“Seeing Good in the Day of Adversity” – Ecclesiastes 7:1–14
Hear now, the word of the Lord from Ecclesiastes 7:1-14.
A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-14, ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever. Well, my wife and I have several children and we've had children in our home through foster care at various times. One thing that we've learned about children is that you love them so much. Yet sometimes it can be frustrating to watch the way that they live their lives, because they don't always know what is good for them.
Sometimes, for example, children want to play rough and they're in a good mood and want to play rough, and they're excited about playing rough and the rough game escalates and you warn them, say that's not going to end well. They play rough and suddenly someone gets a scratch or a bump and then the world is over. It seemed good in the moment, and yet it was a bad choice when they look back on it.
Sometimes the rule is you can't have dessert without eating the vegetables and they don't want to eat the vegetables. The vegetables don't seem good to them. So, they sit at the table and refuse to eat the vegetables, and then they are upset and can't fathom why they wouldn't get the dessert. It's hard to learn what is good in life.
Indeed, as I consider my own life, I'm still struggling with these basic lessons. I usually eat my vegetables, but I think of the fact that I want to grow in wisdom. The Bible is very clear about how to gain wisdom, about the good things to do to gain wisdom. So, I have to ask myself, is my delight truly deeply from the soul in the law of the Lord? Do I meditate on God's word day all the way through until night?
Or I want to be someone who is characterized by peace? I want to be anxious for nothing. Again, the Bible tells us what is good, how to pursue that. But I have to ask myself, is it true that in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving, I make my requests known to God? So, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. You see even for what we know to be good? Sometimes in the moment, we struggle to truly believe that it is in fact good.
The Bible tells us why this is, that there is a corruption deep in our souls that bends us or inclines us or orient's us or distorts our perception in such a way so that we don't always see good for what it is. We don't recognize it for what it is and sometimes we call evil good.
Well, how do we fight this? Well, fighting this begins by an acknowledgement of our ignorance, to say, I don't know what is good for me and I need to help. It begins also by a refusal to trust our own intuition to discern between good and evil. It requires us then to be quick to remind ourselves that God alone knows what is good. That's our big idea for today that God alone knows what is good.
So, in the passage that we're looking at today, the preacher is going to talk about good things.
1. Dying Well
2. Living Well
3. Trusting God in Life and Death.
So let's start with dying well in verses one through six. Before we get into the first six verse, I want to remind you about the verse right before the section that we're looking at in Ecclesiastes 6:12. We talked about last week that the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes really marked the first half of the book, and in the first half of the book, the preacher is essentially surveying absolutely everything under the sun to try to investigate whether there actually is lasting good that we can find in this world. He does this thorough, complete, exhaustive search of the world and discovers that there is nothing truly good in this world.
So, the way that the first half ends in verse 12 is with two questions. Look at the first question. Ecclesiastes 6:12
For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? Ecclesiastes 6:12, ESV
Who knows what is good? Well, in the passage that we are looking at today, as if to answer this question and versus one through 14, the word good appears 11 times. Eleven times the word good appears in 14 verses. Do you want to know what's good? Well, the preacher is about to tell us what is good. However, it's not at all what we think it would be.
So, in verse one, we find this principle, this proverb right out of the gate. A good name is better than precious ointment. We say, great, fantastic. I can do this. Pursue a good name, a good reputation. Got it. Check. What else you got for me? Then we go to the next half of verse one and Derek Kitchener and his commentary writes, "There's really nothing that prepares you for the body blow that follows in the second half of the first verse"
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1, ESV
Well, there are a lot of attempts to explain how these two halves of verse one fit together, and some people don't think that they fit together at all. But I think Michael Eaton is surely right when he says that this is a comparison. As a good name is better than precious ointment, so the day of death is better than the day of birth. They're comparing it. You know, the one you don't have to be really instructed on the one that one sort of an easy principle, but the second one, you need to understand that this is just as good. In fact, more good for you to think about the day of your death and the day of your birth.
