Posted by: Pastor J Jacobs on Mon, Aug 31, 2015
I. Proverbs 17:22
A. The Merry Heart. What a rare treasure in this modern world of ours!
B. I have been doing a lot of studying these days on two big subjects, and I was surprised at some of the discoveries. One strange thing I had not expected was that the Bible has almost as many references to Joy as it does to Anger
C. Do you know what JOY means? It means the ability to Shout! Having sufficient reason to be GLAD.
D. Now, in no way can someone just decide to be joyful. Something makes us joyful, and Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes sets out to find out what is it that makes people not just happy, but full of joy!
E. As a matter of fact, the Bible doesn’t just talk about the concept of joy and gladness, but God uses the phrase, “Everlasting Joy” (Isa 35:10; 51:11). Now, THAT is something worth having (like an Everlasting Gobstopper)!
II. Background (Eccl 2:1-23)
A. Solomon has “arrived.” He is now king of Israel, and boy is everything going right. So what is he to do? Well, God has given Solomon great wisdom.
B. Well, according to Eccl 2:1 he sets out to prove some things – to test some theories that he has about life, and love, and happiness
C. We will sample some of his findings, because they remain the definitive answer about our needs today
D. He sets out to find out what is good for all of us to experience
1. Starts with three things (2:3)
a. Wine – not the alcoholic kind, but the natural kind at first
b. Wisdom – dedicated to learning
c. Folly – recklessness, silliness, acting funny
d. Knowing from the start that something was not quite right (2:2)
2. Then moves on to massive building projects – an empire (2:4-6)
a. The largest Temple – 240 feet high, covered in pure gold and marble
b. Massive mansions, and pools all around Jerusalem (remember, this is a desert city folks)
c. Gardens (in a desert city)
d. Forests all around!
e. This required some incredible irrigation, and planning
3. Then to acquiring servants, and employees
a. Keeping them happy, and profitable
4. And Large farms – again, in a desert
5. He heavily invested his money, and accumulated massive returns on his investments
6. He collected all the great music albums, and stereo equipment
7. He concludes, “So I was great…” (2:9a) What a statement. True
a. He had not stopped at anything he attempted
b. He had not withheld anything that he thought might give him joy
c. And he actually found some joy in the midst of it all (2:10)
d. But when he looked at all his accomplishments, and all his labours, he realised 99% of it was like the wind, and was empty and vain, and wasted.
E. Whew! Look at his attitude next (2:11-23) this is a very depressing realisation
1. All he had done was in vain – wouldn’t last (2:11)
2. He began to hate life (2:17) – it didn’t seem to have purpose anymore – there was nothing he could do that would remain, or satisfy
3. He looked at all his accomplishments and hated them (2:18,19) because they would all just be “handed over” to the next guy, and who knew if he would even care!
4. He next “despaired” (2:20) – he was starting to give up on life itself, and question what good is life (2:23)?
5. Remember, these are the words of the wises man who has ever lived
6. But the Lord showed him something, and reminded him of a realisation that he had had back in verse 10, at the very beginning of his “search for happiness.”
III. Message – Finding Joy (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26)
A. Joy is found first IN your Labours (2:24), not just after our labours
1. Most of us know that accomplishing something brings great satisfaction
2. But if we have no satisfaction to carry us through until the thing is accomplished, we quickly become miserable
3. What every person needs is some joy now AS they live – why?
a. Because life itself sometimes has no joy
b. Because some things never get finished
4. So what is a Christian’s attitude supposed to be?
a. No joy allowed until the world is won to Christ?
b. No joy allowed until we have our own church building?
c. No happiness tolerated until everyone is married with children?
d. No pleasure until heaven?
5. The great principle is verse 24 is
a. Get busy – get a job – sweat, and work hard – laziness has no reward
b. Some examples
1) Soul-winning – enjoying soul-winning, even though no one gets saved, because you are serving the King!
2) Working – even if you don’t get a raise (Lk 3:14)
3) Reading your Bible – even if it is dry sometimes, because you are storing up truth that will be activated later on!
c. Stop and smell the flowers along the way
1) Jesus is the Lily of the Valley, not just the mountain top
2) Jesus is the morning star, while it is yet very dark at night
3) Most of us never look up at the sky at night, or at the sunset, or at our children as they play
4) We need to step back and ponder just how good GOD is!
d. We all have one of two choices (Pr 15:15)
1) To look at the quality of the days in which we live – evil
2) Or, to have a merry heart AS we pass through those evil days
e. We actually have a third choice – to affect the evil around us by our joy (Pr 15:13)
B. Joy is a Gift from God (2:24,25; Gal 5:22,23)
1. You see, there is something going on in the heart of a Christian that enables them to rejoice, even when they are losing things
2. The world tries so hard at maintaining an attitude of joy and happiness
a. Nightly at the Pubs – pub-crawling – discos
b. Drugs, smoking, filthy videos and music
3. And then you have Christians
a. Some of which, who KNOW what they posses (or rather Who possesses them)
b. And some of which who are willingly ignorant of God’s presence in their life
c. I’ll give you ONE guess as to which one is happy (1Pet 1:8)!
a. The believer who has Jesus Christ, has all the reasons needed to rejoice for all eternity
b. The Believer who ignores his relationship with Jesus is going to “hate life”
c. And the unsaved person who does not know Jesus is going to seek ways of ending their life
5. That’s why salvation is SO IMPORTANT – without it, you not only can never know joy, but for all eternity, you will never know life itself
6. And that’s why developing your walk with God is vital Christian
a. And don’t try and kid me man
b. Everyone can tell whether a person is walking with God or not
C. Joy is only experienced by those who live Right (2:26)
1. Notice the two different people in verse 26
a. The man that is good – lives right, and does right - Christian
b. The sinner – the person who lives in sin, and away from God, disobedient to God’s word
2. God gives joy to the one who is willing to fulfil the requirements
a. EX: a man wanting to drive a car – must fulfil requirements of passing driving test
b. EX: man wanting to marry a woman – must fulfil her requirements – be dependable and faithful and hardworking
c. God gives JOY to those who live right and do right (Cf Pr 16:7)
d. If you are living for yourself, you are never going to experience joy
3. So what are the requirements for joy?
a. The new birth – relationship with God (the Eunuch in Acts 8)
b. The perceptive heart (1Kg 19:12) that hears the voice of God, and sees the hand of God – go slower folks
c. A consistent walk with God (2Cor 12:7-10) finding God’s grace is ALL sufficient.
A. Solomon sought everywhere for joy, as well do.
B. But God showed him that joy is found IN all the labours of life
C. Because Joy is supplied by God throughout our life as we walk with Him
D. And joy is only evident to those who walk CLOSE to Him, in purity, and holiness, and right living.
E. Starts with salvation – the new birth
F. After that, everlasting joy is available to everyone, for the taking, and enjoying, no matter how vain, and vexing life may be, Jesus makes its worth the living! Doesn’t anyone believe this anymore? I do!
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