Central Baptist Church
Friday, September 25, 2020

Morning Worship Sermon

Ecclesiastes 9:1-10
          The Texas oil man did everything with style.  One day, all his friends gathered around him as he sat at the steering wheel of a brand-new Cadillac Coup Deville.
          He was wearing a hot pink sports coat and had five hundred dollar bills clutched in his hands – he looked so natural!
          He almost looked alive!
          But he was embalmed, ready to be lowered into the grave, buried in the manner of his choosing.  He appeared ready to cruise right on up to the pearly gates in his brand new set of wheels.
          As his friends walked around the car, one of them whispered to another, “Man, that’s living!”
          Actually, forks, that’s dying!
          You can give death a pink sports coat or a Cadillac, but that doesn’t change a thing.Dead is dead!
          There is only one requirement for death – all the living must be over.
          Now we would rather talk about anything but death.  The subject is so disliked that we don’t want to address it directly.  We call it by many different names passed away, gone to a better place, sleeping in Jesus, gone home, and then there’s the ever popular gone to be with the Lord.
          Now these are the euphemisms we use around the funeral home, but on the job or at the store we use somewhat different terms, terms like kicked the bucket, bought the farm, cashed in his chips, bit the dust, and again that ever popular he croaked!
          Whether we lean to the reverent or the flippant, we shy away from speaking directly of the ultimate enemy of us all, death.
          Are we not like the person who said, “Oh, I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
          This may seem like a morbid subject – but it’s not.  It’s a very realistic and relevant subject.
          The statistics on people dying are exactly the same for the rich and the poor, for the educated and the uneducated, and for the Christian and the lost.
          100% of all persons born are going to die, so that makes death a relevant subject.
          Solomon was facing his own mortality when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes during his final years.  He confronted the subject head on!
1.  The Reality Of Death
Ecclesiastes 9:1-2 “For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.”
          Several years ago we had a young family in one of the Churches we pastored.  He had three precious little girls whom he had never spent a Christmas with.  He was an oil field worker who worked 28 & 28 in Brazil and again he was to be out on Christmas.
          He told his boss he was not going back on this rotation, he wanted to be home with his girls for Christmas.  His boss replied, “If you do, I’ll send you to the North Sea when you go out.”
          Willie Earl replied, “What ever.”
          He spent Christmas with his girls and went to the North Sea on a rig called the Ocean Ranger.  While out, the rig went down and there were no survivors.
          I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for those men, knowing that the end was immanent?
          In reality folks, the end is immanent, we’re all living out a death sentence – the important thing is what we do with the “Living out” part of that phrase.

2.  The Responses To Death
          Solomon shows us we can identify two things not to do and one thing to do when it comes to responding to death.
A.  Don’t deny it
Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”
          How we respond to death says volumes about what we really believe.
          As I conduct funerals one of the most frequent remarks I hear is, “Preacher, keep it short.”
          I once conducted the graveside services for a family from out of town, when the procession arrived the Funeral Director came to me and presented me with an envelope and he prefaced it with these words, “I’ve been instructed to tell you that this is a 10 minute envelope!”
          I often wonder if they are not just trying to deny the reality of death by, “Keeping it short!”

B.  Don’t ignore it
Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”

          If we ignore it, maybe it will pass us by!
          Look, it’s better to be a despised dog and alive, than the king of beasts, but dead.
          Folks, hope in hope avails nothing, but hope in Christ is totally different.  Death is real but it has been overcome by the resurrection of Christ.
          Don’t ignore it, death is coming – so live life while you can!
C.  Don’t embrace it
          Solomon don’t want us to be morbid, discouraged, or oppressed because of the certainty of death.
          Eat every meal like you’re at a banquet!
Ecclesiastes 9:7 “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”
Proverbs 15:17 “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”
          Every meal that goes by without using it as an opportunity to interact with friends and loved ones is an opportunity missed.
          Celebrate every day like you at a party.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 “Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.”
          Make every day a celebration of life as a gift from God.
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
          Don’t become so preoccupied with death to the point you forget that life is to be lived as a celebration of the goodness of God.
          Then Solomon said enjoy every day of your marriage like your on your honeymoon.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”
          Lifelong marriages take work and commitment, but it can be the source of unending joy when you invest in it daily.
          Then go to work every day like it was you last day to work.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
          Thank God every day for the work you have to do and ask Him to use you in your job for His glory and honor.
          Our work should become a form of worship.
Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
          These admonitions from Solomon can transform our lives from one of dullness and drudgery, to one of joy, anticipation, and expectation.
          Do you worry about death and dying.
          Folks, God wants us to focus on the joy of living, not on the certainty of dying.
          Now if you have Christ in your heart you need not be afraid of death.
          This is what Solomon is searching for heaven on earth and paradise in our hands, it is delivery from the dread and drudgery.
Psalms 118:24 “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”