But why is this the case? Well, it's certainly not that God prefers death to life, it's certainly not that death itself is better than life. God is the ever living one. God is the one who has life in himself. God is the giver of life. God sent his own son, Jesus Christ, into this world to raise up the dead to new life. God loves life, and he hates death. Death is the last enemy that will be defeated. Death is not better than birth. That's not what he is saying, but we get something of what he is saying in verse two.
What is he really mean? Well, verse two he says,
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.Ecclesiastes 7:2, ESV
. This idea of laying it to heart means to consider it, to ponder it. When we think of our heart, we think of our emotions, our feelings. However, when the Old Testament talks about the heart by far most often, it's talking about the way that we think in the Old Testament. The heart is the seat of your thinking, not your feeling.
In fact, many times when you read about the mind or the thoughts, you are really reading a word that in the original Hebrew actually is heart, and it's just translated into something that will better understand since we think about the mind as the seat of thinking. The heart is the seat of thinking in Hebrew thinking, and the preacher wants us to lay this to heart to grapple with this, to consider this that a funeral is better than the house of feasting.
Well, what should we be considering? While verse three,
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.Ecclesiastes 7:3, ESV
. There's again the heart. Now literally this is by evil of face, or sadness of face. This is the phrase that is used to describe when Joseph comes into the prison cell and sees the Pharaoh's cup bearer and his baker there. They've had this dream that's disturbing and they don't know what to make with it. Will they have evil of face, is what it says. They're disturbed, they're vexed, they're not sure what to make of this. So, Joseph asked them, what's wrong? the preacher says it's by this vexation, this disturbed nature of your face that the heart is made literally good.
When we are disturbed by sorrow and we are disturbed by the funerals that interrupt our lives, this is good. This sorrow is good, not because death is good, but because this forces us to consider the end of all mankind, our own end, our own mortality, the fact that we too will die. That any good that we encounter in this Earth, the mirth, the feasting, the laughter, all of this, is fleeting, it's temporary, it's passing away, and it can't ultimately satisfy us.
So, verse four,
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 7:4-6, ESV
The preacher wants to make us think. The preacher wants us to grapple with not just in general big questions, but the ultimate questions, what is life and what is going to happen after death?
You know, there's a common question that people ask each other. Maybe you've asked it, or maybe you've considered it. If you knew that a week from today, you were going to die. That next week, the next Lord's day, next Sunday would be your last day of living. How would you spend the next seven days? What would you do? Particularly, how would what you would do over the next seven days differ from the ways that you would ordinarily spend those seven days? If it was just another ordinary week where you got up and went to work and did everything else that you normally do?
Well, probably you wouldn't spend that week doing ordinary, normal things. You'd maybe try to check things off of your bucket list. Things that are exciting and adventurous that maybe you've always wanted to do but have always been content to put off for one day someday. Well, there aren't that many one day, some days left seven to be precise, so you want to get down to checking off those items off your bucket list. Or maybe you'd want to have a conversation, a conversation to reconcile with someone with whom you've been estranged. Or a conversation where you tell someone you love them in a way that you're not sure that you've ever expressed to them, to let them know how much they mean to you. If you knew that you were going to die in a week, your life would change over the course of this week.
The preacher here is asking a similar, but a very different question. He's saying if you laid it to heart that you were going to die someday, how would that change the rest of your life, whether you have a little or a long time left to live? Not just if I introduced you some concept that you didn't realize that you were going to die, probably you do know that you're going to die. All of us know theoretically that our days are numbered and then we must die someday. But if you laid it to heart. If that thought truly captivated your mind and your heart. How would that change the way you would otherwise ordinarily live? How would it redirect the course of life that you would naturally go upon if death were no consideration for your life?
These are big questions, these are important questions, and as a church, we need to be a place where these questions are things that we are talking about. We want Harvest Community Church to be a place where we take these big questions seriously because they are of the utmost importance. These are very literally matters of life and death, and of eternal life and eternal death.
The Bible instructs us we should be like the wise. The wise recognize that the things that appear to be good in this world are nothing but vanity. They're a mist, they're a breath. They are here today and they are gone tomorrow. They cannot provide enduring, satisfying joy. They can only distract us for a little bit of time, and we are left back with the utter dissatisfaction we have in life. No closer to finding the satisfaction and the ultimate good that we are looking for.
