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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Looking Unto the Son - Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes 1:1-18
Title: “Looking Unto the Son”

King Solomon began his life living in royalty, but near the end of his life he was living in vanity.” Solomon’s reign as king started as a solid servant of the Lord, but he turned away from God, and his reign as king ended as a slave to sin.

Lets jump into the Book of Ecclesiastes and read God’s word, verses 1:1-18. Chapter one can be sectioned into three parts:

I. The Condition of Life
II. The Cycle of Life
III. The Conclusion of Life

I. The Condition of Life (Eccles. 1:1-3)

1. Life’s Epiphany(v. 1:1)
Solomon titles himself “the Preacher” because he believes has something important to address and teach. When you read it, know Solomon is talking about himself, and that we need to pay close attention to what he is instructing. This is what the Lord has spoken to him to write specifically to us “give us understanding and wisdom not to make the same mistakes!”

A. Why do we need to listen to a sinner like Solomon? Because even though he sinned and fell away from the Lord, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this book at the end of his life to tell us the conditions of life, that there is “nothing under the sun” that will satisfy except a life that has worships God and obeys His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2. Life’s Emptiness. (v 1:2)
Solomon starts to describe the conditions of life by announcing “All is Vanity.” This phrase is used 38 times. The Hebrew definition means “a wisp of vapor, speaking of meaningless, nothingness, empty, useless; it all lacks some type of reality, it’s truly empty. The Bible talks about this vanity:

Psalm 39:5-6 says, “Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them."

James 4:13-14 says, “Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Why do we have this emptiness and uselessness? Because of our sinful nature. Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subjected to uselessness, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope.” No one can initially fulfill their life apart from God. A person’s life that has not their Creator apart of it, is truly empty. “Vanities of Vanities; all is Vanity,” Solomon says. So we need to understand the condition of life according to what God’s word is saying. Life is just like a vapor, or a morning fog. It is empty, and soon it will be gone.
“Life grows, goes, and then it’s gone.”
1. Birth
2. Lifetime
3. Death

3. Life’s Exhaustiveness. (v 1:3)
Solomon now describes the condition of life “Under the Sun.” This phrase is used 29 times. It describes all the work and activities of life that are on earth. This was Solomon’s problem. He looked under the sun, what matter on earth. He did not look above, unto the Son, Jesus, and see what mattered in eternity. When we look at the things on earth, they are exhaustive. We have work, bills, places to go, people to see, traffic to sit in, homework to do; its just exhaustive.

There are two perspectives:
A. Earthly-Things under the sun, the world, and sinful pleasures.
B. Eternal-Things above the sun, the Son of God, and heavenly treasures.
C. Which one do you desire more? Mark 8:36 states, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whold world, and loses his own soul?” Solomon informs us on the conditions of life as he investigated personally and philosophically. Everything is meaningless and without purpose if we causally look at things under the sun with earthly purpose, and not unto the Son, Jesus Christ in an eternal purpose.

II. The Cycle of Life (Eccles. 1:4-8)

1. Nature (v 1:4-7)
In the second section of Chapter 1, Solomon explains the cycles of life. He expounds on how history repeats itself, but the earth stays the same. Creation’s course is always conducted by its captain, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Colossians 1:17 says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Hebrews 1:3 says “Jesus upholds all things through the Word of His power.”

2. Humanity (v 1:8)
The eyes have been said to be windows to your heart. The ears have been said to be doors of to your soul. Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied. Earthly pride and earthly lusts always want more and something new.

Alexander the Great was a perfect example. He was on of the greatest military commanders of all time. He had all knock outs. No one could defeat him. He conquered almost all of the known land to the ancient Greeks, but this desire to conquer more and more land was not satisfying. However as history quotes, “When Alexander saw the size of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Alexander the Great was not satisfied with all he did and died at the young age of 32.

A study done a few years ago said the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. Guys, why do we always have to take another look at each other? Its because were looking at the wrong things, just life Alexander the Great was. All those things that are under the sun.

Proverbs 20:12 says, “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both.” Now if God made our eyes and ears, we should use them in a proper and godly way.

Our eyes:
Hebrews 12:2 says our eyes need to be “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right handoff the throne of God.”

Titus 2:13 says we ought to be, “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

Our ears:
Exodus 15:26 says “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I [am] the LORD who heals you.”

Revelation 13:9 says “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” Job 33:31-33 says “Give ear, Job, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will speak. If you have anything to say, answer me; Speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom.”

No matter how much the eye sees, and how much the ear hears, they will never be satisfied and be fulfilled. However, we need to be looking unto the Son of God, and listening to His Word.

III. The Conclusion of Life (Eccles. 1:9-18)

1. Nothing is new about this life except by God. (v 1:9-11)
People go and people come. Great athletes are crowned and retired, and new ones emerge. Does anyone remember who won the MVP award 5 years ago at the super bowl? The only renewal is through the transformation of a new believer! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new!”

2. Nothing has changed about this life except by God. (v.1:12-14)
Solomon explains to us that there life is like “grasping for the Wind” literally to try and catch the wind. John MacArthur says “One aspect of life vanity is its fleeting character. Life the wind, much of what is desirable in life cannot be held in ones hand.” The Human effort will always fall short of a God given purpose without God.

3. Nothing is comprehended about this life except by God. (v.1:15-18)
If we try to live on our own understanding, we will definitely fall short. There are so many things we do not know.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways, for my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.”

Trying to acquire understanding form the things under the sun will not help you. Philosophy will not help you, it is all theory, its empty. Trying to acquire understanding from education will not help you either. Solomon in his wide range of academics and his credentials still discovered that through all of those things that there still was no satisfaction. Solomon could not understand how things worked. He did not go to the Word of God; he went to the words of men.

James 1:5-6 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally, and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him as in faith, with out doubting.”

Wrapping Up
Matthew Henry, a great bible commentator, said “Even a great scholar cannot be happy unless he be a true saint.” You will not be satisfied if you’re looking under the sun as Solomon did. You need to be Looking unto the Son, King Jesus for life and life abundantly!

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