The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Nine the final message of the series

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

Solomon concluded his investigation with this message for all men by –

I. Reminding man that life is short. Ecclesiastes 12:1-11

Solomon presented a graphic description of the condition of the aged man as he approached the grave in death. Each verse draws forth from us the image of a family member or friend. We can see them clearly in our minds and we know that what he has written is true.

Having established the truth of life, he began –

II. Reviewing the warning signs that he has posted. Ecclesiastes 12:8-12

As Solomon came to the end of each road he traveled, he came to the same –

A. Conclusion. Ecclesiastes 12:8 “…all is vanity.” Life without God is worthless!

He informed us that although life offers no happiness, he kept on searching and warning because of his –

B. Concern. Ecclesiastes 12:9-11 He had wisdom and power and determined to use it to carry out this search to the end. He wrote warnings that need to be reviewed –

1. Message 2 beginning in chapter 2, He searched out false advertisements along the highway of life.

Solomon’s conclusion was that none of these searches gave him the solution that he was seeking. Therefore, he posted the warning sign that the advertisements along the highway promising that happiness and satisfaction can be found in education, entertainment, experiences, and escape from the world cannot be believed – there is no truth in them.

2. Message 3 Ecclesiastes 2:12-26 The sign posted here states “Wrong Way” Disappointment and death ahead.

Man will leave all of his triumphs and treasures on the highway. The person following him will either waste them or misuse them to his own destruction. No matter what happens – a toll gate is at the exit and everything one has gained will be collected and left behind. Solomon grieved as he discovered this truth and found that no one can hold tightly enough to material things to keep them.

His recommendation was that people use all that they have before everything is stripped away at the exit into death.

3. Message 4 Ecclesiastes 3:1-26

Solomon summed up his conclusion:
If there is a time to plant and a time to reap –
If there is a time to kill and a time to heal –
If there is a time to tear down and a time to build –
If there is a time to be holy but only a time to die as the unrighteous, life is cruel!
If you do not fear God, you may as well enjoy life, because it is all that you ever will have.

4. Message 5 Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

At this exit, Solomon posted the warning sign “Warning, no rest areas ahead”! No rest for the soul was found along those roads that promised that Power, Prosperity, Privacy, and Pride would lead to happiness, contentment, and rest. The only rest in life is in God through His blessed Son, Jesus Christ.

5. Message six Ecclesiastes 5 The warning here is that people can be easily deceived by what they see, but beware – where you see worship and work and wealth of this world, only disappointment, destruction, and death reside. No happiness, satisfaction, or contentment is to be found here in the empty activities of the natural man.

Solomon instructs us through his experience that no man can fight against God and win – Ecclesiastes 6:10 “…neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.”

He continued and advised us that his writings were authoritative and set forth another warning that we must be careful not to be –

C. Confused. Ecclesiastes 12:12 Stay with the truth as given by God.

Now we turn to the conclusion of the matter of life. Solomon is –

III. Recommending that man should fear God and obey Him. Ecclesiastes 12:13,14

We need to try and continue to be as clear as we can in considering this recommendation.

Solomon’s recommendation is applicable to the –

A. Men who have not received the truth. Those living in unbelief.

The natural man is not ignorant of the existence of God. It is that he has not been introduced to God. He does not know who He is and cares little to find out the truth. He does not realize that he has no excuse to give to God in the judgment. He turned from God to create idols to worship instead. When man knew the truth, he denied the truth and chose to worship his creations instead of God
The solution to man’s condition is in hearing and believing the Word of God declaring the truth that all men are sinners and are in need of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Yet, Solomon’s recommendation is not only for the natural man, those who do not believe in God. His recommendation is also applicable for –

B. Men who have received the truth.

We must remember that Solomon is not simply searching for answers as we would imagine a scientist would as he searched for a cure for dread diseases. He is not standing at a table on which test tubes filled with all variety of sin are used in experiments to find the cure for evil by mixing them with good works, good feelings, good intentions and any other thing that his wisdom can provide. Solomon is a man that knew God, loved and served God. He is that researcher that turned from God and injected himself with all manner of sin, feeding his own lust and desires. He led his people away from God and destroyed the nation.

