Grace Baptist Church

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One Is the Loneliest Number

One Is the Loneliest Number

Nov 20, 2016

Passage: Ecclesiastes 4:7-16

Preacher: Tom Ascol

Series: Ecclesiastes - Real Life in a Fallen World

Category: Sunday Morning

Keywords: community, companionship, friendship, loneliness, relationships


Pastor Tom Ascol continues his series on Ecclesiastes with a message on Chapter 4:7-16 entitled “One Is the Loneliest Number.” American culture often makes heroes of rugged, self-reliant individuals. While it is true that individual effort overcoming obstacles may be ennobling, individualism eventually leads to a lonely, empty life. It is not a scriptural prescription. God has designed us for community.

Ecclesiastes teaches a person who has “no other…[is] never satisfied” (v. 8). Working by and for yourself is self-defeating. Furthermore, it is shortsighted. Continuing, the loner does not ask “for whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure.” Where is this man’s focus? He has not set a purpose or goal except to work for more and more. Again, the reader sees the obvious, this is “vanity and an unhappy business.” Rather than this toil for self, believers, having been reconciled to God ought to be living for Him, for His glory not for the glory of ourselves.

Rather than living for self, the Preacher shows that living in community provides great blessing. When it comes to relationships, more is better. Two are better than one. When one falls the other can pick up, when one is cold the other can warm, when one is attacked the other helps defend (vv. 9 – 12). God created man for friendship. This became obvious as early as the Garden of Eden when God said “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Preacher continues with a proverb indicating three is better yet; there is greater strength and it is more productive!

Here is great application for the church. Though Jesus calls His followers individually, and though they have a relationship with Him, they are not called to follow individually. We are called to follow Christ together with others. In so doing there is help, comfort, strength, and productiveness. We need others to help us grow. We need to be available to help others grow. Life in Christ is a community effort.

Still, as hard as we work together the Preacher tells us that everything in this fallen world will come to an end. Even successful accomplishments will not last (vv. 13-16). The author spends time contrasting a king that will not take counsel and one who will. The wise one, taking counsel rules well, and has a happy constituency. Yet even that ends and a time comes when no one remembers even the good king. Without God in our lives “Surely this is also a vanity and a striving after wind” (16).

To trust Jesus Christ is to become not only His follower and to know Him as only your Savior, but to be adopted into a community, His very family so that He becomes your older brother. Unlike the good king’s kingdom, Jesus’ kingdom never ends, it is eternal where is no vanity and striving after the wind. Hear Him calling to you today; turn from your sin and be united with Him through faith.