Why Study Ecclesiastes?
Greetings and grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. There are many wonderful things coming up at Redeemer. Please check your calendar to make sure you are able to be involved.
- Sunday August 27 Tom Franklin, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) @ Birmingham Southern College
Tom is our guest speaker this Sunday and will let us know what the Lord is doing on campus both here and around the world.
- Sunday September 3 Sunday School (SS) kick-off
- Sunday September 10 Church-wide luncheon (following morning worship) & congregational meeting
Officer Training begins
- September 23: Women’s Fellowship: Meet to plan “Reformation Day” celebration; Panera, 10 AM
- Check our FB page and website for information about the new study and opportunities in our women’s ministry
New Preaching Series
There are many good incentives to study the book of Ecclesiastes, and Phil Ryken offers several good reasons in his book, ‘Why Everything Matters.’ As we prepare for a new series on the book of Ecclesiastes, here is some encouragement to pick up the book and begin reading.
1. First, Ryken notes that this book “helps us ask the biggest and hardest questions that people still have today – questions that lie at the heart of life in a fallen world: What is the meaning of life? Why is there so much suffering and injustice? Does God even care? Is life really worth living?”
The writer asks the tough intellectual and practical questions that people always have, and he is not satisfied with the easy answers that children usually get in Sunday School. In fact, part of his spiritual struggle is with the answers he has always been given. If you are the kind of person who always says, ‘Yes, but…’, then Ecclesiastes is for you.
2. Here is another reason to study Ecclesiastes: “it helps us worship the one true God.”
For all its doubt and dissatisfaction, this book teaches many great truths about God. It presents him as the Mighty Creator and Sovereign Lord, the all-powerful ruler of the universe, the only wise God. This book will help us grow in the knowledge of God.
3. Ecclesiastes will also “help us live for God and not only ourselves.”
The writer had more money, enjoyed more pleasure, and possessed more wisdom than anyone else in the world, yet it all ended in tears. The same thing could happen to us, but it doesn’t have to. ‘Why make your own mistakes,’ the writer constantly is saying to us, ‘when you can learn from an expert like me instead?’ One Old Testament scholar describes the writer of Ecclesiastes as a man who had it all, but discovered that ‘having it all’ nearly destroyed him. Fortunately for us, when he ‘climbs the golden ladder of ultimate success and looks over the brink, he actually has the wherewithal to step back from the edge, climb back down, and tell the rest of us…that there’s nothing up there.’
4. This book also “helps us to be honest about the troubles of life.”
Perhaps this is why the great American novelist Herman Melville called Ecclesiastes ‘the truest of all books.’ More than anything else in the Bible, writes Philip Ryken, “it captures the futility and frustration of a fallen world: the drudgery of work, the emptiness of foolish pleasure and the mind-numbing tedium of everyday life.”
Ryken concluded that reading Ecclesiastes helps us to be honest with God about our problems – even those of us who trust in God’s goodness. One scholar thus describes Ecclesiastes as a ‘kind of back door’ that allows believers to have the sad and skeptical thoughts that they would never allow to enter the front door of their faith.
Plan to join us through this study of the book of Ecclesiastes that you might be equipped to fulfill the first question/answer of the Shorter Catechism. Now, what is that question? Do you know? The first person that can tell me how the book of Ecclesiastes can help you fulfill the answer to the WSC #1 will be the winner of one of the best readable commentaries on the book of Ecclesiastes today by David Gibson, “Living Life Backwards.”*
*Note: I am looking for an answer in your own words, and how you understand that the book will help you live for the glory of God.