Especially the celebration and the feasting and the laughter in the singing. These can distract us from the fact that we will die. Certainly, the preacher tells us elsewhere, there's a time and a season for everything. There is a time for celebration. There is a time for feasting and for laughter and for singing. The preacher doesn't want us to be miserable. But he's saying it is good, it is best for us to be considering our mortality.
Again, these questions are more than simply trying to understand the fact that we will die. Once we lay it to heart that we will die, not just know about it, but lay it to heart. Well, that raises another set of questions. How then should we live? If we live with a view toward our eventual death, how then should we live now?
This brings us to our second section. Number two, living well now in versus seven through 13. In the length of this section there are a number of proverbs, and some people just think these are just sort of random rapid fire proverbs, just considering one idea after another with no connection. But I think we can see some degree of connection and I characterized the connection in this way.
The preacher is talking about our reactivity and specifically how we should prepare ourselves to react as the life and circumstances change around us. A reactivity? Then second, our proactivity, regardless of the circumstances, how should we proactively live in life? Then third, our counter activity, what should we press back against? How should we cut against the grain? How should we swim against the current of how we would otherwise ordinarily live, if we did not lay it to heart that we too must die? As our days are numbered and the clock is ticking.
So, the preacher starts with reactivity, how should we react to the changing circumstances that we encounter in life? So he starts in verse seven saying,
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart. Ecclesiastes 7:7, ESV
Now, the preacher is not simply saying don't oppress people and don't take bribes. That's obvious. We know that, he knows that, he knows that we know that, he doesn't need to say that. What he's rather saying is when you encounter corruption and when you encounter oppression, you should be prepared for it. It shouldn't drive you to madness because you should know that it is coming.
Now again, this doesn't mean that we're passive about it, that we ignore it, that we just dismiss it or make justifications for it. But the preacher doesn't want us to be vexed about it. Prepare your heart to understand that this is a dark, sinful, broken world. Then verse eight, he says this,
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8, ESV
At the end of something is not more pleasurable than the beginning. Usually when we start something, you know, we just started our children's ministry on Wednesday night, this last week, and it was a tremendous amount of fun. Everyone was excited. Everything went really well. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It's more fun to start things than to end things, because then things mean that it's done or it failed, or it didn't work out the way you thought it would.
The preacher says it's not more pleasurable, but it's better because when you come to the end of something, you don't have the same blind optimism as when you start. I think this children's ministry is going to revolutionize our children's discipleship. Children will be impacted for eternity, and I think that's true. But the preacher says, slow your roll, don't have too high of expectations. This is a difficult dark world. It's better for you to think about the end of things and to be patient with whatever comes then to be proud and arrogant about what you were able to achieve in your life. Prepare your reactions accordingly.
In verse nine,
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.Ecclesiastes 7:9, ESV
Why is this? Why does anger lodge in the heart of fools? Well, anger comes with unmet expectations. When you want something, you expect something, whether you say it out loud or you just expect it because, of course that's what you would expect, you don't need to say it. When those expectations are unmet, that's when anger suddenly rises, rushes to the surface.
Well, the preacher saying the wives don't have these kinds of high expectations. The wise know that this world is broken, they know that this world is full of vanity. When you have low expectations, it's much more difficult to become angry because you weren't expecting better.
Ten in verse 10, the preacher gives us one more reactivity statement, preparing yourselves for your reactions to the changing circumstances of life. He says
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.Ecclesiastes 7:10, ESV
Now this comes up a lot, we think a lot about the good old days. The French have this remarkable statement, "Oh, the good old days when we were all so unhappy." You see we tend to wear rose colored glasses about the past. Oh, I was so happy then, things were so easy then, because we've forgotten about how difficult things were then, just as things are difficult now. It's a lie to have nostalgic views that sugarcoat everything that happened in the in the past. Evil is always with us; vanity is always with us under the sun.
There's another reason that there's a problem with nostalgia. It's that pining for the past won't fix anything in the present. It is not from wisdom that you say this.
