SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20120909: "The Purpose of Life"

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        In two days we will pause and remember the shock and fear of what has been called, "9/11." Since then we have learned a whole bevy of new words and phrases on a national level, "Terrorism," "Jihadism," "Homeland Security Code Orange," "Ground Zero," "Sleeper Cells," "Al Qaeda," "Islam," "Allah," and "Infidel."

        I remember how deeply the American soul searched for meaning in this awful, tragic assault on our core values. We longed for the sweet, innocent illusion that the world is a safe place and that world-wide, all people and all religions could live in peace and harmony.

        We vainly soul-searched and re-examined our own values, trying to find meaning in our lives once again. Unfortunately, our lives would never be the same. We cannot go back to our former materialistic values and feel secure once again. There are no entertainment media or computer, electronic "Gee-Whiz" devices that will help us find meaning and purpose once again.

        Our political system reshuffles itself every four years and offers overly simplistic solutions to our need to discover meaning and purpose in our lives. The voting booth can temporarily make us feel better, but no worldly, economic, political system can do our personal homework for us.

        We need the face-to-face encounter with Jesus to help us in the process of searching and finding meaning in our lives.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;"      Philippians 2:12 (NKJV)

Pastor Phil  <><<


SHEEPFOLD MINISTRIES – September 9, 2012

Pastor Phil Roland





“What has meaning in today’s world? American Christians have it all, yet they, like Solomon, have nothing. What defines you, gives your life meaning and purpose? Real meaning in this life is only found in Jesus.”

                                                                                                              Pastor Phil   <><<

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10



Life is totally, inherently meaningless when measured against the vastness of the universe and space and time.


NIHILISM: The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. Extreme skepticism, according to which nothing in the world has a real existence. Nihilism is “nothingness.”



          A. Popularity – Fame – Wisdom

                        1. Solomon had it all

                        2. Began as King of the United Kingdom in 1015 BC

B. Wealth – Acquisition of Gold was his goal

                        1. Biblical "Talent" weighed 137 lbs.

                        2. In today's money for the price of gold

                        3. A Talent is $4,384,000

                        4. Solomon received 120 Talents from Hiram – 1 Kings 9:14

                        5. 220 Talents from Ophar – 1 Kings 9:28

                        6. 120 Talents from the Queen of Sheba – 1 Kings 10:10

            C. Materialism – 1 Kings 7:1-12

                        1. Palaces and houses

                        2. Vineyards, orchards and water pools (Water was precious)

            D. Numerous Subjugated People worked for him

                        1. Sensuality - 700 Wives, 300 Concubines – 1 Kings 11:1-3

                        2. Authority - 500 Managers / Superintendents – 1 Kings 9:23

                      D. Treasures: Gemstones, Spices – 1 Kings 10:10

            E. Daily Food Tributes – “Kor” = 60 Gallons – 1 Kings 4:22

                        a. Crops of all kinds – 30 “Kors”

                        b. Meal – 60 “Kors”

                        c. Fat Oxen – 10

                        d. Grade “A” Cattle – 20

                        e. Sheep – 100

                        f. Harts, Gazelles, Roebucks,  - 1 Kings 4:22-23



            F. Solomon's life experience Conclusions

                        1. Materialism and Wealth - VANITY

                        2. Power to Control People - VANITY

                        3. Endless amounts of Rich Foods - VANITY

                        4. Mindless pursuit of Sexual, Sensual Pleasure - VANITY

                        5. Hedonism and self-indulgence - VANITY - FUTILITY

                        6. It's not WHAT you have, but WHAT has you



          A. Accepting that Human Life and Existence has Consequences

                        1. No Gain w/o Pain

                        2. I came into this world through Great Suffering

                                    a. Breach Birth - "Butt First"

                                    b. Long Labor w/much suffering

                                    c. All five of us siblings came at great expense

            B. Human Life and Existence has its "Cause" and "Effects"

                        1. There is an "Oppositional Force" that balances everything

                        2. Wealth carries the possibility of poverty

                        3. Righteousness holds the potential of unrighteousness

                        4. Holiness is opposed by Human and Supernatural Evil

                        5. Heaven is opposed by Hell

                        6. Eternity w/God is opposed by Eternity w/o Him

            C. Temporal Human Life is meaningless unless one day it Ends

                        1. Temporal Life has it's own consequences - Galatians 6:7

                        "Do  not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows,

                         that he will also reap."

                                    a. Live Hard - Die Young

                                    b. Abuse your Body, it yields deadly consequences          

                        2. Live for yourself - Die by yourself - Eg. Howard Hughes                        D. Embrace the Realities of Human Life

                        1. Acceptance is the Key

                        2. Accepting / Embracing the things you cannot change

            E. Human Death is Inevitable - Hebrews 9:27

            "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,"



"Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

          A. I need Relationship with Significant People to find Meaning

                        1. It's not your Circumstances, or Surroundings

                        2. It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know

                        3. Solomon found meaning in simple things - Eccles. 9:9-10

                        "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain

                        life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity;

                        for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform



                        under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your

                        might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the

                         grave where you are going."

