Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 | Ecclesiastes: Learning to Live Life in Reverse

What do you pursue in life? This week, we learn from the wisdom literature of Ecclesiastes on how Solomon pursued the pleasures of life. How does the pursuit of accomplishments, entertainment and sex effect our lives? Is there meaning in pursuing these things or does it all point to ‘vanity?’

Join us as we draw more and more of God’s truth from this ancient book of wisdom and how it can help us to live our lives in reverse.

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Date: February 17, 2019
Speaker:  Jason Jordan
Series: Ecclesiastes

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Pastor’s Comment

Thank you so much for listening in here at West Side. We often say that we love the word of God because it points us to the son of God. We hope these messages encourage you and equip you to love Jesus more. We also want you to be apart of a local church, we believe these messages are only supplemental, being apart of a local church is essential. Blessings.

Jason G Jordan

Lead Pastor, West Side Church

Sermon Notes

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 “The search for satisfaction”

INTRO: We started our journey last week in the book of Ecclesiastes, go back and listen to that. Very important for context and purpose.

*ILL> It is June of 1965 a poplar band realized their 4th studio album at the time. The were an English band but this one would be there first #1 Album here in the States. It has since gone on to be considered one of the top 500 songs of all time! The band would later that year go on to perform it on the Ed Sullivan show. The songs start with a leading guitar riff and horns… then the lyrics are as follows… “{ can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try I can’t get no, I can’t get no When I’m drivin’ in my car, and the man come on the radio He’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information Supposed to fire my imagination I can’t get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey That’s what I say I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try I can’t get no, I can’t get no}

CONTEXT> These timeless lyrics are the theme song of Ecclesiastes chapter 2. King Solomon wrote these lyrics long before the Mick sang them. In all reality it is still the anthem of today… listen to how relevant verse 1 is: “I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” There is a philosophical term for this, it comes from a word that is found in our very text. In The greek translation of the Old Testament, the word pleasure gives us in our English the word, Hedonism. Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure, of self-indulgence.

APP> I Believe that is the anthem of our day. We are all on the professional pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction. I believe that it is what we believe that determines how we behave. Blaise Pascal was a scientist and a non believer who experienced a radical conversation to Jesus Christ. He speaks to this issue by saying… “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they use, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both- to be happy. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

APP> Here is what we are going to see in this section in the search for satisfaction or the pursuit of pleasure. I want to ask 4 questions: What is pleasure promise? What is pleasure Pattern? What is pleasure points to?

  1. What is pleasures promise?.v1
        • “I will test you with pleasure, enjoy yourself” The word “test” means to prove something, examine it. He says I am going to exam pleasure, Enjoy myself. Do you see what he is saying.

APP> Solomon is saying that pleasure has an advertising department, and what is it advertising? Pleasure promises contentment.

2) What is pleasures pattern? v2-8

      • Solomon is now going to take us on a journey of the things that he tried to find contentment in and in reality I think these are the main areas that we ourselves try to find contentment in:
      1. Entertainment. “laughter, wine, folly” In these verses he says, I went to comedy clubs, I drank the finest wine I partied hard… but then he give us the key in v3 “but my wisdom still stayed with me. What is he saying? APP> Entertainment = distraction. The noise. *ILL The USA Today reports that the average american household spends $3,500 a year on entertaiment. We watch about 4 hrs of TV a day and spend, we spend about 4 hrs a day on our phone.
      2. Accomplishments – “I made, I built, I bought” Then he moves onto his work. Kings felt great pressure to accomplish a lot during their reign. Same is true of presidents today. *ILL> This is a picture of Sr. Edumn Hillary, the first man to clim mount Everest. This is also a picture of Jon Krakauer, the journalist who in 1996 climb it as well, He wrote his famous book “Into Thin Air” Here is what he describes as he reached the peak, “Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet… I’d been fantasizing about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But not that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care… I snapped four quick photos… then turned and headed down. My watch read 1:17pm. All told, I’d sent less than five minutes on the roof of the world.” – Into Thin Air. APP> Accomplishments = Pride.
      3. Sex and many concubines..” This is awkward but something that we have to talk about. He tried this. He gave himself fully to this. APP> This is also Solomons downfall, “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” 1 King 11:14 APP> Sex = Lust

3) What is pleasure problem? v11

        • “and behold.. all was vanity..” Here is the result… the facts are in… it doesn’t satisfy! Why?

APP> Pleasure promises more than it can produce. Pleasure has a good advertising department but a poor manufacturing department.

4) What does pleasure point to? v11’

        • “nothing was to be gained under the sun…” This is crucial for us to understand. Hear me clearly… pleasure is not the problem. The things that Solomon mentioned are not bad things, we make them ultimate things.
        • “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,  for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
        • “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

APP> “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”- CS LEWIS- Joy pg 6-7

Big Idea> The point of pleasure is to point us to find  pleasure in God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:7


          • What occupies your thoughts and daydreams?
          • What good thing are you making a God thing?
          • When is the last time you really enjoyed Jesus?