Posts Tagged 'Ecclesiastes'

The Steadfast Engine

The Steadfast Engine Sermon Audio Here


Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
To Deal With Despair, Remember

The Point to Our Purpose
Ecc. 12:9-14 After all is said and done, WHY?

  • v9/10 gather wisdom to give it away
  • v11 given wisdom is from the Shepherd
  • v13 “the whole of man” not duty, but purpose
  • – to love God is why we’re here!

The Steadfastness of the Shepherd
John 10:11-18 look at who He is; what He does; and what He has

  • who He is: v11,14 He is the good Shepherd (protector, provider, pathfinder)
  • what He does: v14,15 He knows us, He knows the Father, He lays His life down for us
  • what He has: v16,18 He has ONE flock, He has ONE life, He has authority lay it down and take it up (cf. 10:10) ABUNDANT LIFE!

Mars Rover Opportunity was only designed to function for 90 days using solar power. When its solar collectors got covered by dust, it would shut down; whenever a strong wind would blow the dust off, it could once again receive energy from the sun. It’s now been going almost 11 years past its expected duration.

Our lesson: no matter how tough life gets, let the wind blow, and stay in the Son!

Advertisements

Trust Before Experience

Trust Before Experience Sermon Audio Here


Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

There is no situation I can get into that God cannot get me out. Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.

Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.” At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, “Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.” That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years. (James Brown, Evangeline Baptist Church, Wildsville, LA, in Discoveries, Fall, 1991, Vol. 2, No. 4.)

How Do We Put Trust Into Practice?

Engage the Activities of Life
(With Ability) ~ Ecc. 11:1-6

  • v1 cast bread – double meaning: 1) sowing seed unexpected return 2) care for poor w/o regard for repayment
  • v2/4 we don’t know outcome; we can’t use it to decide
  • v5/6 engage various ventures; only God knows outcome

Enjoy the Choices of Life
(With Responsibility) ~ Ecc. 11:7-10

  • v7/8 enjoy life, whether sunny days or dark
  • v9 whatever your choices, realize their eternal worth
  • v10 set aside worry, and live well as you can (meaning isn’t found in being young or old)

Share the Blessings of Life
(with others) ~ 2 Cor. 9:6-11

  • v6/7 willingness is key
  • v8 you are surrounded with grace So That you bless others
  • v9 callback to Ecc. 11:1 “cast bread”
  • v10 NOT give to get, but give to give more
  • v11 We Are The Means God Uses To Teach World re: Grace

Psalm 34:6 – taste & see the Lord is good! We have to be willing to step out in faith and trust first SO THAT we learn how Good God can be.

Inescapable Irony

Inescapable Irony Sermon Audio Here

Wile E. Coyote having a bad day
Ecclesiastes 10:8-14

I became a big fan of the RoadRunner cartoons when I was a kid. One thing that always gave me pause: Wile E Coyote ALWAYS gets caught in own trap, but WHY? The answer, of course, is that we need that to happen, it’s the comedic hook that makes the cartoon work. But the philosophical answer is this: he’s driven by his appetite, not his reason. That’s why he’s short-sighted.

To Keep From Being Short-sighted in the Long Run

Prepare for the Pitfall
Ecc. 10:8-14 How Will Our Choices End?

  • v8/9 wisdom: assume worst case, & prepare for it
  • v10/11 skill better than strength
  • v12-14 the fool ignores preparation; likes to chatter instead (monologuing!)

Trust in Providence, not Possessions
Luke 12:13-21 ~ How Do Our Lives End?

  • v15 guard against greed
  • v16/17 problem: overabundant crop
  • v18 answer: build bigger storage (wrong)
  • v19 trust in storehouse (wrong)
  • v20 preparing for retirement is NOT preparing for mortality, and yet mortality is the ONLY certainty!
  • v21 focus on self alone is idolatry; doesn’t work

A square dance caller knows the steps; dancers just carry them out (do-si-do, swing your partner, promenade)

We are to live in a reactive relationship with the Father, not preemptive isolation from Him. Let’s join in His dance, not ignore His call.

