A Study of Ecclesiastes: Vanity

A Life Without God

The Fear of God
March 1, Scott Parkison

This morning we will finish our short series through the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. I hope you have enjoyed it. It has been said that Ecclesiastes is one of the most relevant books for our day. I agree with that assessment. The topics addressed in Ecclesiastes are as pointed today as they ever were. As the secular world continues to live lives apart from God, God's wisdom reminds us that "all is vanity" apart from a relationship with Jesus. 

In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon presents the thesis of the entire book. While modern authors present their thesis in the first chapter of a book, God's wisdom presented through Solomon saved the main point for the end. This is more practical than we can fathom.

We sometimes have to pursue much vanity in this life before we finally realize that "the whole duty of man" is to walk in the fear of the Lord and obey his commands.

My prayer for you this morning is that you would leave church with a deeper awareness of God and with a renewed reverence for Him...knowing that he is watching us and that we are obligated to Him.

God's Timing
February 22, Scott Parkison

Perhaps the most well known and often quoted passage in the book of Ecclesiastes is found in the verses we will read today: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." Think about that for a moment...a time for "everything"? When we reflect upon that statement and consider the examples  given in v2-v8 we immediately notice that there are some activities that take place in the world that we do not like. Killing, weeping, mourning, and war are but a few. How are we to understand this?

It is my genuine prayer that your faith in a providential God will be increased exponentially this morning. Only God's Spirit, His Word, and our submission to Him will bring about the type of faith we need in order to walk in obedience to Him. After this message, you may leave with intellectual questions unanswered. But my prayer is that God would use this passage to bring about change in your heart and cause you to trust him in a way you never have before. GOD IS IN CONTROL!

Wealth
February 15, Scott Parkison

That should be your response every time you think about the worldly wealth God has provided you. Our nation has become so materialistic that we fail to realize just how rich we are. Sure, we sometimes have trouble paying our bills...our mortgage, our car payment, our electric bill, etc. However, the fact that we HAVE homes, cars, running water and electricity is proof that we are vastly more wealthy than most people in the world. According to the World Health Organization approximately 40% of the worlds population lives without "improved sanitation" yet most of us bathed with soap and fresh water before driving to church...in our cars...from homes with HVAC.

As we read a section from Ecclesiastes about the vanity of worldly wealth it is my prayer you will be filled with thanksgiving and praise for the blessings God has bestowed upon you. It is only then that we can truly enjoy wealth as God intended. I am praying for you!

Work
February 8, Scott Parkison

As we continue to search the truth of God's word in Ecclesiastes this morning we will read several verses on the topic of work. Of all the topics address in Ecclesiastes Solomon reserves his most grievous language for the topic of work. In fact, he states that he "hated life" because of the vanity of all his work.

As New Testament believers we know that the Gospel has massive implications for every aspect of our lives. As disciples of Jesus, we  have surrendered our entire lives to him. Since the majority of our waking hours will be spent at work we must realize that God has much to say about it. To work a job all of our life with no recognition of God is truly "vanity". Solomon would say it is a "great evil"

God has a word for you today. May your hearts be drawn to worship him in spirit and in truth. May you hear his voice and respond with a changed life.

I am praying for you.

Pleasure
February 1, Scott Parkison

If you enjoyed your philosophy classes in college you are probably loving this series in Ecclesiastes. Long before Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Woody Allen, and Si Robertson there was King Solomon. In the book of Ecclesiastes we are given a glimpse into the wisdom God gave him about life. A part of life that many people pursue the most is pleasure. While the pleasures and comforts of life offer us momentary joy, Solomon reminds us that the pursuit of pleasure is "vanity."

What we discover in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that life can become immensely meaningful (and pleasurable) when we live it in the manner in which God intended. But first we must learn to deny ourselves, serve others, and discover what pleases the Lord. Only new life in Christ can turn our hearts away from seeking worldly pleasures and comforts. Our reward? Eternal life in a place called heaven where joy will never end!

Wisdom
January 25, Scott Parkison

I am greatly enjoying studying and preparing for this series of messages through Ecclesiastes. This morning our text describes the vanity of wisdom. This is an odd concept. Wisdom is a characteristic that most people would extol as very honorable. After all, wouldn't this world be a better place if more people made wise choices? Perhaps things would be a little better. But the wisest person to ever live (besides Jesus) said that pursuing wisdom was like "chasing the wind".

In todays message we will seek to understand why he said this and where it leads us. In addition, we will make a clear distinction between worldly wisdom and wisdom in Christ.

I have already prayed for all of you this morning. My prayer is that you hear God's voice, feel his presence, and adjust your life to walk closer with Him. If this is your first time to Trinity please complete the guest registration form in this handout. May God's blessings be upon us all as we worship Jesus together.

Worldliness
January 18, Scott Parkison

This morning I will begin a series from an unlikely section of Scripture...Ecclesiastes. This neglected little book is often avoided by Bible teachers. Some see the words of Ecclesiastes as depressing, pessimistic, and cynical. I see it as a beautiful work of art that is equally inspired as every other book of the Bible. There is wisdom to be gleaned from the pages of Ecclesiastes, a wisdom that takes a bit of work to discover. But underneath the cynical veneer of its verses, Ecclesiastes unlocks the secrets of true fulfillment in life. A fulfillment that can ultimately only be found through a  meaningful relationship with God.