Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:1-18
Lesson: 10
Solomon encourages us to do everything to the best of our abilities, because the grave holds nothing for us once it is our time to go.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to sac central this morning and joining us for our worship. We especially wanna welcome our visitors that are sitting in our audience with us this morning and also our members.

And I also wanna especially welcome you that are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world, either live on the internet this morning, or through television or radio. However you're joining us, welcome. And we thank you for joining us this morning to study. Our first song this morning to begin our service is hymn number 289, "the Savior is waiting." And this comes as a request from angelo boccino from tasmania, from vanessa groves from Rhode Island, and from joyanne riley from brooklyn, New York. So we're gonna sing both verses of hymn 289.

.. [Music] I love the words to that song. The Savior is longing to come into our heart, but the only way he can get in is if we let him. And prayer is that this morning every one of us will let him in and do his good work, so that he can change us and he can come soon. If you have a special request that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website that is found at www.saccentral.org. And there you click on the music link. And you can request any song that you want to sing with us out of our hymnal. And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next request is hymn number 334, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" And this comes as a request from sonya seal from barbados, miriam raymond from australia, clarence taylor and family from deer lodge, tennessee, Karen walker from jamaica, erica farrell from florida, sharon fortune from New Jersey, claudeen brown from jamaica, bettine wright from healdsburg, south africa, John chesterenis from guyana, and tembo Timothy from zambia. Happy Sabbath to all of you that are worshipping with us around the world this morning. "Come thou fount of every blessing," and we will sing all three verses... [Music] Our Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is to join with you this morning to worship you, to join with those across this planet that you have created, to come and bow before you and worship you as our creator and our Savior and our Lord. We ask you to take our hearts and seal them for eternity here on earth.

Help us to shine for you wherever you put us and in everything that we do, that we can lead others to you and hasten your soon coming. Please be with pastor steve this morning as he brings us Your Words of wisdom from Ecclesiastes. And help us to apply these to our hearts and our minds, that we only represent you. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

This morning our lesson study will be brought to us by pastor steve allred. And he's the youth pastor here at Sacramento central. Happy Sabbath. Would you pray with me one more time? Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have woken us up this morning, given us life, given us a new day to live. And Lord today we're, we're looking at a passage of Scripture that talks about some of these very basic things that we forget about sometimes, just the fact that we, we have life and that we have this privilege of living day by day.

And so we pray that as we open this book, the book of Ecclesiastes today, that your spirit would come and that you would teach us. Open our minds up to understand what you want us to understand. We pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen. For those watching on tv today, you can call our number on the screen there, 866-788-3966, for our free offer number 727.

It's a little booklet entitled "assurance: justification made simple." So you'll want to call for that free book today. It was about 11:00 o'clock at night on January 21, 1998, just a few years ago. And stan alpert, he was a federal prosecutor in the state of New York; he was walking down th street approaching th avenue in manhattan. :00 O'clock at night, he had just gotten off the subway and met someone and walked them to their door. And now he was walking home with kind of a spring in his step, oblivious to the fact that the streets were deserted and there was really no one out there and oblivious to the fact that there had been a black lexus following him for a little while, until finally he felt a hand grab his elbow from behind.

And as he turned, he looked into the face of a short, stocky man with a machine gun barrel pointed at stan's ribs. And the man said, "don't say a word. Just get in the--blank--car. And that's what stan did. The experts all agree that stan alpert should have died.

And for the next 26 hours he was held hostage by this group of men. But for some strange reason, something happened and his captures decided to let him live. And so the question, why; why stan? What was the motive? Who were these people? Well, they were gang members. The motive seemed to be money. And why stan? Just because he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and so he was the one that they caught.

Now, the interesting thing is, is that this happened on the eve of stan's 38th birthday. In fact, he wrote a book, and I picked it up the other day at the bookstore. It's called "the birthday party." And so he spent his birthday in this very interesting situation. Who'd have thought you could celebrate your 38th birthday with such excitement, right? And so it somehow reminded me though of Solomon's words here. Look at what, look what the wise man wrote.

Go back to Ecclesiastes and chapter 8. We're gonna start with chapter 8:16-17, because that is what feeds us into chapter 9:1. Ecclesiastes 8, Solomon begins in verse 16, he says, "when I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth, even though no one should never sleep day or night, and I saw every work of God," then here's what he says: "I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun." It's just impossible to figure out all of this stuff, he says. And then listen, "even though man should," laboriously, "should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, 'I know,' he cannot discover." In other words, the more you think you know, the less you actually know, right? And you can just keep trying to discover--and then verse 1, he says, "for I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that the righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God." That's interesting. And then he says, "man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.

