“Wisdom vs. Foolishness” – Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

October 6th,  2013

Ecclesiastes 2:12-16

“Wisdom vs. Foolishness”

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Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  — Colossians 3:2-4

                                                                                                               

Background Information:

  • Why should all the distinctions that mean so much to us in life, the distinction, for example, between a wise man and a fool, suddenly mean nothing when we come face to face with the one certainty in life for all of us?  (Robert Davidson, The Daily Study Bible: Ecclesiastes, 18)
  • He has just finished describing his great accomplishments; now he asks, “What more can the next king do?”  In other words, “If I couldn’t find satisfaction in the tremendous projects I completed, what reason is there to suppose the next generation will somehow find the answers?”  Some three thousand years have passed since Solomon’s time.  Yet for all the generations that have come and gone, mankind is no closer to finding the meaning of life.  (Roland Cap Ehlke, The People’s Bible, Ecclesiastes, 28)
  • (v. 12) And I turned.  The repeated use of this verb points up Qohelet’s project of restless experimentation: he turns in one direction and then another, but of course all proves to be mere breath and herding the wind.  (Robert Alter, The Wisdom Books, 350)
  • (v. 12) The man who comes after me, King Qohelet, can do no more than replicate what I have already done.  (Robert Alter, The Wisdom Books, 350)
  • (v. 12) What is Solomon’s point?  Several possibilities have been suggested.  First, he may be claiming that his research has been so competently and thoroughly executed that there is little left to be done by the “man”–here ‘adām (see at 1:3) is both singular and masculine in force–who “succeeds” (lit. “comes in after”) him.  Second, he may hope he has set a pattern of diligent investigation that his heir will carry on.  Third, he may assume that the successor may be an “ignoramus” utterly unsuited for such intellectual labors.  (David Hubbard, Mastering the OT: Ecclesiastes, 84)
  • (v. 12) When he speaks of the person “who will come after the king,” he is looking ahead to the future and is wondering who else will have the same questions that he has about human existence.  With those people in mind, he wants to write a definitive statement about wisdom and mad folly.  As the wisest and wealthiest king, he is in a unique position to do this.  Who could ever add anything to the experience of someone like Solomon?  He is the ultimate test case.  If he cannot find the meaning of life, who can?  What hope is there for anyone to answer these questions?  But if the Preacher-King is able to understand the purpose of our existence, then what he says about the meaning of life will stand.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Ecclesiastes, 60)
  • (v. 13) He recognizes that wisdom offers no way out of life’s futility and no escape from the inexorable fate of death that awaits the wise like the fool, but wisdom nevertheless provides what one might describe as a privilege of clarified consciousness: it is far better to live disabused of all illusion, like Qohelet himself, than to live a deluded life, like the fool.  (Robert Alter, The Wisdom Books, 350)
  • (v. 13) Frequently in the Bible, when light is compared with darkness, light is life and darkness is death (Isa 9:1; Ezek 32:8; Amos 5:18-20; Job 17:12-13; 18:18; Lam 3:2).  Darkness belongs to the realm of the dead; when one dies one does not see light (Ps 49:20; Job 3:16; 33:28).  Light is synonymous with life (Job 3:20, 23; 33:28; Ps 36:10).  (C.L. Seow, The Anchor Yale Bible: Ecclesiastes, 153)
