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Smoke and Mirrors- It Is What It Is

Smoke and Mirrors

Speaker: Pastor Ty Neal
Date: September 03, 2017

Just when you think you have life figured out, it happens - the unexpected. It's ironic how life has so much mystery that leaves us asking more questions than there are answers for. So we go to God. We try to figure Him out. We cross our t's and dot our i's expecting him to be controlled and domesticated. But God is not to be tamed like a circus lion. This blows us up. So what are we to do? Where are we to find meaning and lasting happiness when we don't have all the pat answers we so desperately desire? What do we do when life feels like a bunch of smoke and mirrors? Join us as we go through the enigma, wrapped up in a mystery, surrounded by a riddle within the Bible known as the book of Ecclesiastes.

 

Title - It is what it is…

 


Ecclesiastes 1:3 - 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

 


Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 -4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.6 The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;around and around goes the wind,and on its circuits the wind returns.7 All streams run to the sea,but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow,there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already
in the ages before us.11 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

 


QUOTE - “What is more vain than this vanity: that the earth, which was made for humans, stays— but humans themselves, the lords of the earth, suddenly dissolve into the dust?” Jerome

 


QUOTE - Saying God, make me famous If you can’t just make it painless Just make it painless. - Arcade Fire

 


QUOTE - “We put a man on the moon, but there was nothing for him to do there except stare at the earth.” Alister Begg

 


Pleasure – Feel

 


Ecclesiastes 2:1-6 - 2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.

 


QUOTE - “I think the spirit at work in the suburbs tends to smother the Christian spirit. The message of the suburbs, in a nutshell, is self-empowerment. Self-enhancement. Self-fulfillment. Self is at the center, and all things serve the self. The primary values of suburbia are convenience, abundance, and comfort. In suburbia, you can have it all – and you can get it made to order in a super-sized cup with an insulated sleeve.” Jared C. Wilson

 


Ecclesiastes 2:7-11 -7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,the delight of the sons of man. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

 


Wisdom – Know

 


Ecclesiastes - 2:12-17 - 12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

 


Work – Do

 


Ecclesiastes 2:18-23 -18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

 


QUOTE - “He thinks only of what he wants and he does not ask himself whether he ought to want it.” Bernard of Clairvaux

 


Ecclesiastes 1:3 -3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

 


2 Timothy 3:15-17 -15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

 


Big Idea: - Everything is meaningless without Jesus, but with Jesus we can enjoy everything.

 


Ephesians 2:14 - 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

 


QUOTE - God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. - C. S. Lewis

 


Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 - 24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

 


Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

 


Matthew 3:17 - 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

 


Philippians 4:11-13 -11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 


2 Corinthians 5:17 - 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 


Isaiah 43:19 -19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 


Mark 8:35-36 - 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

 


QUOTE - “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C.S. Lewis

 

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