" Stan alpert would agree, right? "Anything awaits him." I mean, come on, you know, you're walking down the streets of manhattan and something like this happens to you. In fact, if you go to verse 11 of the same chapter here, Ecclesiastes 9:11, it says, listen, "I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance," what? "Happen to them all." And then it says, "moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so The Sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them." And it's true, isn't it? Things happen that we sometimes can never imagine happening, happening to people that we think it could never happen to. Let's go back to verse 1. I like this part here. He says, "for I have taken all this to my heart," and he says, "and I explain it that righteous men, and wise men, and their deeds are," where? In God's hands.

Now we're gonna have some questions and time for people to be able to read here today, but you're going to have to do me a favor. Because last time I taught, I did something bad. I let you talk without having a microphone in your hand, okay? So today we're gonna try to be a little more--we're gonna follow the rules. And so I don't know where our micro--do we have microphone people around here? We do. Okay.

And so let's do this. I'd like someone to--I'm gonna ask you guys a question. If you have an answer you want to contribute, raise your hand and we'll give you some time to get the mic. What do you think? How fair of an assessment do you think this is in verse 1 that--? Look what it says, "righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God." And then it says, "man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him." Is that true? You think that life is just like that? I mean, can Christians count on certain things happening in their lives? We can? Okay. This is kind of a, I guess probably not a good question.

There's so many answers we could give to this, right? But, so, but look what Solomon's point here. He says, that our deeds are where? "In the hands of God." This is really interesting. Now, I like what they said on Sunday's lesson here, the little paragraph. It says, listen to this, "to say, however, that we are in God's hands doesn't of course mean that we will never have pain, suffering or tragedy." Isn't that true? It doesn't necessarily mean that God somehow just keeps us from all of that. And then they go on.

They say, "the most faithful of all Christians can never be sure of what will await them under the sun." Do you think that's true? And we've all heard stories, haven't we? Of faithful people who have suffered terrible things; people that were just like, we're blown away by the tragedy that strikes them. Well, let's go to verse 2. Listen to what it says here. Now I'm gonna need someone to read verse 3 for me in a minute. Would someone like to read verse 3? Okay, Michael's gonna read that right here.

So we need a mic for Michael. Okay. Let's read verse 2. It says, going on, "anything awaits him," verse 1, "it is the same for all." Now this is the part that gets kind of interesting. "For there is one fate for the righteous and the," what? Interesting, okay.

"For the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner." Wow, this is interesting. "As the swearer, so is the one who is afraid to swear." And then keep reading here in verse 3. Verse 3, "this is--" testing. "This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all.

Truly the hearts of The Sons of the men are full of evil; madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead." Thank you, Michael. One fate for everybody. Is that true? Is it true that wicked and the righteous all suffer one fate? You know it's interesting because on one hand we can say, yes, it's true. Isn't that right? But on the other hand, we're thinking, well wait, doesn't it say something about like, you know, wicked people get burned up at the end, right? And righteous people live forever with God, right? You know, so what's up with that, right? Well, here's the point, Solomon, I think we could say that Solomon is being truthful here. Isn't that right? Because go to, check this out, go to Romans real quick.

Keep your finger in Ecclesiastes. Go to Romans 5. You've read this verse before. But the Bible, I like how the Bible is such an interesting book. It's so complex in some ways.

There's--you could take one little passage, you could take it out of context of the rest of the Bible, you could come to some really weird conclusions. Hence, we have some very strange beliefs out there supposedly based on the Bible. But if you take it all together, you come to--you see the big picture. And so in Romans 5:12, listen to this. It's talking about how we originally got into this condition where everyone eventually dies, okay? It says, "therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world," who was that one man? It was adam, right? "And death through sin.

" So death came along as the result of sin. "And so death spread," to how many people? Everybody. That's you, that's me, that's the bad person, that's the good person, that's everybody. We all are going to die, unless of course we're talking about the last generation of people that live to see Jesus come, right? So we're talking here about something that happens to everybody. And so Solomon's telling the truth, isn't he? People die.