Now we see this man, old and broken with the ravages of sin that he allowed to rule his life in his search for happiness

– we see this man, repentant and turned back to God, yet living with the consequences of his sin

– we see this man desperately warning others that the only hope in life is in God – “…fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.”

Being a believer does not make you immune to sin.

Paul wrote in –

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
We have a responsibility to observe the warning signs the Lord has led Solomon to post –
We are to see and obey!
Why? For the glory of God.
Why? For your own good.

Please note – This world provides no peace, happiness, or contentment.

If you are not saved, turn to the Lord today for salvation.
If you are saved, glorify God today through how you live.

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The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Eight

Ecclesiastes 7:1-29

We note here a change in the direction Solomon has been going. He has been investigating the source of happiness, contentment, and satisfaction in this natural world using all of the resources at his disposal. As he has searched out each turn on this highway of life under the sun, he has posted warning signs ultimately declaring that no hope of finding these things exists in this life.

At this point, Solomon turned from investigation to instruction. He began a series of proverbs to instruct man in having the best life possible in this world. We will begin learning from him, but realizing most importantly, the conclusion will remain the same – Life without God will never bring man peace or happiness. That being the case, why should we spend our time learning these lessons? We live in a world of men without God. We must be able to share with them that all value in society is based on the Word of God. We can show them through God’s Word, that even doing the best that they can, they fall short of the righteousness of God. The best that a man can be in this world is found in developing the following character traits in life. He should have a –

I. Good name. Ecclesiastes 7:1 His past. Developed throughout life.

The importance of a name is revealed by both a –

A. A bad name. Could you imagine having the name, or naming your child Pontius Pilate?

What emotions are drawn forth when you hear the names of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler…? Names are important!

Men must endeavor to have –

B. A blessed name.

What thoughts come to mind when you hear the name Jesus? What about Moses, Joshua, Barnabas… Wonderful thoughts because these were blessed men!
Note that Solomon declares that a good name is “better than precious ointment…” We gain a better understanding of what he said when we look at how precious ointment was valued – Oil that –

1. Sanctified unto God.

Exodus 30:22-25 Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. This anointing set apart the priest unto the service of God.

Then there is the oil that –

2. Sanctified one unto another.

Song of Solomon 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

The bride perfumed herself and the room with sweet oil as she opened the door for her groom, her husband to enter it. It represented sweetness and fidelity.

3. Sanctified unto death.

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

John 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

This oil was valuable because it covered the stench of death, comforting at the time of separation.

All of these oils were precious as we note in the account of Hezekiah and the Chaldeans –

Isaiah 39:2 And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Solomon declared that men should desire to have a name that that when heard, one would think of faithfulness – faithful to God, faithful in promise, faithful unto death.

The man in this world should have a –

II. Good attitude. Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 His present. Developed day by day

“…and the living will lay it to his heart.”

Visiting in the house of those who have lost a loved one leads one to –

A. Realize the brevity of life.

Psalms 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

This leads a man to –

B. Reevaluate his purpose in life.

Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalms 39:4-5 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.

C . Reject the foolishness of life. Ecclesiastes 7:6 “The crackling thorns under a pot…”

The thorns were loud and the fire was bright, but was only a show, flaring up for a moment and then disappearing, not accomplishing any purpose.

Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

III. Good outlook. Ecclesiastes 7:7-10 His future.
Based on having a good name and a good attitude, he will be –

A. A man that is pure. Ecclesiastes 7:7 Integrity

B. A man that is patient. Ecclesiastes 7:8,9 Patience

C. A man that is positive Ecclesiastes 7:10 Great expectations for the future.

Not living in the past but changing the future for good.

Men living life under the sun, without embracing God as their Saviour, must remember the statement of the Lord Jesus Christ –

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Solomon concluded that man by his own choice has rebelled against God. God created him righteous –

Ecclesiastes 7:29a “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright:”

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

But man chose to disobey God, not only by doing what He commanded them not to do, but turning against all that is righteous in the sight of God, and seeking ways to reject every good thing that God is and that He created!

Ecclesiastes 7:29b “but they have sought out many inventions.”

