cutting room

Cutting Room: Christ Unveiled

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Cutting Room is every bit of research that didn’t make it into the Sunday sermon. As always, thank you to my research assistant Ryan Tanski!
— Pastor Pilgrim

Quotes about Jesus

  • "He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break, his whole life was love, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell. He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism He has all of our stark realists soundly beaten. He was a servant of all, washing the disciples feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes. He saved others, yet at the last Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels. The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality." -James Stewart, Scottish theologian
  • I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist, but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply, “It is Jesus Christ”. The body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself forever, God helping me, is Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel, who is Himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life. -Spurgeon
  • "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Ghandi 
  • "If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses." -Lenny Bruce  
  • "You think that your laws correct evil - they only increase it. There is but one way to end evil - by rendering good for evil to all men without distinction." -Leo Tolstoy
  • "We're more popular than Jesus." John Lennon

Word studies for verse 2 “witness” and “testimony”

Witness = martyrian (μαρτυρεῖν): I witness, bear witness, give evidence, testify, give a good report.

  • to be a witness, to bear witness, testify, i. e. "to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that (so in the N. T.) he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration" (sometimes in the N. T. the apostles are said μαρτυρεῖν, as those wire had been eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses of the extraordinary sayings, deeds and sufferings of Jesus, which proved his Messiahship; so too Paul, as one to whom the risen Christ had visibly appeared)
  • From the word Martus, where we get Martyr 

Testimony = marturia (μαρτυρία): Also means to witness

  • In a legal sense, one who testifies before a judge, or in this case The Judge. 
  • a testifying: the office committed to the prophets of testifying concerning future events

Verse 4 “what are the ‘seven spirits’?

  • There are at least three possible interpretations of the seven spirits of God. The first is that the seven spirits of God are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Bible, and especially the book of Revelation, uses the number 7 to refer to perfection and completion. If that is the meaning of the “seven” in the "seven spirits," then it is not referring to seven different spirits of God, but rather the perfect and complete Holy Spirit.
  • The second view is that the seven spirits of God refer to seven angelic beings, possibly the seraphim or the cherubim. This would fit with the numerous others angelic beings that are described in the book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-9; 5:6-14; 19:4-5).
  • A third possibility is based on Isaiah 11:2, which says, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” This could possibly explain the seven spirits of God: (1) Spirit of the LORD, (2) Spirit of wisdom, (3) Spirit of understanding, (4) Spirit of counsel, (5) Spirit of power, (6) Spirit of knowledge, (7) Spirit of the fear of the Lord. The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically who/what the seven spirits are, but the first interpretation, that they are the Holy Spirit, seems the most likely.

Other Bible references for verse 8 “Alpha and Omega, who is and who was and who is to come"

  • Isiah 44:6 - Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
  • Revelation 22:13 - I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
  • Isaiah 48:12 - “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.

Word studies for verse 9 “partner in the tribulation” and “patient endurance”

  • Now the Revised Version is distinctly an improved version in its rendering of these words. It reads ‘partaker with you,’ instead of ‘companion,’ and so emphasizes the notion of participation. It reads, ‘in the tribulation and kingdom and patience,’ instead of ‘in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience’; and so, as it were, brackets all the three nouns together under one preposition and one definite article, and thus shows more closely their connection. And instead of ‘in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,’ it reads, ‘which are in Jesus Christ,’ and so shows that the predicate, ‘in Jesus Christ,’ extends to all the three-the ‘tribulation,’ the ‘kingdom,’ and the ‘patience,’ and not only to the last of the three, as would be suggested to an ordinary reader of our English version. So that we have here a participation by all Christian men in three things, all of which are, in some sense, ‘ in Christ Jesus.’ Note that participation in ‘the kingdom’ stands in the centre, buttressed, as it were, on the one side by participation ‘in the tribulation,’ and on the other side by participation ‘ in the patience.’ We may, then, best bring out the connection and force of these thoughts by looking at the common royalty, the common road leading to it, and the common temper in which the road is trodden-all which things do inhere in Christ, and may be ours on condition of our union with Him.

