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A Life Worth Living

A Life Worth Living
August 30, 2020

A Life Worth Living

Speaker:
Passage: Ecclesiastes 6:1-12
Service Type:

SCRIPTURE READING – ECCLESIASTES 6:1-12Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied. What advantage then does the wise person have over the fool? What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. Whatever exists was given its name long ago, and it is known what mankind is. But he is not able to contend with the one stronger than he. For when there are many words, they increase futility. What is the advantage for mankind? For who knows what is good for anyone in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow? Who can tell anyone what will happen after him under the sun?OPENING PRAYER Well folk if my nose leaks a little, it’s was just because I was really overcome during worship, singing together with you. It is the first time that I have sung in Corporate worship since lockdown. First time under level 2 that we have been able to do that, and my heart just soared and what a joy to be with God’s people. If I’m a bit of a wreck emotionally this week, can you imagine what next week will be like when we share communion together.Let’s start off by committing our time to the Lord in prayer. Let’s bow our heads and pray to Almighty God.Father God I do think of grass and flowers because Spring is coming and I am reminded from your word that grass withers and flowers fall just like men die and their glories pass away but your word, it stands forever. This morning, we stand upon your word, we stand upon the sufficiency of your word for all matters of life and for godliness. We ask Lord God, would you be so kind to us as to help us to understand your word, would you be gracious to us that we might be believers of your word. Father God transform us that we your people might be doers of your word for your own name sake we pray in the wonderful name of Jesus, He is our Lord and our Saviour. Amen.INTRODUCTION Daydreaming… I see there are a couple of kids with us this morning. I don’t do it much anymore because the hamster wheel of life is turning just a little too fast. But I remember a time when I would kick back my metaphorical feet, maybe sometimes I even did it literally, close my eyes and just build castles in the sky. As a kid, I remember sitting in a particular window in our house with the sun beams gently hitting and warming my cheek, idling hours away as I daydreamed. Can you remember daydreaming even as a child or if you are a child? Maybe like me you dreamt of being a king or a queen for a day? Maybe I should point out that I dreamt of being a king… not a queen. Daydreaming of being a king is maybe is a little bit too 1980s. Maybe today you daydream of being a captain of industry, an Elon Musk or a Mark Shuttleworth? A king or queen of rock or pop, a Justin Bieber or a Beyoncé? A famous politician, a Donald Trump (maybe not so much him) or a Barak Obama? A media tycoon, an Oprah Winfrey or Trevor Noah? A socialite like Kim Kardashian or a Beckham?What would it be like to have all that money? To achieve all that fame, to live that fabulous bling filled life? Eat at the best restaurants? Pretty much have access to do anything you could ever set your mind to do. What would it be like to be number one? To be top of the list? To be King of the hill? Surely your troubles would all vanish away into thin air, wouldn’t they? Surely your life would then be complete, have meaning, come to a point, find purpose.I think that’s why we daydream. Because we want our lives to matter, to have meaning. We long for some purpose, point or for meaning that we can aim for. We want to achieve, find ultimate satisfaction. And we think that being someone rich, someone famous, that maybe that satisfaction will fill the hole we have in our soul. Ultimate satisfaction. That’s what we’re after isn’t it? Where do you think you might find it? What are you going to invest your life in order to get it? Well this morning, you don’t have to wonder about what a king’s life is like. Because this morning, King Solomon wants to tell you this morning all about his life. He wants to tell you about how he spent his life searching for purpose and meaning, just like you. But his intention is to uncover for you the dumpsters he rummaged around in. He is probably going to point out a couple of places that you’ve been daydreaming about. And warn you against jumping into a few others.This morning King Solomon is going to warn you of 5 ways he wasted his life. And then he is going to point you to 1 way that you definitely can find meaning and experience a Life Worth Living. We are going to see that in Chapter 6 of Ecclesiastes. Look down in your Bible with me as I show you the outline of the authors thoughts through chapter 6. First take a look at verse 1 and 2 of Chapter 6. Here we will hear Solomon say: Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Wealth (1-2) Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Legacy (3-5) Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Longevity (6) Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Cravings (7) Don’t Waste your Life Daydreaming it Away (8-9)Verse 10 – 12 are reflections and really an exaltation on how you can live a life Worth Living.TRANSITION Where should you be investing your time, your effort and your energy if you want to have a God-glorifying worthy life. Let’s take a look at verse one and following:  Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Wealth (1-2)“Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a person riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy.”