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Rules Count
04/21/2013
Scripture: Hebrews 4:12-13; Ecclesiastes 5:1-7; Heb...
Track 5 of 10 in the Pipe Dream series
Running time: 58 minutes, 59 seconds.
We are going to take a step back from the meaningless work and struggle Solomon writes about and were going step into the awesome presence of God to worship and focus our full attention on Him. Today, many dont take God seriously. Even Christians seem at times to forget that God is real and He has set a very high standard for us to live by. He expects us to be successful in it and He has invested a lot so that we would come out on top for Him.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Rules Count

Much of what we have studied so far about Solomon’s ideas and observations are on the horizontal plane of life…the bitter, the barren and the boring side of life. But on a few rare occasions the man breaks out and sees the vertical perspective to life and a good relationship with God.

Today’s lesson will be one of those rare times. We are going to take a step back from the meaningless work and struggle Solomon writes about and were going step into the awesome presence of God to worship and focus our full attention on Him. Today, many don’t take God seriously. Even Christians seem at times to forget that God is real and He has set a very high standard for us to live by. He expects us to be successful in it and He has invested a lot so that we would come out on top for Him.

We are going to look at only 7 verses today. But these verses are very powerful. To set the stage, we are going to look at a set of scriptures from the New Testament: Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Today when you look at the world, everything seems to be so complicated. There is a lot going on now that seems confusing and hard to understand. There is this desire deep down inside for life to be simple and when things are complex we find the basics in life that help make life meaningful again. People hunger for the basic answers in life and simple solutions.

In sports, when great teams start to stall and falter, the one thing good coaches do is get their players to go back to the basics and they work to make the process simple. In our spiritual worship, the same applies. Christians can get caught up in the ritualistic complicated ways of reaching God. People today, as always are looking for sensible basics and simplicity as they attempt to connect with God. THE BIBLE is still the best seller of all books because it is brilliant on the basics and simple in a complex world.

According to Hebrews, what does the Bible do?

• It pierces – It cuts through all the garbage. It cuts through all the phony and lame excuses. It cuts through all the walls we like to hide behind. It cuts to the core of the issue.

• It judges - We get the word critic from the Greek term “judge”. Literally it means, “to sift”.
It reads and reveals the truth, the whole truth.

Why does God’s Word work? What is it about God’s Word that when they are declared and believed, they work?

Verse 13 gives a couple reasons:

• It is universal in scope – No one is hidden. No creature can hide from its truths

• It is limitless in its exposure – The term “laid bare” comes from the Greek word from where we get our English word trachea. Talk about the throat of the lamb when sacrificed…goes for the jugular.

This is the attitude we have to have when we come to this set of verse in Ecclesiastes 5. Chapter 5 gives us God’s understanding about WORSHIP. There is our perspective and then there is God’s

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 (NIV)
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the [temple] messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.

In the first verse, Solomon sets the contrast. There is the careful worshiper and then there is the fool. Describe for me the fool. Have you ever been to an airport and over the loud speaker you hear a recorded message over and over again that says it is illegal to park in the white zone? And when you walk by the white zone there are cars parked there and the police are giving tickets. You want to shout sometimes, “You idiot, No Parking”!

Are there rules we break about our relationship with God? If so, why are we surprised when discipline comes?

In these seven verses, Solomon unfolds 4 commands about worship. Each of these commands has it’s own reason connected to it.

Command #1: Draw Near and Listen Well (5:1)
Reason: Because God is Communicating

What is the sacrifice Solomon is talking about?

Hebrews 13:15-16 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

What is your attitude when you come to worship God? All that you say on Sunday and all that you pray, what does it sound like? What is in your mind and what is in your heart? When see a sign that says, “No Parking”, what do you think it means?

Just like a no parking zone, the pew zone is the same. The pew zone is for learning and listening and changing only! No Parking!

How much truth is being ignored every Sunday that comes from worship? Why is that?

True or False: It only takes one to speak the truth. False: It requires one to speak and one to listen.

Next week, try an experiment. Be quiet. Try silence and try listening to God and what he is saying to you. Learn, Listen and Change.

Command #2: Be Quiet and Stay Calm (5:2-3, 7)
Reason: Because God Hears the Inaudible and Sees the Invisible

Don’t daydream! What is going on when you doodle? How many times have you reduced worship to verbal doodling? It is easy to doodle our way through worship. How many times have you caught yourself thinking about something else during worship? You might be a thousand miles away on vacation in your mind when you are suppose to have your mind on HIM.

How many of you can sit down this morning and write down all the promises you made today to God while in worship? What promises did you sing today to God? Do you remember? Did you even realize the promises? You are also accountable for the promises!

What would it be like if you could call up the history file of your prayer life during worship and print it out? What would be found there? How much of it would be repetitive? How much wouldn't make sense?

Command #3: Make a Commitment and Keep It (5:4-5)
Reason: Because God Believes It and Doesn't Forget

Today, what is the feeling about commitment? How serious are we about keeping vows? Why are we giving them up so easily anymore? How serious is God about vows? How far do you think God will go in holding you accountable to your vows?

Command #4: Don’t Decide Now and Deny Later (5:6)
Reason: Because God Doesn't Ignore Our Decisions

Notice here that Solomon didn't write, “If you make a vow”. He wrote, “When you make a vow” He knows we will make commitments sometime in our lives.

True or False: A man’s word is very important to me. Keeping my word and keeping my promises are even more important!

But notice here in these verses that Solomon assumes we will keep our vows, His concern and urging is to not delay in fulfilling the vow.

How many times have you made a vow with the intention of not fulfilling the vow?
For most people, their intention is to fulfill the vow. But it is easy to make vows with the intention of fulfilling it later. Next week becomes next month, then next year, then never.

How serious is God about you keeping your vow? It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.

Duet. 23:21-23 If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.

What does it mean when Solomon writes, “Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?” Does God really do this?

How many Christians are living defeated lives today because they are delaying in a vow they made? What type of vows do people make; examples?

What do you think; can the cost of not keeping your vow be more than the cost of paying he vow? What about Ananias and Sapphira? What was God so angry with them?