Paul identified these in his letter to the saints in Rome –

Romans 1:19…: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened…….Being filled with all unrighteousness….. haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things…..Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Men have continued their pursuit of self-satisfaction through sin and degradation in every generation, denying their accountability to God. In doing this, they have proved the truth of God and witnessed against themselves. Notice how men manipulated the truth and said whatever was necessary to accomplish their purpose. Compare –

Matthew 27:22-25 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

…with their statements just a few months later when the apostles had preached the gospel in Jerusalem –

Acts 5:27-28 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
There own words testify against them!

Truly, there are none good, there are none righteous! There is no happiness, peace, joy, contentment in this world under the sun.

The only hope that man has is that they recognize they are sinners in need of a Saviour!

The Holy Spirit led Paul to repeat this truth to us that we might know why we need to be saved –

Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

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The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Seven

Solomon concluded this investigation of the results of man’s recklessness, ruthlessness, and ruin through greed by warning men to be cautious of becoming part of a community of people based on a superficial knowledge of their practices. Men are easily deceived by what they see because they are presented with those things that will entice them. The news is filled daily of accounts of people losing all that they had because they believed a lie. Men fall out of favour, bring shame to their families, and lose their fortunes because they do not listen to the warnings that have been placed before them. Solomon posted warning signs along this road and in order to help us understand this, and he added more insights and warnings which he summarized it in Ecclesiastes 5:18-6:12.

Solomon called our attention to these verses by two very important statements. He has not referred often to God’s will and work in the natural man’s life and so when he speaks of God here, we do well to pay attention. These two statements provide the key to this portion of Scripture –
5:19 “…this is the gift of God…” and –

6:10 “…neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.”

Whether religious or not, master or servant, wealthy or poor, man has no argument to bring against God. Man, through his desire to know both good and evil has introduced sin into his nature and in doing so, has brought a curse upon the world –

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: –

and he is without excuse before God. We should consider this – Refer to

Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

God had provided man with every good and perfect thing. Man rebelled against the goodness of God and stole food from Him. Man was judged for this sin, yet God in His mercy allowed man to stay and work in His fields to provide for himself and his family. Think about this! God continued to supply that which man needed to live physically and He even provided that which man needed to live spiritually

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Look at this carefully –

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Adam and Eve, and therefore all mankind with them, broke away from freedom and into bondage! Would you break into a prison and spend the rest of your life in bondage and hard labour? They did and here all mankind is – laboring through life under the sun! There is a truth that man must admit – God is in control. While studying this portion of Scripture, I wondered at Solomon’s statements about God giving wealth, giving one the blessing of using it and the other withholding the blessing, making it a curse unto him. I asked myself “What is going on here”? Then it became clear that Solomon declared that God is in control of all His creation! This is the warning sign that Solomon posted as we turned onto this road – ‘Controlled Access Road’. Men are living separated from God spiritually, but they are not separated from His control! All men are accountable to God and will stand before Him in the day of judgment. Solomon offered two examples of this here and we will illustrate these truths through the lives of two men who knew God’s power – King Cyrus of Persia and King Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea.

I. The power of God to bless. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

“Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof”.

The illustration of this truth is given in the account of King Cyrus –

A. He was chosen by God to serve.

Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

B. He was willing to obey God. God gave him a choice and he obeyed! 150 years had passed since God’s promise!

2 Chronicles 36:22-23 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

C. He was blessed by God in this work and God proved again His declaration in –

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

God is in control!

Notice the difference in these statements –

II. The power of God to curse. Ecclesiastes 6:1-12

“A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour…, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof…”

The illustration of this truth is given by the life of Nebuchadnezzar.

A. He was chosen of God to serve.

Jeremiah 28:14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.

B. He was lifted up against God by his pride.

Daniel 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

C. He was humbled before God and man.

Daniel 4:31-33 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

God declared that He is in control over all things – He is the Creator and all things are His. Men can deny that God exists, or they may admit that God exists but that they have no part with Him. He is not their God, but here Solomon is reminding us that God is over all and he is warning us that we will all answer to Him. Remember that the Word of God praises the Lord and reveals His power –
Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Blessed or cursed – nothing satisfies in this life under the sun! God has allowed man to have his desire – to know good and evil. Men discover that neither hope nor help are to be found in this condition. In the world, some prosper, some struggle, some fail, but all die just the same – prisoners to sin.

