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Summary: Strength, Unity, Purpose, Encouragement

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A PARTNERSHIP WITH PURPOSE - Strength in Numbers

Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 (p. 463) October 30, 2016

Introduction:

Ecclesiastes starts out “The words of the teacher.” The Hebrew word that’s used there is “Koheleth.” The NIV translates it “teacher.” “The KJV and New American Standard translate it “Preacher.” Koheleth comes from the word “Gathering” so both translations come from One who leads the “Gathering” and both are pretty true to the original meaning.

Solomon is the Son of the King David…the 3rd King of Israel, and he writes these words in Jerusalem…the pulpit for the Jewish people…with the temple He’s built to honor God in the background.

Ecclesiastes is written by a leader of the gathering that chose wisdom from God when he was given the chance to choose anything he wanted. But it’s also written by a man who conducted his own empiric research with his life…by that I mean, he sought fulfillment in everything that he thought would gratify him…Here’s what he said:

ECCLESIASTES 2:10-11 (p. 461)

The phrase “this preacher” uses over and over again “meaningless, meaningless…utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless! Everything he built…every passion he indulged…everything he possessed…worthless.

Summed up in my country boy verbiage… “Satan has you and I chase worldly carrots on a stick…only to find out…“Sin always takes you farther than you want to go…Sin always keeps you longer than you want to stay…and sin always costs you more than you want to pay.”

As we talk about our mission here on earth we will always be tempted by Satan’s carrot on a stick to find self fulfillment…self satisfaction and comfort…He’ll say, “Chase this…this is solid…this is what you want…and so we do, and only discover too late…it’s the wind…and we’ve lost a lot…and gained nothing.

And God calls…“Come to me all who are weary and burdened with this life.” Satan the thief has only come to kill, steal and destroy your life and I have come to give you abundant life…That abundant life means “the end of me” and the resurrection of Christ who lives in me. The meaningless now has meaning…my life now has a purpose…and it’s not about self-fulfillment…now it’s about Christ fulfillment.

By the way here’s how King Solomon ends Ecclesiastes:

ECCLESIASTES 12:13-14 (p. 467)

“It’s all about God…worship Him…follow His plan…That’s our purpose…He only is the all knowing Judge.”

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and the second is like it…love your neighbor as you love yourself…all the law and prophets hang on these 2 commands.”

Love God…Love People…Serve both.

Solomon also made a discovery about this life and it’s purpose…

I. IT’S LONELY TO NOT SHARE YOUR LIFE WITH ANYONE…AND FOR ANYONE

“There was a man all alone, he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth…‘For whom am I toiling he asked…this is meaningless…it’s a miserable business.’” (v. 8)

Here are the questions…who do you work for who do you work with…and why?

Anyone here that doesn’t think these are tragically sad words…There was a man all alone? I hear Three Dog Night singing in the back of my head, “One is the loneliest number there’s ever been.” If there is no one to work for…no one to work with…no one to share your life with and to share your life for…and you spend it only on yourself…what meaning is there…it’s a miserable business.

My mentor Wayne Smith gave this plaque to Brewster McLeod on August 29, 1999…Brewster led me to Christ and discipled me for 2 years before I left for Bible College…

Here’s what is says:

ACHIEVEMENT comes to someone when he is able

to do great thing for himself.

SUCCESS comes when he empowers followers

to do great things with him.

SIGNIFICANCE comes when he develops leaders

to do great things for him.

A LEGACY is created when a person puts his organization

into the position to do great things without him.

Your lasting value will be measured

by succession.

YOU are a hero, a legend, a model, and mentor.

You have NO peers.

Thank you for the LEGACY you leave behind.

There are no eternal buildings…There are no eternal bank accounts…There are no eternal toys…and even though it’s painful for me to say with my worldly understanding…there are no eternal managers…but there is an eternity…and people will spend it in a very real heaven or a very real hell…and although I believe each of us individually are responsible for accepting or rejecting God’s plan for us in Jesus…I don’t believe we’ll walk into either of those eternities alone. Jesus said the Pharisees made “disciples twice as much a child of hell as they were” (Matt. 23:15) And he told His disciples “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

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