Speaker: Pastor Dave Hwang
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
"I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun."
The Vanity of Pleasures and Possessions
Ba'alism- the subjective experience
- Fulfillment of basic human need immediately
- Ecstasy of feelings
Changed the worship of God
Became more about what God can do for them
To get stuff from God.
"Blessed by God"
- I'm rich
- I've got more stuff
- I feel good
No longer a cry for God's presence, but a cry for God to give them things.
Only pleasant experiences.
Idol worship with golden calf
Moses gets to see God's back
Awed by His Presence
Ba'alism is alive and well in the world today.
The worship of experience
- Sensory participation
- Being entertained
- "Entertain me. Stimulate my senses."
- Sex is everywhere- sex sells everything
Everything boils down to the acquisition of stuff: Lust, gluttony, and indulgence.
Carnal desire- to be satisfied immediately and at all costs
The influence on the people of God has not gone away.
Spiritual struggles of Israel shed light on our own struggles today.
Core of our motives: All about us
- Did I get something out of it?
- DId it make me feel good?
You actually don't gain anything. You lose everything.
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
The worship of God is NOT about us.
Sensory pleasures not the goal of our worship of God.
How much we've let Ba'alism into our Christian lives.
Costco of Church ouch.
To get the best according to our own standards
We need to be entertained
Ministry as a menu.
When the need to be satisfied is our primary goal before seeking God, then it's a problem
How do we combat it?
"Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind."
It's not about us.
The natural outcome of living for yourself is war.
World filled with consumers- selfish ambition and vain conceit
Why the world is the way it is
When we live for ourselves, we really wind up living a foolish life.
Everything we fight so hard for we can't even take with us when we die.
You can't take it with you.
Telling the truth to people who don't deserve it.
The centre of life is God.
He saves us from ourselves.
Came to show us what true living is all about.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
True blessing: Forgiveness of sins, eternal life after death, communion with God
What are our motives?
To fear God and keep His commandments?
To fear us and keep our commandments?
God made us to worship Him in freedom
Freed us to live like Him
To serve and not be served
To live the way God designed us, in His own image
The Holy of Holies- place where God dwelt on Earth: Centre of Life
Altar for sacrifice- to give and not take
On Calvary- where the fullness of His glory was revealed
God incarnate giving Himself as sacrifice for us.