Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Preacher Got this Right!

Ecclesiastes 7:2 Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.

King Solomon as an Author
King Solomon started out as a wise spiritual King.  He did not improve with age.  He ended up setting the stage for the nation of Israel’s worship of heathen gods in his later years.  I would like to believe, however, that he got his act together before he died.  I think he finally realized that worldly wisdom, worldly pleasure and worldly worship was not the answer to the questions most of us ask about life and eternity.  In Ecclesiastes, this man who has tried it all tells us that nothing in life last or satisfies.  It is all chasing after the wind.  However, he came to the conclusion that fearing God and keeping his commandments did matter and that was all that really counted (see Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Solomon got one Thing Right
There are statements in the book of Ecclesiastes that are not general truths but instead reflect Solomon’s own personal experience.  For example, Solomon could not find one wise woman among a thousand, but we see many wise women in the Bible.  Solomon may have been disillusioned by the women he had married since 1 Kings 11:3 indicates that he had a harem of 1000 women.  He may have meant that none of his wives and concubines were wise.   I suspect that he was facing the fact that the wives he married for political purposes and, in some cases, for their beauty all had their own agendas.  But while he got his choice of women wrong, he got one thing right.   He realized that death is not to be taken lightly, and it is one thing that causes all of us to think about our relationship with God.

We Get it Wrong!
We now call funerals celebrations of life.  We try to turn them into joyful occasions instead of occasions for the serious preaching of the Gospel in a kind and compassionate way.  Yes, the person who has died should be remembered; but that person’s death is what has been appropriately called “The Preacher of the Old School.”  Death speaks in ways that many preachers will not speak today.  Often we are not faced with the fact that death is the result of sin and with the fact that the person whose body is in the casket is either in heaven or in hell.  Their destiny was determined before they died by whether or not they trusted in the Lord Jesus as their Savior.  It is a solemn thing to think about eternity.  Many ridicule and mock the idea of heaven and hell and the need for eternal salvation.  That doesn’t change the facts and a funeral is an opportune time to present these facts.  If we really believe that eternal destinies are at stake, we will present those facts whether they are popular or not because of our love for those who are in the audience.

Today, the Gospel is often preached in environments where people are wanting to have “fun” rather than in an environment where serious thinking can take place.  We encourage that by advertising our Gospel meetings and Gospel camps and our daily vacation Bible Schools with the word “fun” preeminent in our advertising.  We would be more honest, if we told people that we were going to tell them how to prepare for life after death or how to prepare for the Lord’s return.  That, however, would probably limit the number of parents and children who would be interested.

For several years, I was involved in a Gospel outreach at our local fair.  I realized that most people coming there were not coming to hear the Gospel, they were coming to “have fun.”  I tried to get literature into the hands of those who came hoping that they would take it home and would read the material in a sober moment.  I didn’t try to press people for serious discussions at the fair.  It was not the proper atmosphere for that.  Most of our serious discussions were with other believers who were also concerned about reaching out with the good news of God’s salvation. While I like children to have fun at our camps and children’s meetings, I personally try to keep my messages interesting but serious since the Gospel deals with death and with counting the cost and with eternity.  It is a serious business.

The Seriousness of the Gospel
I think Solomon was wise when he came to the conclusion that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.  We need to be careful not to make it appear that the Christian life is all “fun and games” when we preach the Gospel.  The Christian life is a discipline.  Being a disciple and pursuing a discipline is fulfilling and satisfying but it is costly.  It fills the believer in Christ with joy, but it is not usually characterized by fun in the Bible. 

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 21, 2014

1 Comment »

Comment by Solange

September 25, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

Thank you for this reminder.

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