That's just the fact. That's just the way it works. And I like--this is interesting because Solomon goes on. He's like, "well, hey listen, if that's the way it is, then it's no better to be this way than to be that way." And he kind of, it's almost like he's despairing a little bit. But I think we've gotta step back and maybe ask ourselves: what is Solomon, what is he trying to say here? What's his point? What's he trying to get across? Now I'd like to hear what you have to say about that.

But let me just share a little bit about what I think. First of all, I think Solomon is looking not at the whole picture, but he's focusing just on one aspect. Right? We could say he's just looking at one side of the coin. Isn't that right? Because the other side of the coin is even though righteous and wicked are both alike, faced one fate on this earth, yet there are two different fates for the righteous and the wicked as well. Isn't that right? And so Solomon gives us just one side of the coin, but the Bible, if you continue to read, gives us the other side of the coin.

And did you check out those verses, Monday's lesson, did you look at those verses? I need some people to read here a few verses. So if we could get someone to read John 5:28-29. Okay, jim will read that, John 5:28-29. Someone else can read Daniel 12:1 for us. Do we have a volunteer to read Daniel 12:1? Someone over here? Tim, okay.

And then I've got another one I'm gonna throw in here, job 14:10-12. Anybody like to read that? Okay, birdie will read that. Job 14:10-12. Alright, let's go ahead. We're gonna look at some of these verses that talk about the other side of the coin.

And we're gonna start out here with John 5. And look at these verses, John 5:28-29 here, really interesting passage here. Jesus speaking. "For as The Father has life in himself, so he has gained The Son to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment also." Okay. "Because he is The Son of man.

" I think you're on the wrong verse there. Go down to verse 28. Did I say verse 25? Okay, John 5:28. Sorry about that. I think I may have given you the wrong verse there.

Verse 28-29, yeah. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." Thank you. So notice, how many people again are gonna come forth out of the graves? So here's another blanket statement, right? Solomon's like, "everybody who has one fate," right? And Jesus says, "yeah, everyone has one fate." Everyone's gonna get resurrected at some point. Isn't that right? And then he goes on to say it's not gonna stop there though, because look at verse 29. And they're gonna "come forth, those who have done good deeds, to a resurrection of," what? So life does go on after the grave we could say, after the resurrection, right? And those who have committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Of course, we know that these resurrections, if we study further, are actually separated by a thousand years. But anyway, so there are two fates, the other side of the coin, right? Alright, tim would you read Daniel 12:1 for us please? "At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over The Sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book." Thank you, tim. Now that's another passage that tells us that there is life beyond this fate that Solomon says awaits us, right? There's something that's gonna happen and it's called the resurrection. Again, the same picture there of two resurrections or two fates after that time.

Alright, let's go to job 14. Now before we read this, I've been reading through the book of job recently. And it's been interesting because as you read through job, job you will find went through some pretty difficult experiences. Isn't that right? He was, I mean, listen you can, you can just try to put yourself in his shoes and feel what he was feeling. It was, it was not a pretty picture.

And so he gets to the place where his friends are like, "hey job, you're a great sinner," basically. You're deserving this because you did all these bad things. And he's like, "hey, I actually, I don't think I did." You know, and he's trying to--and then he basically says, "you know, it's better that I was never born." And listen to this. This is kind of where he gets into, "hey, this is man's final fate." Like what Solomon said, but he adds something more. So go ahead and read that for us.

And we're looking at job 14:10-12. "But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies down and does not rise; 'til the heavens are no more, men will not awake nor be roused from their sleep." 'Til the heavens are no more. And then people will be aroused from their sleep. Isn't that right? And so let's go back to Solomon.

Let's talk about him for a second, Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9. I think we could all agree, he's not trying to necessarily get into deep theology here of exactly how life is ultimately going to pan out. But he's dealing with one aspect of life, right? Life as we know it on this earth. And he's saying, "hey, listen, this is the end for people on this earth." But I think his ultimate point here is actually, it fits in with the rest of the Bible. And we're gonna find out that his ultimate point is this life is really the opportunity that we have to make decisions.

This life is our opportunity to actually live right now. And it will affect the fate of what happens to us after this life. And so let's go back to Ecclesiastes. We're gonna look at verses 5-6 now. Very interesting, very well-known passage for most of us here probably.

And here's what it says. We all know it probably by heart. What does it say? "For the living know that they will," what? "Die." And that's something we know, right? There's two certain things in life, right? One of them is coming up pretty soon by the way for all of us, right? Here in the United States. Alright, "for the living know that they will," what? "Die." "But the dead know not anything." They know nothing, right? "Neither have they any longer a reward." And we could put in parenthesis what he's trying to say is a reward on this earth, because that's the context of what he's talking about here. "For their memory is forgotten.

