points to its pointlessness. The earth is simply a monotonous mass of activity. Again, surprisingly, we find no mention of God.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 ESV
7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
Water is in constant motion. Streams deposit into lakes and oceans, but they never fill up entirely. It’s as if the work is never completed. Nature has no gain to show for it’s ceaseless toiling. It’s an illustration of life’s vanity, its meaninglessness…
The movie Groundhog Day comes to mind here. There is a point where Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is talking with some friends and he sounds just like the Preacher when he asks:
Phil Connors: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered? Ralph: That about sums it up for me.
Again, surprisingly, we find no mention of God in this passage. (And we need to be careful not to suggest that God’s good created order is somehow to blame for our sense of meaninglessness.)
Lest we miss sight of the theme statement in v.3, let us remember that the Preacher is only following through with an answer of his own question. This is a description of creation and its operations from our perspective, “under the sun”.
- Sun
- Wind
- Streams
- Lest we miss sight of Qohelet’s theme statement in v.3, let us remember that he is only following through with an answer of his own question. This is a description of creation and its operations from our perspective, “under the sun”.
- Illustration - Move me!
Later on in Ecclesiastes we will see that he recognizes God to be the Creator. It’s constancy is the result of a sovereign God who creates and sustains life.
So how does this relate to “vanity”? Why is this frustrating?
Because, under the sun, from man’s perspective, there is darkness and uncertainty about life. has a significant impact upon this book. So the Preacher sees “vanity” as the result of the Fall. The hopelessness that we feel. The monotony we see is the result of our sinful disposition. We cannot appreciate things from God’s perspective.
We cannot appreciate things from God’s perspective.
And that leaves us frustrated and perplexed because the same God who is sovereign over creation is sovereign over our frustrations. He could provide the answers, and sometimes he does. But the primary focus of the Preacher is on the seasons of life that go unexplained.
- Implication - Show me!
Baring the life of vanity! fruitfulness of offspring, after life of frustration.
Share the sufferings of Christ.
The circuits of creation seem to only perpetuate the reality that…

3. Man Remains Discontent (8-11)

Here the Preacher makes the connection with creation apparent. Creation’s ceaseless activity with no sign of progress is a picture of our existence.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 ESV
8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
The weariness of life is exemplified by the inability of a man to speak, as well as the dissatisfaction of an eye to see, and an ear to hear. There is no rest because we are never content with our circumstances. We are constantly striving, chasing after the wind as he will mention later on.
The weariness of life is exemplified by the inability of a man to speak, as well as the dissatisfaction an eye to see, and an ear to hear. There is no rest. We are constantly striving, chasing after the wind as he will mention later on.
We see a similar point made in Proverbs:
Ecclesiastes 4:8 ESV
8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Proverbs 27:20 ESV
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
Just as the grave and the underworld are never satisfied by the dead bodies they receive, so our eyes are continually seeking to find something new to gaze upon. And are ears are constantly seeking for something tickling to hear. We are perpetually discontent.
The Preacher continues:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV
9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
- Illumination - Teach me!
Ecclesiastes 1:10 ESV
10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
History repeats itself. We see mankind making the same mistakes their ancestors made generations before. Historians are oftentimes incredibly skilled at predicting where culture is headed by considering what previous generations did.
And for many, the future is bleak. When we look at the path we’re on, few people find reason to rejoice. Rather, they are filled with anxiety and fear.
But, “Don’t worry!” says the Preacher, “You’ll be forgotten just like every other generation that has passed before you.”
Ecclesiastes 1:11 ESV
11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Ecclesiastes 1:
- **v.8** The weariness of life is exemplified by the inability of a man to speak, as well as the dissatisfaction an eye to see, and an ear to hear. There is no rest. We are constantly striving, chasing after the wind as he will mention later on.
- ;
- **vv.9-10**
We strive to leave a legacy for ourselves, but a future generation can wipe out the records. Authors leave their life’s work for future generations to pick up and read, but…Hey, Mario Kart!
Neil Postman’s warning in Amusing Ourselves to Death is right on:
- Illustration - Move me!
Ecclesiastes 9:5 ESV
5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.
And right about now, I’m sure you’re nodding your head thinking. “Amen! That’s right. This generation is in chaos. Our nation will be in ruins soon enough.” We tend to point our wagging fingers at the world outside.
- As Alec Motyer so eloquently puts it:
But what about you? Where does your idle heart find satisfaction? Are you personally discontent? Be honest.
One minute we are deep in pessimism and the game is not worth the candle; another minute life is delightful and fulfilling. One minute we wander and grope in the dark; another minute we have clear directions about living with God and pursuing the good life. One minute we do not know what happens after death - people die as inconsequentially as flies; another minute there is an eternal future and a way of being prepared for it. But it has to be like that because life is like that - not the life of the unbeliever but of the believer - our life is like that!
This is where we all must begin our study of Ecclesiastes, with an honest assessment of our discontentment. Here’s why, because until we’ve done that, we won’t realize that we’ve been made for so much more than a mere life under the sun. We’ve been given a soul that will never die.
The frustration we experience in this life is universal. Believers aren’t immune from worldly pessimism. But the Christian does have a hope that the unbeliever lacks.
That hope stems from the cross. Turn with me if you would to want you to see this for yourselves.
- Implication - Show me!
Isaiah 53:10 ESV
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
The grief that our Lord Jesus endured as he was crushed on the cross points to the fulfillment of all our frustration that is the result of our sin.
Isaiah 53:11 ESV
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
Remember the word “toil” from verse 3? In we see that word again, but this time it is translated “anguish”. depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).:
** depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).
Remember the word “toil” from Ecclesiastes 1:3? In the next verse of we see that word again, but this time it is translated “anguish”.
Isaiah 53:11 ESV
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).
We have hope, because we have a Savior whose eyes were satisfied by what he saw as the result of his redemptive work. What did he see? His offspring (v.10). That’s you and me, and all who believe!
Jesus’ cry of dereliction, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” is the fulfillment of the frustration that all believers face in this life. And, in the midst of suffering that anguish, our Lord saw the fruit of his turmoil, and he was satisfied.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Here’s why, because until we’ve done that, we won’t realize that we’ve been made for so much more than a mere life under the sun.
On the cross, Jesus bore our life of vanity and he replaced it with purpose and hope!
Romans 8:19–24 ESV
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
> **Kidner** He can afford to ask them, because in the final chapters he has good news for us, once we can stop pretending that what is mortal is enough for us, who have been given a capacity for the eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
- Creation > Fall > Frustration > Universal experience (unbelievers and believers alike groan).
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (****).
In summary
*Transition*

