Life 2.0

Posted: January 13, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Ecclesiastes Lessons
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Series Attention Funnel: Name That Famous Historical Figure

 Series Introduction:

  • Prepare to Die and Learn to Live… seems like a weird title for a series right.
  • We live by avoiding death at all costs. We don’t want to think about it. We push it out of our minds.
  • But Ecclesiastes is a bit of a weird book, so perhaps a weird title fits.
  • One person compares this book to a crazed man downtown. “He smells like he hasn’t bathed and looks like it too and as we pass by he won’t stop glaring at us and beckoning to us that our lives are built on illusions, and that we are all going to die. So, most of us choose to get our lunch at a different shop on a less dreary corner of town.”
  • I’ve already compared him to the friend that ruins everything.
    • “You look really beautiful today. But someday you’re going to grow old, saggy, and eventually be planted in the ground. So, have a nice day.”
  • But Ecclesiastes is not an eternal pessimist who only points out the bad in life to draw us down to his level.
  • Rather he simply wants to keep us from rooting our hope, meaning, and satisfaction in something in this world, when death will in fact take it all away from us.
  • He wants to prepare us for the day that we die… and in so doing, teach us to live well here and now.

 Lesson Attention Funnel: Name a Movie Sequel That Came Out in this Past Year

  • What do we know to be the case about sequels? They are almost always worse than the original.
  • So why do we go in flocks and droves to see sequels?
  • Because we secretly hope that they will be better. We hope that the second, third, fourth, or twentieth movie in a series is going to deliver better entertainment then the first one.
  • You thought SpiderMan 1 was good, just wait until SpiderMan 6! You liked Star Wars 7, just wait until Star Wars 8! You liked the Avengers… Well then you are definitely going to like Avengers vs. Smurphs! Can’t wait!
  • Life in this world is a little bit like this. We spend our whole lives chasing after something more, chasing after a better life.
  • I’m going to call that concept Life 2.0. We are convinced that this better, more improved, more fulfilling life is right around the corner… when I get to high school, when I get to college, when I get a job, when I get my license, when I find true love, when I have a family, when I have lots of money.
  • And yet just like the sequel to a movie, the future life we are chasing never quite delivers. We’re convinced there has to be more, but everywhere we look in this life that more eludes us.

 Passage: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

 Big Idea: Life in this world leaves us longing for something more.

 Main Points:

  • We long for a life that is permanent.
  • We long for a life of complete satisfaction.
  • We long for a life of lasting significance.
  • Hope: Jesus broke into the world to give us life.

We long for a life that is permanent.

  • Vanity, the Hebrew word Hebel, is used 38 times through Ecclesiastes. When translated into English it means something along the lines of “breath” or “vapor.”
  • In this way, it seems that the preacher (Solomon) is telling us “All of life is but a breath. It is but a vapor that passes away. It is like the smoke from a candle.”
  • There are at least two ways this is the case.
  • First, life is short. Life passes by to quickly for all of us. We deny this when we are younger, convinced that our lives will last forever. But as we grow older, we begin to realize just how quickly life passes by.
    • My family lived in Parkesburg growing up. As a 5 year old, when we would drive into Lancaster to go out to eat at Ponderosa Steakhouse, it seemed like an eternity. You had to drive through gap, kinzers, paradise, and whatever is between paradise and Lancaster, before finally arriving. It seemed like we were traveling to the end of the world. But it was all so worth it for that $8.00 buffet quality food! Eventually I went to LMH for High School (They recruited me to run Cross Country). And I made that drive every single day. All the sudden that drive went by far too quickly. My early morning nap was just getting started by the time we pulled into LMH.
    • Life is a bit like that… it seems like it will last forever when we are young, but the more we experience of life the more it feels like it is going by too quickly.
  • Second, we cannot take anything in this life and hold onto it forever.
    • When we find good things in this life, we want to grab onto them as tightly as we can so that they will not be taken away from us.
      • We see this on a small scale with vacations… it seems like just when we are starting to enjoy a week at the beach, winter break, or summer break, it is rudely pulled away from us and we are thrown back into real life.
      • But it’s also the case with bigger things… we try to grab on and hold tightly to life in High School only to find it’s time to move on. We grasp tightly at a friendship, only to have it disappear one day.
    • But the tighter we grab, the more disappointed we are when they are finally taken away from us.
    • It’s a bit like trying to grab the smoke of a candle and put it in your pocket for later. It just doesn’t work. And in fact, the tighter you try to grab onto it and hold it, the quicker it seems to disappear.
  • So, life, and all that is good about this life will one day be taken away from us – Life 2.0 is not found in making things permanent.

 

We long for a life of complete satisfaction.

