The Secret of Lasting Joy

An exposition of Ecclesiastes 5:1-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 29, 2010.

Don’t you find the news depressing?  Whether you are talking about television, radio or the paper it just seems there is so much “bad” news.  Shootings, stabbings, abuse, war, financial crisis, terrorism and that’s just the school news!  Don’t eat eggs, don’t drink the water, 100 degree temperatures returning…enough already.  You reach a point where you just don’t want to hear it anymore.  “I’m tired of the bad news – give me some good news for a change.”  So you come to church and your pastor is preaching through Ecclesiastes.  You just can’t catch a break.  But you see Ecclesiastes is good news.  It is the good news that there is real joy and lasting satisfaction and it can be had here and now in this sin-sick, twisted world.  It is God’s gift to His people.  Don’t take my word for it, listen to Solomon:
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

Did you catch it?  God gifts His people with the ability to enjoy life.  Now, we are talking about joy not happiness.  There is a difference.  Happiness is a feeling of elation when everything is as it should be.  Happiness is that which happens to happen with things happen to happen happily.  But if things happen to happen unhappily – you ain’t happy!  Joy is a deep, abiding sense of satisfaction regardless of the circumstance.  We are not assured of happiness in this world.  In fact we are told to expect heartache and tribulation but we can know joy because it is rooted in the person of the Lord Jesus who is an ever-present help in time of need.  Oh, the book of Ecclesiastes is a book of real, robust and resilient joy.  Our text this morning is found in the fifth chapter.

Text: Ecclesiastes 5:1-20
Solomon is thinking out loud.
He is looking back over a lifetime and seeing what lessons he has learned.
Where does one find real joy?
Is it through knowledge or intellectual pursuit?
Is pleasure the path to satisfaction?
How about wealth, power, influence or achievement?

No, all that amounts to “striving after wind.”
They are vain pursuits – hollow, empty, meaningless.

  • Chapter 3 = trust God.
  • Chapter 4 = the vanity of life apart from God.
  • Chapter 5…

Thesis: Only a clear vision of God and a corresponding response of faith can produce lasting joy.

I want to point out three things as we make our way through this text.

  1. Foolish worship distorts your vision of God and disrupts genuine joy.  (5:1-7)
  2. Frustration over corruption and a preoccupation with wealth distorts your values and destroys any chance for lasting joy.  (5:8-17)
  3. Trust in a good and sovereign God enables a rich, robust and resilient joy.  (5:18-20)

You were made to be in relationship with God.
You will be restless until you find your rest in Him.
Only a clear vision of God and a corresponding response of faith can produce lasting joy.

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