The Heart of the Wise and the House of Mourning

Wisdom and Euthanasia

By David Robinson / March 20, 2016

Series Ecclesiastes: Life Under the Sun

Context Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic Justice

Scripture Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

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Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Sermon Notes:

  1. In this passage Solomon addresses the question of what it is to have a good name and how to cultivate integrity and wise character.
  2. A person with wise character listens to the rebuke of the wise. Words of rebuke from the wise may hurt but they are for our good because they sharpen, edify, and strengthen our character.
  3. A person of good character is patient and slow to anger. Patience is connected to hope in the knowledge of God’s good promises and purposes.
  4. The basis of our hope, and therefore our patience, is God’s own Word; impatience leads to anger and is symptomatic of pride.
  5. God brings times of prosperity and times of want. In prosperity be thankful and in adversity consider the work of God.
  6. We need to remember and recognize God’s steadfast love (cf. Ps. 106:7; Jas. 5:11). Take time to look for the mercies of God in your present circumstances.
  7. To cultivate wise character and to set your heart right before God, Solomon advises that you attend a funeral and consider death.
  8. Funerals humble us; they cut to the heart, confronting us with our own mortality, and renewing our hope as we consider the resurrection.
  9. Death is our enemy but it will be conquered (Phil. 1:21-23) and death is actually our path to resurrection and deliverance from sin.
  10. In the media euthanasia is presented as a compassionate response to the two choices of premature suicide or intolerable suffering.
  11. Reasons presented to justify euthanasia can be as trivial as loneliness, depression, weariness with life, fear of moving to a nursing home, lack of dignity, or fear of becoming a burden.
  12. One euthanasia advocate says when you’re past your best before date you should be disposed of as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
  13. There is a growing movement which sees death as desirable. Self-determination and autonomy are other motivations for euthanasia.
  14. Palliative care is de-prioritized when euthanasia is considered cheaper and more efficient.
  15. Increasingly western nations use the language of human rights to promote euthanasia, and to coerce doctors to actively kill their patients.
  16. It will change our culture’s view of sickness, and suffering, to view palliative care as below our dignity.
  17. The church must minister the compassion and mercy of Christ, providing emotional, spiritual, and physical care for those who are suffering and dying.
  18. Exercise hospitality; show love for the lonely and elderly.

Application Questions:

  1. What is it to have a good name?
  2. How can we cultivate a wise character?
  3. What should be our response in times of prosperity and times of want?
  4. Why is it beneficial to attend funerals? 
  5. What is the Christian perspective on death?
  6. Identify ethical and logical problems with the pro-euthanasia rhetoric.
  7. How can the church respond in a culture that sees death as desirable?