Well, again, this is the preacher coaching us on a life live well, of how we should train our reactions to the changing circumstances of our world. In addition to this, the preacher then goes on to talk about our proactivity. Regardless of what happens, regardless of what you face, how should you proactively build your life? What he talks here is about the proactivity toward stability in life and particularly he's going to talk about financial stability in life. Pursuing financial stability is not sin. It is wisdom, it is wise stewardship.
Now he's not talking about success where you spend every waking moment toiling after the next dollar. He said already that that is an appetite that will never satisfy you. If you're idol, if your life is spent chasing after money. He's not talking about that. Trying to get as rich as you can so that you can live with the pleasures that you want to live with.
He's talking rather simply about stability. So, verse 11,
Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun. Ecclesiastes 7:11, ESV
When we think about inheritance, I think a lot of times maybe you don't, but at least I do, I think a lot of times about the way that very often inheritance means just sort of a transfer of cash. Even when there are assets like land or other property, a lot of times those are liquidated so that it can, so that the inheritance can be more easily divided between people.
But in the ancient world, there was one thing to transfer down from generation to generation, land. Land was the source, the foundation of what you would do to be able to work the land to make money. You couldn't manufacture more land, so either you had land to be able to work and to make your wealth or you didn't. So, gaining inheritance was a big deal in terms of a foundation for stability to be able to grow your wealth and to become stable in that society.
The preacher says wisdom is good with an inheritance. It's an advantage to those who see the sun. It's an advantage in some way. What is the advantage? Well, he tells us in verse 12,
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. Ecclesiastes 7:12, ESV
You need both he's saying, you need wisdom to live wisely and you need some kind of financial stability. Again, it's not sin to seek financial stability, its wisdom, it is wise stewardship. Again, he's not talking about seeking all the money you possibly can to make yourself wealthy. He's talking about stability.
One of the ways we know this is where he goes next. He talks about counter activity. How should we counter, how should we cut against the grain, how should we swim against the current, against the corruption of our souls that makes us desperate for good in this world that isn't to be found? Especially that we too often find with money. We see that as the good sometimes that will make us truly happy.
But in verse 13, the preacher reminds us that we've got to keep our eyes on what is true.
Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?Ecclesiastes 7:13, ESV
God is the one who has made creation and he originally made it straight, but then he made it crooked. Now what's he talking about here? Well, he's not talking about God despite us messing up creation so that we suffer. He's talking about the just judgment that has come in the form of a curse against creation because of human sin, because the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve.
We talked about this before, but I'll remind you the word that comes up so often in Ecclesiastes, the word vanity. That's a Hebrew word, Ecclesiastes written in Hebrew. Very early on before Christ came into the world the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek. The Greek word that they use to translate this word vanity is the word that Paul uses in Romans 8:20-21 to talk about the vanity of creation itself. That God has made crooked what was originally created straight. So Romans 8:20-21,
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.Romans 8:20-21, ESV
Neither wisdom nor money nor anything else in this world can overcome the futility of the curse. So, the preacher says we need to live well by preparing our reactions to disappointment in this life. By proactively seeking not to advance ourselves to the stars financially, but stability to get through this life. Then always counteracting the impulse, the desire, the draw to try to put too much stock, too much hope, too much faith in this world.
What the preacher is saying, part of living well, part of living with the end in mind with our impending death in view, is thinking in advance. That's part of it. Preparing your heart for your reactions in response to corruption and disappointment. To planning your finances proactively so that you know that the purchases you want today will not bring you the satisfaction that you are seeking. So, it leads you to rather prioritize savings and wise stewardship of the resources that God has entrusted to you. It means fighting the impulses and the desires and the passions and the lusts of your soul toward foolishness and evil by counteracting the lurches of your heart toward what will not truly satisfy.
Live well, the preacher says, live as well as you can. But even so, he says, fix it in your mind that living well will not be your salvation. This will not be the life hack that gives you perfect satisfaction and joy. That's what stoicism promises, not Christianity. You cannot ultimately make straight what God has made crooked. We are all waiting for the time when Jesus Christ will return to accomplish that, to make a new heavens and Earth, to make straight forever what has become crooked.
