This was the message I preached at San Pedro CRC last April 4-Easter Sunday-after almost two (2) years from my suspension from JLOAPC. And since it was a long time I was able to preach in a Reformed Church-I over timed-almost 50 minutes. Next time I will be shorter and more focus-but here is my outline:
The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly (ESV)
7 :1 A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, Z so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
The movie “Saving Private Ryan” starts and ends in one location-a public cemetery-for those soldiers who died the World War 2.
We will also start there-but we will not end there.
Imagine : If we are dead today-and we are standing our tombstone-how would we like to be remembered? A loving father, brother, husband? Or would anyone remember us at all? Will our lives make any differeence? Will we be just chaff in the wind?
King Solomon –the writer of this book- was the richest king of the combine kingdom of Judah and Israel- He is afraid of death- it is scares him because –after he is dead –no one will remember him-and so he thought.
See 1:11 “There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
2:16 “For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten”
5:16 “This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?”
And 6:12 “For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?”
And now he has to face what good can come from these things-
So I titled this message as “ WHAT WE DON’T WANT-IS WHAT WE NEEDED” OR KUNG ANO AYAW NATIN-YUNG ANG KAILANGAN NATIN”
The 3 things we do not need :
3. Rebuke or Correction
I. Death v. 1-2
When we are dead-and we have our reputation/name intact-it is better than a baby oil-expensive-Yes- fragrant when applied-for awhile- but a life lived with honor and difference- truly it is better. Our parents were happy when we were born-would anyone be praising the Lord for a life we live for him and others when we die?
ILL: Have you’ve been in a wake where there’s a commotion-because suddenly the other wife and children attended his wake? Will that be our wake? An indiscretion in the past will ruin your name.
Some names spoke volumes-in our history-in commercial labels-like Louis Vitton,Levi’s, Mcdonalds, Apple-and they spoke more or less about people or the people behind it. If suddenly they made a mistake-then that brand is ruin-unless they corrected it immediately.Like Tylenol’s tampering with cyanide.
Every man has three names,” says an ancient adage; “one his father and mother gave him, one others call him, and one he acquires himself.”
APP: For us it is better if we are now 40+ not to avoid attending wake’s –so that we will know what we will be preparing. Life insurance, memorial service and lot-debts to pay-inheritance to grant, sins to seek forgiveness for, words to say. In a feast-fiesta-we just ate,dance-sing as if there is no tomorrow.
According to Latin author Solon’s well-known maxim, “no one can be called happy till he has crowned a prosperous life by a peaceful death”
For death is just around the corner-we better be friends with it or we will be not prepared to meet it- My father was like that –then he has to face it with horror-until he learn of Jesus.
II. Frustration v. 3-4
The word sorrow-is more than grief-it is vexation-a pagkayamot- a frustration-being thwarted by someone or something-and making it sure that you can do something about it.
ILL:1810/1812 canned goods were invented for the British Navy –then went commercial for the American Civil War in 1861. How to open: made of iron, bayonets, pocket knife-even rifle fire. Chisel and hammer!
1858Ezra Warner curved blade; William Lyman 1870 cutting wheel, 1925- serrated wheel.
ILL: Know when boss good timing-bad timing-so you sked approval of projects/budgets.
When we are frustrated- and we took it a good way-not try to avenge yourself-then you learn to see yourself-not as high person-then you take pains to correct yourself and make adjustments-and see things from the other people’s perspective then your heart is change from within.
But sometimes we want for all things to happen for us-we want it our way-the way of pleasure-no challenge-and so we never grow up-we remain as children-wanting always our way. House of pleasure is where fools are-happy but not accomplishing anything.
III. Correction/ rebuke v. 5-6
Crackling of thorns-pagputok ng apoy-catch attention-thought to be big or something-but it is really nothing-We are noisy –boisterous – yet we are not accomplishing much-spending much-yes-but going nowhere.
ILL: Correction of a coach –basketball/ trainer to a boxer-how he boxed or defend himself.
ILL: Heard song “laklak” –kabilinbilinan ng lola-and yet they don’t follow her-it is a foolish song.
APP: Read the bible-good non-fiction books. History,biographical-learn from those who fail and then succeed. Learn how to strive labor and succeed.
APP: Be wary of those who praised us even when we do wrong and call it cleverness or a good planner. It is not good for our soul to think that what we did wrong-is right.
ILL: Germany suffered the defeat and rape of the nation by Russia because they keep praising Hitler.
This can be easily nullified/ lost by:
1. Abuse of power
2. Giving in to Anger
1. Abuse of Power v. 7-8a
When bad times comes-those with wisdom knowledge and honor-lose all sense-and use his power to extortion-asking for bribes-so the wisdom you’ve got is lost in craziness.
See Proverbs 14:31 “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
He who is wise –became a fool-in one unwise action/ decision. Reputation can be destroyed in a moment.
ILL: Policeman-good fine uniform-shiny motorcycle-tall-and you see him asking for 100 pesos bribe. Sayang –parang
ILL: Man in a coat and tie-with blackberry, laptop-in a 5 star hotel-then opens his case –bringing his plastic baon-out of place.
