Smores! Jodi photo, 2012
IX. The Sermon: Nothing New Under the Sun – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – The Sermon Passage: Ecclesiastes 1:4-11
Three themes or things the author won’t let us get away from. 1. Under the sun – living as if this is all there is. 2. Then, that is to drive us to despair. 3. This book serves to ask questions that the rest of the Bible then answers.
The Big Idea: Those who live under the sun confuse history with nature, yearn for satisfaction and foolishly believe in progress.
I. Groaning or goddess? (vv. 4-7).
If we look outside of ourselves and look to nature for meaning and purpose for our lives, Solomon forces us to ask why? The earth does the same things over and over again. The sea is never full but the next storms, even for the next hundreds of years, will fill the rivers to run to it but then through the clouds never is the sea full.
Romans 8:24. One of the Genesis three curses is to the ground. All of creation is in need of redemption – not just us. Why would we worship nature as it is in as great a desperate need of redemption as we are? All cultures have worshipped something in creation but that makes no sense as it is in need of redemption as we are.
II. Mick Jagger was right (v. 8).
“I can’t get no satisfaction” – Stones. This is Solomon’s very point in chapter one. This is the insatiable human need for just one more. If you see it in your children that they want just one more, it’s because they have seen it in you first. This is a hard truth. It impacts our marriages too thinking that we need just a little more from our spouse, really to save us.
If this is true of all of us that the ear is not satisfied – we try but are not content – then how do we get the satisfaction of contentment?
Philippians 4:11. Paul say that he is fully satisfied when he uses the content word here. There is only one person who is fully satisfied in himself – self-satisfied. It is God. Paul says he is content and satisfied in Christ. Jesus gives us his sufficiency, his satisfaction, and his contentment. He is God. He is satisfied. We have him. Therefore we can be fully satisfied.
III. We’re still Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve (vv. 9-11).
When the writer ways there is nothing new, Solomon is not talking about stuff. Certainly new technology brings new stuff. He means that we are the same fallen human beings we have been since the beginning of time. We are still miserable.
Before WWI, the Humanist Manifesto was written saying that through education and technology we can eradicate suffering and solve our problems of pain in this world. Ironically, these advances in technology gave us greater ways to kill each other though poison gas and machine guns in a faster and more efficient way than our predecessors have.
Christ is the one who said I am making all things new. Revelation 21 shows that our computers will not get us to the next level – Jesus is making all things new.
It is God himself that gives satisfaction. There are so many things that I with greater vigor pursue and exalt over Jesus. It is God alone that redemees. We may not be satisfied with this answer that Edcleesiastes is driving us to despair, but it is a fact like gravity. You need contentment? You won’t find it in your stuff or anything under the sun. You will only find it in the Son. Do you know this satisfaction – this person Jesus?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
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.