Conclusion

*Transition*
## Conclusion
The quest for life’s meaning begins with an honest assessment of your discontentment. We should not sugarcoat reality.
We should not sugar-coat reality.
Luke 12:22–24 ESV
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
- ****
But, in Christ, there is a hope received in our redemption. Because of the resurrection, our toil and hard labor is not in vain.
- Creation > Fall > Frustration > Universal experience (unbelievers and believers alike groan).
And because of the resurrection, our toil and hard labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
John 6:27–29 ESV
27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
- However, for the believer there is a hope received in their redemption.
- **** depicts the עָמָל of the Lord, the anguish in his soul, as he *crushed* his Son (; ).
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Baring the life of vanity! fruitfulness of offspring, after life of frustration.
> **RSB** By contrast, from the perspective of the resurrection, life’s labor is not in vain (; ).
> **RSB** By contrast, from the perspective of the resurrection, life’s labor is not in vain (; ).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ has cleared up any ambiguity left by Ecclesiastes regarding the afterlife. The Preacher argued that nothing is remembered (v.11), but Jesus taught:
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ has cleared up any ambiguity left by Qohelet about the afterlife.
John 11:25–26 ESV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
- Qohelet has argued that the dead are not remembered, but Jesus teaches us “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (****)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (****)
If not, you will remain discontent as you search in vain for that elusive meaning in life. It’s that hopeless search that the Preacher turns to next.

Confession of Faith

1 Corinthians 15:42–43 ESV
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
- End with a charge.

“What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory” ().

Confession of Faith

Confession of Sin

, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
James 2:10 ESV
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

Assurance of Pardon

Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
, “In Christ we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

The Lord’s Supper

As we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love. We are grateful for the covenant love and faithfulness God has shown to us in his Son. As we exercise our thanksgiving through the celebration of this meal we know that our relationship with God is actually strengthened and nourished by the Holy Spirit through faith.
In this sense, it is important to recognize the memorial aspects of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus did call his disciples to do this, “in remembrance of me” (). As Hughes Oliphant Old puts it, “The thanksgiving is a memorial which recounts the mighty acts of God in the death and resurrection of Christ for our salvation.” We want to give thanks for the whole work of redemption accomplished by our Lord (birth > life > death > resurrection > exaltation).
We believe that Jesus Christ is spiritually present at the Table. It is more than simply remembering what he did for us, it is enjoying the benefits of his work. We enjoy communion as we feed upon Him by faith. Here we partake of “spiritual food” and “spiritual drink” (, ).
John Calvin writes:
John Calvin writes:
It is not that the memorial depends completely upon the confession of our lips, for the main point is that the power of the death of Christ should be sealed in our consciences. But this knowledge ought to move us to praise Him openly, so as to let men know, when we are in their company, what we are aware of within ourselves in the presence of God…Therefore, in order that you may celebrate the Supper properly, you must bear in mind that you will have to make a profession of your faith.
Though we come in humility, recognizing our sin, still Jesus invites us to be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established as we share this meal.
It is required of those who participate in this meal that they be sincere, instructed, and accountable members of the church of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul warns us in the strongest terms not to participate in an “unworthy manner.” It is necessary, he says, to “judge the body rightly.”
Therefore, if you are an unbeliever, if you are an unrepentant believer, living in defiance of Christ’s commands: if you do not understand and are ignorant of the meaning of the bread and cup, or if you are not a member of Christ’s church, we encourage you not participate in this meal. We invite you instead to remain among us and use this time to ask God to speak to your heart through His word and sacrament, and give you more light and understanding.
But if you are a sincere believer, walking in obedience to Christ, understanding the meaning of the Supper, and are accountable, being a communicant in good standing in an evangelical church, I invite you to come to partake of His body and blood.

Prayer of Blessing and Consecration

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the privilege of celebrating this sacrament of the Lord’s Supper together with your saints this morning. We thank you, once again, for this visible reminder of what Christ has done for us. He has graciously invited us to this table, and so we come in humble reliance upon Him. We ask that you would bless these common elements before us. Take this common loaf of bread and this common cup of wine and cause us to be edified by the work of your Spirit in and through this sacrament.

Words of Institution

Come forward whenever you’re ready. The purple cups on the outside are filled with wine and the clear cups on the inside are filled with juice. Take the elements back to your seats and when everyone has been served we will partake of the elements together.
The Lord Jesus Christ on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
- The Lord Jesus Christ on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
- In the same manner, he also took the cup, and having given thanks as has been done in his name, he gave it to the disciples, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink from it all of you.”
In the same manner, he also took the cup, and having given thanks as has been done in his name, he gave it to the disciples, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink from it all of you.”

Benediction

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →