LIFE Adventist Church of Berkeley
The Good Life Message Series -- FRIENDS FOREVER
Of all the writings of Scripture, Ecclesiastes presents the most honest (if not cynical) view of life on planet earth. It's the ancient version of "This is as good as it gets," and Solomon (known as the "Critic") basically concludes that life on planet earth is just a vapor. But what if Solomon had met Jesus and learned about the Gospel? What if he had been given a glimpse into God’s vision and purpose for the human family in the mission and ministry of Christ? How would life have appeared to him if he could have captured a view of life in the SON instead of the narrow, limited perspective of life under the SUN? Throughout this series, we will put the wisdom of Solomon up against the teachings of Jesus and discover a prescription that leads us to an abundant life that lasts.
Locations & Times
  • LIFE Adventist Church of Berkeley
    2236 Parker St, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
    Saturday 11:00 AM

Video Clip - Big Bang Theory - Friendship Algorithm

Why are friendships so difficult and complicated in life under the sun?
Solomon’s lament about relationships under the sun is that as wonderful and vital as they are for the good life, even the best of them often deteriorate into envy and strife or are cut off by death.
Solomon’s issue with relationships:

* Solomon lists relationships as one of the most meaningful aspects of the good life, but even friendship is a chasing after the wind. How important are friendships to you and how do they add meaning to your life?

* How many close relationships have you lost to envy and strife?

* What do you think he means by “Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves”?


* What are your thoughts about love and friendship from these verses?

* What does friendship with Jesus look like for you?

* What has love for one another taught you about the love of God in Christ?

What encouragement about human relationships do you think Solomon could have taken from these words of Jesus?
Conclusion: ​

In this dog-eat-dog world, relationships are the lifeline that keep us going, yet Solomon admits that relationships under the sun can easily dissolve into envy and strife. We desperately need one another, but under the sun we compete and become jealous of each other so that it keeps us from our own success as in folding our hands and refusing to do anything to help ourselves or others. We lack balance and the ability to appreciate one another and to work together.

Still, Solomon acknowledges the huge benefit of mutual support (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Solomon says it’s better to be with someone else—two are better than one. Being alone is a miserable business. But under the sun even good relationships can become “empty wind.” First, everyone dies—so even the best of relationships come to an end. And the Critic rightly asks, what’s the point? Second, most every relationship under the sun is transactional—give and take. I give what I think will enable me to take: What do I have to do to get what I want? I want to be safe, so I find someone else to become my ally. I want to be warm, so I find someone to share the covers. I want to succeed, so I find someone else to share my dreams/efforts/goals. In the earthly context, relationships are often full of self-interest.

But life under the Son is different—relationships between people flow out of relationship with Christ. And Jesus simply loves—without judgment, expectation, negotiation, or condition. Loving relationships with God and one another are what we were made and meant for. They provide meaning and purpose to life. They are what Solomon was searching for, but the missing ingredient was God’s love—the love of the Son. Life in and under the Son is the antidote to envy, bitterness, and the common transactional relationships of life under the sun!

What are your most significant relationship struggles? Can you relate to Solomon’s disappointment with transactional friendships or the loss of friends in death? These are the relationship struggles about life under the sun. Jesus' prescription for the good life is an offer of divine friendship - a friendship that will not disintegrate in pride, envy, or be cut off by death. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the good shepherd that has laid down his life for his sheep. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He invites us to trust in him and learn to love one another as He has loved us. His unconditional love is the cure we need to heal all our broken, disappointing relationships in life under the sun!

Advancing God’s kingdom one person at a time

Throughout this series, we will explore in detail the contrast to the larger life in the Son with the smaller closed system of life without God and without hope of life under the sun!

Next Week's Topic: Relationships Under the Son!

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