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Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Ecclesiastes 11:7-10
Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless. Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.


Ecclesiastes 12:1-5
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” 
Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. 
Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. 
Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.
Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. 
Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.


Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.


Ecclesiastes 12:6-7
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.


Ecclesiastes 12:8
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”


Ecclesiastes 12:9-12
Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep. But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.


Colossians 2:8-10
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.


Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.


John 6:39-40
And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.


Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

 — Nathan Hazel

Message Notes

Ecclesiastes 5:1 ESV 
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 

Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. 

Ecclesiastes 5:3-4 ESV
For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 

Matthew 5:37 NLT
Jesus said; “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”

Ecclesiastes 5:5 ESV
It is better that you should not vow than vow and not pay. 

Ecclesiastes 5:6 ESV
Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 

Matthew 12:36 NLT
Jesus said: And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.

Ecclesiastes 5:7 ESV
For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.   

Revelation 21:3 NLT
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.

James 1:22 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.



Ecclesiastes 4:7-16

 — Sam Lynn

Message Notes

Contentment makes life better


Ecclesiastes 4:6
And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” 


Ecclesiastes 4:8
…(He) works hard to gain as much wealth as he can...


Ecclesiastes 4:13-16
It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses to take advice (some translations say heed warning or receive counsel).  Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed.  He might even become king, though he has been in prison.  But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth who replaces him.  Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him too.  So it is all meaningless – like chasing the wind.


Counsel makes life better


Companionship makes life better


Ecclesiastes 4:7-8a
I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun.  This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can.


Ecclesiastes 4:8b
But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for?  Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?  It is all so meaningless and depressing.” 


Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.  But how can one be kept warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.


The first advantage of companionship – sharing life


Ecclesiastes 4:10
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.


The second advantage of companionship – stability


Galatians 6:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.


The third advantage of companionship – comfort


Ecclesiastes 4:11
Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.  But how can one be warm alone?


Ecclesiastes 4:12a
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. 


The fourth advantage of companionship – protection


Ecclesiastes 4:12b
Three are even better, for a three-braided cord is not easily broken. 


Jesus Christ makes life better!




Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:6

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Why Study Ecclesiastes?

It is brutally honest about the troubles of life.

It teaches us what to expect if we “chase the wind.”

It teaches us the value of daily life.

It teaches us about the most difficult questions in life.

It teaches us more about God and how to worship Him.


Ecclesiastes 3:16-17
I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”


Under the Sun
“The futility and meaninglessness of life lived only for self and the moment, without gratitude to or regard for God and his ways.”  
Ecclesiastes: Ancient Wisdom When All Else Fails - T.M. Moore


Ecclesiastes 3:1
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.


Ecclesiastes 4:1-3
Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.


Acts 17:30-31
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.


Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.


Ecclesiastes 3:18-22
I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.


“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”


Psalm 49:15
But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.


Ecclesiastes 12:6-7
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.



Ecclesiastes 4:4-6
Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
    “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.” 
And yet,
   “Better to have one handful with quietness
    than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”



Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Ecclesiastes 3:9-10
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 


Genesis 3:16-19
Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”


Ecclesiastes 3:11
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 


God has the complete view. We have a point of view. (11a)


Our longing for eternity proves that we are made for it.  (11b)


Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.


Matthew 6:31-34
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”


Ecclesiastes 3:14
And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.


Ecclesiastes 12:13
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.


Hebrews 10:26-31
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


Hebrews 9:27
….each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment……


Ecclesiastes 3:15
What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh. 
   A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. 
   A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching. 
   A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.


Interpreting and Applying Ecclesiastes

Cynic: Wisdom applies Ecclesiastes by rejecting the counsel within it.
Hedonistic: Wisdom discerns and derives pleasure from God while we live under the sun.
Apologetic: Wisdom argues that this life is something but never enough.



Ecclesiastes 11:8a
When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days.


Trust God with the times


Psalm 31:14-15a
But I am trusting you, O Lord, 
   saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.


Reflect on your own mortality


Hebrews 9:27-28
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.


Galatians 4:4
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 


Romans 5:3-6
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.


Acts 1:6-7
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.”


Make adjustments according to the seasons


Romans 12:15
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.



Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Ecclesiastes 1:12-15
I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.


Knowing the difference hasn’t made a difference


John 3:19
God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.


Ecclesiastes 1:16-18
I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.


Being “right” hasn’t made things right


Ecclesiastes 2:12-16
So I decided to compare wisdom with foolishness and madness (for who can do this better than I, the king?). I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. For the wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark.” Yet I saw that the wise and the foolish share the same fate. Both will die. So I said to myself, “Since I will end up the same as the fool, what’s the value of all my wisdom? This is all so meaningless!” For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.


Ecclesiastes 2:17
So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.


1 Corinthians 15:17-18
And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.


Ecclesiastes 2:18-23
I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world. Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.


Controlling your business won’t control the future


Luke 12:20-21
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”


Plural pleasures won’t provide singular satisfaction  (2:1-11)


Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.



Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Genesis 3:23-24
So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


Revelation 22:1-3
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.


Ecclesiastes 1:1
These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.


Proverbs 1:1
These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.


 “The wisdom of Proverbs gives us eyes to recognize the storm clouds and what to do in response. In Ecclesiastes, death is an F-5 Tornado from which no proverbial basement can shelter us.”   
-Zack Eswine, “Recovering Eden”


“I do not think that I am in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about him. The conclusion I dread is not, “So there’s no God after all,” but “so this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.”
-Lewis, “A Grief Observed”


Ecclesiastes 1:2
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”


James 4:14
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.


Ecclesiastes 1:3
What do people get for all their hard work under the sun


Romans 7:18
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.


Ecclesiastes 1:4-8
Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. 
The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 
The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 
Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. 
Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.


Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.


1 Corinthians 15:56-57
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Corinthians 15:58
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.


Ephesians 6:7-8
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.


“In the Lord” not “Under the Sun”


Romans 8:18-23
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.