It’s All Meaningless 3? A Time To Hate? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)…
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Wait a minute. God wants us to hate?
There is so much to learn from these verses, but let’s focus on verse 8…
Let’s start digging into God’s Word to see
if there are other passages to help us understand Ecclesiastes 3:8…
Deuteronomy 12:31: You must not worship the Lord your God in their way,
because in worshiping their gods,
they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates.
They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.
Do you hate sin, my friends?
Do you want God to transform you to literally hate sin, sin in general & specific sins also?
Don’t write off the verse above because it is in the Old Testament…
we see this command to hate sin in the New Testament as well…
Romans 12:9: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Wow. Oh how Biblical love is different from cultural love.
Hating sin is one side of the coin of sincere love—hate what is evil, cling to what is good.
We don’t have sincere love if we aren’t being transformed to do both.
Let’s think about this in everyday life:
- Wouldn’t we be appalled to see someone abusing an animal,
a puppy, a kitten, beating & mistreating the creature?
- Wouldn’t we hate that, & can we all agree that it would be a good thing to hate abuse? Not hate the abuser, but hate the abuse?
- Don’t we hate the reality of children starving to death physically in a world with so much food? Don’t we all agree that it is a good thing to hate starvation?
- Shouldn’t we hate the chains used to keep slaves in bondage?
Shouldn’t we also hate the sin that keeps people as slaves? (Romans 6)
To understand God’s command to hate sin, we must understand what sin is.
Not what we think sin is, but what the LORD says that sin is.
The Bible calls sin slavery, not just imperfection or flaws…
Genesis 4:7: The LORD told Cain: “But if you do not do what is right,
sin is crouching at your door;
it desires to have you,
but you must rule over it.”
Sin didn’t just desire to tempt Cain;
sin desired to HAVE Cain, to master him, enslave him, control him.
It desires the same of us…
Isaiah 61: Christ’s declares the purpose of His ministry: “to set the captives free…”
He isn’t talking about a physical prison, my friends, but the prison of sin…
Mark 10:45: “The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many…”
A ransom is paid to free those who are hostages. Wow.
Humanity is hostage to sin…
My friends, haven’t we all experienced such inner horror at a particular situation,
a hatred of a particular form of suffering that lead us to do something about it,
lead us to respond to feed the starving child & to rescue the abused animal?
Oh the Father’s hatred of sin and His love for sinners
moved Him to decide, before time began,
to send His Son to respond to sin & die on the cross…
In this sense there is a time to hate…
But oh dear Christians, how little we hate sin,
how much we love the sin that actually is spiritual abuse,
the sin that actually is spiritual starvation…
We must cry out to our Savior to forgive & transform us,
not only to not sin,
but also to not love sin,
to not desire it, not celebrate it, indeed to hate sin…
Psalm 36:1-2: I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much
to detect or hate their sin.
Wow. That was written around 1000 B.C., but how true it is of modern society.
- Would we ever approve of a friend abusing puppies?
- Would we ever do anything to give them the impression
that we support such an act?
- Would we ever approve of a friend starving his/her child?
But we do support sin when we don’t learn to hate sin;
this ultimately leads to us
being indifferent to sin (what’s the big deal?)
and eventually approving of sin.
Does that mean we hate sinners,
that we are we to hate those who abuse puppies & starve kids, etc.?
Of course not.
But oh how difficult it is for us to learn from Christ Jesus
how to love the sinner & hate the sin.
Such transformation requires actual discipleship from Christ,
spending less time on Facebook
& more time with our face in the Book & on our knees—
less time playing & more time praying.
As long as we’re comfortable with shallow/easy/convenient Christianity,
we’ll never learn to truly hate sin & truly love sinners—
we’ll either hate sinners or we’ll love sin.
But we must learn to hate sin & love sinners…
only Christ can change us & His transformation process is not easy/convenient:
He remodels us, but not with Styrofoam hammers & nerf nails.
Since we shouldn’t just want information from the Bible,
but information and transformation,
we need personal application of the Bible:
Do we hate our own specific sins?
Many church-attenders declare that they are sinners in general
but make excuses when it comes to admitting to specific sins,
not even calling them sins anymore but flaws, mistakes,
or even celebrating the sin & saying that it’s good.
Or others say, “Yeah, I do that sin…but hey, nobody’s perfect!”