  • (v. 13) In the wisdom literature of the Bible, darkness is often a metaphor for the lack of knowledge or sheer stupidity (Job 12:24-25; 27:19; 38:2), and that lack of knowledge may have ethical connotations (cf. Prv 2:13; Ps 82:5).  The wise, then, are able to see their way around in life, while fools grope about in the darkness of ignorance.  (C.L. Seow, The Anchor Yale Bible: Ecclesiastes, 153)
  • (v. 13) The Preacher now considers wisdom from the angle of its recipient.  As God’s gift it is light; as man’s possession it is sight.  The fool whom we meet here for the first time is ‘notorious for his babbling, his drunkenness, his tendency to evil,’ one for whom wickedness is ‘fun’ (Prv 10:23) and who has more interest in his own pursuits than in wisdom (Prv 18:2).  He too is characterized from two angles.  He has no ‘light’ from God, no ‘eyes’ in himself.  He prefigures the NT sinner who loves darkness (Jn 3:19) and is darkness (Eph 5:8).  (Michael A. Eaton, Tyndale OT Commentaries: Ecclesiastes, 69)
  • (v. 14) To know a thing is equivalent to having light on it, and seeing it in its true light (Ps 36:10); wisdom is thus compared to light; folly is once, Job 38:19, directly called “darkness.”  Thus wisdom stands so much higher than folly, as light stands above darkness.  (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the OT: Vol. VI, 246)
  • (v. 14) The “wise man” has 20-20 vision in both “eyes”; the “fool” (Heb. kesîl, used nearly 50 times in Proverbs and 18 times in Koheleth, is the stock word to describe the irresponsible behavior of someone who cannot or will not do and say the things that honor God’s will for decent and constructive human behavior) is blind as a bat.  (David Hubbard, Mastering the OT: Ecclesiastes, 84)
  • (v. 15) Wisdom is seen to be a useful instrument through which to view reality and to come to a clearer perception of the world (1:12-15; 2:1-11), and yet wisdom in itself does not bring any real “profit” or “gain” (1:16-18; 2:12-16).  (Iain Provan, The NIV Application Commentary: Ecclesiastes, 75)
  • (v. 15) What is the point of excess in wisdom if it does not result in surplus of profit?  In the end, in this sense, “death makes fools of us all,” whether we were wise in life or not.  There is nothing left over after life has ended; there is no surplus.  Not only can wisdom not offer mortal beings release from the “evil business” of living, then (1:12-18); it also cannot solve the problem of death.  (Iain Provan, The NIV Application Commentary: Ecclesiastes, 75)
  • (v. 16) The intellectual’s real hope is that he will achieve lasting fame and be long remembered for his great contributions.  The Teacher pronounces all this to be an illusion.  Future generations will no more remember the scholar than they will the beggar on the street.  (Duane A. Garrett, The New American Commentary, Vol. 14, 294)
  • (v. 16) The wise and the fool are equally subject to death; and, in most instances, they are equally forgotten.  Time sweeps away all remembrances, except the very few out of millions which are preserved for a while in the page of history.  (Adam Clarke, Holy Bible Commentary and Critical Notes, Vol II, 484)
  • (v. 16) Forget” (Heb. shākah; see Hos 2:13) often means more than mere lapse of memory.  It suggests that the record and impact of our existence will be wiped out, as though we had never lived.  Death is the great eraser as Koheleth clearly laments: “And they (the dead) have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.  (Eccl 9:5).  (David Hubbard, Mastering the OT: Ecclesiastes, 86)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why does Solomon reconsider wisdom and folly?

