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Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, Empty Me! - Ecclesiastes 2

Title:"Oh, Empty Me!"
Text: Ecclesiastes 2:1-26

Chapter 2 is a chapter that vividly shows us the emptiness of the world and all it has to offer. Everyday, people wake up to try and find out what will make them happy. They plan to do things on the weekend, they plan on having a future, they look forward to buying new things, and they want to live life "to its fullest with no regrets."

We will read 8 times the word "Vanity" is used, in the context of "nothingness, emptiness, meaningless." Solomon will cry out "Oh, im empty, i have done it all and have no satisfaction." As we read in Chapter 1, Solomon searched to be satisfied intellectually. Solomon's experiment, examination, and evaluation of life, looked at things the wrong way; those things that are "under the sun." Solomon searched for fulfillment in four ways: Scientifically, Historically, Philosophically, and Educationally. We learned that those things "under the sun" were Empty (v. 1:2) and Exhaustive (v. 1:3,8). The reason why Solomon did not find the answers was because he was looking at things under the sun, not above "unto the Son Jesus Christ who said "I am the truth (John 14:6) and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).

Now in Chapter 2, Solomon continues his search to be satisfied through the flesh.

Let's read Ecclesiastes 2:1-26
There are three sections our text can be broken down into:
1. The Vanity of Earthly Pleasures
2. The Vanity of Earthly Purposes
3. The Vanity of Earthly Pursuits

I. The Vanity of Earthly Pleasures
A. Partying (v. 2:1-3)
1. Lust of the flesh
B. Living Large (v. 2:4-7)
1. Lust of the flesh
C. Money (v. 2:8a)
1. Lust of the eyes
D. Entertainment (v 2:8b)
1. Lust of the eyes
E. Fame and Fortune (v. 2:9)
1. Pride of life

Emptiness is the concentrate of every substance of everything on earth. Nothing in the world will satisfy the soul that was created for God to fill and subdue with His word. Ever since the Fall, when sin entered the world, everything became tainted with the disease of sin. Plants die, animals die, people die, and therefore everything that is in the world dies, that which is of the world, has this void, and emptiness to it (Romans 8:20).

1 John 2:15-17 says, "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever."

Therefore, we need to not to pursue these things that Solomon pursued. We see that after each of these things he consumed did not satisfy the eyes, the flesh, or depth of his soul.

II. The Vanity of Earthly Purposes
A. The wise will not achieve victory over the fool (v. 2:12-14)
B. The fool will not achieve victory over the wise (v. 2:15-16)
C. First to note, everyone will die one day the same way. The fool and the wise will both die and have an eternal address they will reside in for eternity. Solomon is talking about the differences in the fool and the wise. He is marveled because in this life there is a difference between each other, a partiality. But in the end there is none, because Hebrews 9:27 declares, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
D. Second to note, in our lives we should not show any partiality between each other, because there is no partiality with God. For we are all sinners and none are different from each other.

Romans 2:11 says, "For there is no partiality with God."

Ephesians 6:9 says, "And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."

James 2:1, 9 proclaims, "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality...but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. "

III. The Vanity of Earthly Pursuits
A. They will be left behind (v. 2:17-19)
B. They will one day be taken by another (v. 2:20-21)
C. They will not bring joy and fulfillment knowing they will perish (v. 2:22-23)

If your life is goal centered instead of God centered, you will never fill completely accomplished. Its the center of your heart need to be filled with God and his pleasures, his purposes, and his pursuits. These things are the only things that will not perish when we go to heaven. The treasure we place in heaven by the way we conduct ourselves, and are good stewards of what God has given us. Therefore, we are to go after God's pleasures which are in the Spirit, God's purposes that are in His word, and God's pursuits that are eternal and extend the kingdom of heaven!

God's pleasures:
Psalms 16:11 states, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." This now is the exalted place of Jesus Christ, at the right hand of the Father, and in Christ, we have many riches. We have love, we have grace, we have mercy, we have peace, we have forgiveness, we have Jesus Christ our Lord who is the essence of these things.

God's purposes:
Romans 8:28 preaches, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." We are to seek after God's own works. In His works are his purposes for all things. They carry an eternal value that is not comparable to anything on earth. Everything works according to His eternal plan and purpose.

Revelation 17:17 says, "For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled." God puts His purposes in your hearts as you solemnly surrender your life to fulfill His ultimate plan.

God's pursuits:
Hosea 6:3 says "Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD."

Psalm 34:14 tells us to "Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it."

Romans 14:19 says, "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another."

1 Corinthians 14:1 exhorts us to "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy."

2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

And finally, the exhortation by the Apostle Paul sums up what we are to be pursuing in our lives while on this earth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 6:11, "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness."

So friends, listen up. Focus on God's pleasures, purposes, and pursuits. Do not focus on the things of this world, for they are empty. but the things not of this world. Seeking and savoring Jesus Christ will be the satisfying agent that will consume your heart and life. If you do these things, Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 come to pass and are elaborately worked in your life as you pursue His knowledge, grow in his wisdom, enjoy His blessings and be pleasing to the Lord in His sight. "For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than without Him?" Solomon finally notices that God needs to be in the equation to have a satisfied life.

Wrapping Up
During this chapter, we hear Solomon cry out, "Oh, empty me!" As we dug deep into the canyons of the worlds empty schemes that Solomon searched, we noticed that the things in this world are empty. Also we noticed that each of these things are in opposition to the Lord. Remember the good words in John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Here are two acronyms that i will leave you with that will be a help to remember what is truly empty in this life, and what is the only source that can keep you filled.

Earthly knowledge
Physical pleasure
Toys and possessions
Yourself and pride

Faith in Jesus Christ
In the Word
Loving God and others
Living sacrifice

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