An exposition of Ecclesiastes 3:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 15, 2010.
I saw in the paper this week that Tulsa has had 21 homicides since May 1. During this same period there have been 311 shootings. There was a time, not so long ago, that we expected such things to be happening in large metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago or Los Angelus but not here. Not in the buckle of the “Bible Belt.” Life here was good. People were friendly. Church played a prominent role but times have changed. Pessimism has replaced optimism, skepticism has replaced hope and life has become meaningless. This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been coming for a long time. I think this quote sums up the majority opinion today, “There is no reason to suppose that a man’s life has any more meaning that the life of the humblest insect that crawls from one annihilation to another.” Catchy don’t you think? A nice uplifting thought. Have we really become that jaded? What may surprise you is that quote is from an English professor at Columbia University during the 1940s! What was thought in the halls of academia in 1940 is being lived out on the streets of our city in 2010.
It is the notion that individuals are not unique and therefore not important. Life is without meaning and if life is without meaning it isn’t worth living. Let’s all just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. To quote the ‘preacher,’ “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Empty, hollow, nothingness – what is? Everything…under the sun. If you consider life apart from God it is empty, meaningless. Life apart from God and the things of God is unsatisfying. Oh there may be a moment of joy but it doesn’t last. There may be happiness but it is fading. The party ends. The money gets spent. The music stops. The crowd gets bored and moves on. You will go down to the grave and be forgotten. Nothing lasts. Nothing ultimately satisfies. Nothing that is under the sun. Our text this morning is found in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.
Text: Ecclesiastes 3:1-22
Solomon states his conclusion from the very beginning – 1:2 – “Vanity of vanities all is vanity.”
Life is empty – under the sun.
He sought for meaning through intellect and discovered it wasn’t there.
He sought it through pleasure and came up empty.
Then he tried to find satisfaction through work and the accumulation of stuff and learned it was a fool’s errand.
Where does one find true satisfaction and lasting joy?
It is the gift of God’s grace.
As we explore the 3rd chapter we discover that…
Thesis: Deep, genuine satisfaction is the result of trusting wholly in God’s person and work.
There are three things I want to call to your attention from our text.
- Lasting joy and genuine satisfaction demands that you gratefully acknowledge Gods’ sovereign rule over all things. (3:1-8)
- Lasting joy and genuine satisfaction demands that you rest in God’s providential working. (3:9-15)
- Lasting joy and genuine satisfaction demands that you trust in God’s righteous handling of the end of all things. (3:16-22)
What is it that brings lasting joy and genuine satisfaction? It is the knowledge of God’s sovereign rule over all things, it is resting in His providential working, and trusting his righteous handling of the end of all things.
Deep, genuine satisfaction is the result of trusting wholly in God’s person and work.