Search - Answering LIfe's Biggest Questions

ANSWERING LIFE’S BIGGEST QUESTIONS

Part 5 (2 of 2) – What Should Now Be the Focus of My Life?  Others.
(Ecclesiastes 4)

February 10, 2019
Dr. Mark S. Hartman, Lead Pastor

 

INTRODUCTION

Matthew 22:38-39  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Love others like you love yourself.

 

1. LIVE IN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST.

A. Here is who God says we are as Christ followers, in His Eyes:

1. We are forgiven in Christ.  (Ephesians 1:6-8; Romans 8:1, 38)

2. We are loved by God.  (Romans 5:5; 8:39; 1 John 3:16; 4:19)

3. We are children of God.  (Romans 9:8; Galatians 4:23)

4. We are now friends of God.  (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

5. We have been accepted by God not because of what we did or didn’t do but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  (Romans 15:7; Ephesians 1:4-6)

6. We have been given strengths, talents and gifts from God. (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 4:7-13)

7. We were chosen by God to be His children before the universe even existed. (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:30)

8. We have been set free from sin and the past.  (Romans 6:11; 8:9-11; Ephesians 2:4-5)

9. We are secure in God’s Hands.  (John 6:37; Philippians 1:6, 4:19)

10. We are citizens of heaven and will live there forever with God. (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20)

11. In the end, we win!  We cannot be beaten because God cannot be beaten. Even physical death cannot stop us for in Christ, we will never die.  (John 11:25-26; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57)

B. Because YOU are forgiven, you can forgive yourself and others.  Because you are accepted by God, you can accept yourself and others.  Because you belong to God and are protected by Him, no weapon formed against you will prevail.  You don’t have to strike back.  God will defend you.

 

2. BUILD HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS OF MUTUAL LOVE AND SUPPORT.  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

A. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

B. It is Solomon and Jesus who teach us how to deepen our relationships with each other:

1. True friends are loyal.  (Proverbs 17:17 A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.)

2. True friends are honest with each other.  (Proverbs 24:26   An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.)

3. True friends treat each other as equals.  (John 15:15)

4. True friends make each other better people.  (Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.)

5. True friends willingly sacrifice to meet the needs of the other.  (John 15:13)

6. True friends forgive each other.  (Proverbs 17:9  Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.)

 

3. REFUSE TO USE OTHERS AS A MEANS TO A SELFISH END.  (Ecclesiastes 4:4-6)

A. Ecclesiastes 4:4-6   And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.   The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.  Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. (NIV)

B. Envy is wanting what someone else has.  Jealousy is being fearful someone else will take what you have.

C. Be the person who lives your life in balance.  Be competitive and hardworking but refuse to let your heart turn into envy or jealousy.  Refuse to use others for your selfish ends.  Be a person of character, contentment and peace.

 

4. COME TO THE AID OF OTHERS WHO ARE BEING TREATED UNJUSTLY.

A. Ecclesiastes 3:16-17  And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment–wickedness was there, in the place of justice–wickedness was there. 17 I thought in my heart, “God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.”  (NIV)

B. Ecclesiastes 4:1  Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed– and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors– and they have no comforter. (NIV)

C. Ecclesiastes 8:14  There’s something else,… righteous men who get what the wicked deserve and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve.

D. “I know that you are guilty and you know it.  Remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser Judge on Judgment Day, and there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law.”  (Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray)

E. Make sure you hear both sides before you decide who is right and who is wrong.  (Proverbs 18:13)

F. Stand with those who are being abused but be careful to not unwittingly over-react to a situation.

 

Actions Steps for this week …

  • I will be more purposeful to build the healthier relationships with my family and friends.
  • I will be more careful to not “use” others in my life for self ends but be more self-giving toward others.
  • I will stand for others who are being abused and do my best to come to their rescue.