“I have observed” This is like Solomon’s “blog”/like his Instagram of what he personally experienced in his world and now he wants to tell you about it. He has experienced the kind of wealth that this passage is talking about. We read in 1 Kings 10:23, “King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches” I went online and took a look at a couple of estimations of what Solomon’s net wealth was. It was equivalent to modern day money and this is in US dollars of $2 trillion. That is what that man was worth. He knew what it was like to be rich. When he is taking a picture, an Instagram picture in Ecclesiastes for us, he has his own private jet in the background. He is like properly rich. 1 Kings 10:27, “The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones” I have been to Israel. Israel is like when the Lord created the world, He made Cape Town beautiful with the mountain and he made Joburg beautiful with our forestry kind treed areas and then He took all the stones that He was thinking about putting everywhere else in the world and He dropped them in Israel like a stony country, there are stones everywhere. This is like a metaphor; it is a mechanism. The author is trying to convey how wealthy Solomon was and he says in 1 Kings 10:27, “The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones”. People were rich, the country was rich not just Solomon himself. But you know what, despite his wealth, when he writes chapter 6 of Ecclesiastes, he is not in a celebratory mood. He is in a heavy mood. This is a real downer. His observation he said is tragic! There is a massive problem in what he has observed in the world. He said he has observed a tragedy under the sun. Solomon is chronicling life in a fallen world. A sin marred world populated by sinful people whose very nature is to sin. Under the sun, it wouldn’t surprise us that tragedy abounds. What Solomon observes, weighs heavily on humanity, on all of humanity. Solomon isn’t just talking about corrupt politicians been asked to step down, about businessmen without souls, about Zama Zamas with guns, shebeen owners profiting off drunkenness. His observations in Ecclesiastes are universal. All of humanity is in his mind’s eye because all of man, those protesting in the streets and those gathered in the cathedrals have been impacted by this sinful state that we live in. This is the tragedy. God gives a person riches, wealth and honour. But God does not allow him to enjoy it. Solomon doesn’t divorce God from His sovereign control over all things including giving good gifts to men and even withholding the enjoyment of it. In 2 Chronicles 1:12, we read the beginning of Solomon’s story. You will remember this, I am guessing from Sunday School, I am sure you guys covered this in your content and you will remember this, I am sure you have heard these stories before. God said to Solomon, “What do you want?” and Solomon asked for more wisdom. In verse 12 of 2 Chronicles 1, God said to Solomon, “I will also give you riches, wealth, and glory, unlike what was given to the kings who were before you, or will be given to those after you.” God gave Solomon His wealth. His 2 Trillion-dollar bank account came from God above.And yet, Solomon didn’t enjoy it. The writer doesn’t make God sovereign and men robots. He makes God sovereign and men responsible. We read in the text of man lacking nothing of all who desires for himself. Solomon marries the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man in this text. And the principal that we can draw out of these two verses is this: a life lived pursuing wealth, pursuing the desires of our hearts if the desires of our heart if they are set upon wealth and riches and honour alone. A life lived pursuing for wealth’s sake, will turn into a wasted life. A futile life, a tragic life and nobody could tell that tale better than Solomon himself.What about you?Are you walking down the path of riches hoping to find life’s meaning on the journey?I’m reminded of Jesus Christs invitation to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Friends if you intend on finding the treasure of life in a bank account, you are going to fall hard.Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Wealth 2. Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Legacy (3-5)“A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he.”It starts off my talking about “Fathering a hundred children”. You might be thinking this is hyperbole. I know some big families. I think of the Woolley’s at Midrand Chapel, that’s a big family, I stand corrected that there may be 7 kids and you may read a hundred kids and think that can’t be right and it is an exaggeration and this is a piece of wisdom literature after all, however it is important to remember that Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes is talking about things he has observed and in this particular section seems to be chronicling his own life. We should also note that the Bible lists a handful of Solomon’s children by name. Bet get this, in 1 Kings 11:3 we read that, “He had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred who were concubines”. It is very plausible that Solomon had a hundred children. But there is a tragic, remember the word tragedy at the beginning of this passage. There is a tragic irony here. On the one hand Solomon had it all. In the ancient world if you had a lot of wives, allot of children, you were considered top of the heap. On the one hand Solomon had it all, the wives, the concubines, the children, all the good things, all the riches, all the wealth, all the honour, but he really feared that it was all for nothing. He feared his family did not love him. He feared that when he died, he would not be missed, he feared that those around him are just there to take what they could and while he was still around. We have been in Ecclesiastes for almost a year now, a couple of months ago we were in chapter 5. In chapter 5:11, “When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply?” He feared that his family would only stay around him to leach off him. That they were wondering how long he would hold on for. When would the old man finally kick the bucket? When would he finally die? He