Ecclesiastes: Learning to Live Life in Reverse | Ecclesiastes 8:16 – 9:7

Last week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday! This week, we are back in the book of Ecclesiastes and we are talking about death! Join us in Ecclesiastes 8:16 – 9:7 as we look at how Solomon addresses this great equalizer among men in light of God. 

Date: April 28, 2019
Speaker:  Jason Jordan
Series: Ecclesiastes

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 8:16-9:1-7 “The Same Event”

INTRO> Have you recently heard the name, “James Holzhauer”? You have probably heard that name and the TV Game show “Jeopardy”. James is 34 years old and has broken almost ALL of the jeopardy records. He recently beat the single day winnings on a single game day with $131,000. He now isn’t the single day winner but he also hold the TOP 4 positions. The greatest winnings on Jeopardy was 2.5 million but it took 74 days to do so. The secret? His strategy… it isn’t just his knowledge, as a matter of fact he isn’t banking on that. He is actually a professional sports gambler… he is all about strategy. An NPR article puts it this way, “So what’s kind of caught a lot of people’s attention with him beyond the fact that he just keeps winning is he’s a professional sports gambler in his non-game-show life. And he takes a very aggressive betting strategy when he plays “Jeopardy!” He hunts for Daily Doubles. He starts at the bottom of the board, the high-scoring clues. So that’s how you get these totals that are just so much higher than what you normally see.”… The article even goes on to say that he has read an entire book as to how to use the “buzzer” properly!

APP> I think many of us actually play the game of life like James plays the game of Jeopardy, we are looking for a strategy, a short cut. One of the scariest things to me sometimes, is that I will read information or study something and agree with it but think that somehow it doesn’t apply to ….. me?! How scary is that?

CONTEXT> What Solomon is telling us in Chapter 9:1-6 is that there aren’t any short cuts, there aren’t any “special strategies” when it comes to this thing called life and incase you have forgotten, you are not the exception…

Chapter 8

      • Anyone getting nervous thinking that we are skipping stuff?!! In Chapter 8 Solomon in expounding more on what he discussed in Chapter 3 about injustices and governments. To summarize it he is talking about obedience and allegiance. to say it simply: “Abide by the law while ultimately being loyal to God’s laws”
      • CONTEXT> 9:1.. all this i laid to heart examine it all…”

Big Idea > How you deal with the reality of death determines your quality of life.

APP> This is a huge theme that we have seen all through the book. Solomon wants us to know something here.

*ILL>This is a picture of the English poet John Betjeman. He wrote in his poem “Graveyards” “Oh why do people waste their breath on inventing dainty words for death.”

APP> It’s true right, “we lost them” “They are no longer with us” APP> I want us to look at three things, 1) The unknowable 2) The uncontrollable and 3) The undeniable.

  1. The unknowable. 8v16-18
        • “however much man may toil he cannot know” This is something that we see constantly in Solomons writings. He goes on this rants and then comes to these conclusions. It’s like he sighs and then gives up.
        • “how neither day or night do ones eyes see sleep..” He is saying that he is literally losing sleep about this!! That he is obsessing about how to find the perfect strategy in life and the perfect outcome.

APP> How many of us are this way? We try to figure out how life works and how God works so then we can avoid risk, we can avoid danger? Or say, “Once I know WHY this happened or is happening, then I will _________”

*ILL> Draw circle, circle represents full knowledge of God, mark small space, your knowledge of God. The rest is unknown, we are fearful of unknown. *ILL> Margraet Cross.

APP> “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”- Romans 11:33-34

APP> “Rather than getting frustrated with all the things that we do not know about the world or do not understand about the ways of God, we are invited to rest content with our limitations and to worship God for his superior wisdom.”- Phillip Ryken. APP> There are many questions that I will never know the answer to.

2) The uncontrollable. 9v1-2

        • “In the hand of God…” Solomon is again giving us a reality check that should be comforting. In essence what he is saying talking about is that God is ultimately sovereign. Now, we are no robots in a play that God is writing rather, Solomon is saying if anything you make choices in your life, important ones, God is the only one who knows what tomorrow will be like from the choices that you have made today.

APP> We find comfort in that fact that nothing is out of control but we are challenged in the fact that we are ultimately not in control. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

3) The undeniable. v3-6

      • “same event happens to them all…” Solomon repeats this twice and again he brings us to this reality, the reality of death.

“I have noticed that some people… are very uncomfortable at funerals. They are nervous and edgy; they want to get it over quickly and get back to the local bar, their comfortable living room or whatever. In observing that phenomenon, I have asked myself what it is about funerals that makes them so nervous. The answer I cam to is that a funeral is one event where one can no longer escape ultimate reality. A funeral is proof that we are not in control of our own lives. This is what makes people uncomfortable and anxious to get back to the comfortable illusions of life.”- Ray Stedman

APP> But we try to don’t we, we try to deny the undeniable. And interestingly Solomon shows us 3 ways we do that, and he shows us that by HOW we LIVE LIFE. Interesting isn’t it.

3 views on life in-light of death: *(Warren Wiersbe)

    1. Escape it. v3
    2. Endure it. 4-6
    3. Enjoy it. v7

How man I living life?

      • Escaping it?
      • Enduring it?
      • Enjoying?

Big Idea > How you deal with the reality of death determines your quality of life.

How can you enjoy life in-light of death?…. by knowing that death has already been dealt with…

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” – John 11

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