Indeed their love, their hate, their zeal, have already perished; and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun." That's it. We're done under the sun, right? So Solomon says, "hey, listen. This is your opportunity right now to make a difference on earth, because after death, that's it. There's no more any of this stuff. None of this happens.

" And isn't it true? You know, you ever gone to a funeral--we've all been to funerals--and you've been there and you've thought, you know--or actually, have you listened to the words the people say about the person that's died? And it's true that often times it's, we wait until people have passed away before we express some of our most tender thoughts for them. Right? And we hear these people saying, "oh, this person was a great person." But that person may not have known that while they were alive, right? And you know probably the opposite is true, right? That person would have liked to have said some nice things about the people that are talking about them at their funeral, but they don't have a chance to do that anymore. And so Solomon's point here is that death is it. And our life that we have now is our opportunity to live. And so I want to ask a question: how many of you folks did the activity for Tuesday's lesson? You want to raise your hand if you did? That's the one where they said look at these verses from the perspective of someone who doesn't believe in the afterlife, and then from the perspective of someone who believes in the second coming and the resurrection.

Did you guys do that activity? Okay. And anybody like to share just a short, very short, synopsis of what your prospective was? Anybody like to share? You guys act really excited here. Just what? Just be ready, that's what dora's saying. Okay. Anybody else? Raise your hand and we'll get you a mic.

But isn't it true? Could you imagine looking at life, or I should say looking at death from the prospective of someone who believes that that's it? How would we live life if that's what we believed was the ultimate, ultimate end? Probably wrong. Anybody else? Helpless. Selfish. Selfishly. And so this prospective of understanding that well, yes, death is the end, but yet there is something beyond it, something Solomon doesn't mention here necessarily.

It gives us prospective, doesn't it, about death. It says, "hey, you know, actually when we grieve," like Paul says there in Thessalonians, "we don't have to grieve like other people do." Isn't that right? When people die. Alright, well, okay. Let's go to chapter 9, back to chapter 9 here, verses 7-10. Solomon continues on.

And he continues to add something here to his--actually, we skipped verse 7, didn't we? Let's start in verse 7 here. Okay, here we go. Now this is interesting. So he already has told us that death is it. If you're gonna do it, do it now.

Then he goes in verse 7, he says, so, "go then, eat your bread with," what? Joy or happiness. "And drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Let your clothes be white all the time; and let not oil be lacking on your head." What would that be in today's language? Come your hair everyday, right? Or I don't know what that is, but "oil on your head. And in enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life, which he has given to you under the sun: for this is your reward in life." This is interesting. "And in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

" Now, okay, now I really want some answers for this. So, I want you to raise your hand, okay, if you have a prospective. And we'll get you a mic. What do you think the point Solomon is trying to make here is? What I mean, if we were to just take this at face value, lift it right out of that chapter, lift it out of the context of the Bible, you could say, "you know what? Just enjoy life." You know, kind of the hedonistic attitude of just, "do whatever you want. Live it up now, because--" what point is he trying to make? Okay, we need a microphone, so could we have a microphone right over here? Dora's gonna share a little something.

Okay. Alright, anybody else like to share after dora? We need to get a mic to you, so go ahead and raise your hand. Each day, as we all know too well, it make no difference if you are righteous or not. Death always win. Okay, alright.

Andrew, andrew has a comment right behind her. Thank you, dora. He's doing a number of things. But one thing is he's setting the stage to tell us later that we should live in view of eternity, that every decision, thought, action should be in context of an eternal future. Because if we're just looking at what's happening now, we'll be forgotten.

Whatever we do now as far as earthly accomplishments, you know, it says our memory is lost. Um-hmm. But if I'm living in view of eternity, that will change the way that I approach and live life. Now, let me, hold on to the mic real quick. Where do you get that from these verses here, in verses 7-10? What do you see happening here? I'm of course looking at the whole book, 'cause I know how it ends, so I'm kind of cheating.

You can't do that. No, I'm kidding. Alright, so but this is interesting. Thank you for that comment. I appreciate that.

Now I want you to comment though on these specific verses. What do you think these verses are saying? Because, I mean, honestly, could you justify kind of a, you know, we have a lot of people in our culture today who believe that once you die, that's it, kind of a postmodern attitude here. And, and these verses would fit perfectly with that kind of a mindset if you wanted to. This says: this is people who don't have God in their lives. You think so? Yeah.

