This sermon podcast features the verse by verse, expository, preaching of North Valley Baptist Church in Mayfield, Pennsylvania. For more information about NVBC, and for the full sermon archive, go to visitnvbc.com
A Pessimistic Optimism: Purposelessness
A part from God there is no purpose in life. The atheist my claim there is purpose, but they can only arbitrarily make such claims. Because if life is the result of chance and happenstance, with no creator to create for a purposes, then there can be no purpose in life. The Christian knows there is a Creator, and He is the one revealed to us in the Bible. And since there is a creator life does indeed have purpose, worth and value. But even though the Christian knows that, does the Christian ever live as if there is no God? Are their ever days when you live without recognizing God's place in your life, without trusting Him, and living for Him, seeking to do what pleases Him. If so, then you live as if there is no God, and so you live without purpose.
A Pessimistic Optimism: An Introduction to Ecclesiastes
In the book of Ecclesiastes, which Pastor Scott argues was likely written by King Solomon, we find that everything that is done under the sun is vanity of vanities. Every pursuit and work is utterly worthless when they are sought apart from recognizing God and His proper place as judge over all. But when we live this life in the fear of the Lord, recognizing His proper place in our lives, then we find what it truly means to live. We see, in Ecclesiastes that Solomon writes with a pessimistic optimism. In other words, he was a realist. He saw life for what it truly is and he spoke truthfully. Jay Adam's describes Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, by saying "He understands that life under the sun is life lived under God's curse with sin and all its consequences. He is genuinely pessimistic about man and his achievements, but supremely optimistic about God and His. And should be nothing but optimism about the lot of those who fear Him."
The Righteous and the Wicked
Proverbs 28:1-9 is a series of short pithy proverbs, by King Solomon, in a section where Solomon is contrasting the wicked with the righteous. This is important to understand God's standard of righteousness. As followers of Jesus Christ the only righteousness we have, as we stand before God, is the righteousness credited to us by Jesus Christ. But for all of us who have been justified in God's sight, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, who has given us a new heart that desires to live to please our God and Lord. Therefore, God is growing us in sanctification as we pursue righteous living to the glory of our great God and Savior.
The Dangerous Fool - Proverbs 26:18-28
The Bible tells us that wisdom is living a moral life to please God. Therefore, those who continue in rebellion against God are fools and have evil in their heart. In Proverbs 26:18-28 we see how dangerous a fool is, and especially when he tries to hide the evil of his heart with his words.
Guard Your Heart Like Your Life Depends On It - Proverbs 4:20-27
When we fall into sin where does that come from? When we find ourselves acting in anger, jealousy, greed or lust; where does that come from? The Bible tells us whatever we find in the outliving of our lives comes from our inner person, from our hearts. If we want real change in our lives, and true repentance, it must start in the heart. Many people aim for behavior modification, and outward change, but for true lasting change that pleases God, we must aim to change the heart. And changing the heart is really something only God can do.
Trust and Obedience - Proverbs 3:1-12
What do we do when what we read in the Bible does not match up with all of the voices and claims to morality that is out in the world? What do we do when what we read in the Bible does not match up with our understanding of what is best, or of what is right and wrong? There maybe be times where our feelings on what we should do, or the best course of actions, and even when it comes to fulfilling our desires; the Bible, from our point of view, may not line up with out reasoning? When this happens should we trust what God says, or our own understanding? Proverbs 3:5-6 calls us to trust in the Lord and not learn on our own understanding. God is our Lord! He is all wise, and His ways are true. We must trust Him and His Word, and therefore live in obedience to Him, not our reasoning, feelings and wisdom.
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