Summary: Slightly sarcastic view of "the good old days". Like the scripture, this reminds people to live in the present, and not long for so-called better days of the past.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 – The Good Old Days? Oh Please!
Tonight, instead of looking at a major topic in Ecclesiastes, I am going to look at one verse. It’s a verse that speaks to all of us, no matter how old we are. 7:10.
This verse is funny because it so much speaks to who we are, and what we do. We long for the good old days. Usually it’s the days of our youth; some like to go back further.
Some like to wish for the good old days of the church. When 3000 people were saved in a day. When conversions, the Bible tells us, happened continually. When the power and presence of God was so strong. These are the days of Acts.
The problem with that is, do people know what they are asking for? In those days Christians were beaten because they would not shut up. Do we want that? In one case God struck 2 false believers down in judgement. Do we really want people in our churches to die because they lie on an instance?
And part of the power of the early church came through prayer. Often. In different places. Honestly, do people really want to pray like the early church did? Are people willing to give up an evening to come to the church to pray? Not more than 6 or 7 on a regular basis in this church. So you may say you would like the good old days of the early church to return, but unless you show some desire to meet with others in prayer, unless you fast occasionally, you really don’t want those good old days. You want the rewards, but not the costs.
And the early church continued, as well, in different locations. Which early church would you like? How about Corinth? There were ex-gays in that church? Would you, honestly, want ex-gays in this church? I think it would be a neat testimony to God’s saving power, but how many of you would feel the same? Would you let a former gay guy teach a Sunday school class? Likely not.
Or would you want a church where people were so blind to sin that they let a man sleep with his step-mother? Would you like a church where tongues were out of control? Would you want a church that got drun at communion? Would you want a pastor who called you carnal? Probably not. If that were your church, you’d probably find another one.
Well, how about one of the Galatian churches? People walked in no freedom there. They followed the Law. They were getting close to saying that Jesus’ forgiveness is great, but you still need to submit to a list of rules. Is that what you want? Do you want the Galatian church?
How about the Philippian church? That looked good, but there was the issue of growing and splitting factions. There was the issue of women fighting it out. And that’s not a pretty sight. There was a great deal of pride, apparently, growing in that church that led some to feel superior to others. Is that what you want in a NT church?
Well, what about the church in Thessalonica? People were getting saved, yes. But they weren’t good Bible students. They really weren’t eager to grow in the Word. Paul said they weren’t as noble as other churches for it. How would you like Paul to criticize the church you’re in? There were also some lazy people, some busybodies, and some disobedient people in the church. Is that what you want when you long for the good old days of the church?
Then there’s the Ephesian church. Ah, nice place. Nice church. That’s the one I want. Paul won the town over by his door-to-door witnessing. Yes, but they also suffered for their faith. Likely not a selling point for you. They forsook their first love in time. Is that what you want? Do you really want to be told that you need to repent and fall in love with Jesus again? That you’ve basically been doing good things but with the wrong motives? Do you really want to be told you’re wrong? Likely not.
Folks, those were good days in the early stages of the church. But they were far from perfect. Honestly, we really don’t want them back. If we wanted the days of persecution back, we wouldn’t be so worried about same-sex weddings and the Liberals in office. Don’t look at those days as the good old days, because they weren’t all good.
Well, maybe we shouldn’t go back so far, then? What about more recent days, then? The days of the Reformation? Martin Luther, John Calvin and others working to set God’s people free. Sounds exciting, and it was. I’ll stop here long enough to say this, though. Some of them were executed for their faith, for wanting the Bible in the common language. Would you want to die for owning a Bible? More likely, though, you wouldn’t be able to read, so you wouldn’t know whether to follow these Reformers into uncertainly, or continue with the Catholic Church for a more guaranteed salvation. Exciting, yes, those times were, but frightening as well. I wouldn’t call them the good old days.