A Borrowed Sermon

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Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. [2] Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. [14] For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Today we’re going to look at an ancient sermon. No, I don’t mean one of my old sermons (Grin). The Book of Ecclesiastes is a sermon written by an older believer named Solomon.

Ecclesiastes” actually means “address to the
Congregation or the Church”.

As Solomon begins his address he says:

The Words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem

Notice how Solomon prioritizes what is most important. Though He is the “son of David” and therefore the “king in Jerusalem”, what he considers most important is that he is “preaching”. People call me “preacher”, and I am. I am called to preach the Word of God, and I cherish this calling. But every Christian is a preacher by how they live their lives. Jesus said that. He told His followers:

John 13:35 (KJV) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye HAVE LOVE one to another.

Everything you say that people can hear is a sermon.
Everything you do with your hands is a sermon.
Everywhere you go with your feet preaches a sermon.
You are preachers too. People watch you.
Your life lived preaches for God or satan.
What message are you preaching?

Solomon was a saved man. The Bible declares:

1 Kings 3:3 (KJV)… Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father …

God spoke to Solomon. If you are saved God communes with you. God asked Solomon “What do you want Me to give you?” Many would have asked for riches or power or extended life. Solomon showed his love for God and his people by what he told the Lord.

1 Kings 3:7-9 (KJV) And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

The Bible tells us to (1 Peter 5:6 )  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Solomon humbled himself, and God gave him what he asked. God told Solomon …

1 Kings 3:12 (KJV)12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

Solomon has wisdom, a wisdom granted of God. God gave him this wisdom when he was a young man. Now Solomon is an old man. His best days are behind him. As he preaches a sermon to us today, will it not be cheerful, blessed, happy? No, it will not be. Listen to his sermon:

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

The word “vanity” means “to be empty or void of blessing”.
To KNOW but not to DO will never bring a blessing.

Solomon had been blessed of God with unparalleled wisdom. Yet at the end of his life Solomon is not preaching a happy message, but a miserable message. Vanity of vanities. Smoke and fog. ALL is vanity. What could bring a man who had everything to such a state?

Solomon looked for fulfillment is anything but God.
Solomon had wisdom, but failed to DO it.
God blessed him when he kept his eyes on God.
But his life was empty when he took his eyes off of God.

Jesus said in Luke 11:28 blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.You can know God’s Word but if you do not do it, you will not be blessed!

Solomon Sought Blessing In Worldly Knowledge

Solomon wanted to know. He spent much time pursuing wisdom, but little time pursuing a deeper knowledge of God. In his sermon he said:

Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave (נָתַן nathan) my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Solomon said that he surrendered his heart to seek and search out wisdom. Solomon was wise in the ways of the world. He was an expert in

in zoology (study of animal life)
in botany (study of plant life)
in ornithology (study of bird life)
in entomology (study of insect life)
in ichthyology (the study of fish life)

If there was an -ology Solomon knew it. But he only sought out all things done UNDER HEAVEN.

His mind never drifted to THEOLOGY, the study of God. He knew the stuff that God made – and God made everything – but Solomon did not know the Lord Who made him! You can chase after knowledge. You can have your degrees, your doctorates, your PHd’s. But knowledge apart from God PUFFETH UP (1 Corinthians 8:1). It does nothing for the human soul. What good is life if you don’t really know the One Who made you?

Ecclesiastes 1:14-15 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. [15] That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

Some of the saddest people in the world are those who possess great wisdom and knowledge. They know lots of truths, but not the One Who brought Grace and Truth.

John 1:17 (KJV) … grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Knowledge apart from Christ does not resolve anything. Solomon preached:

Ecclesiastes 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

There is nothing wrong with wisdom – but seek it through God and His Word. Fossils studied apart from what God said about the Noahic Flood brings about a false conclusion. No, we are not glorified monkeys. We are designed of God to walk with God.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Solomon Sought Blessing In Worldly Pleasure

When Solomon failed to find joy in knowledge what did he do? Hear his sermon:

Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

More games. More vacations. More time off. This will make me happy. If everyday is Thanksgiving and I eat till I’m gorged I’ll be happy. Solomon thought this. America today thinks this. Video game sales bring in billions of dollars a year in profits. Households that are starving for food often have cable television and high speed internet access. People spend billions on drugs, alcohol, pornography. Every checkout aisle at the grocery store is filled with magazines that let us look into the debauched and sin laden lives of Hollywood stars.

Solomon chased after pleasure, but in finding pleasure he discovered something. Sin always brings diminishing returns. Laughter and entertainment divorced from a walk with Christ in time loses its charms. This also is vanity. Solomon knew what God said about marriage and sex, but ignored the truths of the Word given and instead sought out pleasure. The Bible tells us that Solomon:

1 Kings 11:3-6 (KJV) … had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  [4]  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  [5]  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  [6]  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

To depart from God and His Word is a dangerous thing. Sin should be confessed quickly. Solomon did not start out with 700 wives and 300 concubines (prostitutes). He started out with a small departure from God, and from there is grew. Eventually his obsession with pleasure grew until it led him away from God to worship the gods and goddesses of the fallen world. It would have been better that Solomon had listened to his father David, who wrote:

Psalms 16:11 Thou {O God} wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Here is where pleasure is. It is not in the world wallowing in debauchery. Pleasure is at the right hand of God, dwelling in His presence. Blessed be the Name of the Lord! As Jerry Vines once said,

“The Christian faithfully serving Jesus can have more fun accidentally than the world has on purpose!”