Cutting Room: The Angels' Worship

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We learned a lot on Sunday about ANGELS. However, the Scriptures mention much more.

Angels

  • Scripture warns us that angels can be demons masquerading as ‘angels of light’.
  • We also learn from the Scripture that angels do not procreate. The same number of beings existed from the beginning. They do not have to reproduce. Matt 22:23—angels in heaven do not get married.
  • They are spiritual beings but seem to have the ability to take human-like form at times.
  • There are holy and unholy beings.
  • They are often bright in appearance. At the resurrection, the angels were shining brightly.
    • Acts 10—the angel appeared in ‘shining clothes’.
    • Rev 10—angel robed in a cloud, a face like the sun, legs like fire.

Angels and Humans

  • Even though angels are unique to humans, there are some similarities.

Similarities:

-Both are created by God
-Both were created in a state of perfection
-Both have personalities/names
-Both sinned and have appointed times of probation

-Both are to serve God

-Neither are to be worshiped.

Differences:

-No divine grace was given to the angels
-Angels are a higher order of creations (Psalm 8:5)
-in the future state, humans will have the higher position

-angels are never said to have been made to be in the image of God

-no salvation has been extended to the angels.

 

Male Angels

Biblically we only see ‘male’ angels, the book of Daniel mentions two angels with masculine names: Michael and Gabriel.

  • ‘Gabriel’ means mighty one of God, or hero of God. He appears to deliver a special message from God to key people to accomplish His plan. He himself said that he stood in the very presence of God.

  • 'Michael’ means ‘who is like God’? He is referred to as an ‘archangel’, whereas Gabriel is never mentioned as such.
    • We are told in Scripture that Michael fought with Satan over the body of Moses.
    • Daniel described Michael as a great prince, a guardian and protector.
    • Revelation 12—Michael is a warrior that leads the army of heaven.

 

Christmas quotes from church fathers

  • The Son of God became man to enable men to become the sons of God. — C. S. Lewis
  • And God the Word was truly born of the Virgin, having clothed Himself with a body of like passions with our own. He who forms all men in the womb, was Himself really in the womb, and made for Himself a body of the seed of the Virgin, but without any intercourse of man. -Saint Ignatius 
  • He caused to be made visible to all flesh, [the Word] Himself being made incarnate, that in all things their King might become manifest. For it is necessary that those [beings] which are judged do see the judge, and know Him from whom they receive judgment; and it is also proper, that those which follow on to glory should know Him who bestows upon them the gift of glory. –– Ireneaus 

Cutting Room: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Cutting Room is every bit of research that didn’t make it into the Sunday sermon. As always, thank you to my research assistant Ryan Tanski!
— Pastor Pilgrim
  • Word studies: 
    • verse 1 “walk prudently”
      • sh'mor rag'leykhä = This is an imperitive
      • Sh'mor = to keep, guard, observe, give heed
      • rag'leykhä = Literally, a foot, or figuratively a step
    • verse 10 “satisfied”
      • Meaning does not differ
      • BUT*** it is a verb in the Hebrew, not an adjective. (Found that very interesting since verbs are actions we take)
    • verse 18 “enjoy"
      • Raah (raw-ah) = To see, also a verb
      • Also and infinitive meaning:
        • There are two forms of the infinitive:

           1a) Infinitive Construct is used as a verbal noun corresponding
               to the English verbal noun ending in "-ing"

               1a1) as subject
                    to keep the judgments
                    to seek thy heart

               1a2) as object
                    in his "writing"
                    he spoke, "saying"

           1b) The Infinitive Absolute does not allow prefixes or suffixes

               1b1) Used with a verbto emphasize the verbal idea. This is often
                    rendered by an English adverb , such as, "surely", "utterly".

