Reading Assignment: Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3
Did you understand what you read?
- It is obvious that there is wickedness in the world. Why doesn’t God remove it?
- Is it possible to show someone that man is different from the animals (i.e., has a soul)?
- Why does Solomon say that for some people, they are better off never being born?
- What can we do about the injustice in the world?
Injustice abounds in this wicked world. Why doesn’t God remove it? After all, an infinitely good God would not allow such evil to continue. This implies that we know what God ought to do. We already seen the fallacy of this, we are just finite beings. God lives in eternity (Eccl. 3:11). God will punish in his own time. There is a reason for the delay. First, God is testing us (James 1:2-4). Without opposition we would never grow into strong Christians, just as you cannot purify gold without fire (Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:3). Secondly, our inability to prevent wickedness shows how lowly we are. If we compare God, humans, and animals we can see that humans are closer to animals. The gap between ourselves and God is huge.
Are we really different from the animals (Ps. 49)? Humans and animals both die; they are both buried. We cannot prove that humans have a spirit, since our spirits can’t be physically tested. Solomon concludes that it isn’t worth worrying about. We should live in the present and enjoy our labors. If we trust in God, the matter of whether we have a soul is already answered for us.
But we strayed from our original point. It is nice to talk about enjoying our work, but some people cannot do so. Some people are born into slavery. They have no choice in what they do. Some live under persecution. They suffer so much that you could claim that they are better off dead than living. You can see why Solomon concluded that it is better not be born at all than to see these horrors. It is truly unfortunate that Satan has destroyed many of the joys in this world. However, whatever state we find ourselves in, we must learn to be content (Phil. 4:11). Even if we find ourselves working for a cruel master, we need to give them good service (I Pet. 2:18-20; Eph. 6:5-8).
- When faced with extreme pain, some people decide to commit suicide, rather than to continue living in this world. Is suicide a solution to suffering?
Reading Assignment: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
Did you understand what you read?
- The poem about time is beautiful, but how does it fit into the discussion?
- “A time to be born, and a time to die.” Death is a hard thing for most people to accept. What should the Christian’s attitude toward death be, according to the Bible?
- “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Find other passages to show when it is appropriate to speak and when we ought to be listening.
- What is the best thing that we can do?
- Why doesn’t this conflict with Solomon’s earlier conclusions about work?
- Verses 12-13 can be summarized as being content. What else does the Bible teach about contentment?
There is an appropriate time to do everything. The big problem is recognizing when that time has arrived. The things that Solomon has talked about so far were in terms of all or nothing. For example, there is nothing wrong with mirth per se, but there is something wrong with it when it is your goal in life. Basically, nothing should be done in excess. We need to keep things in perspective.
What can we learn from Solomon’s poem? When done at the appropriate time, everything is beautiful. However, we don’t have the proper viewpoint to fully grasp everything around us. God lives in eternity. We can grasp the concept of eternity, but we live in a finite amount of time (James 4:13-17). We don’t know everything that happened before we were born and we can only guess what will happen after we die.
The best that we can do is to rejoice, do good, eat, drink, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. All of this comes from God. It may seem like a contradiction, but Solomon is saying that we should enjoy life, though life is not an end unto itself.
We cannot change what God has planned to do, so we shouldn’t waste time trying to change the unchangeable (Mt. 6:27). We need to learn to respect what God has decided (Phil. 4:11). We may not be able to alter our environment, but we can control who we are. God will expect us to give an account to him of what we have done with our lives.
- Are you remembering to mark the good things to do with our lives in your Bible?
- For each of the times listed by Solomon, describe how to tell when the appropriate time has arrived.
Forney church of Christ
Coronavirus Update: May 2
As restrictions begin to lift, here is our plan for the time being.
- Beginning May 3, we will be conducting a drive-in worship at the church building parking lot. Worship will be at 10:30, but we encourage you to arrive early. We’ll have men with gloves and masks at the entrance to direct you where to park and hand out an envelope for contribution along with a communion packet upon entering. They will collect your envelope and the empty communion cups afterward.
- We will still be offering a live stream of the sermon via Facebook Live and a call-in phone line if you aren’t familiar with Facebook. This will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
- The Facebook Live stream will be available on the Forney church of Christ Facebook page and will be shared to the group as well. We hope you’ll join live, but it will be available afterward, as well.
- To call in and listen to the sermon live, call 346-248-7799 and use meeting ID 883 977 6879#
- The sermon will also be recorded and uploaded to the church website’s “Sermons” page.
- The Lord’s Supper
- As mentioned, a brief thought will be shared on the live stream/conference call.
- We have a number of individually packaged wafer/juice combos available. To pick some up, contact Jack at 720-301-9776.
- Making or buying your own communion bread and buying some grape juice is an option, as well. (Recipe for homemade available here.)
- We understand that these are tough times for some. However, if you are able we hope you’ll remember to share your contribution. You can do so either by mail, by dropping it off, or by having it picked up. (Call Jack to schedule a time for drop off/pick up.)
- The mailing address is PO Box 245 Forney, TX 75126USA
- We’re working to set up an online giving option. Once that information is available we’ll share it.
Wednesday Night Study
- Wednesday night studies will be conducted at 6 pm via Zoom (an interactive video chat software). We’ll post the link in the church Facebook group. Let us know if you would like to have it emailed to you.
- A church family prayer list is given below, providing a schedule by which we can keep our church family in our thoughts and prayers.
- If you need groceries or medicines picked up, or if you need help in any way, please contact one of the elders or Jack. We want to make sure our own are taken care of during this time.
- Please remember to pray for the world, our government, and our church at this time.