God has a personal plan for each person within His larger plan. Sometimes this truth is hard to believe when we go through confusing or difficult circumstances. Just as there is a purpose for each piece within a large model of a plane or ship, there is purpose in every aspect of your life.
The next section of Ecclesiastes that we will study is chapters 3-5. First, we look at the summary at the end of the section, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20. Notice the multiple synonyms Solomon uses: rejoice, enjoy, and gladness. Those who are walking with God will be known for their joy. Those who are not walking with God will be known for grumpiness.
Finish this statement for yourself: "I would be happy if I had _________."
We know already from our study of this book that nothing created can satisfy the immaterial part of us, our souls, because we live in a fallen world. The Lord wants us to pursue knowledge of all kinds, although knowledge alone will not leave us ultimately fulfilled.
Remembering is an essential discipline of living.
Last week, we learned 4 spiritual anchors that children need from their moms, and spiritual progeny need from their mentors, after salvation. This week, we will see what those 4 principles look like in developing effective servants of the local church.
The investment of a mother or grandmother has far-reaching spiritual results. Though this message is oriented towards Mother's Day, every believer can learn from godly ladies. The best gift a mother can give is an introduction to the Savior, Jesus Christ. This fills the primary need of any child. 2 Timothy 1:3-14 shows four spiritual anchors that children need from their moms after salvation. The quality of our children's future depends on our understanding of these principles (whether biological children, adopted, or spiritual).
It's easy to feel defeated when we see wickedness in the world. How can a loving God allow such evil to prevail? What must the righteous keep in mind to combat the anger and rage at wickedness?
We are expected to pursue human wisdom and enjoy that pursuit while understanding that only God's wisdom will satisfy us in Jesus Christ.
There is profundity in simplicity. Our world is complicated, but God's plan to lead us back to Himself is simple. Human ways to God only lead to destruction.
The church today does not and cannot celebrate Palm Sunday in the same way the original participants did. When the crowds cried, "Hosanna, save now," they were crying out for immediate deliverance from the Romans. The church celebrates Jesus' unique identity which was magnified that day. Palm Sunday gave a window into the hearts of those around Jesus as they responded to who He was.
Human wisdom robs our joy. Left to our own thinking, life doesn't make much sense. Lived with God's wisdom, life can be enjoyed.
Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 could be interpreted quite negatively. If the purpose of the book is to help us know how to live with joy, this cannot be the ultimate interpretation. This passage exemplifies 4 thought patterns that can rob our joy. Unbelievers can approach these negatively or positively. How should believers respond to these thoughts?
In every period of time, God gives His people time to stop, worship, and celebrate. Nehemiah 8:1-12 shows one of those occasions. The nation of Israel was back from exile, rebuilding Jerusalem, and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. Scholars tell us the book of Ecclesiastes was usually read publicly at this festival. Nehemiah's admonition to the people to rejoice, not grieve, is a similar message to Solomon's. The best way to enjoy life is to enjoy it with God, by living according to His Word. Conviction should be a quick work, with grace then bringing joy.
It's important to understand the God of wisdom before trying to understand practical living. Ecclesiastes has much to say about who God is.
Solomon's exhortation to "eat, drink, and be merry" does not mean we should live in excess, but simply that we must keep living however difficult our circumstances. God wants us to enjoy every area of life within His parameters (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2).
We have spent the first part of this year studying how to walk in a way that pleases God by living His character. The next book we will study as a church family is one that shows us how to do this.
Observe any living thing, and you will see that God designs His creatures to partner with others. They are not created to exist alone. Birds are always in a flock. Marriage was instituted because "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). A singer's performance is greatly enhanced by a good accompanist. Those in the trades or any career seek to replicate themselves in an apprentice. Living things do not function well alone.
Looking for Jesus Christ's return motivates us to live in a proper manner. Faithful living is personal and characterized by a loving disposition and moral behavior. God is faithful to enable you to grow on your own, but He also wants you to be helped by others in a local church family. This interdependence will have a supernatural influence inside and outside the church.
We long to see people we love. Christians love Jesus Christ because of all He has done for us, and we can't wait to see Him. Our anticipation of Christ motivates us to live in a way that pleases Him.
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