feared that they could hardly wait for will to be read and their inheritance to kick in. It ate Solomon up from the inside. Maybe as he watched others die, friend around him, and looked at the way their family treated their death, he wondered, will it be any different for me? How money doesn’t protect me from the indignity at wealth can create or rather wealth exacerbates it?John MacArthur points out that, “Not having a burial indicates complete disrespect and disregard for one’s life. To die without mourners or honors was considered worse than being born dead, even if one had many children and a full life.”There is a comparison here, and it’s startling, it’s stark, actually rather dark. Solomon is so discouraged about the way a legacy could so quickly flutter away that he’d rather have not lived at all. Solomon isn’t alone in the pages of Scripture to reach this level/kind of despair. Numbers 11:15 we read of Moses saying, “If you are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now if I have found favor with you, and don’t let me see my misery anymore.” Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 19:4, “but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” Job who went through tragedy said he was waiting for death in Job 3:21, “who wait for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than for hidden treasure,” and in Job 7:15 he says, “so that I prefer strangling—death rather than life in this body.” The prophet Jeremiah is known as a wailing prophet, he said in Jeremiah 5:10, “Woe is me, my mother, that you gave birth to me.” Jonah is maybe the sulking prophet, Jonah said in Jonah 4:3, “And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”This statement: the bitterest of statements. We may have expected from Job, who’d suffered so greatly (although we’ll be talking about unbiblical reactions to suffering in our LIVE Wednesday Bible Study this week). But there is a benefit to us of Solomon fessing up to his own internal struggles. It doesn’t matter how good you got it, it doesn’t matter how privileged or advantaged you are but at the end of the day, if you have lived your life as if your legacy or your status was your purpose you’ve wasted it never mind what level you soar too. A stillborn child, as tragic as that is, is better off than the famous king who knows the emptiness, the meaninglessness, the vanity of everything he has achieved, everything he has wasted.Here’s the principal: a life lived pursuing legacy for legacy’s sake, will turn out to be a life wasted. A futile life. A tragic life. And again, nobody could tell that tale better than King Solomon.What about you?What are you walking down the path of legacy hoping to find life’s meaning on the journey?Jesus says again in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” This rest that the stillborn child had and that Solomon didn’t have can be find in Jesus Christ who is Lord and Saviour.3. Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Longevity (6)“And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?”“lives a thousand years twice” So, whereas the previous point may have been hyperbole but was probably Solomon’s lived experience, this point is most definitely hyperbole. The oldest man in the Bible was Methuselah who lived to the ripe old age of 969 years old. I wonder if his retirement package kicked in at 69 and he lived for 900 extra years. You can read about him in Genesis 5.I read an interesting article by a lady Amanda Ruggeri, BBC Future’s senior editor. She wrote an article asking’ “Do we really live longer than our ancestors?” The short answer is No. Over the last few decades, it is true that life expectancy has increased dramatically around the globe. The natural conclusion is that both the miracles of modern medicine and public health initiatives have helped us live longer than ever before. But in fact, while medical advancements have improved many aspects of healthcare, the assumption that human life span has increased dramatically over centuries or millennia is misleading. Our maximum lifespan may not have changed much, if at all. But that’s not to delegitimise the extraordinary advances of the last few decades which have helped so many more people reach that maximum lifespan, and live healthier lives overall. But it is interesting as I read the article that the average life expectancy of those that life past their childhood years through the ages seemed to be about threescore years and ten, that’s King James for 70 years in Psalm 90:10. About 70 years, that is the average lifespan of a human over the ages. Well Solomon says, “if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness”. There is a pattern here in these first 3 points and it will continue in the next couple of points. It is about that rich man who didn’t enjoy his riches, it is about the man with 100 children that was not satisfied by good things and now the man who lives to be two thousand years old but isn’t happy. It is a contrast; it isn’t what you expect. These people were looking for happiness, for satisfaction, for enjoyment in the wrong places. This man ends up going to the same place in the passage that came before we spoke about rest, which was death, darkness which was death, futility, a proper burial. Friends, we humans are mortal. We are subject to eventual death, each and every one of us. In fact, we are subject to Inevitable death. Since the first sin in the Garden of Eden “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The biblical view of mortality is that it is an inevitability which comes to claim each one of us. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, you can’t run away from death, you can’t pretend it is not there. Death comes for you. Wise people consider their own mortality and adjust their lives so that they are prepared for it.Here’s the principal: a life lived pursuing longevity for longevity’s sake, will turn out to be a life wasted. A futile life. A tragic life.What about you?What are you walking down the path of longevity hoping to find life’s meaning on the journey? Paying your medical aid faithfully, hoping to extend your life well into your one hundred’s.Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Longevity4 Don’t Waste your Life Living for your Cravings (7)“All of a person’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied.”There is allot going on in verse in 7. In fact, in your Bibles, it is probably in italics to indicate that this is a saying. The word choices are interesting as well. The word “stomach” is really for the word “mouth”. “All man’s work is for his mouth.” The term “mouth” is a part made to represent the whole, your mouth becomes a representation for the whole person, substituting the organ of consumption for the person’s action of consumption. The word for “appetite” is really the word translated “soul”. It is an attribute used as a substitute for the thing, that is, the soul is associated with man’s desires and appetites.Charles Swindoll say, “The term translated “appetite” is the Hebrew word nephesh. It’s the term often rendered “soul” in other Old Testament passages. The soul is not satisfied. [A person’s] work doesn’t bring satisfaction to an empty life.”The idea of satisfaction, really brings with it truth that the human heart is a bottomless pit, nothing can fill it up or satisfy it, no food, no drugs, no alcohol, no sex, nothing that you pour into it will fill it up.Here’s the principal: a life lived pursuing the satification of your cravings, will turn out to be a life wasted. A futile life. A tragic life.What about you?Do you feed the beast within you, hoping to find life’s meaning on the journey?Jesus said in John 6:27, “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”5. Don’t Waste your Life Daydreaming it Away (8-9)“What advantage then does the wise person have over the fool? What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.”There are two rhetorical questions here, he doesn’t expect you to answer them because he expects you to know the answer. “What advantage then does the wise person have over the fool? There is no advantage. They both end in the same place; they both have the same concerns of heart. The fool might wish he was wise but when he becomes wise, he finds out he has exactly the same problems as he had when he started. Second question, “What advantage does the poor person have over the rich?” It is rhetorical, he is expecting you to answer, there is no advantage really when it comes down to it. The poor person may day dreamer to be a king and be rich but when he gets there, he finds out that it is empty. There is nothing. They both die and go to the same place. “Better what the eyes see than wandering desire” We have an English proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Reality is worth that, that you don’t know. Better to see what is real than to have wandering desires that are unreal. He is giving warning to us and he is saying that we mustn’t dream that we are something else because in actual fact, you will sit with the same problem if you go there. You need another solution; you need a completely different way out.Paul Apple says this, “Some people go through life with that grasping, covetous spirit – imagining that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence; let’s jump to that next job – it has to be better than what I’ve got here; then you find out that human nature is the same everywhere; the jerks you thought you were escaping somehow popped up over there.”Warren Wiesbe says, “Is Solomon telling us that it’s wrong to dream great dreams or have a burning ambition to accomplish something in life? Of course not, but we must take care that our ambition is motivated by the glory of God and not the praise of men. We must want to serve others and not promote ourselves. If we think our achievements will automatically bring satisfaction, we are wrong. True satisfaction comes when we do the will of God from the heart. “Here’s the principal: a life lived pursuing someone else’s life rather than your own, will turn out to be a life wasted. A futile life. A tragic life.What about you?Do you spend all your time hoping, dreaming that somehow you will be transported out of your reality and into someone else’s reality and do you suppose that it will solve all the issues that you currently face? You are lying to yourself in your dreams. You are! Friend, we need the way out.  CONCLUSIONThis morning king Solomon has warned us of 5 ways we can waste our live because he wasted much of his:He wasted his Life Living for his Wealth (1-2)He wasted his Life Living for his Legacy (3-5)He wasted his Life Living for his Longevity (6)He wasted his Life Living for his Cravings (7)He wasted his Life Daydreaming it Away (8-9)But he did wise up this truth. And as we come to this truth, we will briefly touch on today but will carry on into next week because in actual fact we have reached the pivot point in Ecclesiastes. Solomon will now move into some application and so we are going to take the saying in this last point with us into future weeks. He now points out the 1 way you can find meaning and experience a Life Worth Living.You want to live a life worth living, right?Well then pay attention to the reading of Gods word in verse 10-12, “Whatever exists was given its name long ago, and it is known what mankind is. But he is not able to contend with the one stronger than he. For when there are many words, they increase futility. What is the advantage for mankind? For who knows what is good for anyone in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow? Who can tell anyone what will happen after him under the sun?”Let me briefly explain this, “Whatever exists was given its name long ago” I am certain what Solomon is doing is talking about the opening pages of Scripture. In Genesis 1:5, “God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” In