Text: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Introduction: Last Friday night, during our Nexus session, we delved into the topic of Christ being capable of sympathizing with us because he had experienced all forms of suffering. What amazes me is that these young people reflected that it is soooo much better to have someone who can relate with your pain and suffering. It brings joy, relief, and assurance. Indeed, our lives are not designed to be isolated alone. We need one another.
Background: The previous verses talk about how Everything in Life is Vanity! Life is something fleeting and elusive. All the endeavors and pleasures of earthly life are only temporary. When one sees the consequences of sin in this fallen world, one is left in utter frustration, anger, and sorrow. Vanity, indeed!
Main Idea: When God promised that He would be with us; that he would never leave us nor forsake us in any situation in life. And bearing the name of Immanuel meaning God With Us. All of these are genuine promises and embraced through the presence of one another. The presence of God becomes tangible when we are together. In all things, the Spirit indwells in us and makes God’s presence visible. (Mathew 18:19)
The Qohelet, the writer of Ecclesiastes, values the community. Togetherness is not something to be achieved. It is a gift that needs to be received. Jesus had his disciples and inner circle (Peter, James, and John); David and Jonathan; Ruth and Naomi; Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; Elijah and Elisha; Job and his friends; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; Paul, Timothy, and Titus… and so on… God desires you to invest your life in your inner circle like Christ did.
- Celebrating the reward of togetherness. (v9)
- Illustration: Celebrating Alone video
- It is crucial to acknowledge that the rewards of togetherness extend far beyond the individual. We find strength and fulfillment in coming together to celebrate not only our own successes but also those of our brothers and sisters in faith.
- Suffering and supporting one another. (v10)
- Jurgen Moltmann calls suffering suffering if you do not have someone to suffer with.
- We learn from Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When we suffer, it is in the togetherness of our faith community that we find solace and strength. Our faith teaches us that, together, we can find comfort and resilience even in the face of life’s most challenging moments.
- Sharing warmth and care—love. (v11) – read Romans 13, the summary of the commandments is Love.
- In a world that often feels cold and indifferent, our togetherness provides a source of warmth, comfort, and care. In 1 Peter 4:8, we are reminded, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Our love for one another, expressed through acts of kindness, encouragement, and support, creates a haven of care and compassion.
Illustration: Threefold Cord is not quickly broken. I like the fact that the author did not say that the cord will not be broken. It can still be broken, but not easily. Brokenness in this world is inevitable. That’s why the author was shouting that All is Vanity! However, in God’s community, there is the blessing of togetherness and the power to withhold any trials and sufferings that will come through.
The Danger of Isolation, according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is the more destructive the power of sin over that person and the more deeply the person becomes involved in it (pornography, lying, vices, and other subtle sins). The devil wants a person to be isolated; it withdraws the person from the community (Life Together 112). You need someone to be accountable to your Christian walk; do not despise correction and rebuke. It is a gift from the community.
- Invest in your “inner circles” your small group or prayer groups. Why does being part of a small group discipleship matter? (pics of small groups)
- Celebrate small successes and blessings in life.
- Beautiful baby of Sis Mariecel last week.
- Mark’s new laptop story.
- Suffer and sacrifice.
- Do not think that your task is more important than your presence when comforting someone, or when listening to someone.
- Besides, our suffering reflects Christ’s suffering for us, and through this, we share with him.
- Bottle ministry goal. (picture)
Our togetherness is only made possible by the cross of Christ. Only those who truly have the faith in Christ share the communion with him.
Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 29, 2023