Okay. So I think this is really for them that don't have God in their lives. They might as well enjoy it now. Okay. Because for eternity, they won't be enjoying it.

This is their only life. Okay, so you think Solomon's counsel here is only to people who are--have no hope of eternal life? That's what your saying? Okay. Anybody, you guys agree with that, disagree with that? I--that's a good point. It's a good point. I would take a little different viewpoint on that, simply because if you read the context of the chapter, he's talking about the fate of both righteous and wicked so far.

Now, I think we could look at this and we could say, well, you know, this is Solomon saying, just go have a good time, enjoy life, and forget about everything else. God has already approved your works. That's kind of an interesting statement there, haven't quite gotten to the bottom of that one. But it is interesting that we could compare it with some other Scriptures. Go to Romans 14; keep your finger there, we'll be back.

Romans 14, you know the passage where it says that God has appoint--well, actually this is not the one that says God has appointed a day. That's in 1 Corinthians or acts actually. And what verse am I looking for here? Romans 14:12, notice this one. This is actually, here yeah; this is the one that says we'll give an account. It says, "so then each one of us," this is Romans 14:12, "will give an account of himself to God.

" So this is kind of, Paul's saying, "hey, we're accountable." The way you live now--don't just say, "hey, it's never gonna, you know, be something that will be brought back to greet me." Right? You're gonna face it someday. Peter 3, check this out. This is kind of a sobering passage as well. Peter 3, and we want to look at verses 10-14. The Bible says, you know this one, "but the day of the Lord will come like a thief," right? "The heavens are gonna pass away, the elements are gonna melt with fervent heat.

" Verse 11, "since all these things are to be destroyed in this way," Peter concludes, "what sort of people ought you to be," right? How should you live? And then he goes, "with all holy conduct and Godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God." So he's basically arguing here that yes, there is a day of accountability coming. And on that day, we're gonna have to look back over the lives we've lived. Right? So what do we do with Solomon? Is Solomon here just talking to the wicked? That's one prospective we could take. Or is he talking to everybody? And if he's talking to all of us, or those who are both righteous and wicked, then is he, is he lying here? Is he contradicting the rest of the Bible here? Is he kind of just out of a--we need a microphone right here. Okay, let's go ahead and, and what is your prospective on that? What do you think? It seems like Solomon is trying to let everyone know that whether you are a believer in God or a not believing in God that what happens in life, that's kind of like on your permanent record, you know.

Okay. The works you do, the things you do have a permanent, lasting effect. So whether you do good that carries on; whether you do evil that carries on as well to others. And it influences everyone around you. Interesting, turns on to others.

That's just my prospective. Okay, birdie, you have a comment. What I see here is that I think sometimes as Christians we live our lives with that sad countenance. And we feel that God does not want us to enjoy life. What he's saying is this is what God has given you.

He's given you taste buds; enjoy your food. He's given you a wife you love; enjoy her. Love your life the way God intended it to be, but also keep it within the context of, you know, thinking of the future. But do enjoy your life; that's what God wants us to do. He wants us to be happy, joyful people, and love what's around us.

Interesting. That's another prospective, isn't it? So how could we fit this in? I think I would agree with you, birdie. If we look at what Solomon's saying, he's saying, "hey, this is for righteous and wicked." What he's saying here isn't, this isn't bad stuff, right? Eat your bread with happiness. Is something wrong with that? No, nothing's wrong with that, right? Wear white clothes all the time. I don't know if, you know, who wants to do that? But if you want to, go ahead, right? You get his point, right? I guess that was something special back then.

And so he's basically saying, enjoy life because right now is your opportunity to do that. Now, we could say, well, he's saying that to the exclusion of thinking about the next life. But no, we don't have to say that, do we? Again, Solomon is, I believe, just looking at one side of the coin here. He's, he's focusing in on one point. And you know, often times if you're gonna argue something, you ever argued and you argue one point sometimes to the exclusion of looking at other things? But you're trying to get one point across.

And that's what Solomon was trying to do. And there's an interesting little statement here I wanted to share with you. And it's from a book called, "mind, character, and personality." Let me see if I can find it here. This is interesting. I read this a long time ago, because I used to have the prospective that life was meant to be very somber all the time.