 

Answer: Solomon wants us to now consider the futility and meaningless of wisdom and folly under the sun, without God, in the context of death rather than the context of knowledge.   With death being the great equalizer of everything under the sun; attempting to obtain the light of wisdom is meaningless.  But, if we have life under the Son, obtaining the light of wisdom is eternally significant.

 

Definition of fool/folly . . . “badness, stupidity, emptiness, thickheadedness, insipidity, senselessness, heedlessness. . . . “Folly is the opposite of wisdom. It is not imbecility, insanity, or error.  It is wrongheadedness.  It has to do with practical insights into the nature of things that lead to success or failure in life.  Wisdom and folly in the Bible rest on the principle of adjustments to a higher law for a practical purpose.  Folly involves rejection or disregard of the revealed moral and spiritual values of which life is based.  The fool sins against his own best interests and rejects God (ps 14:1).

. . . The fool is hasty (Prov 14:29), self-sufficient (12:15), impervious to instruction (15:5), given to unrestrained anger (17:12), and stupid in his persistence in evil (26:11).  (Merrill C. Tenney; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; Vol II, 581)

 

Definition of wise – wisdom . . . skill, judicious, using reason skillfully, broad and full intelligence, and understanding . . . To the Jew, wisdom was the application of divine truth to human experience and only “fools despise wisdom and instruction”.  In the NT God’s wisdom is especially associated with His Spirit.  In the last analysis man possesses wisdom only as a gift from God; it comes by divine revelation.  This is especially the view of the NT (Acts 6:10; 1 Cor 2:6; 12:8; Eph 1:17; Col 1:9; 3:16; Jas 1:5; 3:15-17;); but is indicated in the OT also (1 Kgs 3:11ff; Eccl 2:26; Isa 11:2; Dan 1:17).   (Merrill C. Tenney; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; Vol V, 942)

 

In 1978, during President Jimmy Carter’s abortive attempt to reinstate draft registration for the young, newspapers carried a photograph of a Princeton University student defiantly waving a poster marked with the words: “Nothing is worth dying for.”

“But if nothing is worth dying for, is anything worth living for?” asks Charles Colson, who comments on this photograph in Against the Night: Living in the New Dark Ages.  If there is nothing worth living for or dying for, then the chief end of man might as well be cruising the malls, which is the number one activity of today’s teenagers, according to the pollsters.  (James Montgomery Boice, An Expositional Commentary: Romans, Vol. 4, 1545-46)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Implication

 

As we’ve seen over and over again, this is an amazing book before us.  Solomon gives us every reason under the sun to be gloomy.  He tells us that death always wins, and life always cheats.  He tells us that the best effort we can put forth guarantees exactly nothing.  Then, as always, he tells us to be joyful!   (David Jeremiah, Searching for Heaven on Earth, 240)

 

All of the Bible is divine revelation, divine speech.  But God never speaks directly in Ecclesiastes.  Ecclesiastes is all monologue, not dialogue.  How is it divine revelation?

It is inspired monologue.  God in his providence has arranged for this one book of mere rational philosophy to be included in the canon of Scripture because this too is divine revelation.  It is divine revelation precisely in being the absence of divine revelation.  It is like the silhouette of the rest of the Bible.  It is what Fulton Sheen calls “black grace” instead of “white grace”; revelation by darkness rather than by light.  In this book God reveals to us exactly what life is when God does not reveal to us what life is.  Ecclesiastes frames the Bible as death frames life.  (Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, 23)

 

What are the implications of life under the sun in regard to a motivation to pursue wisdom?:

I.  Death causes us to ask: Who gives a rip about wisdom?  Why not resort to folly? (Eccl 2:15-16; see also: Job 7:16; Ps 6:5; 49:1-14; Eccl 7:4-5; 1 Cor 15:19)

 

Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of modernity is that we have a sophisticated intelligentsia that has done away with a literal hell after death only to create a psychological hell before death with their threat of non-being after death.  There is no comfort in nihilism.  Those who tell us that life is all there is offer us no comfort.  I find that none of those nihilistic existentialists who preached a call to be courageous and to create meaning out of the absurdity of our lives were examples of people who lived lives of joyful celebration.  All of them were morbid people who, for the most part, lived lives that were as tragic as the death they believed brought life to an end.  (Tony Campolo, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, 132-33)

 

What we need to come to terms with, though, if our origin is insignificant, and if our destiny is insignificant, have the courage and guts to admit that your life is insignificant.  If your origin and destiny are both insignificant, you just don’t matter.  — Tim Keller

 

In the world it calls itself Tolerance, but in Hell it is called Despair.  It is the accomplice of the other sins and their worst punishment.  It is the sin which believes nothing, cares for nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for.  (Dorothy Sayers as quoted by Charles Colson, The Good Life, 119-20)

 

Without him, riches are poverty, power is impotence, happiness is misery, glory is despised.

This is life’s greatest paradox.  Solomon does not know its positive half, but he knows its negative half better than anyone.