                                    a. Love your wife and be content

                                    b. Work Hard and be content

                        4. Can you sense Solomon's Cynicism dripping off his words?

                        5. Solomon sees Death as Extinction, Cessation of Being

          B. Only Jesus holds the Keys of Hell and Death - Rev. 1:17-18

            "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand

             on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.

            18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.

              Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

                        1. Jesus was alive, was dead and is alive forevermore

                        2. He is a "Greater than Solomon"

                                    a. Wiser than the previous Son of David

                                    b. More Powerful than the previous Son of David

                                    c. Richer than the previous Son of David

                        3. He has no "Root of Bitterness"

                        4. He extends his Arms of Acceptance and Love

            C. What about you?

                        1. Can you trust Him with your Life?

                        2. Can you trust Him with your Death?

                        3. Can you find Life's Meaning in Him?

                        4. I urge you, do it today!















12  I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13  And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.

14  I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

15  What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered.

16  I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."

17  And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.

18  For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

2:1  I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity.

2  I said of laughter; "Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?"

3  I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

4  I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards.

5  I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.

6  I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove.

7  I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me.

8  I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.

9  So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

10  Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor.

11  Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.



Years ago on a TV show, a guest appeared that was a body builder. As he entered the stage with his huge muscular body the crowd went crazy as the body builder began to flex his muscles and show his power. The first question asked of him was this: “What do you use all those muscles for?” Without answering, the body builder again stood up and began flexing his muscles while the crowd cheered wildly.
A second time, the question was asked, “What do you do with those muscles?” Again, the body builder flexed his muscles and the crowd became almost ecstatic. After asking three times, “What do you do with all those muscles?” the body builder just sat in silence. He had no answers. The man was all power but his power had no purpose other than to show off and bring attention to himself.


JAMES PETERSON, Fist Pumper, "Duhhh"

The last time James Peterson attempted to fist pump for hours he neglected to document it. But on May 11th when he felt the urge to fist pump again, he made sure to bring a camera crew and alert Guinness that he was aiming for a record. In all, the 34 year old Akron, Ohio resident managed to pump his fist in the air for 16 straight hours, which, Peterson, says, should be good enough to put him in the record books. To accomplish the feat, Peterson says he took no chances – he even super-glued his hand shut. “I used to handle light fixtures,” he said, “so I am used to having my hands above my head.”



JUGGLING ACT, Joe Salter, More "Duhhhhh!"

Joe Salter can probably walk and chew gum at the same time. Bored by normal triathlons, the 31 year-old school counselor, juggled balls during the entirety of an April 21st triathlon race, which included a quarter mile swim, a 4 mile run, and a 16.2 mile bike sprint. According to Salter, the swimming-while-juggling was the hardest part, since he had to do a slow backstroke the entire time. Juggling on the bicycle only proved difficult during gear changes, he reported. His final time: one hour, 57 minutes – and only three

balls dropped.


1,000 BARS A YEAR – Dan Freeman - For Real?

Dan Freeman (retired computer consultant and Brooklynite) set out Jan. 1 of 2005 to visit 1,000 bars in a single year. Barely five months later, the Don Quixote of drink is halfway to completing his boozy impossible dream.

Why 1,000 bars?
“There wasn’t any grand scheme,” explained Freeman. “I just wanted to see how many bars you could hit in a year, and 1,000 seemed reasonable.” (He aims to make 4 or 5 bars a day). One fan offered these words, “Congrats to you and your liver.”
Given his current pace, Freeman hopes to finish his work early. Freeman said, “If you don’t have a dream, how can you make a dream come true?”



Prov. 20:1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is lead astray by them is not wise.”


The Billy Crystal world-view is of a linear life. When a certain number of years have elapsed, it's over. Period. It's a pathetic picture, and one people seldom look at unless it is forced upon them -- as it was with poignancy and wit in City Slickers. While this movie may not rank among the great morality plays of all time (and some would find parts of the film offensive), it certainly drives the point home, along with the cattle.

Comedian Billy Crystal plays the part of a bored baby boomer who sells radio advertising time. One the day he visits his son's school to tell about his work along with other fathers, he suddenly lets loose a deadpan monologue to the bewildered youngsters in the class:

Value this time in your life, kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices. It goes by fast.

When you're a teenager, you think you can do anything and you do. Your twenties are a blur.

Thirties you raise your family, you make a little money, and you think to yourself, "What happened to my twenties?"

Forties, you grow a little pot belly, you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud, one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother.

Fifties, you have a minor surgery -- you'll call it a procedure, but it's a surgery.

Sixties, you'll have a major surgery, the music is still loud, but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway.

Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale. You start eating dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon, you have lunch around 10:00, breakfast the night before, spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering, "How come the kids don't call? How come the kids don't call?"

The eighties, you'll have a major stroke, and you end up babbling with some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand, but who you call mama.

Any questions?

Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, pp. 168-169.


There is a relationship which makes life complete. Without that relationship, there is a void, a vacuum in life. Many people, even those who are well-known, can attest to that void.

For example, H.G. Wells, famous historian and philosopher, said at age 61: "I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether." The poet Byron said, "My days are in yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone, the worm and the canker, and the grief are mine alone." The literary genius Thoreau said, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation."

Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day."

Morning Glory, May 29, 1993.



ST. AUGUSTINE: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”