Stones Hill Community Church
A Season for Everything
The writer of Ecclesiastes undertook a hugely ambitious life experiment and he made himself the guinea pig, the lab rat. King Solomon had the time, money, and power to pretty much pursue any avenue of life he thought would bring pleasure or satisfaction. Solomon decided to conduct a massive experiment in human happiness and meaning. He became his own test subject, his own lab rat. “I know there is a God, but I’m going to live as if there isn’t and see what that’s like.” He became this mad scientist in search of serum, an antidote to fix him. But nothing was ever enough. He lost sight of the Giver of the Gifts. Have you lost sight of what's important? The theme of the book is a virtual summary of the biblical worldview: life lived by purely earthly and human standards is futile, but the God-centered life is an antidote. Solomon tells us what he wants us to remember when life gets confusing, mysterious, unfair or as black as night - keep your trust in Creator God’s plan. Life in the world has significance only when man remembers his Creator (12:1). Welcome to "A Season for Everything" - Finding Meaning in the Book of Ecclesiastes!
Locations & Times
  • Ligonier, IN
    151 W Stones Hill Rd, Ligonier, IN 46767, USA
    Saturday 3:00 PM
We welcome you to Stone's Hill today!

A typical Stone's Hill service has:

* music (so feel free to sing out);

* some announcements (things that are upcoming that you can be a part of);

* a message out of the Bible (God speaks to us through his Word);

* and an opportunity for you to respond to the message (either immediately in the case of a decision that needs to be made OR in the future as you live out the message in your daily life.)

So relax and enjoy your morning! We're so glad you are here!
Message Text: Ecclesiastes 4:9-16
Solomon has reflected on some of the most complex problems known to man: finding life’s meaning, political and personal oppression, elusive happiness, empty pleasure, unsatisfying wealth. Then he turns this corner and basically says life is better with friends. When you wake up tomorrow morning, the problems will still be there, but if you have a friend, it doesn’t feel quite as lonely as it did before.
A pioneering band of researchers studied the age-old question of what makes people happy. What appears consistently at the top of the charts is not success, wealth, achievement, good looks, or any of these assets. The clear winner is relationships. Close ones. (Parrot, Relationships...) This totally makes sense to me. If you’re successful but have no one you care about to applaud you; if you’re wealthy but have no one to enjoy it with; if you have stunning good looks, but no one who truly loves you for you - it would all feel meaningless. We want to be wanted, accepted, enjoyed, and loved.
An English publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend, and among the thousands of answers received were the following: one who multiplies joys and halves griefs; one who understands our silence. But here is the definition that won the prize: “a friend is the one who walks in when the whole world has walked out.” Whether married or single, young or old, rich or poor, we were never meant to experience life alone.
Recall from last week that Solomon has just finished describing the lonely life of the self-centered miser; Ebenezer Scrooge we called him. He is alone, self-absorbed, competitive while racing along in his mad pursuit for more. He becomes the epitome of loneliness (4:1-9). And following that, Solomon really doesn’t break his train of thought but immediately begins to commend and encourage relationships with one another (4:9-16). Two are better than one… This is then further explained through three mini scenarios (which we will discuss).
The picture painted in the next couple of verses seems to focus on the risks of travel in Solomon’s time. Roads and paths in Palestine were not paved or even leveled, and there were many hidden rocks in the fields. Walking on trails that frequently follow the edge of ravines, people can easily stumble and plunge down the embankment. It was not uncommon for even the most experienced sure-footed traveler to stumble and fall, perhaps break a bone, or even fall into a hidden pit. A traveler had to contend with pits and ravines along the way (10) where you might have a mishap. They had to contend with the adversity of cold nights (11). And they had to face hostility in wayside bandits (12a).
Two can get more work done than one. Verse 9 makes the point; vs 10–12a give illustrations; v 12b restates the matter. Verses 13-16 is an interlude or a story of someone who is craving one true life friend. Solomon uses a different device to clinch each of the three illustrations: a woe/pity saying for the first (v.10), a rhetorical question for the second (v.11), and a proverb for the third (v.12).
Solomon delivers in this paragraph SIX PRACTICAL WAYS you can be a great friend or a great travel companion in life. Would you like to be a great friend? Would you like to have a great friend? Solomon shows you how.
Main Discussion Points
Listen Up (v.9)
Show Up (v.10)
Warm Up (v.11)
Stand Up (v.12)
Wise Up (v.13-16)
Look Up
Solomon seems to be implying, “Two is better than one—and I don’t have two. It’s just me.” Even in the midst of a thousand wives and concubines, Solomon felt alone. The loneliest people you’ll ever find are those who are always at parties—craving something but unable to find what they’re looking for. It’s vanity. It’s empty. And Solomon knew it.
From every text in the Bible, there is a road to Jesus." (Charles Spurgeon) Think of Jesus’ parable about a man who went from Jerusalem to Jericho. “He fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). By himself the man did not have a chance. “Though one [robber] might prevail against another [person], two [partners] will withstand one [robber].” Class, race, ethnicity, identities didn’t matter. The Samaritan helped a fellow human being.
Simon & Garfunkel in the early 1970's sang: “When you're down and out, When you're on the street. When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. I'll take your part - when darkness comes And pain is all around, Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”
Jesus did that. He is the bridge to bring us across the chasm of our guilt and our sin. He is the bridge to bring us home. And He says, "No longer do I merely call you servants and disciples, but now I also call you friend."
Look up!

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