When sexual pleasure did not bring him joy, Solomon turned to alcohol. He said:

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give (מָשַׁךְ mashak) myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

The Hebrew word for “give” in our text literally means “to stretch oneself out”. Solomon drank to excess. He did so until he was “stretched out”. By doing so he opened himself up to addiction and dependency. He “laid hold on folly” and found that it was empty of pleasure.

Your bodies belong to the Lord.
Do not loan yourselves out to the devil’s library!

The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 6:15-20 (KJV)  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.  [16]  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.  [17]  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  [18]  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.  [19]  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  [20]  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

If you are a Christian, your body belongs to God. He indwells you. Let your bodies be vessels of honor. If you are not a Christian remember that your body will be what you place in it. Fill it with poison, and it will be poisoned. Turn, repent, and come to Christ. Surrender your lives unto Him. What did our Lord Christ say?

Mark 8:34-35 (KJV) … Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  [35]  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

Solomon Sought Blessing In Work

Ecclesiastes 2:4-6 (KJV)  I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  [5]  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  [6]  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

Solomon threw himself into his work. He tried knowledge & wisdom, but this did not satisfy. Solomon tried pleasures of the flesh, but again all was vanity. So he changed his methods and turned to work.

Solomon was rich beyond the wildest imagination. The head of Amazon company – Jeff Bezos – was recently named the richest man in the world. Valued at $112 billion he rose above Bill Gates, who is worth $90 billion. And yet Solomon’s annual income was in excess of 20 BILLION dollars. He was far richer than Bezos and Gates combined. He had all this money and sought to do good with it. He built stuff. He made cities. And then Solomon stood back and looked at what he had. What did he say?

Ecclesiastes 2:11 (KJV)  Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

Solomon said there is no profit under the sun – it is all vanity (smoke) and vexation of spirit. For all his riches Solomon was miserable. Riches apart from God are a horrible Master. I am reminded of the parable that our Lord told of the rich farmer.

Luke 12:16-20 (KJV) … The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  [17]  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  [18]  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  [19]  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  [20]  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Oh it is so much better to be poor and looking upward to God, than to be rich and look downward to this earth! Christ came preaching the Gospel to the poor (Luke 4:18). And though a few rich and powerful people heard the Gospel Christ preached, these of power were the exception rather than the rule.

Beloved Of God – Serve The Lord While You Are Able

As Solomon came to the end of his days this wise man – the wisest man who ever lived – left behind this truth. Throughout Ecclesiastes he preaches that the things of this earth bring emptiness. He tells those who are young …

Ecclesiastes 12:1 (KJV)  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

There is coming a day when your youth shall depart. While you are young learn of God. Learn of His Word. Drink of Him so that when you get older …

Ecclesiastes 12:3 (KJV)
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble
The “keepers of the house” are your hands!
and the strong men shall bow themselves
The “strong men” are your arms and legs!
and the grinders cease because they are few
The “grinders” are your teeth!
and those that look out of the windows be darkened
The “darkened windows” are your failing eyes!

Oh young people. Learn of God now. Serve Him now while you can. There will come a day when you, like Solomon, look back on wasted opportunities to serve the Lord. The last words I remember my father saying were:

Oh David, I wasted so much time!

Remember NOW your Creator in the days of your youth. Do not let Satan get you off course of serving the Lord. Because of sin in our bodies we all age, we all corrupt, we all decay. I heard a cute poem that said:

I can live with my arthritis,
My dentures are just fine;
My bifocals serve me well,
But I sure do miss my mind!

Young people, serve the Lord while you can. Run the race for the Lord!

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. [25] And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Serve the Lord because you will gain an incorruptible reward, a crown that fades not away. Serve Him because it is rewarding to serve the Lord.

Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, (skubalon Pronounced skoo’-bal-on) that I may win Christ,

Everything is useless, worthless, unless it is found in Christ and through Christ. Solomon ended Ecclesiastes by saying:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the CONCLUSION of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

What does it mean to “fear God”? Solomon wrote:

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 (KJV)  Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:  [13]  But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

To “fear God” is to respect Him, to place Him above all else. To cherish Him and His direction. To seek pleasure in our Lord.

Psalms 34:9 (KJV)  O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

Psalms 115:13 (KJV)  He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.

We are to DO what God has said. We are to LIVE for Him. Judgment day is coming – are you ready? Are you in Christ? Have you received Him as Lord and Savior?

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Living for the Lord brings joy now and eternal joy later. Let us live for Him, doing that which He has commanded. Let us learn of Him.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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