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You Have Questions, We Have Answers
06/30/2013
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
Track 11 of 10 in the Pipe Dream series
Running time: 59 minutes, 08 seconds.
When some people struggle with lifes mysteries; few seem to care. But when certain groups of people struggle with the same questions; there is major scandal. Our colleges and universities are filled today with professors and teachers whose main job is to raise questions and think about lifes toughest issues. It is a very dangerous practice for a college professor to give a hard answer to many of these questions.



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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 12:9-14
You Have Questions, We have Answers

We are now to the end of our study on Ecclesiastes. Solomon has taught us a lot. He has taught us many things that run against conventional wisdom of today’s thinkers. If Solomon were living today and would appear on many of the cable talk news shows, he would be considered a right wing radical with all of his ideas on life.

When some people struggle with life’s mysteries; few seem to care. But when certain groups of people struggle with the same questions; there is major scandal. Our colleges and universities are filled today with professors and teachers whose main job is to raise questions and think about life’s toughest issues. It is a very dangerous practice for a college professor to give a hard answer to many of these questions.

True or False: To answer a question places your intelligence in question.

How many times have you sat in a conversation with someone or within a group when questions are raised that you know the answers to? Are you by nature someone who has to give your answer or are you by nature someone who would rather be quiet, keep your knowledge to yourself?

What happens when the educators or thinkers are proven wrong? So the whole practice many times is to question, not to answer. Those who make their living in institutions of higher learning are paid to think and to resist the standard answers. They are paid to be cynical and humanistic, fatalistic and pessimistic. That is why Allen D. was unwilling to give an answer when Allen Keys asked him the question about right and wrong. Allen D. stated that he didn’t know what was right or wrong? He only wanted to raise a question to everything, especially the validity of God’s moral law.

BUT not the preachers. When a preacher rebels, here is a scandal. When a minister questions the text, churches split. It can even make the headlines. It is news when a well-known preacher questions the things he once embraced. If he tears pages from his Bible and says I no longer think this is valid, all of heaven rumbles.

What would you think would happen if Chuck on a Sunday morning announced that the first Chapter in Romans was no longer valid? That after much thinking and reading, he no longer believed what Romans 1 taught and highly questioned all that Paul wrote in Romans as valid anymore because chapter one was so far off?

What would the church elders do?
What would the congregation do?

Imagine if Jerry Falwell announced on Geraldo Rivera that he no longer believed abortion was wrong. That he came to the conclusion that since so many disagreed with him, he must be wrong so he now is going to question whether it is right for the church to take such a hard stand against the practice. What would happen?

There is an unwritten yet renowned law regarding ministers which says, “Thou shalt not doubt, struggle or rebel. And if thou dost, thou art dust.” And here lies the mystery of Solomon’s journey and journal. That is why we have a tough time accepting and interpreting his words with any sense of calm resolve. Solomon isn't some scientist or philosopher wondering through the questions of life. Solomon is a preacher and he has the gall to declare that all is empty. Life isn't worth living. There is nothing to it.

Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. He was the stalwart of the faith and morality, But no longer. He is now soft on immorality and paganism. He has become cynical of orthodox theology. Solomon was not just some philosopher of his time. He was the king and he was the wisest man ever to have lived and was the wisest man of his time. Surely Solomon would have a grasp on the truth in these areas of life. But he didn't.

Preachers learn how and with whom to share their doubts. There are not many who can handle it when a preacher dumps a few of their struggles on them. They are supposed to be the rocks for which we cling when in trouble. But what happens when the rocks cry out for help?

Without hesitation, Solomon told it all. He lacked morality at times and he wasn't always correct in his lifestyle. He wrote this journal we call Ecclesiastes giving us a look into all his doubts and fears and admitting all his mistakes. Very few great men allow others to see that part of their lives. But Solomon wants us to learn hard truths from his mistakes. His sayings sometimes will take us back a little. But he tells the truth. All is vanity. Life is an empty pursuit. He states that as he looked for all the right answers, he ended up finding more questions. He wondered if there was anything more to life.

A Closing Confession of Solomon

I find it exciting to travel. I enjoy flying and I love the excitement in getting ready for a trip. But when the tip is done, it is nice when the plane returns safely to the runway that I left earlier. The journey is over and I learned a lot from my trip. For Solomon, it is the same way. Except for him, the name of the runway was called vanity. He started his journey with it and he lands at the same place.

For many people today, life with out the Lord is a pathetic life. If life is all you have, according to Solomon, you have nothing but emptiness. We must get above the sun. And that is exactly what Solomon does as he turns the page to the end of his journal. Unless we connect with the living God through faith in Jesus, life is reduced to empty existence.

Ecclesiastes 12:8-14 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Everything is meaningless!" Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails--given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Most likely Solomon traveled with a note pad. There is no doubt that he was an organized man by the way he writes and keeps his thoughts together and orderly. I always admired people who were serious about recording their thoughts and ideas. I actually know people who sleep with a note pad by their bedside in case a good idea or thought comes to them while they sleep. I always wanted to develop the habit of writing my prayers when I prayed so I could monitor how God was helping me. I have never mastered that. I am impressed on how Solomon recorded his life’s journey.

See how Solomon puts it? He says words are like goads. What does he mean here and what are goads?

How are words like goads?
Where is Solomon’s words pushing us?

Solomon doesn't stop with goads, he also says words are like well driven nails. His use of the word nails is the word for tent stake. How are words like well driven tent stakes?

Notice Solomon distinguishes between words and well-driven words. In his verses, he says well driven words are given by one Shepherd. What does he mean by that?

Solomon distinguishes between words that lead to the truth and many other words. There are words of theory, ideas and ways of life written into books. But according to Solomon, do they matter? Look at verse 12.

Also notice that Solomon waits until the very end to actually give advice to his son. Why does he wait so long to make his final point? How would the world’s opinion differ with verse 12?

Can you imagine a speaker getting up at a college commencement address and saying the following, “I've got a simple plan, just throw away all the books and chances are good, you won’t miss a thing.” Think about all the information out there in the world today. We live in the information age. But when it comes down to things that matter, how much of that information is relevant?

The thing I like about Solomon’s conclusion is there isn't this drum role or great attention demanded to his final words. He just states the final truth to the matter.

FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS

Notice the second half of that statement. Who is to fear God and keep his commands?

There are two things man needs to do.

• Respect God, take Him seriously
• Do what he says

In the end, Solomon states that those two truths are the things that matter. In all that is written and said, only two things in life are worth holding onto. Respect and obey God.

How do we teach this to our children? How do our kids learn this valuable lesson? To Solomon’s son, this is the final teaching.

How does the world go about destroying these truths?
What lies are they teaching our kids?
What lies are we allowing our kids to hear and see?

In his last statement, Solomon states the reason for the two commands. What I the reason and truth?

Someone will most likely come along and say I don’t believe that. What do you think Solomon’s response would be? I don’t care!

In the final analysis, what is more important, what you prefer to believe or what God actually says? In the final analysis, we will do business with God. Count on it!

Why do you think Solomon ends his journey with this statement of judgment? Because it is real and this fact will enter into everyone’s actions.

Man knows this is true. Built into every man deep down inside is this truth. If not, then why is the everyday struggle over right vs. wrong and the fight to remove accountability? And even when accountability is removed, there are still limitations that cause us not to enjoy our unaccountable lives?