Genesis 1:8, “God called the expanse “sky.”” In Genesis 1:10, “God called the dry land “earth,” and the gathering of the water he called “seas.” God called man “Adam”. It is known what mankind is when God called man, “man”. The word that He used for “man” is the Hebrew word which we get for ground/ for earth. That is what man is from isn’t he. He is from the earth, that is what we return to. Because from ash we came, to ash we return. If man is from the earth friends, we are reminded as we dwell upon that, where God is from. And we lift our eyes above and we begin to think of heavenly things. Things not just under the sun in this world that we live, this fallen world, but we begin to lift our eyes and think of God in heavens glory above. And so, Solomon does as he says him being man is not able to content with the one that is stronger than He. Who is Solomon starting to talk about?APPLICATION He is starting to talk about God. He has had his eyes on the earth and thought, “If I am going to make it in this world, if I have a life worth living, I am going to invest my time, my effort and my energy into money. Well that didn’t work out. I am going to invest my time, my effort and my energy into longevity, that didn’t work out. I am going to invest my time, my effort and my energy into whatever else and under the sun, none of these things work out. But now as Solomon realises that he hasn’t been trying to fight life, he has been trying to fight God Himself and he can’t win. Because God created the heavens and the earth. He is all powerful and all-knowing and completely separated from Solomon. Solomon says man was given His name, His earth and man can’t beat God and now he starts to think big things in life. He has 3 questions here: What is the advantage for mankind? What is the advantage to all of this under the sun? He is going to answer it in the rest of Ecclesiastes. “who knows what is good for anyone in life” he is exasperated. If money is not good, if long life isn’t good, if all of those wives and children aren’t good, if all of these things aren’t good then what is good? Who can I look to? Who can I get the answer from? And who can tell me what will happen after me under the sun? Who can tell me about where things are going? When I die, what is going to happen? What happens to me when I die? Solomon is beginning to ponder upon the greatest topics the human mind could ever grapple with. And the answer he is beginning to give is God.So, friends, Solomon has given us 5 ways he has wasted his life in terms of wealth, legacy, longevity, cravings and dreaming it away. He is now beginning to point us to the one way where we find true meaning and experience a life worth living. God, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the fear of God is the discovery of life’s true meaning.How can you know God? The answer would be, you can’t unless He has revealed Himself to you and God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour. Emmanuel God with us came into this world, He came under the sun and lived the life that you and I could never live, and our sin filled state. And then He died to absorb the penalty that your and my sin was demanded for by God. He paid the price and He paid it in full, on the cross He declared “It is finished” and it was. The wrath of God was satisfied in the person of Jesus Christ. Friend, the call on your life if you want to find your life’s purpose, your life’s aim, your life’s goal this day, the call on your life is to abandon these other things as they are passing away. Money is passing away; fame is passing away and this entire world is passing away. But if you want to live a life which is worthy, stake your claim on Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Confess your sin and put your faith and trust in Him and His finished work upon the cross. Believe in Him and you will live. That is how we live a life that is worthy when we begin to glorify God above because we will glorify Him in this world and that is worthy and pleasing to Him. Even as we then glorify Him forever and ever in the life to come. We are going to spend more time on this topic next week. Next week we will start with verse 10 – 12 and will spill over into chapter 7 as we begin to look at the wise sayings and proverbs of King Solomon but for today, let me remind you that the time of ignorance has passed. The call is to all men to repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ that they might live.Friend if you are watching this on video, if you are out there on YouTube or on Facebook and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, can I encourage you to reach out to a local church near you, to speak to a pastor who can uncover God’s word to you and demonstrate the person of Jesus Christ, your sinful state and the need for a Saviour, that you too will call upon His name and live.Let’s close our eyes in a word of prayer.CLOSING PRAYER Father God in heaven, I do thank you for your word, I thank you that it is faithful and true. I thank you that upon it, we can build our lives and our testimony. I thank you for your church, I thank you for her gathering and I thank you that you have included us in her number that we are family, one with each other, that our elder brother Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, our God, the Head is connected to us and giving us vitality, empowering us, looking over us, intending us and even building us to His own praise and glory. All these things I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.BENEDICTION We are going to close in a short benediction this morning. It is an unusual benediction but while we were singing, it really struck me as a good benediction. It is from Psalm 117“Praise the Lord, all nations!Glorify him, all peoples!For his faithful love to us is great;the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.Hallelujah!”

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