Surprisingly, this is also the message of the most famous and adamant atheist in 20th century literature, especially in his first and greatest work.  The writer is Sartre, and the work is Nausea (La Nausēe), and the title tells it all.  We cannot be too thankful to the great atheists; they show us the shape of God by his absence more clearly and starkly than believers do by his presence–like a silhouette.  They show us what difference God makes as death shows us what difference life makes.  You never fully appreciate a thing until it is taken away from you.

Sartre says, in “Existentialism and Humanism”,

God does not exist and…we have to face all the consequences of this.  The existentialist is strongly opposed to a certain kind of secular ethics which would like to abolish God with the least possible expense…The existentialist, on the contrary, thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears with Him; there can be no a priori Good since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it.  Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is, we are on a plane where there are only men.  Dostoyevski said, “If God didn’t exist, everything would be permissible.”  That is the very starting point of existentialism…and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to…If God does not exist, we find no values or commands to turn to which legitimize our conduct.  (Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, 28-29)

 

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION: What implications does a life under the Son have in my motivation to pursue wisdom?:

A.  The Son will judge every word, deed, and motivation of my heart which saturates my life with purpose, meaning and significance because of the eternal implications. (Mt 5:13-16, 21-48; 10:42; 12:36-37, 41-42; 19:28; 25:31-46; Jn 5:22-27; Rom 2:1-16;  5:9-21; 6:23; 2 Cor 5:10; 1 Thes 1:10; Heb 2:9-15; 10:26-31; 2 Pt 2:4-10; 3:7; 1 Jn 4:17; Jude 1:6; Rv 20:12-13)

 

When Paul wrote his great resurrection chapter, 1 Cor 15, he didn’t end by saying, “So let’s celebrate the great future life that awaits us.”  He ended by saying, “So get on with your work because you know that in the Lord it won’t go to waste.”  When the final resurrection occurs, as the centerpiece of God’s new creation, we will discover that everything done in the present world in the power of Jesus’ own resurrection will be celebrated and included, appropriately transformed.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 294)

 

“What could be wrong with freedom?  It’s not the absence of rules exactly, the dizzying sense that we can do whatever we want, but the sudden realization that nothing we do matters.” (Katie Roiphe; Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century’s End)

 

“Or why should we study hard and prepare to do meaningful work later on in life instead of having a good time now?   Most important, why should we worry about God or righteousness or sin or judgment or salvation, if there is no beyond and “now” is all that matters?” (James Montgomery Boice;  Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age, 75)

 

We think, “it doesn’t matter.  My decisions, my attitudes and thoughts and feelings–do they really make that much difference?”  But God is saying, “Every moment of your life matters to me.  Your choices have lasting repercussions.  That’s why I am confronting you with the truth.”  (Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.; Preaching the Word: Isaiah, God Saves Sinners, 47)

 

[Lewis was grieving the death of his wife:]  Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game “or else people won’t take it seriously.”  Apparently it’s like that.  Your bid—for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity—will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it.  And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world.  (C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, 43)

 

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.  — Napoleon Bonaparte

 

Epitaph on a French Tombstone:  Here lies a man who left the world without knowing why he came into the world.

 

The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. (Rick Warren; The Purpose Driven Life, 30)
Judgment proceeds and defines mercy.    You have to have judgment before mercy is relevant.   Judgment is a pre-requisite of Mercy and grace.  It is no wonder that the people of America do not understand the message of grace.  They have a terribly perverted view of justice. — Steve Brown on Isaiah

 

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend.  Do not wait for the last judgment.  It takes place every day. — Albert Camus

 

It is not that Pastors should preach only grace or that they should preach only law.   The problem (as I see it) is that pastors should preach a more intense grace and a more unfathomable love of God and a more forgiving and compassionate God, while at the same time preach God’s utter contempt, abhorrence and disgust with our sin.  We should more intensely preach God’s Law and the tragic consequence of our disobedience.  It is not Law and judgment only or grace only that drives us to repentance, but a powerful understanding of both at the same time.   Our preaching has become anemic because we preach only law or grace and not an extreme of both. — Pastor Keith

 

What man in his right mind would continue contemplating an affair if he really believed he might not wake up in the morning?  What person would risk entering eternity in a drunken stupor?  What fool would ignore his loved ones and his God for one last night so he could make another quick ten thousand dollars just before he died?