- WWJD (what would Jesus do?) was a popular acronym in the 90s.
- Today an even more popular acronym is WTBD: what’s the big deal?!
That’s not the response Peter had when he denied the Lord Jesus.
Peter didn’t say,
- “Hey, who are you to judge me?
- I got closer to Jesus than the other 11–they ran!
- At least I didn’t do what Judas did!
- Nobody’s perfect–no big deal!”
No, Peter didn’t justify his sin—he went outside & wept bitterly.
We have no record of Peter weeping over this sin later in life…
he didn’t constantly dwell on it in the future…
But he certainly wept bitterly over it initially!
Do you ever weep over your sin?
Or is your sin simply a tax write-off,
an acceptable cost of living in a sinful world,
an unavoidable part of life,
not that big of a deal?
Do you cry out to the Lord Jesus to cut out your specific sinful habits like cancer,
or do you embrace your sin & nurture it,
do you turn your Christian limp into a social strut
& embrace the sin you enjoy,
do you get a cool cane to enhance your limp, make it trendy,
make your limp part of your life, your identity,
part of your personality & who you are?
Psalm 97:9-11: For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
Hating evil, including our own, leads to joy! More on that later…
My dear friends, as one example,
do we hate the evil that many t.v. shows/movies/websites have?
I’m not saying we should never watch t.v. or movies or go on the internet,
but are we grieved that we love & enjoy watching sinful things
that grieve the Holy Spirit in us?
When we consider what we look at online or on t.v.,
do we ever consider asking the Holy Spirit if HE wants to watch that,
if He approves,
if He thinks the website/show is a big deal?
Or are we so concerned with not being a legalist
that we run to the other extreme & become licentious, anything goes?
Do we think that the only thing that is a big deal
is making a big deal out of things?
Again, let’s think about this in our daily lives:
- Wouldn’t we all agree that it would be abusive & unloving & wrong
to make a family member live & sleep in a bedroom
where we deliberately smash dozens of rotten eggs each week?
- Or where we unintentionally smash rotten eggs in a bedroom
but do nothing to clean up the mess we made,
& do nothing to get help to stop smashing the rotten eggs?
How miserable for the loved one to be in the foul environment.
Yet we do that to the Holy Spirit living in us
when we watch whatever we want
without asking the LORD if our favorite shows/movies/websites/YouTube videos
are sinful/offensive/rotten to Him.
Oh how we grieve the Holy Spirit, how we abuse Him.
There is a time to hate…to hate what is evil.
Ezekiel 14:3: “…these men have set up idols in their hearts and
put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces”.
Wow. We often disregard these passages in the Old Testament about idol worship because many of us never physically bow down to worship a statue.
But we do the same thing in a different way when we put what is wicked before our faces…
Oh Father may we only look at & watch what honors & glorifies You!
May we not dangle our eyes over sin’s cliffs!
Yet look at how the LORD responds to His people’s sinfulness in the next verses:
V.v.5-6: “I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel,
who have all deserted me for their idols.’
6“Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!”
We need the Father to recapture our hearts–
that is the root of why we watch sinful things–
our hearts have been captured by anything other than the LORD!
Ephesians 4:30:“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
All of Ephesians chapter 4 details what it means to grieve the Spirit—sinning!
And specifically when we don’t repent of sin,
when we don’t confess it to God,
when we don’t cry out to Him for transformation…
But you might say, “Well there wouldn’t be that much I COULD watch on t.v.,
there wouldn’t be many movies that I could see!
What would my friends think if I was never able to engage in conversations
with them about the stuff that they like?”
I know—you’re right! We’d all probably watch much less
if we truly learned to hate what is evil & cling only to what is good.
There isn’t a ton of good programming out there…
but oh how much time/money this would save for us,
how much more time to pray & read God’s Word
& serve others & spread the Gospel,
oh what a better witness we would have to non-Christians
when they realize that we really are different than them—
not more valuable to God, but definitely different,
that Christ really has changed us from the inside out…
& He can do the same for them!
God calls us to struggle against sin, not go along with it!
Yes we Christians still desire sin, still enjoy certain sins,
but we can be forgiven & healed & transformed!
We are not to STAY that way!
Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin,
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.”
WOW! We are to resist and fight against the sinful desires of our hearts—
the Lord Jesus said to cut off your hand if it causes you to sin!
