Life Lessons

A sermon series from Ecclesiastes

Living with the End in View

Why do you live your life the way you do?

That’s a question we rarely, if ever, stop to consider. But for the last several months, a global pandemic has radically disrupted our normal rhythms and routines. This moment is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity to reevaluate and recalibrate the way we spend our only finite resource: time. 

Ecclesiastes takes us on a tour of life - work and play, wealth and possessions, wisdom and productivity - and calls us to live from the vantage point of life’s most poignant perspective: the end. 

Life Lessons from Ecclesiastes


Sermon 1 - "Life is Gift, Not Gain" - Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

The “Preacher” introduces his book by describing the vanity of life and the dead ends on the road to “the good life.” In doing so, he prepares us to learn that life is gift, not gain.

Application Questions:

  • List three things you would like to change about your life and three things you would like to stay the same.
  • Can you think of instances when you felt you had "gained," only to find that in time you were dissatisfied again?

Sermon 2 - "Busyness" - Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26

Life under the sun is busy with things that don’t last. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes encourages us to trade busyness for appreciation and abiding.

Application Questions:

  • What do the lives of people you know reveal about what they think will make them happy?
  • How would you describe "true joy" to a friend who knows nothing of this?

Sermon 3 - "Time and Other Matters Under Heaven" - Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

We are creatures of time. Though God has put eternity into our hearts, there will always be a sense that we’re not there yet.

Application Questions:

  • What parts of your life could you receive as gifts from God, thanking him and enjoying them for what they are (rather than for fleeting gain)?
  • What act of service to others could fuel joy in your life this coming week?

Sermon 4 - "The Difference Between We and I" - Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

With all the swirl of current events, the oppression, the cynicism of fools that may be hard chargers or lazy bums or lone misers, where should our hope be?

Application Questions:

  • How many benefits can you think of that come from friendship/companionship in addition to what is found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12?
  • Consider the different pictures presented in Ecclesiastes 4:4-8. Do you tend toward any of these types of characteristics? How should you respond?

Sermon 5 - "Worship Under the Sun" - Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

When coming to the house of God, the Preacher of Ecclesiastes encourages each of us to watch our step, watch our mouth, and stand in awe.

Application Questions:

  • In what contexts might we be at risk of being quick with our mouths and hasty in heart before God?
  • "God is in heaven"; Why is it so easy to lose this perspective and this attitude?

Sermon 6 - "Joy Under the Sun" - Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Time flies when you are caught up in the joy of what God has given you to do in the present.

Application Questions:

  • Are there expectations you have politically or financially that need to be adjusted?
  • Are there situations in your life you can find joy IN rather than simply waiting for joy on the other side?

Sermon 7 - "Life Within Limits" - Ecclesiastes 7:1-25

There are limitations that have been placed on us, limitations that we can’t do anything about: the limitation of death and the limitation of wisdom.

Application Questions:

  • How does being aware of death help us live life?
  • Which of the wisdom sayings stands out to you? How does it apply in your life right now?

Sermon 8 - "Coming to Grips with Uncertainty" - Ecclesiastes 8:14-9:18

These days feel especially uncertain. We need to come to grips with the uncertain, so that we can deal with what is certain: the realities of death, of our present circumstances, and of God himself.

Application Questions:

  • Which of these are you most likely to rely on to find a sense of security: your righteousness, power, or wisdom? How?
  • How does the fact that you live "in the hand of God" affect the way you face uncertainty?

Sermon 9 - "The End of the Matter" - Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14

Final words from the Preacher of Ecclesiastes: Rejoice and remember your Creator. Fear God and keep his commandments.

Application Questions:

  • If you are young, how can you "remember your Creator?"
  • If you are old, how can you rejoice in God's gifts and be thankful for gifts past?

Dig Deeper into Ecclesiastes

For further study: Living Life Backwards by David Gibson

This book is an excellent supplemental guide through Ecclesiastes. Each chapter includes questions for discussion or personal reflection that make it a great resource for small groups or personal devotions. 

For application: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

Though not explicitly tied to Ecclesiastes, this book applies its principles to the day-to-day realities many of us face. A highly engaging and practical read. 

Video Overview of Ecclesiastes: The Bible Project, Ecclesiastes

This annimated video gives a good overview of Ecclesiastes.

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