Home > dumcMy, Sermon > What is Worthwhile under the Sun? #dumcmy #sermon

What is Worthwhile under the Sun? #dumcmy #sermon

Dr. Ravi Zacharias, 12/05/2012

(I ran into problem with the internet. I could not post it before the benediction. I am sorry for the delay.)

The word apologetics came from the word apologia which means to give answers. In Act, Paul said, “let me explain.” Same goes for Joel and 1 Pet. Apologetics is the twin tasks of giving and answers and making them clear.

Two man were talking. One said to other to bet that he would ask himself a question and if he could answer it, the other man would buy him a Coke. The other man protested and said this was a not fair bet. He then said they would take turn. He started first, “How does a rabbit burrow into the ground without pushing the dirt out?” The answer, “The rabbit should not burrow from inside.” The other man said, “what kind of a question is this?” The first man said, “I don’t know. That’s your question.”

Sooner or later, we asked questions that stump the questioner.

We used to have 2 or 3 TV channels. Now, we have as many as 150 channels and we think there is nothing to watch.

“I wanted to see what was worthwhile for man to do under the sun.” From Ecclesiastes. The Preacher said it is all things are chasing after the wind and everything is meaningless under the sun. In English, it may lose is poignancy. In Hebrew, it refers to a locked system, consisting of a tiny world in 3 scores + 10 years.

“An empty bottle floating in the sea of nothingness.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre.

F. W. Boreham wrote 50 volumes of essays. He wrote the following.

“Laughter, merriment and fun, were quite evidently intended to occupy a large place in this world. Yet on no subject under the sun has the Church displayed more embarrassment and confusion. One might almost suppose that here we have discovered an important phase of human experience on which Christianity is criminally reticent; a terra incognita which no intrepid prophet had explored; a silent sea upon whose waters no ecclesiastical adventurer had ever burst; a dark and eerie country upon which no sun had ever shone. Dr. Jowett tells us of the devout old Scotsman who, on Saturday night, locked up the piano and unlocked the organ, reversing the process last thing on the Sabbath evening. The piano is the sinner; the organ the saint! Dr. Parker used to wax merry at the man who regarded bagatelle as a gift from heaven, whilst billiards he deemed to be a stepping-stone to perdition. The play we condemn; it is anathema, to us. The same play-or a vastly inferior one-screened on a film we delightedly admire. One Christian follows the round of gaiety with the maddest of the merry; another wears a hair shirt, and starves himself into a skeleton. One treats life as all a frolic; another as all a funeral. We swerve from the Scylla of aestheticism to the Charybdis of asceticism. We swing like a pendulum from the indulgence of the Epicurean to the severities of the Stoic, failing to recognize, with the author of Ecce Homo, that it is the glory of Christianity that, rejecting the absurdities of each, it combines the cardinal excellencies of both. We allow without knowing why we allow we ban without knowing why we prohibit. We compound for sins we are inclined to By damning those we have no mind to.We are at sea without chart or compass. Our theories of pleasure are in hopeless confusion. Is there no definite doctrine of amusement? Is there no philosophy of fun? There must be! And there is!” ~F. W. Boreham

We swing to two extremes.

Dr. Ravi remembers a time when his daughter had a serious injury. With her eyes bleeding and the siren sounding, the world was totally different. But when we are in pleasure, we don’t pause to think what the Lord wanted us to do.

The media today is like the slow boiling water to the frog. What stunted a previous generation seems ok to us today.

What is worthwhile for a man to do? Dr. Ravi borrowed it from Boreham.

The first one is taken from the book of Judges. Gideon was going into war and he got 30,000 conscripts. He got down on his knees and told God they were outnumbered. He cut it down to 10,000. God still said that was too many. He wanted 300. Gideon didn’t know how to choose. God told him to see how they drink from a stream. These men didn’t know drinking from the water was going to decided who would go to war. Anything that refreshing us without diminishing / destroying / distracting the final goal is a legitimate pleasure.

The key is to determine the legitimacy of leisure is to establish a final goal. Why do marriages fall apart? Marriages can fall because of distractions if the final goal was not first established, without which marriage is reduced to a convenient co-habitation. When we come to the living God and make the commitment to glorify God, then everything else will become a subset of that goal.

When Dr. Ravi was in the hotel industry, he drew a line what he was going to consume and not going to consume. When he had a late night dinner with the GM and the other staff, they consumed many drinks. One day, GM asked him when he was going to be a man. Dr. Ravi asked him when the GM left for the day, how could he trust him enough to leave him the key and all the money with him. The GM said he trusted him. Dr. Ravi then told him he

John Wesley’s mother Susanna had 19 children. She herself was one of 29. John preached 14,000 sermons and change the world at his time. He rode 250,000 miles on horseback. He wrote 6000 books. He got angry with his doctor who didn’t want him to preach more than 14 times a week. He wrote in his 80’s that laziness was creeping in because he had a tendency to stay in bed after 0530.

Anything weakens our reasoning and strengthens our flesh, that is a bad thing. John Wesley once asked his mother what is sin. This is what she told him, which shaped his life.

“Son, whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things; in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you becomes sin, however good it is in itself.” ~Susanna Wesley

Where are we in our life in our pursuit of fulfilling God’s purposes? Are we going to places we are not supposed to go? Are we having relationships we should not have? Are we using languages filled with profanity?

The 2nd point is taken also from a war scene. David was at war. He almost involuntarily said he wanted to drink water from the well back home. Three of his most noble men went past enemy line and took the water for him. David did not drink it. He could not drink the water that risks the lives of three of his most noble men.

Any desires that jeopardize the sacred rights of others is an illicit / illegitimate pleasure.

The 3rd one is from Solomon, who told us if we found honey, eat just enough because too much honey will make us sick. Leisure without boundary will make us sick. There is a time to go to the tennis court. There is a time to enjoy a good meal. There is a time to lay our head on the pillow. There is a time to worship. There is a time to go out and live the truth.

Solomon lived an imbalanced life. Dr. Ravi could not figure out Solomon. He knew so much yet he messed up his life so much.

Fame is hollow. Any achievements we can have cannot compare to knowing Jesus as our savior.


  1. All pleasure is bought at the price of pain. For true pleasure, we pay the discipline / pain before we enjoy it. False pleasure, we pay afterwards and we wonder what we have done.
  2. Meaninglessness in life doesn’t come from pain but from pleasure.
  3. All legitimate pleasure will draw us closer to God. All illegitimate pleasure draws us away from God. Pastor Ravi told of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.

The ultimate hunger of the human heart is intimacy. Sexuality and marriage are so profound because it is the ultimate expression of a person in a legitimate relationship.

Corporate worship is the expression of a life which has learned individual worship. We must have learned to have an intimate relationship with God.

Categories: dumcMy, Sermon
  1. 30/06/2012 at 6:17 am

    I really liked this line, “The key is to determine the legitimacy of leisure is to establish a final goal.” I had never though of leisure as legitimate or not. It simply seemed a goal in and of itself, a reward even. This gives me something to think on.

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