Death, Life, Wisdom

Death, Life, and Wisdom Sermon Audio Here

Vince Lombardi and Jerry Kramer
Ecclesiastes 9:1-2,7-10

During a practice session for the Green Bay Packers, things were not going well for Vince Lombardi’s team. Lombardi singled out one big guard for his failure to “put out.” It was a hot, muggy day when the coach called his guard aside and leveled his awesome vocal guns on him, as only Lombardi could. “Son, you are a lousy football player. You’re not blocking, you’re not tackling, you’re not putting out. As a matter of fact, it’s all over for you today, go take a shower.” The big guard dropped his head and walked into the dressing room. Forty- five minutes later, when Lombardi walked in, he saw the big guard sitting in front of his locker still wearing his uniform. His head was bowed and he was sobbing quietly.

Vince Lombardi, ever the changeable but always the compassionate warrior, did something of an about face that was also typical of him. He walked over to his football player and put his arms around his shoulder. “Son,” he said, “I told you the truth. You are a lousy football player. You’re not blocking, you’re not tackling, you’re not putting out. However, in all fairness to you, I should have finished the story. Inside of you, son, there is a great football player, and I’m going to stick by your side until the great football player inside of you has a chance to come out and assert himself.”

With these words, Jerry Kramer straightened up and felt a great deal better. As a matter of fact, he felt so much better he went on to become one of the all-time greats in football and was recently voted the all-time guard in the first 50 years of professional football.

On Our Way To The Finish Line, We

Remember our Common End
Ecclesiastes 9:1-2 ~ We All Are The Same In The End

  • The whole of Ecclesiastes is about trying to figure out the meaning of life; the Teacher reaches the conclusion that all of humanity will end up the same, no matter what the circumstances of our individual lives. We all will pass, and none of us has direct knowledge of what awaits us after that passing.

Choose How To Live
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 ~ How we respond to life is a choice

  • v7 don’t be sad that all is temporary; take joy while you live
  • v8 PUT ON joy; choose it
  • v9 joy chosen in community, not isolation
  • v10 live on purpose (don’t just exist) cf john 10:10

Love On Purpose
Romans 12:9-13 ~ we don’t carry out the actions of love by accident

  • v9 NASB “without hypocrisy” – single minded devotion (note how this idea continues)
  • v10 intentionally be affectionate with the family of God
  • v11 be spiritually zealous as you serve Jesus (not just hyped up, but spiritually charged)
  • v12 because of hope, be cheerful; because of trouble, be steadfast; because of prayer, continue in close attention
  • v13 engage in holy fellowship, expand your circle

Jesus sticks by our side until His character is revealed in us, all to the glory of God.

Politics and Power

Politics and Power Sermon Audio Here

cruise ship in rough seas
Ecclesiastes 8:1-9

“A little boy wanted $100.00 very badly. He prayed for two weeks but nothing happened. Then he decided to write a letter to God requesting $100.00. When the postal authorities received the letter to GOD, U.S.A., they decided to send it to the President. The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the boy $50.00. The President thought this would appear to be a lot of money to the little boy. The little boy was delighted with the $50.00 and immediately wrote a thank you note to God that read, ‘Dear God, Thank you very much for sending me the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, D.C., and, as usual, those devil’s took half of it.'” – from Politics And Religion May Not Mix But Government And Biblical Faith Must! By Michael Milton

How Do We Respond to Political Power?

Live Carefully
Ecclesiastes 8:1-5 written from the king’s viewpoint

  • v1 Listen to the wise
  • v2 obey because of your oath
  • v3 be careful of what you support
  • v4 be careful of what you criticize
  • v5 be aware of your timing (cf. 2 Sam.12:1, 5, 7, 13)

Live Purposefully
Ecclesiastes 8:6-9 written from wisdom’s viewpoint

  • v6 proper time, even in misery – don’t make hasty choices
  • v7/8 powerlessness: ignoring it is foolishness
  • v9 use of power can go bad quickly – be careful!

