Ecclesiastes: Life Under The Sun

Ecclesiastes : Life Under The Sun

During May and June 2019 we explored the book of Ecclesiastes, working towards the centre from both ends. For such an ancient book, the themes covered and the conclusions reached are startlingly relevant and powerful for today's readers.

Below are links to sermons, study links and other resources for small groups to use.

Sunday 5th May: Is Life Pointless?   Ecclesiastes 1.1-18, 12.9-14

Meaningless, meaningless, is the first introduction to this book. What are we to make of chapter one? Is the writer having a really bad day or is there more to it? Ecclesiastes is a clever, provocative book that starts by unravelling the conventional wisdom of the day (and our day) and finishes by leading us to true wisdom – 'fearing God' (12.13)

Sunday 12th May: The Pursuit of Happiness   Ecclesiastes 2.1-11, 12.1

As part of his quest for happiness and meaning,  the 'Teacher' experiments with one thing after another, always applying the wisdom that God had given him (Ecclesiastes 2:3, 9). In this chapter, he searches for a satisfying meaning to life through having fun, working hard and accumulating wisdom and influence, but finds each on its own to be lacking.  In the end, and at the end of the book, he reveals how true happiness is found – in remembering your creator (12.1).

Sunday 19th May: A Time to Trust  Ecclesiastes 3.1-14, 11.5

We come to a section of Ecclesiastes that is often quoted: a time for everything. There is a purpose to everything that happens in life. Things happen, even when we don’t know why and do not welcome them. Our response is to trust God even when we cannot understand his workings (11.5). 

Sunday 26th May: A Cord of Three Strands Ecclesiastes 4.1-16, 10.1-3

Solomon describes problematic human behaviours that contribute significantly to the heavy burden of life under the sun, and these examples make it clear that human dysfunction plays a significant role in the struggles that characterize life. He observes five characteristics of the world’s system that people depend upon for worldly success: oppression, rivalry, greed, isolation and instability. So what will we ‘buy’ into? 

Sunday 2nd June: Stand in Awe Ecclesiates 5.1-7

The Teacher leads us to the steps of the temple and offers us some advice about how to ensure our worship is meaningful. In this passage he challenges us to 'guard our steps', and come expectant that we will hear the word of God who is in heaven, to stand in awe and remember just who it is that we gather together to worship.

Sunday 9th June: Make the Most of Life   Ecclesiastes 6.1-12, Acts 2.1-13

If money doesn't bring happiness then the question is, what does? THe theme shifts from dealing with money to dealing with circumstances in life. To make the most out of life we need to learn the secret of contentment, achieve our potential, live at peace with others and make the most of each day. And how do we do this? By the power of the Spirit.

Sunday 16th June: A Community of Faith  Ecclesiastes 7.1-14

God is not just interested in our individual walk with him, but how we are as a community of faith with one another. Our passage today outlines some of the characteristics of an authentic faith community: honest conversation, patience, a focus on life's big questions. It also summaries in a series of pithy proverbs where we are up to so far with the first 6 chapters of Ecclesiastes and life 'under the sun'.