  • The preacher describes life and this world as constant motion without ever actually arriving anywhere.
  • He gives a picture of a cosmic treadmill – The sun going around and round and round, the wind blowing round and round and round, the streams dumping into the ocean only to dump back into the ocean again tomorrow.
  • See life in this world is actually rather repetitive and boring when we think about it.
    • Think about your week… Tomorrow morning you will have an alarm go off. You will be forced out of bed. Drive to school, go through the day of classes, talk to friends, eat lunch, drive back home, maybe go to work or to hang out with friends, come home and watch Netflix or play Call of Duty 40, and then go to bed. And what will happen the next day. You’ll get up and do it again. And even as life changes, you will continue to face virtually the same thing day after day after day.
  • And we are not satisfied with this cycle, so we try to break it.
  • And how do we try to break it? Often by chasing after or looking for something new.
    • Perhaps it’s a new stage in life – going to high school, finding new friends, getting a job.
    • Or perhaps it’s in a new object – clothes, a piece of technology, a new car, etc.
    • Or perhaps it’s in something far more trivial – a new television series to binge watch or movie to see, new information to scroll through on our phones, etc.
  • But what does the preacher say? All things are full of weariness… the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear satisfied with hearing. There is nothing new under the sun!”
  • We get all sorts of new things for Christmas… only to be left wanting more the next year… or more likely the next time we go shopping.
  • We binge watch a show on Netflix… only to be binge watch another show after we’re done with that one.
  • We get a new job, new position on a team, new girlfriend or boyfriend, new High School or College, only to find life really isn’t that different on this side of the fence. Satisfaction still eludes us.
    • But somehow, we pretend that satisfaction is right around the next corner. If I just go travel, buy the newest thing, find a different job, break-up with my current boo and find a new one… then I’ll be satisfied.
  • Christmas Shopping at Target. I did very little of my Christmas Shopping – that’s one of the great benefits of getting marriedJ But I did a little bit at Target. Target is the best, right!?! They have everything – You want food, they got it! You want clothes, they got it. You want Bluetooth headphones, they got it! You want that big Nerf Gun, they got it! However, imagine if I went into Target and purchased some new deodorant and then went up to the cash register and said, “I need gas for my car, I didn’t see that anywhere in the store.”  They would rightfully tell me, “We don’t carry that.”
    • Now picture me leaving that Target and heading to a different one and asking the same question. And getting the same answer. And then heading to another Target and asking the same question, and getting the same answer.
  • I love the Samsung commercial that shows us someone experiencing all the disappointments of the iPhone. It lets him down again and again – getting wet, running out of space, needing too many cords, not having a pen to draw on his screen. It’s left him disappointed and dissatisfied. But then he finally gets a Samsung Galaxy, and he walks by people waiting in the iPhone line as if he finally has what he’s been looking for. He is finally satisfied. Forget the fact that that phone will go out of date or that it’s battery might blow up on you! Samsung Galaxy has what you’ve been looking for and didn’t find in an iPhone – Satisfaction.
  • Ecclesiastes wants to blow up our illusion that satisfaction is found in that next thing. It is not there anymore then it is where we are right now.
  • Life 2.0 is not found in what is new, because what is new has already been tried in some other form.
  • S. Lewis – “If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I am made for another world.”

 We long for a life of lasting significance.

  • We crave being known, appreciated, and remembered – in other words finding significance.
  • We are convinced that who we are and what we do will make us significant.
    • So we try to be cool, funny, beautiful, athletic, musical, eccentric, different, all with an eye towards finding a life of significance.
    • And we are convinced that if we can just be “good enough” or “achieve enough” with our lives, then we will find Life 2.0.
  • But the preacher shoots a bullet through that idea… one day, all you are and have done will be forgotten.
  • When I was at LMH, I started a Mini-Golf fundraiser. It’s one of my crowning achievements of High School. Every time I hear about it, a little pride swells up in me thinking, “I started that!”  But here’s the reality, if I went back to LMH and walked the Halls – 99% of the people would say, “Who are you??” There is no banner, no plaque, no celebration of Kyle. And eventually, even that mini golf tournament will disappear and someone else will come up with a new fundraiser.
  • Think about that… no matter how popular, how athletically talented, how smart, how funny, how good at chess you are… when you walk out those doors of High School. You will soon be forgotten.
  • Ecclesiastes says that life is like that… that after you exit the doorways of death, you will soon be forgotten here on this earth.
    • You can spend all your life making a name for yourself only to be completely forgotten after death.
    • Think about some of the people we looked at earlier… they were on a list of top 100 most famous people to live. You and I will most likely never come anywhere close to cracking that list. And even if we do, eventually one day we will die and be forgotten.
  • Ecclesiastes tells us: You live. You Die. And then you are forgotten.
  • Life 2.0 is not found in being and doing something significant because all that you are and do will one day be forgotten.

So what are we supposed to do?

  • We long for permanence, but life is short and the things we want to hold onto slip away. We long for satisfaction, but we never seem to reach it. We long to live a life of lasting significance, but we will soon be forgotten after we die.
  • That all sounds pretty hopeless…
  • And that is the point of Ecclesiastes… if this life is all there is, then it is pretty hopeless.
  • But the Christian worldview says this is not all there is. There is more than what we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.
  • Life 2.0 is not found in some future version of life here on earth… it’s found in a person.
  • John 10:10 – “I have come so that they may have life and life to the fullest.”

 Hope: Jesus broke into the world to give us life.

  • Jesus broke into the world to give us a life that lasts forever and to build a kingdom that death can’t take away.
  • Jesus broke into the world to provide us with satisfaction of a relationship with God.
  • Jesus broke into the world to give us an identity of lasting significance – Son or Daughter of God.
  • But you only find that life as you turn away from chasing it in this world and find it in Christ.
  • Mark 8:35 – 34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 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.
  • It’s not that we need to stop living this life… it’s that we need to stop looking to this life to provide what only Jesus can. We need to stop acting as if we can hold onto life in this world, stop chasing after the next big thing for our satisfaction, and stop trying to build an identity on what will pass.

 

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