So the preacher is telling us to live then, well. Live from the first principle that everything in this world is vanity. He's not preaching simply self-denial, just live a really difficult life. He is rather telling us, deny yourself what is vanity in this life and exchange what can never be lost, what can never be corrupted for the eternal good that will come by the promise of God through faith.
Trusting in God in Life and in Death
The preacher underscores this point in verse 14, where he summarizes what he's getting at in this first half of the chapter.
The preacher says this,
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Ecclesiastes 7:14, ESV
Now, here are a couple of more instances of that word good that appeared 11 times in these 14 verses. We didn't look specifically at all of them, but in verse 14, it says in the day of prosperity, literally in the day of good, be joyful or literally be in good, in good spirits, be joyful. In the day of adversity, here it's the opposite of good, in the day of evil, consider God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
God has made the day of good, and he has made what the preacher calls here the day of evil. It's important to note we've mentioned this a couple of times, evil in Hebrew does not always mean moral evil and it doesn't mean moral evil here. The preacher is not charging God with moral evil. Evil means calamity or disaster. It's the ultimate extent of what it means that there is vanity in this world, that everything has been subjected to futility and frustration.
What the preacher is saying is that God has ordained both from the hand of God, both good and bad come. Why? So that man may not find out anything that will be after him. Now, I mentioned that much of this chapter is written to answer the question that was raised at the end of the last chapter. The first question of chapter 12, who knows what is good for man?
There's a second question and that question was this in Ecclesiastes 6:12 for who can tell man what will be after him under the sun? Well, now we find an answer to that question, too. God is established both good and the disaster, the calamity of this world, so that no man may find out anything of what will be after him. We are utterly helpless. We are completely dependent upon God. This is where God has put us to lead us to trust in him.
The wise live, according to two fundamental truths. Number one, the day of good is not permanent in this life. We don't chase it. We don't cling to it as it comes. We enjoy it as a gift from God. Recognizing that very soon life will change. Number two, that while we are not in control of what comes each day, God is. The wise live according to a principle not of control, of trying to live my best life now, but a principle of trust that God alone knows what is good. That's the big idea, God alone knows what is good.
One of my favorite books is a book by C.S. Lewis. It's a book called Perelandra. It's maybe not one of his better known books, not like The Chronicles of Narnia, but it's a fictional book. It's in the space trilogy, it's the second book in the space trilogy. In Perelandra C.S. Lewis imagines what would it be like if God created a new humankind on another planet? So he creates the first man and the first woman on another planet. This is assuming that everything that's happened in the Bible, everything that has happened in our history has already happened. What would it be like if God started with a new human race that was related to ours?
So as a part of this interrelation, God sends a Christian from this world, a man named Ransom, sends him to this other world, this planet named Perelandra. Perelandra is a planet that's covered with water, oceans everywhere. For them, the forbidden sin is not to eat from a particular tree, it's that in this world of water, they have to trust God for where they are going to sleep. They have to sleep on the vegetation that floats on the oceans. What they are forbidden from doing is to try to seek security and stability for their own by sleeping on the few set of fixed dry islands that are in that world. That's the constant temptation whether they should rebel against God in that way.
So, this Christian ransom has to convince and talk and plead with the Eve of that planet, she's called The Green Lady, to tell her not to commit that sin. What's so interesting about this book is how her perfect innocence and absolute ignorance of anything related to sin or death often teaches Ransom. Then Ransom from his knowledge of sin and death is teaching The Green Lady.
So, one of the best scenes in this is when The Green Lady, talking about all the swimming she does in her life says, "How can one wish any of those waves not to reach us, which the Lord is rolling towards us?" How would you not want, if the Lord is rolling it toward us, how would you not want one of those waves to reach us? Then Ransom, knowing the difficulties of his own life in this world Earth says, "Have you no fear that it will ever be hard to turn your heart from the thing you wanted to, the thing that the Lord sends?
The Green Lady learning says, "I see, the wave you plunge into and be very swift and great. You may need all your force to swim in it."
