Summary: A sermon focusing on the meaning and usefulness of a life lived for God.
“Not Good Enough? No Way!”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace UMC, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes was an old man who was looking back on his life, and he came to some interesting conclusions.
This guy had tried it all!
He had sowed his wild oats, shall we say.
So he starts his Book with these words, “Meaningless! Meaningless!...
…Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Have you ever felt this way about life?
I would imagine that many of us have.
Without direction, without a life spent in service to the Lord…Life is indeed, meaningless!
I remember as a young person I had a horrible dream.
I dreamed that I died and went to hell.
Without getting into all the details of the dream, I’ll just tell you that, in the dream, I wasn’t engulfed in flames, I was engulfed in an utterly hellish eternity of meaninglessness!
The writer of Ecclesiastes notes, in what could be called his memoirs, that in living life without God:
• Wisdom is meaningless
• Pleasures are meaningless
• Work is meaningless
• Career advancements are meaningless
• Riches are meaningless
Without God, nothing can satisfy.
Life not centered on God is purposeless and meaningless!
I have found this to be profoundly true in my own life, how about you?
The world may tell us different.
The t-v commercials may reflect another view—but remember, they are just trying to sell a product!!!
The universities may think that a life centered on God is hogwash!
But we know differently!!!
In our Scripture passage for this morning, we are privileged to get a peek at a most profound experience.
The prophet Isaiah comes in contact--he is surrounded by the presence and the glory of God Almighty!!!
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory,” the seraphs, those angelic beings, joyfully call out to one another as they fly about the Temple.
And “At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.”
What a scene!!!
The “smoke” filling the temple is the same as the “cloud” of glory which filled the tabernacle in Exodus.
And Isaiah suddenly becomes conscious of himself and of the consequences of his having seen a sight forbidden by mere mortals.
He has intruded on a Holy God while being “unclean.”
So, Isaiah cries out in fear, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Have you ever felt, like the prophet Isaiah, too sinful or not good enough to experience the presence of God?
Have you ever decided not to pray or not to come to church because you felt “unworthy”?
There are a lot of folks who do not come for this very reason.
But our God is a God of Grace!
At such a great cost God has come to save and redeem all people—a lost and condemned people!
Christ has come to free us from sin, death, and the power of the devil—not with silver or gold, but with His holy and precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.
He has done all this so that we may be His own!!!
Have you ever realized just how important you are—simply because Jesus did all that for you?
Grabbing hold of that radically changes the way we look at ourselves, and the way we live our lives!
Several years ago, a teenager whom we will call “Hannah” was in a colleague’s confirmation class.
She made an appointment to come and speak to my pastor friend privately.
Her face was chalky white with anxiety.
She stuttered and stumbled as she told him of a party she’d gone to recently, of drinking at the party…
…of drinking WAY TOO MUCH at the party…
…of getting so drunk that she lost her sense of good judgment, and went into a room with a boy, and wasn’t quite sure what happened in that room with that boy.
Hannah was a wreck about what she had done.
She was a jumble of guilt and tears, remorse and embarrassment.
In gulping sobs she asked if my friend thought God would ever forgive her.
“Hannah,” he spoke gently, “remember all the stories about people coming to Jesus, people who had made mistakes, people who had done things they wished they hadn’t, people who had sinned, people who had regrets, people who felt guilty?”
She sniffled as she looked at her pastor.
“Yes,” she said tentatively.
“Well, if they were truly sorry for what they had done, and asked Jesus to forgive them, did He ever turn anyone away?”