Have you been set free from the bondage of sin by your faith and trust in God through the Lord Jesus Christ? This is the message, first and foremost –

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Will you obey God and act upon His message to you today?

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Six

In Ecclesiastes 5:1-17 we see that Solomon has exited onto a road of life at which he will soon return and post the sign “Danger Ahead. Keep doors locked, windows up, and do not stop your vehicle”. You would ask “Why would anyone turn off onto this road if it is so dangerous”? The problem is that from a distance, the landscape looks normal and even inviting. The people are worshipping, working, and wealthy, but we might be deceived by what we see. We think that we may be able to find what we are looking for here. As Solomon drove along this road, he discovered three towns and at each he posted a sign describing what he discovered about the people – The first was that they were reckless with the truth. The second was that they were ruthless in their rule. The Third, and this is where he made a u turn and returned to the Highway, was that they were ruined by their greed. We will look at his conclusions this morning.

I. They are reckless with the truth. Ecclesiastes. 5:1-7 They were worshipping

A. They ignored God’s Word, rejecting the doctrine of truth. 5:1a
People make the serious mistake of determining the importance of doctrine based on its value to themselves and their present circumstances – seeking religious exercises to meet their current wants and needs.

B. They invented their own doctrine. 5:1b-3

They give offerings (sacrifice) not with the expectation of satisfying the righteousness and justice of God on truth, but with the expectation of making Him a debtor to them! Now, God owes me because look what I have done for Him!
Before God gave the people the law and the sacrifices, He required their obedience. All of the people said with one voice “…all that the Lord hath spoken, we will do…” The Lord reminded them of this in the day of judgment –

Jeremiah 7:22-23 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

Even today people follow man’s instruction in place of God’s Word. I have shared with you before of the pastor Bonnie and I met here that led a charismatic assembly. We were Independent Fundamental Baptist and he replied “Oh, you all just stay with the Bible don’t you”. He was not ignorant of the truth of God’s Word, he just rejected it and led others to do the same.

Solomon observed that they were reckless in their belief –

1. Through reason. 5:2a “…their hearts…”
2. Through activity. 5:2b,3 “…business…” Busyness – They substituted activity for spirituality.
3. Through emotion. 5:3a “…words, dreams…”

C. They imagined that God was made in their image. 5:4-7

Psalms 14:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

They claimed that they knew God but they denied Him by their actions.
God is compelled to serve them and to submit to their reason and excuses without exception.

In 1989 a lady in Singapore trusted the Lord as her savior. She became faithful in church and seemed to be enthusiastic in her faith. By profession, she was a beautician and she wanted to open her open shop. We all prayed with her for direction and she rented a space and opened the shop. The church was invited to the opening and we were asked to pray for her business, it being her desire to dedicate it to the Lord. Business was good and she was successful, expanding by hiring beauticians to work for her. She began to get so much business, she stayed open late on Wednesdays, trusting that the Lord would understand that she had to work and would not expect her to attend Prayer meeting and Bible study. We encouraged her to remember her promise to God, but she chose the business to be first. Things continued well and she opened the shop of Sundays to take advantage of those who could only come on that day. She stopped coming to church and said that the Lord should understand. It was His fault because He gave her so much business. We again warned her and asked her to remember her promise but she put her career first. Within six months she lost her cliental and her business along with all of her financial investment. She was ruined and became angry with God because He did not understand her desire to succeed. She should have repented long before with the understanding that God does not forget promises – those He makes and those that are made to Him.

II. They are ruthless in their rule. Ecclesiastes 5:8,9 They were working

Solomon may have considered this very thought – imagine if you will we are visiting the country of Egypt 500 years before Solomon’s reign as king of Israel. We would behold the wondrous sights of the pyramids, the Sphinx, the cities of the kings and think about all that it took to build these amazing places. As we looked across the country from our vantage point of the highway of life, we see people working, busy carrying out the desires of the Pharaoh and his government. It is a great sight to behold until we turn off the highway and enter into the daily lives of the people. We see now that these industrious people are an oppressed people – slaves of brutal leaders and taskmasters.
As we have learned before –

Neither the oppressed or the oppressors had any satisfaction, happiness, or contentment in this state of affairs.