Live Well
1 Peter 2:13-17 written from subject’s viewpoint

  • v13 for the Lord’s sake (cf Phil 2:5-7)
  • v14 divine purpose of government: lift good & down evil
  • v15 “doing good” how does that silence the foolish? Compare old Greek limited gods with Lord ALL-mighty
  • v16 live free, but not wild
  • v17 difference between love (keep on agape-loving),
    fear (both reverence and dread – serious respect),
    and honor (consider the worth)

We live BY God’s Kingdom principles while we live IN the world.

In This Corner…

In This Corner Sermon Audio Here


Ecclesiastes 7:15-23
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the main event, in the category of the meaning of life here on planet Earth, presiding over this match we have the Holy Spirit, the King of Kings and the Father of All, (pause) Now in the red corner, with a professional record of with numerous wins in the lives of fools, from the heart of the Adversary but living in countless minds all over the world, please welcome the Concept of Wickedness! (Pause) The opponent in the blue corner with a professional record of the Ultimate Win, through the work of the Son of God, and found in the lives of the saints, from before the beginning of time, please welcome the Concept of Righteousness!”

How Do We Live in the Midst of Struggle?

Find Your Sweet Spot In The Middle
Ecc. 7:15-23 We have to get out of the corner!

  • v16/17 – Don’t be holier than thou, or a smart-alec, and don’t be mr. wicked; live in the middle (which is where the fight is!)
  • v20 don’t pretend to be perfect, we all know better
  • v23 we know we’re going to fall short; don’t obsess about it

Bring Your Best To The Conflict
Rom. 12:3-8 Don’t just show up; TRAIN

  • v3 sober judgment w/ faith; admit weakness and strengths
  • v4/5 we are a TEAM – not just individuals (wrestling points)
  • v6/8 prophesying = proclaimer of divine concerns
    • serving = service as attendant, aide, or assistant
    • teaching = regardless of setting
    • encouraging = urge strongly, appeal to, urge, exhort
    • contributing = to give WITH (larger than ourselves)
    • leadership = exercise a position of leadership
    • mercy = be greatly concerned about someone in need

Let’s USE our spiritual gifts in the midst of life’s struggle! When all is said and done, the Fight has ultimately already been Won by One!

Unresponsive Joy

Unresponsive Joy Sermon Audio Here

Looking into the light
Ecclesiastes 6:1-12
This sermon topic was chosen a year ago. I am re-amazed at God’s perfect timing, as my family and I grieve the loss of someone very close to us.

When “Joy” Doesn’t Respond, What Are You Seeing?

An Eternal Perspective is for everyone
1-9 We Are all Headed towards Eternity

  • v1 “evil”=source of distress (not amoral malice) We jump to conclusions to determine if a thing is “good” or “bad” based on our response to it. Good/Bad is often OUR judgment, not God’s
  • v6 perspective: where do we end up? Before God in eternity, with nothing but our SELF to show
  • v9 focus on finding joy in your current circumstance, instead of discounting what you have for what “might” be better – “to be or not to be” speech

An Eternal Perspective requires an Eternal God
10-12 The challenge: we’re all short-sighted, and short-lived

  • v12 our lives are fleeting; we can’t directly know the outcome after we’ve gone – only God knows

An Eternal Perspective is discoverable through the Eternal Savior
Rom. 8:28-39 A Reminder that we can’t see it all with our human eyes

  • v28-30 when joined with Christ, we become part of a process which God has designed:
    we are joined to Christ;
    we become more like Christ;
    we are called like Christ;
    we are justified through Christ;
    we are and will be glorified through Christ.
    It is his work in us that matters!
  • v30-39 all of these verses reinforce our connection to Christ.

It is HIS work in us that matters!


Pastor Ed Backell

Flickr Photos

Pastoral Tweets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 781 other followers


%d bloggers like this: