Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part IV: Finding Lasting Fulfillment In View Of The Vanity Of Mortal Life Itself
(Ecclesiastes 2:12-23 with 12:13-14)
  1. Introduction
    1. We humans have certain material needs just to function in today's world, for even Scripture itself in 1 Timothy 6:8 reveals we need the 'means of subsistence' (diatrophas ), i.e., the means of obtaining regular livelihood nourishment, and 'covering' (skepasmata), i.e., whatever is needed for protective covering, be it clothing or housing, cf. UBS Grk. N.T., p. 728; Arndt & Ging., Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N.T., p. 189, 761.
    2. However, we all know that though people exert great effort to accumulate great amounts of income and great homes and huge amounts of clothes with the latest fashions, they all die and leave these to others!
    3. Hence, genuine, lasting fulfillment in this life comes from something other than our indulging in what we can gain or attain in this life as Ecclesiastes 2:12-23 with 12:13-14 reveal for us:
  2. Finding Lasting Fulfillment In View Of The Vanity Of Mortal Life Itself, Eccles. 2:12-23; 12:13-14.
    1. Having observed the results of indulging in pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11), Solomon studied the contrasting value that wisdom with pleasure and possessions gave him versus its lesser value if these things were used in foolishness, Ecclesiastes 2:12a.
    2. Solomon's examination revealed a bittersweet result, with a greater emphasis on the bitter as follows:
      1. Temporarily, he found wisdom is more desirable than foolishness, for the wise man can (a) excel in his endeavors of finding pleasure and possessions (b) and has the foresight to avoid more danger or the loss of these things while living his earthly life, Eccles. 2:13-14a. (cf. Bib. Know. Com., O.T., p. 982)
      2. However, since death overtakes the wise man along with the fool, and effectively ends all indulgence in pleasure and possessions, Solomon concluded wisdom is as meaningless as foolishness in the long-term if considering this earthly life only with the five senses ("under the sun"), 2:14b-15, 12b!
      3. Indeed, after death, both the wise man as well as the fool are soon forgotten, an awareness that caused Solomon to say he hated life for its meaninglessness when considered with the five senses, 2:16-17!
      4. In addition, when he considered the transitory nature of mortal human life, Solomon realized a great evil existed in a man's works when considered by the five senses: the best of men only leave all of their achievements to othe rs who might not be as worthy or manage those accomplishments well, 2:18-22.
      5. Thus, Solomon realized man's mortal life, if considered with the five senses, causes his earthly sojourn to become a sorrowful thing, and his labor troublesome, especially when he lacks sleep at night due to his dedication to such hard work at producing such meaningless productions in this life, Eccles. 2:23!
    3. In the view of the failure that indulging in life's pleasures and wealth fails to give long-term, and that in view of man's mortality if considered with the five senses, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 offers a summary lesson:
      1. Solomon ended Ecclesiastes with a moving summary that applies to each segment of his book, 12:13f.
      2. That lesson is that any and all aspects of this life, when considered just with man's senses reveal this earthly life is but "a stage where all the men and women are merely actors," to paraphrase Shakespeare.
      3. In effect, we must look beyond man's five senses to learn the meaning of this life (from His Word):
        1. (Scripture reveals) this life is intended by God to be only a means to fulfilling His will for us, and that we will give an account at the end of this life for how we achieved His will, Eccles. 12:14a.
        2. For Christians, that judgment is the bema seat of Christ where we will be judged with rewards for life and service, 2 Cor. 5:10-11; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; for the lost, it is the Great White Throne judgment where their works will eternally condemn their souls for failing to trust in Christ, Rev. 20:11-15.
        3. As God is righteous, we must respect Him so as to heed Him in righteously fulfilling His will for us in view of this accountability, Ecclesiastes 12:14b with Exodus 20:18-20.
Lesson: As indulging in this life's pleasures and goods in view of man's MORTALITY brings NO lasting fulfillment, we must heed GOD'S WORD on life's meaning, and it tells us to RESPECT Him so as to OBEY Him in this life as we will given an account for doing so at the END of this fleeting life!

Application: (1) May we SUBMIT our indulging in THIS life's pleasures and goods to HEEDING SCRIPTURE, and thus (a) trust in Christ as Savior (Acts 17:30; John 3:16) and (b) give ourselves to disciple others for Him (Mtt. 28:19-20). (2) THEN will we find LASTING fulfillment, Mtt. 10:37-39.