You mean, hey, the Lord might send me a good like that? She doesn't see it as anything that would harm her. She sees it as a good to be stretched in that way. But Ransom, something of a pessimist here says, "Yes or like a wave so swift and great that all your force was too little." The Green Lady says this, "But it often happens that way in swimming. Is not that part of the delight? That sometimes we are sent waves that are too much for us?"
The only reason she can say this is because she knows from whose hand every wave comes, and she trusts that if the Lord sends that wave to her, even if it overwhelms her and her strength is not enough, that's part of the delight.
The application from this passage, keeping the end in mind the eventual day of our death and trying to live well in light of that, trusting the Lord is this seize the day. Seize the day by specifically relinquishing control over your life. Many commentators in Ecclesiastes observed this theme of carpe diem, seize the day, throughout Ecclesiastes. There's always a twist.
Usually, when people talk about seizing the day, they talk about living for today, seize the day, live for today. But this theme in Ecclesiastes means seize the day by refusing to live for today.
So, the first way we see seize the day, is seize the day by living with sober recognition that you will die. Don't wait another day to contemplate your mortality. The fact that you must die.
If you ever have a chance to look at art from the 16th and 17th centuries, especially portraits and paintings of people, you will frequently find a human skull painted into the painting. Sometimes it'll be on the desk of the person being painted. I mean, these are nobles or kings or scientists or philosophers, great men and women, and they're painted with a skull, either on their desk or on a shelf, or sometimes they're holding it in their hands.
That was called a memento mori, Latin for a reminder of death. What they wanted to say is as significant as my life feels to me right now, as great as my accomplishments or achievements or position may be, I too will die.
Well, we need a memento mori in our lives. We need a reminder of death now. I'm not saying you have to get a human skull and put it on your nightstand. That might be creepy when you wake up in the shadows of the night. But nevertheless, we need reminders that we will die. Indeed, this is part of the reason that we call this day the pinnacle of our week, the Lord's Day, when we are gathered together. Part of what we are gathered together is to remember that this world is not our home, this world is not all that there is, and then we too will die.
Over the years, as we see beloved saints die and we bury them, and we were reminded again of our own death. Lord's day by Lord's Day, we gather together to remember the timeless one. Who entered into this world, who took on flesh so that he might suffer under all of the vanity and the frustration, the futility that we must undergo. That the Lord Jesus Christ might take upon himself our sin so that we might be saved. We gather week by week to remember him and to worship him.
Seize the day. The Bible says that because of our sin, God's wrath is against us, and God's wrath is infinite and it is everlasting so that unless you make peace with God, the Bible says that you will suffer in hell forever, bearing the curse of God's infinite wrath for all eternity. Oh, sinner, don't live for today. Don't live for pleasure and feasting and laughter and mirth and partying and entertainment.
Do you not know that one day your soul will be demanded of you? Do you not know that the righteous judge of all the Earth will surely demand that you give an account for how you have stewarded not just the wealth he is entrusted to you, but your life itself? God sent Christ, his son, the sinless one into this world. In your despair as you think about what am I going to do? Where will I run from the Lord? How will I escape his judgment?
Christ the Savior calls to you. There is hope. He excuses nothing of the heinousness of your sin, He doesn't minimize it, He doesn't sweep it under the rug. Christ came into this world to take all of the wrath of God against you, upon himself. To drink to the dregs, the cup of God's wrath against you. He went there out of love and mercy for you. You don't have to despair, you don't have to be without hope, because Christ alone has satisfied every bit of God's wrath. To show you the great love of God for you. Will you flee from the calamity and disaster and evil of your sin to find refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ? Will you turn away from the vain laughter of this world and turn to the true and solid lasting joys and pleasures of the master? Seize the day. Turn from your sin. Trust in Christ.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we pray that you would give us Jesus Christ. We pray that he would be the hope that every Lord's Day he the potentate of time, the one who set apart one day out of seven each week that we might gather in the pinnacle of our week to rejoice in the presence of the Lord. We pray that you would give us Christ, to know him, to love him, to embrace him as our eternal, everlasting good from this time forth and forevermore. It's in Christ's name we pray. Amen.