A. The powers were afraid of the people, and so they put them under more oppression to try and control them.

B. The people were afflicted as they served the powers under the sun. Finally they turned to their Hope –

Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Solomon declared the truth that these leaders became aware of “…For he that is higher than the highest regardeth, and there be one higher than they.” – these masters have a Master that is higher than them, and He was watching and listening! They needed to know that –

C. The Provision is for all. Ecclesiastes 5:9

Solomon heard his father David testify to this truth –

1 Chronicles 29:14-15 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

God established the principal of man’s ownership of personal property for man’s good in order to provide for his family and his community, not to prevent others from providing for themselves and their families. Solomon posted the warning sign at this intersection to warn people that although their was great industry and commerce, there was not peace and contentment to be found here.

He then came to the neighborhood beyond this one. On this road he saw that they were wealthy but –

III. They are ruined by their greed. Ecclesiastes 5:10-17

Solomon described them as having –

A. No satisfaction. Ecclesiastes 5:10,11 You can only hold it for a moment in time and as one watches that abundance disappear, they are disturbed and have –

B. No sleep (peace) Ecclesiastes 5:12 They worry about losing the extra that they have put aside and therefore Solomon points out that they have –

C. No security. Ecclesiastes 5:13-16

Solomon described how the man worked and accumulated all that he could in order to leave an inheritance – with no success in finding peace and
contentment. Now he described this from a different perspective. He wrote of the one who is expecting to receive the inheritance that his parents have laid up for him. The one hoping to receive the inheritance has no peace as he is not certain that the wealth will remain until it is given to him. He has no guarantee! No one does and here Solomon turns to the millions of people who have wasted their lives either making wealth or waiting to receive it.

Ecclesiastes 5:17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

Solomon has warned us that on this highway, keep you doors locked, windows up, and beware of strange doctrine! Do not be hijacked on this road under the sun. Do not be deceived by the reckless, the ruthless, or the ruined
The only secure thing in all of life is the Word of God! He promises that what He has done will remain and all who come to Him will receive. His promise is sure.

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Go to Him today in repentance and faith, calling on Him for salvation.

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The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Five

We are all aware of Jesus’ response to the question posed to Him as recorded in Matthew 22:36-39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
He spoke to the relationship that man should have to God, and through that relationship, to man.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. Experience teaches us that the natural man does not fulfil this command. Without the love for God in our hearts and the love of God working in us, we cannot have a right relationship with man and therefore, happiness again escapes us. Solomon had ample opportunity to provide wise judgment to an ungodly world. Following his scientific investigation which had led him to a dead end on the road corresponding truth, he continued down the highway of life under the sun and posted a warning sign for those following him “Warning, no rest areas ahead”. While creation has a balance in its order, mankind does not. No true system exists where one complements the other. Whether prince or pauper, no happiness results.
Along this part of the highway there were four exits that he investigated: The exit of Powerful People, the exit of Prosperous People, the exit of Private People, and the exit of Prideful People. He recorded his findings in chapter four with his statement of purpose – “So I returned and considered –

I. The Powerful People. Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

President Reagan’s insightful viewpoint is a sad but true commentary of government in general: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

Nothing seems to have changed from the times of Solomon until now. Solomon declared in these verses that there was –

A. No Righteousness. Ecclesiastes 4:1a “…all the oppressions that are done under the sun…”

B. No Relief. Ecclesiastes 4:1b No one was offering help to the oppressed. …they had no comforter…”

C. No Recourse. Ecclesiastes 4:1c No authority to approach for help. Oppressors controlled everything. Any that would try to help were fearful and intimidated by those in power.

D. No Reason to live. Ecclesiastes 4:2,3 They were frustrated by their circumstances and had no expectation for any change in the future.
Job declared this frustration with life –

Job 3:11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

Job could find no comforter even though he cried out often for one to help. It is important to recognize that the oppressors also have no comforter. Their self righteousness was a lie and they were rebuked by God – :… the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right…” The oppressors found no satisfaction in their oppressing. Their actions only brought on themselves frustration and anger, and eventually judgment. Neither the oppressed or the oppressors have rest in their lives under the sun.

