The basis of life and culture is the interpretive principle given to us by God in creation. We cannot derive truth from subjective personal experience.
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:1-10
- Outline: (1) experiencing life, (2) interpreting life, and (3) celebrating life.
- Despite his best efforts, man cannot figure out God’s work on his own. At creation, God gave man an interpretive principle by which to understand Himself and the world: His Word.
- Humans were not left to speculation. Adam didn’t have to figure it all out. God’s word was the basis of meaning.
- Man thinks he can find some other way than God’s Word to figure out the world. Fallen people seek the key to life in themselves and their experience.
- If experience determines the way things should be, people think it is their right to have good experiences. If one is not having good experiences, it is someone else’s fault, and society needs to put it right by political means.
- We need a biblical starting point for interpreting and enjoying life.
- God is the sovereign interpreter and judge of all things.
- We cannot know what the long term fruit of our labors will be based on our experience of life.
- If we don’t see the reward for our labors coming, we cannot figure this out on our own. Our chief concern is figuring out life through the Word of God, not experience.
- We should not have a low view of our life and work. Jesus’ life and ministry, at face value, would seem to have had a low impact, yet He changed the world (cf. Rom. 8:24-30).
- The wise and the foolish both come to death, but death is not the end of human experience.
- For believers, our covenant with God is more than our experience. Covenant hope is life. God’s people are truly alive and have hope (Ecc. 9:4-6).
- The work of the wicked will perish with them, but as Christians we know we have a hope to come.
- What is true, good, and right will endure, and what we have done goes beyond our experience in this life.
- Go about your daily life with a merry heart, because God approves of you (Ecc. 9:7-10).
- We are to live with the knowledge that life is not in vain, storing up in faithfulness a coming reward (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
- We must rejoice in the gift of life and serve the kingdom of God with whole-hearted effort. When death comes, our opportunity to earn more reward is over.
- Every Christian faces temptation to let experience dictate their life and to try their way instead of God’s way.
- Abide in the covenant, rejoice in life and God, cease from self-pity.
- Do not despise material things. Do not think the ordinary world is beneath you. Do not scrimp on life, or punish yourself with abstinences from God’s gifts. We are to rejoice in God’s goodness.
- We are to eat and drink with a merry heart, because we know vindication is coming. God can meet us in our enjoyment of His gifts, no matter how humble those gifts are.
- What is God’s will for your life? Do what He has already approved of: marry; have children; earn an honest living; be with your family; do your chores; tend the garden.
- We think that if we escape our lot, that we will get to God’s gifts elsewhere. But true joy is found in God, and He is found right where His gifts are.
- Christ didn’t attempt to escape a humble life. Jesus didn’t float around in some spiritual realm. He provided food, wedding wine, healing, etc. Those He restored were not delivered from their lot, but returned to it (e.g. Peter’s mother-in-law, Lazarus).
- Jesus didn’t come to save us from our lot, but to redeem it. Our environment has changed, but our Edenic calling hasn’t.
- Experience can be a grief, but God is in the midst of it with us.
- What is the key to interpreting life and the world?
- How should we live in a fallen world when our experience leads us to despair?
- What is the role of God’s good gifts in knowing God?
- How can we discern what is God’s will for our lives?