Text: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
I. Parents of school-age children soon hear the argument, “But everyone else gets to. It’s not fair that I’m the only one who can’t.”
A. The topic varies with the age of the child, but it ranges from a purchase of an item that you can’t afford or you realize is frivolous, to attendance at a dance or a lock-in where boys and girls both attend.
B. The problem the child has is his focus on only the immediate “fun.”
1. He can be one of the crowd (popularity).
2. He can be apart of the fun and games (excitement)
C. He doesn’t see the possible consequences
D. It doesn’t get easier as children get older, especially if they succeed in winning these types of arguments.
1. My friends sometimes have a drink, why can’t I?
2. My friends sometimes smoke, why can’t I?
II. Unfortunately, we become guilty of carrying the same arguments into adulthood
A. “What do you mean, I can’t move in with my girlfriend? We’re in love! We plan to marry one day. Everyone else does it. It’s not fair to say I can’t.”
1. Do you see the attitude that everyone else gets all the fun?
B. Another I have heard repeatedly is when someone realizes they made a poor choice in a spouse. The marriage ends because of incompatibilities and then comes the wail “You mean I can’t marry again? She’s going to get married and she’s the one who left me. It’s not fair!”
C. The fallacy of the argument is the same, a focus on the immediate pleasure without considering the long-term consequences.
III. Without a doubt, many sins are fun but what are the consequences ?
A. Ever think about why Moses did not become a high official in the Egyptian government?
1. He was raised as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
2. Think of the political power, wealth, and prestige that would lend to anything he chose to do.
3. Hebrews 11:24-26 - Moses knew that all the wealth and power of Egypt was simply a passing moment of fun. He had greater, long-term objectives.
4. Worldly pleasures only exist in this world. They are not permanent.
5. Often, the pleasure only lasts as long as the action. It yields no lasting benefit - Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
B. Pleasures are expensive - Proverbs 21:17
1. The cost is not just dollars and cents.
2. Some pleasures cost you your reputation - Proverbs 6:32-33
3. Some pleasures cost you your health - Proverbs 5:7-11
4. Sin costs you heaven - I Corinthians 6:9-10
5. Philippians 3:19 - The end is destruction
C. Pleasure is unstable - Isaiah 47:7-10
1. You never know when it will suddenly evaporate.
2. Like a person living on credit - Habakkuk 2:6-7
D. It is never enough. It doesn’t bring satisfaction - Isaiah 29:8
1. What I want is never fulfilled - Ecclesiastes 6:7
2. Money is never enough - Ecclesiastes 5:10
3. Wine makes a man like the grave which always wants more - Habakkuk 2:5
IV. The Scriptures put a different light on pleasure, doesn’t it?
A. It steps back from the immediate effect to show us the larger view.
B. Why must I be honest when Jack over there is making oodles of money by not telling the customer the whole truth?
1. Does someone always gets away with dishonesty? - Proverbs 10:9
2. (Want an example? Think about Enron.)
3. Which will give me a better night’s sleep?
4. Is it worth forfeiting heaven?
C. Why should I envy the wicked? - Psalm 73:1-20
1. Is a moment’s pleasure with eternal misery something I really want for myself?
2. Think about it. Sure, you could do the same thing. You could commit the same sins. But something holds you back – the knowledge that it isn’t worth an eternity in hell.
D. Don’t live for the lusts of this world. It brings judgment - I Peter 4:1-7
1. If we live for the flesh, we will die like the flesh - Romans 8:13
E. The things of this world are worthless - Philippians 3:7-8
V. Oh, that people would learn this lesson - Deuteronomy 32:29
A. The world is perishing with its lusts - I John 2:15-17
B. Don’t get caught in the trap as the Israelites did. They were freed from slavery, yet they longed to return to Egypt - Numbers 11:5-6
C. Brethren, you escaped the corruption of the world, don’t look back and long for its fleeting pleasures.
The Bear and the Red Hot Stove
Once in a dense forest a big bear broke into the cabin of some hunters. They were out at the time but had left a fire in a pot-belly stove. The bear saw the red-hot stove and figured it was an enemy, so he ran over and grappled it in a great big bear hug. Naturally, he was severely burnt, but Mr. Bear thought the stove was fighting back, so he squeezed harder. The more he squeezed, the more he was burned. What a vicious cycle for a vicious bear.
Perhaps you think, “What a dumb animal to hug something to his own hurt!” But many people do the same. How many people are there who hug the world to themselves, such as lying, dancing, adultery, immodest clothing, drinking, etc. and refuse to part with it? Let someone warn them of the danger and they will hug it all the more. Many cannot bear to part with the sins of the world, and yet they cannot be saved while holding on to it. Too many are acting just like that bear.