Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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A Time For Everything Under the Sun
Comments for Study 3

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22
Memory Verse: 11

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I. A Time To... (3:1-8)

>1. How does Solomon open this section of his book? (1)

* Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"

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>What is true about all physical life on earth? (2)

* Ecclesiastes 3:2 "a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,"

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>2. What reason do people find to do that which is mentioned in verse 3?

* Ecclesiastes 3:3 "a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,"

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>Do all people experience the extremes of verse 4?

* Ecclesiastes 3:4 "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,"

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>What does it mean to scatter and gather stones? (5)

* Ecclesiastes 3:5 "a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,"

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>3. Did you ever want to obtain something and then later find it undesirable?

* Ecclesiastes 3:6 "a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,"

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>When is is good to be silent and to speak? (7)

* Ecclesiastes 3:7 "a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,"

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>What is worthy of hate and is war ever acceptable?

* Ecclesiastes 3:8 "a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

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>How does this show the paradox of the world ruled by mankind?

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II. Eternity in Our Hearts and Yet... (3:9-15)

>4. How does Solomon begin this section of his book? (9)

* Ecclesiastes 3:9 "What does the worker gain from his toil?"

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>What is the first burden on men?

* Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 "I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

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* "He has made everything beautiful in its time."

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>What is the second?

* "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men"

* "they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end"

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>Why has God laid these burdens on men? (Genesis 3:17-19)

* Genesis 3:17-19 "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

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>5. In this fallen world what is the best we can do? (12)

* Ecclesiastes 3:12 "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live."

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>Where does even this come from? (13)

* Ecclesiastes 3:13 "That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God."

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>How then should we set our priorities? (Matt. 22:35-40)

* Matthew 22:35-40 "One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

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>6. Why did God set up everything the way it is? (14)

* Ecclesiastes 3:14 "I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him."

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>What is sure whether we revere God or not? (15)

* Ecclesiastes 3:15 "Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account."

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>Who will judge us? (Matthew 7:1-2; John 5:22-23; Acts 10:39-43)

* Matthew 7:1-2 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

* John 5:22-23 "Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him."

* Acts 10:39-43 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

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III. From Dust and Return to Dust (3:16-22)

>7. What has always plagued man's court systems? (16)

* Ecclesiastes 3:16 "And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment--wickedness was there, in the place of justice--wickedness was there."

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>Is anyone exempt from judgement? (17)

* Ecclesiastes 3:17 "I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."

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>What did Jesus teach about the judgement to come? (Matthew 13:37-43; Romans 2:5-11)

* Matthew 13:37-43 "He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."

* Romans 2:5-11 "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. here will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism."

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>8. Does God test everyone? (18)

* Ecclesiastes 3:18 "I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals."

* Genesis 22:1 "Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied."

* Exodus 15:25 "Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them."

* Proverbs 17:3 "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart."

* Proverbs 27:21 "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives."

* 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed."

* 1 Thessalonians 2:4 "On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."

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>Why? (Psalm 66:10; James 1:2-4, 12)

* "so that they may see that they are like the animals"

* Psalm 66:10 "For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver."

* James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

* James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

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>9. What happens to all life in this world? (19)

* Ecclesiastes 3:19 "Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless."

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>Why does man return to dust? (20; Genesis 3:17-19)

* Ecclesiastes 3:20 "All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return."

* Genesis 3:17-19 "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

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>Is there life after death? (21; Matthew 22:29-32; John 11:25-26)

* Ecclesiastes 3:21 "Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?""

* Matthew 22:29-32 "Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

* John 11:25-26 "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

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>10. In this world what is the best man can do?

* Ecclesiastes 3:22 "So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?"

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