I’m very behind in posting some of my sermons, so this is my attempt at catching up. This was preached Sunday, June 5th 2011.
Bless God part 1
Reason and purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ISV – 1 There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5 a time to scatter stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to search and a time to give up searching; a time to keep, and a time to discard; 7 a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
We are beginning a new series this morning entitled, “Bless God: God, hell, heaven, and the chief end of man.” This is a purely topical series, which I have gotten away from in order to preach more verse by verse, expository sermons. And don’t worry: after this series is over, we will go back to those expository sermons. But the purpose behind this series is to address some important questions that many people are having today. And while this series is not really a commentary or critique of Rob Bell’s “Love wins;” it does seek to address many of the questions that are covered in the book and in the video for the book.
You see, these questions I believe need to be addressed. But they need to be addressed biblically, outside of human reasoning when possible. When we try to answer these questions with the Bible and adding human reasoning, it just has a tendency of messing things up; and the danger is this can result in pure heresy.
I believe the prophet Isaiah said it well:
Isaiah 55:6-9 – 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous person his thoughts. Let them return to the LORD, so he’ll have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will for he’ll pardon abundantly. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Now before we get into our main points for today’s sermon, let’s look into the book of Ecclesiastes for just a few moments.
Here Solomon is talking about there being a time for everything. Many people will look at the entire book of Ecclesiastes and think that it is a time of doubt for Solomon; doubting His God. I personally believe that this book is Solomon’s treatise of repentance. John MacArthur, in his introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes in the MacArthur Study Bible says: “Its (Ecclesiastes) aim is to answer some of life’s most challenging questions, particularly where they seem contrary to Solomon’s expectations. This has led some unwisely to take the view that Ecclesiastes is a book of skepticism.”[i]
But notice how Solomon ends his book; he isn’t skeptical about God, but points back to the Scriptures and His confidence in God.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – 13 Let the conclusion of all these thoughts be heard: Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is what it means to be human. 14 For God will judge every deed, along with every secret, whether good or evil.
You see, these questions are actually a sign. They are not a sign that God doesn’t have answers; but they are a sign of mankind’s spiritual climate.
Here is the spiritual climate that we presently live in; and this will be the basis for why we are doing this series:
Sound doctrine is no longer being preached in many of our churches.
We are placing an emphasis on being seeker friendly and sensitive, on being culturally relevant, on ignoring Bible doctrine in the name of reaching “souls for Jesus.”
Many are departing from the faith because of our cotton candy-sugary services.
Now Paul says something about this in the Scriptures.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 – 3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate healthy doctrine, but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers who cater to their people’s own desires. 4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths. 5 But you, must be clear headed about everything. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Devote yourself to your ministry.
It is sad to say this, but many a preacher has forsaken sound doctrine, and thereby instead of winning the lost to Jesus or making disciples for Him, they are itching people’s ears and turning them away from the truth to follow after myths.
Now right before this passage Paul lays out a charge to Timothy that can be applied to all preachers.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 – 1 In the presence of God and the Messiah Jesus, who is going to judge the living and those who are dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly appeal to you 2 to proclaim the message. Be ready to do this whether or not the time is convenient. Refute, warn, and encourage with the utmost patience when you teach.
This leads us to our final point:
The reason and purpose behind this series.
As a Pastor and minister of the Word of God, I have a mandate from the Scriptures themselves to preach the Word, not human reasoning.
So what is our single focused purpose?
- To call us back to the faith found in the Scriptures. It is the Scriptures themselves that are our final rule and practice, not human reasoning. We must study hard, not questioning the truths found and inventing human, more palatable answers; but giving the answers to the questions found within God’s Word with both strong conviction and graceful gentleness.
It is our intention that as we seek to answer these questions that many are asking, that our answers would bless God. Ultimately, Christ is the answer to all these questions. Not a “Christ philosophy,” but the Jesus Christ revealed in the Holy Scriptures. May His name be forever honored as we take an honest look into these things.
[i] MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, Kindle edition, location 3522.