Next Solomon turned to study another manner of man, not those that oppress for power and position, but those that work for it. Many strive for satisfaction, peace, and enjoyment in their work. They hope that they will be appreciated by what they are accomplishing and that their accomplishments will identify who they are – their being or as otherwise stated – their worth.

II. The Prosperous People. Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

Solomon discovered that –

A. One that labours to accomplish something in life, to provide for his family and promote the good of his community realizes little peace and enjoyment from his labour because of those that are envious and jealous of what he has done. Ecclesiastes 4:4

B. One who is envious makes excuses for his lack, claiming to be satisfied with the little effort he puts forth. Ecclesiastes 4:5,6

Neither finds rest because of their misplaced expectations and their unrighteous relationship with one another. Remember that a right relationship with our neighbor can only come through a right relationship with God.

Solomon chose to visit with those that seek contentment in solitude –

III. The Private People. Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

Solomon noticed another group of people who sought peace in life through solitude. He discovered –

A. The reasoning behind their decision. Ecclesiastes 4:7,8
They could not be happy and content while being responsible for others. They would fulfil their lives through their work, not being concerned for the care of anyone but themselves.

Solomon replied to their reasons by stating –

B. The results of companionship. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. Productivity increases. 4:9
2. Presence of one to help in difficult times. There are many ways to fall (Physically, emotionally, spiritually)
3. Promoting the comfort of one another. 4:10
4. Protection from adversaries. 4:11

Solomon previously concluded that while solitude will not result in contentment, neither will personal companionship. As he noted when he stated that light of the world is better than the darkness of the world – light being better does not give happiness or contentment. It only provides an advantage to life under the sun. The eventual conclusion will be that the life of the natural man is meaningless. This is not an accusation against anyone. It is the conclusion of the wisest man the world has ever known.

IV. The Prideful People. Ecclesiastes 4:13-16

People look to the king for answers to their problems. The king, being just a man, believes that he does have the solutions for his subject’s problems. What neither immediately realize is that they have different problems and, very often are in opposition with one another. The king cannot settle one problem without creating another. Eventually he will divide the people and lose his power to rule. This is evidenced by the personal experience of King Solomon. In the beginning of his reign, Israel had great expectations and were united with their king.

A. The testimony of the nations in the beginning of his reign as King of Israel.

1 Kings 10:7-8 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

B. The testimony of his subjects at the end of his reign as King of Israel.

1 Kings 12:4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

The people rebelled because Solomon’s quest for happiness and contentment did satisfy him, and therefore obviously did not extend to them. While he became great, he did so on the backs of his people. He did not lift them up with him but changed his attitude from that which he declared in 1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? – to believing that they were his people to be used for his good. His self service was not lost on the people. They did live in peace and prosperity, but they were the ones paying for it through high taxes and hard service.

C. The testimony of Solomon.

1. His anticipation of greatness. He was handed the kingdom with the blessings of God.
2. His anxiety of failure. He sought for the very thing that he had been given, but without God. Ecclesiastes 4:15,16

At this crossroad, Solomon has posted the warning sign for us – “Warning, no rest areas ahead”. Beware of the roads of power, prosperity, privacy, and pride for they do not lead to happiness, contentment, or satisfaction in life! Rest for the soul is not found on any of them. The only rest in life is in God through His blessed Son, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:28-29 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

There is no rest under the sun, only weariness. Will you trust God today? Will you believe that Jesus Christ, God the Son, has given Himself for mankind – dying on the cross, buried for three days, and risen from among the dead satisfying the justice of His Holy Father. He conquered death and has victory over death and the grave and He did it for you.

