Ecclesiastes: Learning to Live Life in Reverse | Ecclesiastes 4:4-16
Join us in Ecclesiastes 4:4-16 as we see what Solomon has to say about the barriers we create that keep us from community and the benefits that come from living in community.
Date: March 24, 2019
Speaker: Jason Jordan
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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.
Ecclesiastes 4:4-16 “The loneliest Number”
INTRO> In 1968 Harry Nilsson release his album “Areal Ballet” there was a song on the albumin that would later become popular by the band “3 dog night…” Entitled “One” Harry wrote the song when he called somone and got a busy single, hence the beginning of the song sounds like a busy tone from a phone! The opening lines are haunting… “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.. two can be as bad as one, its the looniest number since the number one.” It’s interesting isn’t it, you can be lonely alone.. .and you can even be lonely with people!
CONTEXT> I mentioned a while back that the best commentary on any bible passage, is the bible. Ecclesiastes is like a commentary on the first 3 chapters of Genesis. God creates everything and.. “It is good”… expect one thing…
- “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 It’s not that Adam isn’t perfect yet, so he needs someone. It’s the fact that he IS perfect, so he needs somone.
- “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” Genesis 1:26 This is an essential part of being HUMAN!
Solomon is echoing that again in v10, “Woe to him that is alone…” I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know in your head. The way that God has designed this to work is in a through his church, his people. But there is a catch… it is hard, why? Because people have problems!!!
- “In the next place, follow this example, and give yourself to the church. You that are members of the church have not found it perfect, and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.” C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 37; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1891), 633.
Big Idea > Life is better when we live life together.
APP> I love Solomon’s honesty as well, he talks about this being tough. We will see the Barriers to Friendship and the Benefits of Friendship.
- Barriers to friendship:
- Envy v4 “envy of his neighbor” This is interesting that Solomon says that a lot of the conflict that he sees comes from people’s envy. APP> Envy isn’t just wanting what someone else has, it is also resenting someone for what they have. APP> House, car, family etc.
- Laziness. v5 “folds his own hands and eats his flesh..” Solomon would use this also in Proverbs, folding of the hands speaks of being lazy, eats his own flesh is the idea of consumption. APP> By human nature it is easier to consume than to contribute and that in and of itself is your OWN destruction.
- Greed. v8 “there is no end to all his toil eyes are never satisfied..” Interesting isn’t it? Solomon hits both sides, one side is being to lazy the other side is being to busy, greedy. APP> A way that you can tell if you are a greedy person is that you use people or you only see people as what they can do for you.
- Isolation. v10 “woe is the man who is alone when he falls” Solomon makes a strong statement here. APP> This is some of us, our natural response. Why? Gen 3 “they hid themselves” APP> Shame is the reason we isolate…
- Pride. v13 “foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice..” Solomon is most def writing this from experience. APP> What is the famous thing about Pride? What is in the middle? “i”.
APP> Honestly there are two types of people in this room today, those who are setting these barriers and those who are climbing over these barriers.
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly…” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
How to make friends:
- Be yourself
- Get over yourself
2) Benefits of friendship:
- Better results in your work. v9 “reward for their toil” This is a basic proverbs principle. two guys can dig a whole faster than one guy. APP> What else is “toil”? Marriage, Parenting, Church?
- Help in time of need. v10 “when he falls” isn’t it interesting that the two says “if one falls” then the one says “When he falls” Godly friends are like guardrails in your life.
- Warmth when you are left in the cold v11. “to keep warm” Most commentators thinks this refers to marriage, and I believe it does BUT there is a real life principle here. APP> Has life ever left you out in the cold and you just needed encouragement, some one to vouch for you?
- Partnership in the fight. v12 “strong man comes against them” It’s very simple 2 against one is better odds! APP> This is also true in the fight of faith, did you know that many ancient soldiers, the Romans and the Spartans didn’t have armor on their back? Why?” Ive got your back”
Big Idea > Life is better when we live life together.
APP> I understand this is hard. It’s also interesting that this comes after the time section in Ecc 3. I read this week, we view friendship like a microwave.. when in reality it’s more like a crock-pot
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:12-17