Now the Bible does say in Peter, Peter there that we ought to live soberly. Paul says the same thing. Soberness, though, does not mean unhappiness. Soberness if we think of it in the context of the way we do today is you're not intoxicated, right? In other words, you're not living life with an imbalance in any area in your life, right? Intoxication means you've gone over the edge with something. Listen, it says, "there are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant ruling them as with a rod of iron.

" You ever know anybody like that? Ruling them. I mean it's just--and it says, "such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts. A frown is ever upon their countenances." I went through this. "They are chilled with the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone.

" It just makes them freeze up more. It says, "they consider all recreation or amusement as sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern and severe pitch." And then it says, "this is one extreme." Now, then there's the other extreme. "Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn how to depend on excitement there and easy without it." In other words, it's kind of a hedonistic lifestyle, right? "Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme.

" And then the balance, "the true principles of Christianity open before all, a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable. It is Christ in us, a well of water springing up into everlasting life, is a continual well-spring from which the Christian can drink at will and never exhaust the fountain." And so is Solomon giving us some wise counsel here? I think he is. He's saying, "you know what? Listen, life is meant to be enjoyed. Even if there are trials in life, even if we are at the end of this world's history, doesn't mean we're supposed to go around with a sad countenance." Isn't that right? Solomon says, in other words, and I kind of like the little cliché that we use. And you know we talk about enjoying the moment.

And sometimes we can be so worried about what's coming in the future that we forget to enjoy today. Isn't that right? I mean, just read Matthew 6; that was Jesus' whole point there. He says, "hey listen, don't let the future consume your thoughts. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." And we could also say the joy thereof. Isn't that right? And so, well, let's talk about bad things, though.

Bad things do happen. And so even though Solomon says enjoy your life, there are bad things that are gonna happen. And we can't allow those to exasperate us either, just like Jesus' point there was, right? Looking forward to bad things or the bad things that are presently happening. I recently, I go to a laundromat where they show movies all the time. And so every now and again, I'll sit down and watch part of a clip here from a movie.

And I saw this one they had one day on. And it was about this guy who was tired of life going along at its normal pace. And so I don't know how the movie ends or anything like that, but the part that I saw is he went to a store and he got a universal remote control that could fast forward his life. And whenever he didn't like something, he would just, zzzz, until he got to the place he liked. And then he would slow down, press play.

And he did this throughout his life. And the point being though is that this guy, he was trying to get through the hard stuff; you know what I'm saying? The stuff he didn't like. And in the process, he missed out on life. Because life, I mean, think about it, life does not really have meaning unless there's, there's problems in it. Isn't that right? Yeah, in fact you don't enjoy the good stuff until you've had the bad stuff usually, right? It's the depth; it's the texture of life.

And so anyway, I don't know, I just threw that in, 'cause I thought it was kind of interesting. But Solomon's point, enjoy life, right? So however it is possible that we could become so caught up in living life--and I just want to throw this in because the lesson brought this out--that we forget that life itself is a preparation for the next life. And it's an opportunity for us to do something. Go to 2 Corinthians, and I'd like to get someone to read this for us, 2 Corinthians, could someone raise their hand that would like to have a microphone passed to them? Corinthians, or I will have to pick somebody. Okay, let's do tammy, 'cause she hasn't had a chance here.

Corinthians chapter, what did I say? Six? Or maybe I didn't say, chapter 6:2. You guys, we all know this passage, 2 Corinthians 6:2. And go ahead and read that for us, tammy. "For he says: 'in an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Thank you. I like what the lesson says.

"However important the decisions we make in life," this is on Wednesday's lesson, "the most important one of all is the one for Christ. The one in which responding to the Holy Spirit we chose to die to self and live for him." And then they ask the question: have you made that decision yet? Because this life is not just about that one side of the coin, is it? It's also about the other side of the coin. And so here's an opportunity for us to say, "well, have I made that decision in life yet?" Let's go back to Ecclesiastes. Because notice what happens next. It's so true.

Ecclesiastes 9:11. Did we skip verse 10? I think we didn't read verse 10, did we? I'm sorry. You know, let's, let's hold on to that. I hope I don't forget. Well, let's read it now, 'cause I'll probably forget.

So let's do that. What does it say? "Whatever your hand finds to do," what? "Do it with all your might." In other words, if you're gonna live life, live it to the best, right? Do your best. "For there is no activity," again, "or planning or knowledge or wisdom in," shale or "the grave where you are going." Solomon's point again: do what you've got to do now, because this is it. And it's not to be a negative understanding of this either. In other words, enjoy life now.