                         he will surely visit you
                         he utterly destroyed the people

               1b2) It may be used by itself with the value of a finite form of
                    the verb, especially an imperative.

(http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/8812.html)

 

  • What are some current/modern day examples of verse 8 “oppression of the poor”?
  • Biblical Examples of verse 4 “vows to God”. When did this go wrong? New Testament idea of vows (James, etc)
    • Your word has value, james 5 tells us to let our yes be yes and our no to be no. 
    • Proverbs says the one who deceives his neighbor and then says "I'm just kidding" is a crazy man
    • Jepthath sacrificed his daughter due to an oath he made to God 
    • This oath is an example of how when we worship God in a way or praise Him in a way that he has not commanded it is an abomination

Cutting Room: Ecclesiastes 3

Cutting Room is everything that we researched that didn’t make it into the Sunday sermon. As always, a special thank you to Ryan Tanski for his contribution in research assistance.
— Pastor Pilgrim

 

Cross Reference Scriptures

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB)—Therefore be careful, how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Psalms 139:13-16 (NIV)--For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

2 Timothy 1:8-12 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.


 

God's Work

God's Sovereignty

God's Justice

God's Goodness

God's Immutability

God's Eternality

God's Creativity


 

"Eternity in their hearts"

God has “set eternity in the human heart.” In every human soul is a God-given awareness that there is “something more” than this transient world. And with that awareness of eternity comes a hope that we can one day find a fulfillment not afforded by the “vanity” in this world. Here is a closer look at the verse:

“In the human heart” is an expression representing the mind, soul, or spirit of each person. God places eternity (Hebrew olam) into our heart and soul.

The word translated “eternity” is much debated regarding its translation in this passage. The word olam can be translated as “darkness,” “eternity,” or “the future.” The use of this word could indicate darkness (in the sense of ignorance), contrasting this concept with what follows in verse 11: “Yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” It could be that Solomon is contrasting human ignorance with God’s perfect wisdom.

A better possibility, and the one that is the typical interpretation, is that olam refers to God’s placing an eternal longing or sense of eternity in the human heart. Taking this understanding to be the correct one, Ecclesiastes 3:11 affirms the idea that humans operate in a different way than other forms of life. We have a sense of eternity in our lives; we possess an innate knowledge that there is something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now.

 


 

What are the differences between the animal kingdom and humans?

    • The imago dei. Genesis 1. We have souls, they do not.
    • We have rational minds, whereas animals do not, and thus solely operate off instinct.
    • We have morality, given to us by God.
    • We have intellect paired with intellegence
    • We have purpose

 


Injustice

What are some injustices that have happened in the last 20 years geopolitically? Socially? Etc.

Older examples:

  • The Cambodian Genocide
    • A direct result of weak and indecisive US military action, followed with a stark withdrawal from the area. 1.5-3m people were decimated. 
  • Korean Airlines Flight 007
    • Shot down for political gain by Russian operative and then lied about in hearings the followed. 246 passengers perished. 

Quotes

Charles Spurgeon: Do not believe that you re standing still; you are not. Your pulses each moment beat the funeral marches to the tomb. You are chained to the chariot of rolling time. There is no bridling the steeds or leaping from the chariot.

Ben Franklin: Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for it is the stuff life is made of. 

Henry David Thoreau: As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. 

Unknown: When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept. When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked.When I became a full grown man, time ran. And later as I older grew, time flew. Soon I shall find while traveling on, time gone.

Susan Ertz: Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 

“God made man in his own image; and nothing more surely attests to the greatness of our origin that those faculties of the soul which are capable of yearning for, conceiving, and enjoying the Infinite, the Immortal, and the Divine. . . . Every appetite in nature and grace has its appropriate satisfaction.” (Meyer)

Jim Carrey: I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.


THE POEM THAT WILL MAKE YOU CRY

No Time to Play (Dianna Neal)

My precious boy with the golden hair
Came up one day beside my chair
And fell upon his bended knee
And said, “Oh, Mommy, please play with me!”

