Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Story of Scripture: Here is the Matter

Here is the Matter
Proverbs 3, Ecclesiastes 12, John 6:60-69

The title of my sermon is “Here is the Matter”. But first, we must talk about a recent phenomenon of cosmic proportions. A force so omnipresent and powerful it has been part of us the past two weeks almost non-stop: What force is this?
Charlie Sheen:

I saw him on the Piers Morgan show, gave it 5 minutes of viewing time, because I had heard of recent struggles and tv postponement.

Then I heard of 2 other national TV appearances and I wondered to myself, why the campaign?

Then I saw an article on Yahoo which was entitled, very loosely, “Why all the sudden Charlie Sheen appearances”.

And then I read two things that interested me greatly in an article I read. First, the article stated that Charlie Sheen was living in his “L.A. manse”. I thought, wow, Charlie Sheen lives in a manse.
And then I saw that he joined twitter and got a million followers in 15 hours.

My personal opinion: the last time I saw him, he looked old. I hope for him to find his way and to find lasting happiness and fulfillment, deep joy and peace.

Old combined with folly is not a good combination.

As we get older, the ideal is that we will mature.

Today’s theme in the story of Scripture is Wisdom. There are books of the Bible called Wisdom books. They address universal human issues, not just Israel’s covenant with God. There is
Job: suffering
Proverbs: wisdom
Ecclesiastes: purpose and meaning (& meaninglessness)
Song of Solomon: Human sexuality and love

Wisdom is defined as the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships. It is insight, good sense and sound judgment.

Ecclesiastes: Here is the matter--Fear God and keep his commandments.

Ecclesiastes: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. Because aging, and the physical struggles in the passage come to people. To have a foundation built upon God, that is the important matter.

Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments. This is the conclusion of the individual history generally attributes as one of the smartest people ever.

Background of Ecclesiastes
Story line: The author starts with a statement, ‘meaningless, meaningless’, everything is meaningless. And then he starts to hash out the truth of this statement.
Wisdom, pleasure, folly, work, time, friendship, riches. They all at some point, feel empty.
The writer looks at the end of these endeavors, and sees a common destiny for all, and earthly end visits everyone.
But does that mean hopelessness?

The author in our morning passage has bookends to the chapter:
Remember your creator in the days of your youth.
Fear God and keep his commandments.

Proverbs: Here is the matter—Trust in the Lord’s wisdom.
Trust in the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding.
What does God require? Wisdom.

Background of proverbs
Proverbs are sayings, contrast and comparison statements, or questions on morality. In Biblical literature, they were mostly written by Solomon, though others authored the proverbs found in the scripture. There are over 3,000 proverbs in the Bible.

Two highlights from Proverbs 3 include:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge God, and he will make your paths straight.


Do not withhold good when it is in your power to act.

John: Here is the matter--Jesus had the words of eternal life.
Where would we go? You have the words of eternal life.
The verse before today’s passage begins: I am the bread that will let you live forever.

Today, at the Lord’s Table: we meet the same Jesus Christ.
--He is the bread of life that gives eternal life.
--He does challenge his followers with hard teachings.
--The one whose word is spirit and life.
--The One who has the audacity to say come to God through me.
--The One who doesn’t deny he is the holy one with the words of

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