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The Book of Ecclesiastes Message Four “No Outlet – Dead End”

The scientific investigation began at the exit on the highway that we will call “No Outlet – Dead End”
I. The Material correspondence of creation. Ecclesiastes. 3:1-13

A. The examination of creation. Ecclesiastes 3:1- 8

This paragraph in chapter three is much more than a display of Solomon’s talent as a poet. He has written a profound and beautifully written summary of his investigation of creation. He has studied and found that God has created all things such that for every action there is a corresponding action and every emotion has a corresponding emotion. Everything that is done has its unique response. Solomon reported his findings in verses 1 through 8

B. The exception of man in creation. His relation to his labour! Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

Solomon does not state that man sows labour, and therefore reaps satisfaction. He has already determined that nothing under the sun brings happiness or contentment to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 the heart can never be satisfied because it was created for more than the world can offer!
When God created man, He set the world in their hearts. The ‘world’ translates from the Hebrew word meaning world ages and also eternity. It does not mean eternity specifically but it does not mean this world specifically either. Do you see what is being said? When God created man, He set more than this world in his heart – the world itself would never satisfy him. He would never find happiness and satisfaction through the world only.

C.S. Lewis said, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists . . . If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” God has designed us for eternity, and that is what we should be seeking and pursuing with our lives, because that is what will truly satisfy

C. The expectation of man of man under the sun. Ecclesiastes 3:11,12

The exit Solomon has turned onto has a sign posted ‘No Outlet – Dead End’.

Solomon encourages man to find satisfaction as he can in the fruit of his labour now. If all man has is the present, then God has given provision for only now –
sow and reap – earn and spend. Man’s actions will not bring happiness or contentment, but it is all that he has and, it is all that he is going to get!

At this crossroads, Solomon turns off of the material world road onto the moral world freeway to seek for answers in his search for purpose and peace in life. Are happiness and contentment at the end of this road?

II. The moral correspondence. Ecclesiastes 3:14-21

A. Man is unable to change what God has created. Man’s mind cannot conceive of a way to change what God has set in motion. Ecclesiastes 3:14,15

With all of the dramatic changes that are being decried by the environmentalist today, one thing is for sure – the environmentalist die and the earth keeps on its course. Man ignores God or claims that there is no God, until the creation of God reminds man of his weakness. Man cannot control the earthquakes, tidal surges, typhoons, volcanoes spewing forth destruction from the depths of the earth and so man excuses himself from responsibility by claiming these are “acts of God”. The very God they deny by their lives. They may deny Him, but He reminds them on occasion that fear belongs to Him! Man’s folly is repaid by fear.

B. Man is unrighteous, but judgment is coming. Ecclesiastes 3:16,17

Man’s unrighteousness will return judgment back to himself. It is not fate, karma, or any other term man would like to attach to it. It is
God’s program –

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Since the natural man can only reap corruption, that only is what he shall reap! The natural man cannot reap spiritual things.

Psalm 14:1-3 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

C. Man is unbelieving, choosing to believe in himself rather than God. Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

This is, of course, not true. Man is not as the beast of the field. If death were the end, nothing beyond the moment of death, there would be no moral justice! The unrighteous would receive the same as the pure and holy. Living under the sun with only this life in view is cruel.

Solomon concludes that if this is the end of the road, then there is no reason for concern for the future as it beyond man’s reach –

Man should enjoy what he has in the present as there is no enjoyment in the future.

Who knows whether man is any better than the beast of the earth? Who knows whether man’s soul goes up to heaven and the beast simply return to the earth? Who has come back and informed man of the truth? God has informed man but as Isaiah cried out –

Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Ecclesiastes 3:22
Solomon summed up his conclusion:
If there is a time to plant and a time to reap –
If there is a time to kill and a time to heal –
If there is a time to tear down and a time to build –
If there is a time to be holy but only a time to die as the unrighteous, life is cruel!
If you do not fear God, you may as well enjoy life, because it is all that you ever will have.

Paul cried out in despair over the futility of life in the flesh, the constant struggle with sin –

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.

But God revealed to man that death is not the end, that this life is not all that there is and a loving God has provided the truth to all men that life is in Him –

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Are you on the dead end road, the sign posted by Solomon warns “NO OUTLET”. Do not look around, look up! Look to the Lord to save you from this death and call out to Him for salvation!