ILL: Supreme court vacancy-must be dignified-but when you learned that those qualified for it is jockeying for position-even if it will to constitutional crisis. Suddenly they don’tlook dignified at all-hungry but not dignified.
If only they waited-in the end-they would have made it –but they are just good at the start.
ILL: Vivere Suites -23 floors-good to see now-but it was not that way when it started. Better be patient for something to be finished than hurry for it.
2. Giving in to Anger v. 8b-10
Sometimes we are not used to being ignored-and we remember how others treat nicelu before-or so we remember –and we thought we are being discriminated –so we used our anger to right wrongs we thought we are receiving.
ILL: Lines in restaurants/ airport- we shouted or got into a fight.-what is the use.
ILL: Boss-not known by guard gate of subdivision in Sta Rosa. So instructed crew to cutoff power for one hour. Big guy- really small fool. Now he is less than powerful than he was before.
Masama yung nagtatanda ng pagkapahiya.
APP: yesterday better than today-can the Lord do something different now? As he did before? YES –always.
“While you are dreaming of the future or regretting the past, the present, which is all you have, slips from you and is gone.” Pag-igihan natin ang ngayon. Tapos na yung kahapon.
Wisdom is still better:
1. Money a Shelter v. 11-12a
ILL: Trouble with law-money will pay good lawyer; trouble with car-get it into the CASA-may pera; trouble with health-Asian Hospital/St Luke/Makati Medical
2. But wisdom is still better-Life preserver v. 12b
ILL: Driving defensively-will save life than getting to be hot-headed. Money cannot buy you safety or bring the life of your love ones back. Take precaution-look in the rear and side mirrors-wisdom tells you that.
ILL: Road to Maguindanao-told by gasoline boy not to enter that road at night or you won’t be able return alive.
Not everyone can be bought by money-some people are driven by anger-pride-and when you hurt them-money cannot ransom you from the grave.
What shall we do now?
1. Write on a piece of paper-what you need to do before you die-and make concrete plans to fulfill it.
2. Enemies-if possible reconcile with them
In truth, we don’t enter world alone –we have our mother with us. It is when we leave this world when our choices matter-if we will be alone.
We still have to face our death-and based on Solomon-there is nothing there-no one remembers when we left this world. So what now?
YET IN ALL OF THIS:
1. God is sovereign / king -he calls the shots v. 13-14a
Some things that happen are not what we will approve-for it is totally different. They are the strange work of God-His providence letting evils happen-and yet they are under his control-
“the anomalies, the crosses, the difficulties, which meet us in life.”
Sometimes we have good times-let us enjoy it-as from God himself gave it to us.
APP: if there are good food/ activities-don’t sulk in the corner-enjoy what is there.
Sometimes -we received bad times-we must not complain endlessly-but receive it bought from him-who knows what is better for us.
APP: If friends leave us –maybe we need new ones-if no one helps us-maybe God wants to do something different.
The LB says “See the way God does things and fall into line. Don’t fight the facts of nature.”
History is not a simple arithmetic. God has the missing part of the equation-and he keeps it with himself. So we will trust on him alone-and not on our wisdom.
Serenity prayer: “O God, give us Serenity to accept what cannot be changed,
Courage to change what should be changed,
And wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
We will be considering someone else tomb. Many of his contemporaries believe that he was not wise-nor righteous- and that he had failed his mission-his project failed. His life ended in tragedy. He was thought to be accursed by God himself-for he died on a tree-hanging.
He offended that wise and mighty of his time-he was not able to get them on his side-in fact they become his bitterest enemies- The political and religious leaders of his society.
He is not wise enough for them –for fell headlong into a trap and it seems he did not see it coming. He thought he can become a king-but he has no army to protect him when his enemies entered his circle. They were angered by him when he pretend to clean their temple by overturning money changers table .His friends could not protect him.
To his enemies his death is the end. He will be no longer be remembered.
Read Acts 2:22-24
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know–
Act 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Act 2:24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
And now he is alive…
Acts 2:31”He foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
Act 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Act 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God …
And he did not remain as before …
Act 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
To Solomon –who is afraid of the great equalizer-Death-righteousness and wisdom will mean nothing when we die. True. If we will remain as is. Our righteousness and wisdom will only matter in the here and now-and then no one will remember –after we are gone.
We just try to be happy of what we have –and then tomorrow were gone.
It is only one man that pierced through the veil of shadows and cut the cords of death. He rose again from the grave and vanquishing death’s hold upon us.
To him only –death, frustrations, pain, sorrows-even wisdom and righteousness-will it matter to him.
Our template is not to be like Solomon-Mr ‘Wise Guy-Happy Always- Billionaire’. We are not to be conformed to his image.
We are to be conformed to the image of His Son-Jesus Christ. Which mean our lives-whether in prosperity or adversity- is to fulfill his mission in this world and established through our lives the Kingdom of God on earth-as it is in heaven.
ILL: Parang Marines tayo-ready to be deployed anywhere-anytime. And we must live by faith-day by day-until he call us to rest.
And for that reason alone –we must worship and adore him