Fenelon called the thought of death “the best rule which we could make for all our actions and undertakings.”  Thomas á Kempis agreed, arguing that the remembrance of death is a powerful force for spiritual growth:  Didst thou oftener think of thy death than of thy living long, there is no question but thou wouldst be more zealous to improve.  If also thou didst but consider within thyself the infernal pains in the other world, I believe thou wouldst willingly undergo any labor or sorrow in this world, and not be afraid of the greatest austerity.  But because these things enter not to the heart, and we still love those things only that delight us, therefore we remain cold and very dull in religion.  (Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, I:21:5)

 

B.  By trusting in Jesus’ work, life and resurrection we can become “in Christ” and thus enjoy the hope, courage, and peace of His life that motivates one towards wisdom and away from folly, or the life that is truly life. (Ps 68:20; 116:15; 118:18; Jn 3:16, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40, 47, 51; 8:12;11:25-26; 12:25;  17:2-3; Rom 6:1-7; 8:8-11; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 1:9; 4:10-5:10; Col 3:1-4; 2 Tm 1:10;  1 Pt 1:3-9; 1 Jn 5:11, 13, 20; Jude 1:21)

 

If evolutionary optimism is squelched by, among other things, the sober estimates of the scientists that the universe as we know it today is running out of steam and cannot last forever, the gospel of Jesus Christ announces that what God did for Jesus as Easter he will do not only for all those who are “in Christ” but also for the entire cosmos.  It will be an act of new creation, parallel to and derived from the act of new creation when God raised Jesus from the dead.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 99)

 

It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today.  The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the Last Day.  Our salvation is “external to ourselves.”  I find no salvation in my life history, but only in the history of Jesus Christ.  Only he who allows himself to be found in Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, his Cross, and his resurrection, is with God and God with him.  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 54)

 

In Jesus Christ, says Paul (who formerly resisted the idea with all his considerable powers), we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He is the Wise Man, and in him alone is true wisdom to be found.  He is the Poor Man whose impoverishment leads to untold riches for those who trust him.  (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Pundit’s Folly, 59)

 

The miracles of Jesus is not to instruct but are signs to show us how He saves us.   Think of the birth of Jesus.  How does that work as an inspiring parable?   What does it inspire you to do?  Be a shepherd?   Have your children out of doors?  Have your children out of wed-lock?  As a parable it is useless.  But, as a fact of God becoming flesh to live the life we were supposed to life and die the death we deserved to die . . . well that changes everything!  — Tim Keller

 

The gospel is a truly powerful, even devastating, thing.  To believe it is to conquer sin and death.  To reject it is to be crushed.  These things I have seen with my own eyes.  (Michael Bauman, Roundtable: conversations with European Theologians, 125)

 

This is what the resurrection does:  it opens the new world, in which, under the saving and judging lordship of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, everything else is to be seen in a new light.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 244)

 

Jesus’ resurrection forever changed Christians’ view of death. Rodney Stark, sociologist at the University of Washington, points out that when a major plague hit the ancient Roman Empire, Christians had surprisingly high survival rates. Why? Most Roman citizens would banish any plague-stricken person from their household. But because Christians had no fear of death, they nursed their sick instead of throwing them out on the streets. Therefore, many Christians survived the plague. (Kenneth L. Woodward; “2000 Years of Jesus”; NEWSWEEK, March 29, 1999, 55)

 