So let's go to verse 11. We're talking about the day of salvation. We're talking about the opportunity that we have right now to live in a way that's gonna decide our destiny after this life, right? Look what it says. Again, "I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift." We read this earlier. "Or the battle to the strong, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, or favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

" And we could almost say, in fact, we could very safely say that none of us know when our time will come. And that's why, not the only reason why, but another reason why we should make a decision for Jesus now. It shouldn't be the only reason because fear is not a motivation that will hold you very long. It only motivates you for a little while, but it is a factor. Go to verse 12, "moreover man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so The Sons of men are ensnared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls on them.

" And of course, you know, you've seen it, the nicest people getting the terminal illnesses. The couple on their honeymoon that die in a car accident, innocent children that are abused. The list goes on and on, time and chance happens to all, not just the wicked. Isn't that right? It's even the righteous. And of course Jesus made that very point if you look in Luke.

Go to the book of Luke here, chapter 13, you know the story. 'Cause in the jews' day, they thought, "hey, if you were good, then everything in this life ought to turn out good." Right? It's kind of the whole karma idea right? Or if you did a certain number of good things, and so Jesus said, "hey wait a minute, actually that's not always the way it works there." Right? Remember this story, verse 4, he said--actually verse 1, "now on the same occasion," Luke 13, "there were some present who reported to him," Jesus, "about the galileans whose blood pilate had mixed with their sacrifices." In other words, they were saying, "yeah, did you hear about these evil people over there that they had this terrible thing happen to them?" And Jesus replies, he says, "do you suppose that these galileans were greater sinners than all other galileans, because they suffered this way?" And he says, "no, in fact I tell you, unless you repent, you're gonna perish just like that." Verse 4, "or do you suppose that those 18 on whom the tower of siloam fell and killed them," in other words, this was an accident, right, "were worse culprits than all the men live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but it could happen to you too." "Time and chance happeneth to all." David makes the point in psalm 103, he says, "he remembers our frame. He knows that we are," what? "Dust." And he goes on to say, "just like grass in the field, one day it's there; the next day it's mowed down. The flower, the sun withers it." That's how our life is. It's very fast.

It's very uncertain. And that's why, again, another reason why God says, "today is our opportunity to make the right kind of decisions for eternity." Isn't that right? But no matter how bad it gets, you know the passage, Romans 8:28, right? Let's think, the bad things that happen in life, the story of job's a good example of that. But yet God is able to bring something good out of these things. Isn't that right? Out of the time and the chance, the evil things that happen in life, the Bible says, "but we know that all things," what? "Work together for good." And God says, "I'm gonna work together this bad thing for my ultimate purpose." See it's the other side of the coin that he's talking about here. "I'm gonna work it together so that ultimately you're gonna be happy in eternity and I'm gonna be glorified in eternity.

" And so we have these promises to cling to when time and chance happen to us. Isn't that right? When things happen to us that we can't explain. We're saying, "hey, why did this happen to me?" God says, "hey, I've given you this promise." And so not long ago, I was discouraged and I was feeling down, and I called my aunt who lives not too far away. And I was talking with her on the phone. She helps me out sometimes when I'm down.

And so I said, I was just sharing kind of what I was feeling, and she said, "you know what? Wait a minute, wait a minute. I've got something I want to share with you. And so she ran and she got this quotation. She said, "someone just gave this to me," and it completely changed my prospective. May I share this with you? Really interesting little passage here, it's from the book, "ministry of healing.

" It says, "The Father's presence encircled Christ." You probably heard this. "And nothing befell him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was his source of comfort and it is for us." And it says, "he or she who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ, whatever comes to him comes from the Savior who surrounds him with his presence. Nothing can touch him except by the Lord's permission. All our sufferings and our sorrows, all our temptations and our trials, all our sadness and our griefs, all our persecutions and our privations; in short, all things work together for our good.

All experiences and circumstances are God's workmen whereby good is brought to us." Nothing can touch us unless it comes through, who? Through God. And so I don't know, I don't know if you're going through something in your life right now that you can't explain. I'm sure there's someone probably here that's going through something today that you just can't make sense of. But you know even though, as we can see, time and chance happens to everybody. It's not because you've been good or bad, necessarily that it's happening to you.

But know that in all of this, God is gonna do something great for you. God's gonna bring something out of that that's gonna be incredible in your life. And so let's finish up here. Let's go back to Ecclesiastes. And we're looking back there at chapter 9.