I said, “Not now, go on and play;
I’ve got so much to do today.”
He smiled through tears in eyes so blue
When I said, “We’ll play when I get through.”

But the chores lasted all through the day
And I never did find time to play.
When supper was over and dishes done,
I was much too tired for my little son.

I tucked him in and kissed his cheek
And watched my angel fall asleep.
As I tossed and turned upon my bed,
Those words kept ringing in my head,

“Not now, son, go on and play,
I’ve got so much to do today.”
I fell asleep and in a minute’s span,
My little boy is a full-grown man.

No toys are there to clutter the floor;
No dirty fingerprints on the door;
No snacks to fix; no tears to dry;
The rooms just echo my lonely sigh.

And now I’ve got the time to play;
But my precious boy is gone away.
I awoke myself with a pitiful scream
And realized it was just a dream

For across the room in his little bed,
Lay my curly-haired boy, the sleepy-head.
My work will wait ‘til another day
For now I must find some time to play.

Cutting Room: Ecclesiastes 2

Cutting Room is everything that we researched that didn’t make it into the Sunday sermon. As always, a special thank you to Ryan Tanski for his contribution in research assistance.
— Pastor Pilgrim

 

Word References in Ecclesiastes

God - 41x/36v - Eccl 1:132:24263:10-1113-1517-185:1-246f18-206:27:13-141826298:212-1315179:1711:5912:713-14

Under the sun - 29x in 27v - Eccl 1:39142:1117-20223:164:137155:13186:1128:915179:369111310:5

Vanity - 22x/16v - Eccl 1:2142:1115192123263:194:47-8165:106:212:8

Wise - 24x/23v - Eccl 2:14-16194:136:87:4-571619238:15179:111151710:21212:911

Wisdom - 27x/24v - Eccl 1:1316-182:912-1321267:10-121923258:1169:101315-161810:110

Fool (ish) - 25x/23v - Eccl 2:14-16194:5135:13-46:87:4-6917259:1710:1-31214-15

Righteous (ness) - 11x/9v - Eccl 3:16f5:87:15f208:149:1f (cf Justice - Ec 3:165:8)

Wicked (ness) - 10v/8v - Eccl 3:16f7:15178:10149:210:13

Evil - 20x/18v - Eccl 2:214:35:113166:17:258:3811-149:31210:512:114

Labor* - 26x/19v - Eccl 2:10f18-22243:134:468f5:1518f6:78:179:9

Toil - 6x/6v - Eccl 3:95:16188:159:910:15

Rich* - 8x.8v - Eccl 4:85:12-14196:210:620 (Wealth - 4x/4v - Eccl 1:165:196:29:11)

 

Other Scripture Cross-References

Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV) | My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. 

1 Timothy 6:17-19 | 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

 

What are some things that the world indulges in for pleasure, and what are the effects?

Alcohol

  • Liver failure
  • Drunk driving
  • Addiction
  • Broken lives and families

Money

  • Incorrect focus
  • Lack of meaning
  • Stuck up and prideful
  • Wasted life
  • Greed

Sex

  • STDs and STIs
  • Affairs
  • Sexual immorality
  • Broken relationships

Drugs

  • Stealing
  • Lying
  • Divorced from reality
  • Addiction

Chocolate

  • Cavities
  • Fat
  • High cholesterol
  • Sugar cravings

 

Word study v.2 “mirth”

Webster - gladness or gaiety as shown by or accompanied with laughter

Simchah (sim-khaw) - Joy or pleasure

 

How is the brain wired for pleasure?

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/07/what_is_dopamine_love_lust_sex_addiction_gambling_motivation_reward.html

Dopamine is the one neurotransmitter that everyone seems to know about. Vaughn Bell once called it the Kim Kardashian of molecules, but I don’t think that’s fair to dopamine. Suffice it to say, dopamine’s big. And every week or so, you’ll see a new article come out all about dopamine.

