Using the passage of time as a framework, Alistair preaches the Gospel against the backdrop of Ecclesiastes 12. What the Bible teaches us is that the beginning of life is not unknown because men and women were purposefully created in God’s own image. Nor is life a mysterious path to nowhere because all mankind has been created with an innate understanding of eternity. The Gospel assures us that in Christ we will ultimately be free from the trauma of this life and discover a place marked by tranquility and beauty.
1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along,1 and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8Vanity2 of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
9Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.3 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, with4 every secret thing, whether good or evil.
The continuing challenge of preaching is to bring God’s divine content into the human context in which the message is delivered. For pastors, the key is to help their people understand that following death comes judgment and that the salvation God offers through Christ Jesus is the only deliverance from an eternal sentence. Pastors must make a clear, authoritative and urgent appeal to their congregations to make contact with Jesus Christ from all of Scripture. This is the danger of neglecting the Gospel.
Can the Good News, though, be preached from every book of the Bible? Teaching from Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Acts and Revelation, Alistair Begg shows how the story of redemption is revealed and brought forward. In this series, Alistair encourages pastors to structure their messages by looking to the biblical text and focusing on the details of a scene. Likewise, by searching for Jesus in all of Scripture, pastors will be able to affirm again and again that the only safe haven is in the mercy of God as manifested in Christ.
|Preaching the Gospel from Ruth||Ruth 1:1-22|
|Preaching the Gospel from Ecclesiastes||Ecclesiastes 12:1-14|
|Preaching the Gospel from Acts||Acts 25:23-26:32|
|Preaching the Gospel from Revelation||Revelation 7:1-17|