Solomon concludes this chapter with a little story. Now remember that these chapters were, divisions were put in place after he wrote this. And so this is not necessarily the way he intended the chapter to end, but here's another story. You know the story, right? He talks about a city. There was a small city, few men, a great king comes against the city and besieges it.

And inside of the city is, what? A poor, wise man. And what did he do? He delivered the city because of his wisdom. But after he delivered the city, what happened? Everyone said, they just totally forgot, right? They're like, "hey, we're free again," right? And they totally forgot about the poor, wise man. And, what was Solomon's point in sharing this story? What do you think? Say that again. Wisdom is better than strength.

Thank you. What else is he trying to say here? What's that? Heroes are soon forgotten. Yeah, that's, that's very true. Yes, anybody else. Wisdom is more powerful than strength.

That's a very good point, yeah. So and also you know, I guess, these are, man, you guys are bringing out some really good points here. Isn't it true that we as human beings--this is the point I got out of it--naturally neglect that which is truly valuable? In other words, we look at the outward, the stuff that you know we think is important. And we forget that yeah, it's this poor, wise guy, right? I mean, if he was a rich, wise guy we'd probably be like, "oh, hey, let's make him king," right? But he was a poor, wise guy and so therefore we might have, we forgot because of that perhaps. Or maybe it's true that, you know, once our problems pass, we just kind of.

..right? We do that, don't we? I do that. I have a big trial in my life, pray really hard. God delivers me. And then I just kind of go on with life like nothing happened. You ever done that before? And so that's maybe, I don't know, Solomon has some interesting little Proverbs.

And sometimes--but Solomon's point: our prospectives and priorities are often times not what they should be. Isn't that right? Oftentimes not what they should be. And so to stan alpert, it just didn't make sense. He--furthermore, what had he, what had he done to deserve being picked up off the streets of manhattan by a gang, and held for 26 hours with his life dangling before his eyes, about ready to be snuffed out? I mean, what had he done to deserve this? Finally, 26 hours later they let him go. And then he wondered, "what did I do to deserve being let go?" I--there's no logical explanation, the experts agreed, that stan should have lived.

He should have died. And so I'm gonna read you what he said in his book. He said, "so why did God decide to keep me alive? Was I kidnapped because of some horrible sin I had committed, or instead was a decision made to pluck me out of the fires of hell because I had led a good life? Is there some mission I'm destined to accomplish? I'm doing my best," he says, "I don't know how the story of my life is gonna turn out, but I'm sure glad I'm getting the chance to watch it happen." It could have ended very differently. That's from "the birthday party," pages 305 and 306. "The birthday party," I like that.

And so what about us? God has given us a chance today to live life. Isn't that right? And I don't know, i, as I look at this chapter I was trying kind of summarize in my mind, what is Solomon's overall point here? And this is what I came up with here. Life ends eventually for everyone, good and evil. After life, that's it. In death there are no accomplishments.

And after death, there are no second chances. So while you're here, live with everything you've got. Isn't that right? As stan put it, "do your best." And don't forget that this life is the only chance that we have to make decisions for the most important period of living of all and that's the eternal life, right? That's where we're gonna be forever. And there's only two options, you know, eternal existence and happiness with God, or eternal non-existence. Isn't that right? And so that passage that we all know by heart I think sums it up actually.

It says, "for God so loved," what? "The world." And that's us. "That he gave his," what? "Only begotten son. That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And that believing part is right now, isn't it? The believing part is this life. And let's take all of what Solomon said to heart, but the most important thing is are we making that decision to believe today. Alright, for those watching on television today, you can call in to our number 866-788-3966 for our free offer.

It's called "assurance: justification made simple." Let's pray. God, we thank you for the wisdom that you've given us in these pages in the Bible. And Lord, sometimes we do forget that this life is a really important part of our journey. Solomon reminds us of that. I pray that we would take to heart his admonition to enjoy life today to the fullest, to not mourn over the past or even worry about the future, but instead to say hey, today is God's opportunity he's given me to live.

And so Lord, help us to do that. But most of all I pray that we would remember that today is our opportunity to make eternal choices. God if there's someone in this place who hasn't made that decision yet, Lord, I pray that you'd just give them the opportunity right now to take that step in their heart. Thank you, thank you for these words that you've given to us today. And we just, we praise you for being our God.

In Jesus' Name, amen.

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