So is dopamine your cupcake addiction? Your gamblingYour alcoholismYour sex life? The reality is dopamine has something to do with all of these. But it is none of them. Dopamine is a chemical in your body. That’s all. But that doesn’t make it simple.

What is dopamine? Dopamine is one of the chemical signals that pass information from one neuron to the next in the tiny spaces between them. When it is released from the first neuron, it floats into the space (the synapse) between the two neurons, and it bumps against receptors for it on the other side that then send a signal down the receiving neuron. That sounds very simple, but when you scale it up from a single pair of neurons to the vast networks in your brain, it quickly becomes complex. The effects of dopamine release depend on where it’s coming from, where the receiving neurons are going and what type of neurons they are, what receptors are binding the dopamine (there are five known types), and what role both the releasing and receiving neurons are playing.

And dopamine is busy! It’s involved in many different important pathways. But when most people talk about dopamine, particularly when they talk about motivation, addiction, attention, or lust, they are talking about the dopamine pathway known as the mesolimbic pathway, which starts with cells in the ventral tegmental area, buried deep in the middle of the brain, which send their projections out to places like the nucleus accumbens and the cortex. Increases in dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens occur in response to sexdrugs, and rock and roll. And dopamine signaling in this area is changed during the course of drug addiction.  All abused drugs, from alcohol to cocaine to heroin, increase dopamine in this area in one way or another, and many people like to describe a spike in dopamine as “motivation” or “pleasure.” But that’s not quite it.

Really, dopamine is signaling feedback for predicted rewards. If you, say, have learned to associate a cue (like a crack pipe) with a hit of crack, you will start getting increases in dopamine in the nucleus accumbens in response to the sightof the pipe, as your brain predicts the reward. But if you then don’t get your hit, well, then dopamine can decrease, and that’s not a good feeling. So you’d think that maybe dopamine predicts reward. But again, it gets more complex. For example, dopamine can increase in the nucleus accumbens in people with post-traumatic stress disorder when they are experiencing heightened vigilance and paranoia. So you might say, in this brain area at least, dopamine isn’t addiction or reward or fear. Instead, it’s what we call salience. Salience is more than attention: It’s a sign of something that needs to be paid attention to, something that stands out. This may be part of the mesolimbic role in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and also a part of its role in addiction.

Cutting Room: Ecclesiastes 1

Cutting Room is a blog featuring content from our research team that did not “make the cut” for a Sunday sermon at Shoreline. Take advantage of this content to supplement your study and go deeper! Enjoy!
— Pastor Pilgrim

"Son of David, King of Israel"

There were only 4 kings in Israel who reigned in Jerusalem, before it was a part of Judah, the southern kingdom. Saul, David, Solomon, and Rehoboam. So clearly this has to be Solomon.

 

Ambition

The 119th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote:

“Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery.

Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned.

Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph.

Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years, in banishment.” No wonder Solomon warned of the poor prospects for anyone who strives to succeed without relying on God.

 

Meaningless

Like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, or tapping the "clear" button multiple times on a calculator, life under the sun really is a treadmill that isn't going anywhere.

Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of all time, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day." 

 

Overview of the book of Ecclesiastes

    • Authorship: Solomon (most likely)
    • Date: Solomon's reign as king of Israel lasted from around 970 B.C. to around 930 B.C. The Book of Ecclesiastes was likely written towards the end of his reign, approximately 935 B.C.
    • Unique place in the canon: was fought about by rabbi's for a long time before it was finally accepted universally

 