If God had not raised Him from the grave we might draw the conclusion that our Lord was not able to bear the punishment of the guilt of our sins, that it was too much for Him, and that His death was the end.  But He was raised from the dead; and in raising Him up God was proclaiming that His Son had completed the work, that full expiation has been made, that He is propitiated and completely satisfied.  The resurrection declares that, and it is in that sense that He is “risen again for our justification.”  It is there we see it clearly.  The work was done on the Cross, but here is the proclamation that it is enough.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapters 3:20-4:25, 244)

 

Vanity cannot detect itself, just as folly cannot detect itself.  Only the wise know folly; fools know neither wisdom nor folly.  Just as it takes wisdom to know folly, light to know darkness, it takes profundity to know vanity, meaning to know meaninglessness.  Pascal says, “Anyone who does not see the vanity of life must be very vain indeed.”  (Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, 15)

 

The wise person does indeed think ahead, but far more than 30 years–30 million years ahead.  Someone once said, “He who provides for this life but takes no care for eternity is wise for a moment but a fool forever.”  Jesus said it this way, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mk 8:36).  (Crown Financial Ministries, Crown Biblical Financial Study, 144)

 

Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

 

The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as the one who has “set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (Heb 2:15).  The gospel of freedom proclaims that death is an illusion, a phantom, the bogeyman of little children:  death is simply a transition into the one experience worthy of the name life. (Brennan Manning; The Ragamuffin Gospel, 143)

 

It is a poor thing to fear that which is inevitable. — Tertullian,

 

When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.” “Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.”  —  John M. Drescher.

 

As Christians, we know–or at least heave heard–the glorious words of Christ and his people about their future life in the presence of God.  But frankly, few really believe them.  To really believe them would be to act straightforwardly and spontaneously as if they were true.  It would be to be confident with every pore of our being that any friend of Jesus is far better off dead.  It would be to rejoice, in the midst of our parting sorrows, over the indescribably greater well-being of our loved one who has moved on “further up and further into” the greatness of God and His world.  Jesus quite reasonably said to his closest friends: “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I” (Jn 14:28).

Jesus’s attitude toward death is frankly quite cavalier.  (Dallas Willard; The Great Omission, 221-22)

 

The hope of dying is the only thing that keeps me alive. — Vance Havner

 

From an ancient oratorio:  “Thou has made death glorious and triumphant for through its portals we enter into the presence of the living God.”

 

The light of God as the source of wise government was the theme of almost the last utterance of the venerable Benjamin Franklin.  In the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he made a moving appeal for prayer:

In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? … I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men.  And, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?  (John Bigelo, ed., The Life of Franklin Written by Himself, Philadelphia: B. Lippincott, 1879, III, 388) (The Interpreter’s Bible Vol. V, 706)

 

Worship point:  When you understand that it is only when one places his life “in Christ” that one can enjoy the hope, courage and peace of life that is truly life; worship will come quite naturally.

 

In Christian worship we are not merely asked to believe in Jesus Christ, but to live, die, and be resurrected again with him.  Life is not an intellectual construct, but a journey of death and rebirth.  When our life story is brought up into the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, it then gains meaning and purpose. (Robert E. Webber; Worship is a Verb, 25)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  The more you see the futility, emptiness, meaninglessness and purposelessness of life without God; the more you will appreciate the life that is truly life when you are in Christ.”  Get in touch with reality and get a life!

 

The most dangerous man on earth is the man who has reckoned with his own death.  All men die, few men ever really live.  Sure, you can create a safe life for yourself…and end your days in a rest home babbling on about some forgotten misfortune.  I’d rather go down swinging.  Besides, the less we are trying to “save ourselves,” the more effective a warrior we will be.  (John Eldredge; Wild at Heart, 169)

 

Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. “Some of his friends asked him, ‘Why have you become a Christian?’ He answered, ‘Well, its like this.  Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive—which one would you ask which way to go?'” (Warren Webster, April, 1980, HIS, 13)

 

 

Death is the godly man’s wish, the wicked man’s fear.

(Samuel Bolton; The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, 46)

 

 

Christ:

Wisdom to Infinity and Beyond

 

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