Enjoy God’s Gift of Life (Ecclesiastes 9:1-12)

Ecclesiastes is a confusing but necessary book for our spiritual maturity because it eloquently captures the beauty and the frustration of life. In Ecclesiastes, we learn that life should not be expected to be self-fulfilling because only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can we find contentment and meaning in this life. In today’s sermon, we shall learn that God wants us to enjoy the life He has given us and glorify Him in it.

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Enjoy Your Life (It’s in God’s Hands) 

You can enjoy your life because of God’s providential care and direction of your life. Solomon wrote: “Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in God’s hands” (9:1). We teach our children through the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” that God is in complete control over all the world and the universe. As Christians we take special comfort in God’s hands. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). In Deuteronomy 33:3 we are told: “Indeed He loves the people. All Your holy ones are in Your hand, and they assemble at Your feet. Each receives Your words.” We rest knowing that God is in control and that He “works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will” (Eph 1:11). Paul said: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God” (Rom 8:28). 

Enjoy Your Life (It’s Going to End)

You can enjoy your life because you know it’s going to end. That may sound like an oxymoron, but hear me out. In Ecclesiastes 7:2 we learned “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart.” The house of mourning is better because it reminds us that “it is appointed for people to die once–and after this, judgment” (Heb 9:27). Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go to the house of feasting, but that the house of mourning provides more wisdom because it reminds us that we are all going to die. What is the value of knowing that we are all going to die? So that we can know how to live. James wrote: “For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes” (James 4:14). This may cause some to despair, but for the Christian it is motivation. Paul wrote: “For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). 

Christians need a proper view of death. Death is a consequence of sin (Gen 2:17, Rom 5:12-14 6:23) that Christ delivers us from the fear of (Heb 2:15). Everyone will experience death (1 Cor 15:22) unless they are living when Christ returns (1 Thess 4:17). For Christians it is our means of entering in the presence of Christ (Phil 1:23). Solomon wrote: “there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who doesn’t sacrifice” (Ecc 9:2). Solomon calls this “an evil that is done under the sun” because death is an enemy. Death was not part of God’s good creation. Death is an enemy that will be destroyed forever (1 Cor 15:26) and Revelation 20:14 tells us that “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.” We can enjoy life because we know that Jesus Christ has defeated death. While we are alive there is hope. Solomon wrote: “There is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecc 9:4).

Enjoy Your Life (It’s Wonderful) 

You can enjoy your life because it is wonderful. How can I say that? Aren’t people suffering in this world? There is evil, sin, abuse, murder, etc. going on in this world, how can you say life is wonderful? I do not say this flippantly, but I can say that because that’s what we are told in Ecclesiastes. Consider for a moment that the book of the Bible that calls everything vanity (fleeting and frustrating) also calls us at least five times to enjoy life. Here is how it does it: enjoy life for the glory of God. Yes, life is hard and there is tremendous evil all around, but it is also true that God is in control and delights in giving His children good gifts to be enjoyed. We can fight against evil, weep with those who weep, and rejoice in our life. Let’s look at five instances in Ecclesiastes where we are told to rejoice and enjoy life:

  1. 3:12-14: I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life. It is also  the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts. I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him.
  2. 3:22: I have seen that there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his activities because that is his reward. For who can enable him to see what will happen after he dies?
  3. 5:19-20:God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God, for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.” 
  4. 9:9-10: Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going
  5. 11:8-10:Indeed, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile. Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment. Remove sorrow from your heart, and put away pain from your flesh, because youth and the prime of life are fleeting.” 

In conclusion, we have a choice to make: 1) We can become embittered or 2) we can become empowered. We can become embittered by this world and despair of the misery around us or we can become empowered by Jesus to live a courageous life of faith and joy as we bring the light of the Gospel into the dark places of this world. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and calls us to be courageous!

Published by First Baptist Church of Scott City, MO

Bringing the love of Christ to a hurting world.

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