Good, short Quotes

    • G Campbell Morgan - Ecclesiastes is an inspired confession of failure and pessimism, when God is excluded, when man lives under the sun, and forgets the larger part, which is always over the sun, the eternal and abiding things.
    • Ray Stedman - Ecclesiastes is a collection of what man is able to discern under the sun, i.e., in the visible world. The book does not take into consideration revelation that comes from beyond man's powers of observation and reason. It is an inspired, an accurate book. It guarantees that what it reports is what people actually believe. but it is an examination of those beliefs.
    • “What, then, is the purpose of Ecclesiastes? It is an essay in apologetics. It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.” (Eaton)
    • “Ecclesiastes does not pretend to preach the Gospel. Rather, it encourages the reader to a God-centered worldview rather than falling victim to frustrations and unanswered questions. None of its contents has to be rejected in the light of the New Testament.” (Wright)
    • McArthur: While the context in each case will determine which meaning Solomon is focusing upon, the most recurring meaning of vanity is “incomprehensible” or “unknowable,” referring to the mysteries of God’s purposes. Solomon’s conclusion to “fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13, 14) is more than the book’s summary; it is the only hope of the good life and the only reasonable response of faith and obedience to sovereign God.
    • Spurgeon; Nothing can satisfy the entire man but the Lord's love and the Lord's own self.

 

Word study: VANITY (v.2)

    • In common parlance "vanity" and "vain" apply to conceited persons with exaggerated self-opinions. While the biblical usage includes this nuance, it describes the world as having as no ultimate meaning, a concept shared with some philosophies. The meanings of emptiness and lacking in reality are already present in the Latin vanitas, from which the English word "vanity" is derived. This approaches the chief Old Testament understanding that human life apart from God, even at its best, has no ultimate significance and consequently is valueless. This theme characterizes the Book of Ecclesiastes, which begins with "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity" (1:2 NRSV), words that have become classical in the languages into which the Bible has been translated. In viewing life without God the believer is on the same level as the unbeliever in recognizing the desperateness of life. Hebel [l,b,h], the Hebrew for vanity, as its Arabic cognate, suggests a wind or vapor. Man's life is like a breath ( Psalm 39:5 ).

 

Word study: UNDER THE SUN (v.14)

    • The phrase “under the sun” is used 29 times in Ecclesiastes and nowhere else in Scripture. The intended meaning in Ecclesiastes is that what happens “under the sun” in a life separated from God is universal—the point of view in Ecclesiastes is an earth-bound perspective.
    • human nature never changes, men and women, apart from grace, always look for answers to these questions in things that cannot satisfy. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/nothing-new-under-sun/
    • To say there is nothing new under the sun means there is nothing really new on the earth. All the activity of a man during his lifetime is lost in the grander scheme of things and will soon be forgotten

 

Wisdom (vv.12-18)

  • In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is seeking wisdom “under the sun” (cf. 1:3), that is, apart from God, as the source of happiness. This he rightly concludes is “vanity and grasping for the wind” (1:14). However, if wisdom is viewed as based in “the fear of the Lord” (Prov. 1:7), then it is the very means of obtaining true happiness. Indeed, Solomon came to this very conclusion in Ecclesiastes (see 8:12; 12:13). Also, the OT understanding of wisdom is not the accumulation of great amounts of knowledge. For Solomon, wisdom is first and foremost living a successful life of righteousness and peace in obedience to God. Knowledge alone does not bring wisdom. Indeed, the message of Ecclesiastes is that knowledge alone brings only sorrow. Wisdom is the accumulation of the right kind of knowledge coupled with a life that is in harmony with God’s commands and at peace with Him.

 

What are things that people strive after?

  • money
  • status
  • power
  • security
  • love
  • happiness
  • influence
  • meaning
  • purpose
  • excellence
  • truth
  • fulfillment
  • satisfaction

Cutting Room Introduction

Sermon preparation really is an art form. I tell young pastors/leaders that preaching and sermon prep is less like painting and more like sculpting. Each week, I accumulate lots of content from various sources and then begin to cut out much of it. I generally preach 50 minute sermons so this means much of what I've read and studied (quotes, references, illustrations, historical and doctrinal content) simply cannot fit in the time needed to effectively communicate a passage's general and specific truth. Thus, I've created this blog to feature whatever didn't "make the cut"! Enjoy!

Cutting Room blog posts will be posted generally on Mondays/Tuesdays the week after a sermon is preached.