A time to hate sin indeed…
(of course that is not literal, since He tells us later that our sinful actions come from our sinful hearts. But He certainly is underscoring the importance of fighting against sin!
Do we ever cry out to God: “Create in me a pure heart, O God…”? (Psalm 51:10).
Psalm 119:37: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.”
Do we hunger & thirst for righteousness,
knowing theLORD & being transformed by Him?
Not self-righteousness, but Christ-righteousness?
Oh we should hunger for this, my friends…
it is a serious sign when you are never hungry for food,
& it is a serious sign when we don’t care about maturing,
when we don’t hunger & thirst for Christ-righteousness…
This embracing of sin affects our closeness with the LORD, my friends.
Yes God loves us though we still sin,
but there is a closeness with Christ that we wont experience
as long as we keep giving in to sin,
as long as we justify it & make excuses for it,
sweep it under the rug or give it a permanent place in our lives,
as long as we don’t repent & ask Him & other Christians for help,
as long as we grieve the Holy Spirit & think it’s not that big of a deal.
James 4:7-10: 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Grieve, mourn and wail.
Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Don’t be scared of hating your sin—it leads to JOY!!!
Hating sin doesn’t mean you should feel miserable every moment—
quite the opposite!
Acts 3:19:“Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
In the desert of sin in this fallen world,
as so many chase the wind & seek refreshment from sinful saltwater,
oh the true refreshment from the LORD that we miss
when we don’t hate our sin and repent of it!
Psalm 30:4-5, 10-12: Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning…
8 To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy…
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Yes He has anger over our sin, but He is patient, and not angry for long…
oh the joy that He freely gives when we call for mercy!
Hebrews 1:8-9: But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.
The Lord Jesus hates wickedness, & He loves wicked enough to die for us!
His anointing with the oil of joy was connected to
His loving righteousness & hating wickedness.
As we cry out to Him to transform us to do the same,
to hate what is evil & cling to what is good,
as we learn to fall on our knees & repent of our sinfulness,
He will fill us with joy over time,
leading to richer & truer & more joyful worship of Him!
Are we just supposed to walk around all day
feeling miserable because we still sin?
But please don’t think that indifference or enjoyment
or passive acceptance of sin is better.
Please remember that godly people in the Bible did grieve over their sin:
David, Daniel, Isaiah, Peter.
The scorching burn from our sin
leads us to receive the soothing balm of Christ’s grace & Truth.
2 Corinthians 7:10: “Godly sorrow brings repentance
that leads to salvation
and leaves no regret…”
How serious when we never feel the burn of our sin,
when it doesnt sting our conscience, when we don’t learn godly sorrow.
We think the worst thing is feeling bad about our sin,
but the worst thing is not ever feeling bad about our sin!
Do you know what it is called when a person physically
no longer feels pain in their nerve endings,
when they can put their hand on a hot stove & not feel the hurt?
Some might WANT that, being numb to pain. We shouldn’t want that.
That nerve numbness is called leprosy, a disease not a solution.
Such a person cannot feel pain,
but they also cant feel pleasure where the nerves are numb.
Numbness is not something to be desired, indeed it is rightly called a disease.
Dear friends, when we no longer feel bad when we sin,
when we enjoy sin & just shrug our shoulders & say “What’s the big deal?”,
we have spiritual leprosy.
We no longer feel the burn of our sin OR the balm of the Savior’s grace.
We’re numb & we need spiritual healing
just as much as the person with physical leprosy.
As the pastor of this local church, that is why I am preaching on this
when I could’ve skipped over it.
It’s not that I enjoy preaching on this, not that I want to bring everyone low,
but I do want us to be lifted up by Christ & experience His joy,
& He says the way to be exalted is to humble ourselves…
But oh Christ can heal us of leprosy, dear Christians—
He is merciful & understands our weakness!
Let’s cry out to Him if we rarely feel bad about our sin,
if we don’t want the Holy Spirit to convict us & point out our sin,
if we want Him to leave us the way we are & not prune/transform us,
if we get our identity from our sin instead of the Savior’s sacrifice!
With cheesy fingertips stained by the sin we still crave,
let’s raise those dirty hands up to Christ in repentance,
& oh how He will forgive us & cleanse us!
Oh the joy that we’ll experience when He restores our ability
to grieve over our sin
& rejoice over His sacrifice!!!
Acts 3:19: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”