Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Midweek Study: Benefit of Trusting in Jesus – Pt. 2

Good evening it is a pleasure to be with you again to spend some time in God’s Word together last week we began to look at some of the benefits of belief a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord we looked at how as believers God gives us comfort in hardship and clarity and direction in times of confusion we saw that God frees us from the bondage of sin when we entrust our lives to him and we reflected upon the great truth that when we come to Jesus in repentance and humility he grants us forgiveness of our sins and release from our guilt and shame this week we’ll continue to look into the benefits of belief for the most part this evening we are just going to look at and contrast two sections of Scripture and that will allow us to look at the great gift and benefit of hope Solomon was the son of David and an extremely powerful and wealthy king he was renown for his wisdom he was the builder of the temple in Jerusalem the City of God he was handsome and held in high esteem by the people if anyone could be considered a success story it was him when we look at him we expect to see a man enjoying the fruit of his Labor’s and content with his life but look at what he writes toward the end of a life filled with accomplishment and pleasure in Ecclesiastes 1 he says this the words of the preacher the son of David King in Jerusalem vanity of vanities says the preacher vanity of vanities all is vanity futility meaninglessness that is his opening statement nothing matters nothing can be changed nothing lasts I the preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem and I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven it is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with I have seen all the works which have been done under the Sun and behold all is vanity and striving after wind what is crooked cannot be straightened what is lacking cannot be counted so I said to myself behold I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and of knowledge and I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly I realized that this also is striving after wind because in much wisdom there is much grief and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the Sun for I must leave it to a man who will come after me and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the Sun this too is vanity for what does a man get in all his labour and in his striving which which with which he Labor’s Under the Sun because all his days his task is painful and grievous even at night his mind finds no rest this too is vanity so I said to myself come now I will test you with pleasure so enjoy yourself and behold it too was futility I said of laughter it is madness and a pleasure what does it accomplish I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely I guess trying to find the best of both worlds and how to take hold of folly until I can see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven for those few years of their lives so I enlarged my works I built houses for myself I planted vineyards for myself I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all m inds of fruit trees I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees I bought male and female slaves and I had home born slaves also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem also I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men many concubines then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor so I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the Sun when Solomon uses the phrase Under the Sun he is speaking of the limits of the material world that which we can touch and we concede there is a profound warning here if our understanding of life and its pursuits is limited to just this world and focused only on this world it inevitably brings us to a place of hopelessness of meaninglessness what hope does a man have who after attaining everything that the world could offer still finds himself unsatisfied and unfulfilled contemplating the end of his life you see Solomon was that man now Paul in writing to the church at Ephesus points out that prior to coming to faith and belief in Christ they were in the same fundamental state as Solomon in Ephesians 2:12 he says yes remember that you once separate from Christ excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel the nation of Israel they were not of the chosen people and thus strangers to the covenants of promise and listen what he says at the end having no hope and without God in the world I have no doubt that every one of us at least to some degree has been in a place similar to something it is easy for us to think that we would be happy if only we would have this one thing this one goal or accomplish this one goal we say if only I were richer if I just had a different job or if only I were married that I had someone maybe something as simple as if I just had a little respect there is at least one thing worse than longing for something and not finding it it is achieving it and finding it makes no difference it doesn’t have the effect that you hoped for it does not bring happiness or a sense of fulfillment indeed it only increases one’s sense of hopelessness contrast this with what Paul writes in Ephesians 1 where he says this blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before him in love he predestined us to adoption as sons through jut through Jesus Christ to himself he continues in him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace in all wisdom and insight he made known to us the mystery of his will that is the summing up of all things in Christ things in the heavens and things on the earth in him also we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to his purpose who works all things after the counsel of his will to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of his glory you see our hope in Christ is that we will be the recipients of all these things previously mentioned things not found in the world not found under the Sun rather these are things that can only be found in and from God himself and it is not a hope that is uncertain or mere wishful thinking like I hope she likes me or I and I hope everything works out okay rather it is a certain hope based upon God’s promises so this is our hope our confidence based upon the promises of God that we will be holy blameless before him that we will find a home in the family of God himself that we will be brought back into fellowship with God that you will know and find peace in his purpose and his plan that is the foundation and substance of the believers hope can I share with you the final object of our hope in Christ of what we hope for the end of the story if you will it is found in revelation 21 where it says this and I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven in the first Earth passed away and there is no longer any sea and I saw the holy city the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying behold the dwelling place of God is among men and he will dwell among them and they shall be his people and God Himself will be among them and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes and they will no longer be any death or crying or pain the first things have passed away that is a hope or clinging to a hope worth striving for it is a hope that changes everything it is this hope that resouds in the heart and mind of Paul when he says but one thing I do forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to it lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus it was Paul’s hope in Christ that led him to forget what lies behind and look to what lies ahead it was this hope that energized his love for God and the people of God it was this hope that kept him on course in his life and in his ministry and it is this hope that can and should have the same effect in us let us pray father bring us to a place where we hold this hope the hope finding you in our hearts so that father it can have the effect of keeping us on track of keeping us in remembrance of you in remembrance of all that you have granted to us father let this understanding of the hope that is found in you make that profound difference in our lives let it father bring us to the place where we at the end of our life do not find meaninglessness do not find fear but father we find ourselves in a place where we look forward to hearing the words from your lips again father thank you for the redemptive work of Christ his work on the cross that makes all of this possible and it is in his name that we pray amen



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