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved

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Preaching Outline for the Book of Ecclesiastes Message Three

Ecclesiastes 2:12 –26

Solomon reported that satisfaction and happiness in life cannot be found in education, experiences, escape from the world. He has not given up the search and Solomon begins –

I. The Review Ecclesiastes 2:12a “and I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly…”

Solomon stated that he might have missed something in his initial investigation and decided to return and examine his comparison of wisdom with madness and folly more carefully. Keeping to our theme of traveling the highway of life, have you ever exited off the highway looking for a place to satisfy your hunger, thirst, or just needed a rest, but very quickly decided you had better turn around. What you were looking for was not on this road, but – you just had a nagging thought that if you had gone just a little farther, the road may have taken you to the place you were searching for. Is it possible that you gave up too quickly? The further down the highway you travel and the more roads you search, finding no answers, you think, “I should go back to that one and look again”. You then make a U turn, not going back to the right road, the highway of God, but stopping short of going to God, you keep to the highway “under the Sun”, and return to the exit of ‘madness and folly’.

As Solomon returned to this place, he justified his actions and determined he had pure motives –

II. The Regard for his duty Ecclesiastes 2:12b “For what can the man do that cometh after the king…?”

Because of what he knew and what he had, he felt he had a great responsibility to himself and mankind to search out the meaning of life. The general principle the Lord spoke in Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” motivated Solomon in his service to mankind to give himself wholly to this investigation.
Solomon reported on what he discovered and we may read in the next few verses –

III. The result of his investigation Ecclesiastes 2:13-26

A. The difference between wisdom and folly is great. Ecclesiastes 2:13, 14a
Even men without God who work in the daylight have a great advantage over those of the night.

1. They perceive good opportunities and can direct their way.
2. They are protected from danger. God’s natural order in creation reveals this. It is no mistake that man should be safe in his house when dark replaces the light and the dangerous animals begin to roam at night!
Psalms 104:20-24 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
God reveals that danger is in darkness –
Proverbs 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

B. The disappointment. Ecclesiastes 2:14b-17

Solomon was broken when he came to the conclusion that the great and the ordinary come to the same end. And who is going to remember the ordinary any more than the great. Have you ever heard of the British cruise ship Titanic? The ship had hundreds of men deep in the belly of the ship shoveling coal into the boilers to keep the ship alive. Also, the crew consisted of brilliant and respected men and women. The captain, the engineers, the navigators, the physicians. All the best that could be chosen to guide this super luxury ship to its destination. One night, it struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. It was on its first voyage. It sank into the depths of the ocean taking the wise and the unwise to their deaths. Because of the fame of the ship, people remember some of them, but in time they will all be forgotten. The rich and famous, the poor and unknown. Death brought them to the same place – no return and no remembrance.
“Therefore I hated life…”

C. The despairing king. Ecclesiastes 2:18-23

2:19 “…wherein I have labored…”
2:21 “…to a man that hath no labored…”

Time Inc., Money stated from their survey – Indeed, 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third, according to the Williams Group wealth consultancy.
Solomon was despondent! He was going to be dead and not able to do anything about the waste of all that he had accumulated. What he thought would bring him happiness had turned into an evil burden on his life.

D. The decision from this report. Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 “There is nothing better…”

Man may as well enjoy what he has worked for now. We learn from this that God has supplied all with the creation to manage, to supply needs, and to enjoy.

We have seen many people who have come to this conclusion –
Driving down the highway we see a large motorhome coming up beside us. We look over and there is an older couple enjoying the drive. They wave at us and pass on ahead. We say to one another “That is a good way to spend your retirement years. It looks like they are really enjoying life.” As they pass on, we read a sign that they had posted on the back of the motorhome. It said “We are spending our children’s inheritance”! This is what Solomon is saying in 2:24. If we live in this world and are of this world, and all that we have is “under the Sun”, we may as well spend it all. It is the only enjoyment we will have!
The important need for man to realize is that God did not provide his creation to man to satisfy nor sanctify himself. The creation is to declare the greatness and God.

Psalms 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

All of the world will not satisfy you or make you happy! Wisdom is a great advantage to man “eyes in his head”, as much as light over dark, but in the end we meet Death – the great equalizer.

But, we thank the Lord that life is not only “under the sun”! Death is coming,

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: But –
Death is not the end of all things. If man has believed God and trusted Him through faith in His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, he will immediately go into the presence of God to live with Him forever. If man has not believed in God, he will immediately to hell and be separated from God forever.

Have you trusted the Lord as your Saviour?

Are you living for Him every day as your Lord?

Are you witnessing to others of Him as their only Hope?

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