By Evangelist Solomon OKPO
Sunday December 31, 2023
Topic: “THE CYNIC’S NEW YEAR ” (2)
Ecclesiastes 1 : 9.
Looking into the new year of the unknown, I want us to ponder this morning being the last Sunday in the Month of December 2023 at ‘The Cynic’s New Year’ 2024.
Now I want you to turn with me to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, if you’re not familiar with where that is, it’s Psalms, Proverbs, and then Ecclesiastes.
It’s easy finding the Psalms, that big book in the middle of your Bible, then Proverbs and then Ecclesiastes chapter 1 and verse 9. Now this is always a book that is difficult to understand, a book that often cults and false religions home in on because there are very strange statements within it.
You have to understand the context of the book, and the author. We commonly believe that King Solomon was the author of this book, but he was found in a state of cynicism, pessimism, you could say that he was backslidden, he had lost much of his faith in God.
So immediately you understand that it explains a lot of the statements that he makes in these verses, that we aren’t meant to take as rules and regulations and principles for our Christian lives, but to show us what life is like without God, when you feel that God has let you down and you feel that God is not there.
So, looking into the new year of the unknown, I want us to look this morning at ‘The Cynic’s New Year’.
Ecclesiastes 1 and just verse 9, and we will be looking at a number of verses throughout this book, but just verse 9 to start off with: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us”.
Late Pastor E. E. Okon was a famous Nigerian preacher many years ago, and on one New Year’s Day he preached a sermon on this very text, Ecclesiastes 1 verse 9, under the title that I have borrowed off him this morning, ‘The Cynic’s New Year’.
In his introductory remarks he said these words, listen very carefully as I quote them verbatim: ‘Here is a man’ – i.e. the cynic – ‘for whom life has obviously grown stale.
He has suffered heavy and tragic losses, among these surely one of the most pathetic is the loss of his New Year’s Day. Of course January 1st came to him every 12 months, even as it did to others, but it had for him no thrill of expectancy, it never meant a resurrection of hopes, it never brought a revival of courageous effort to attain the heights, no longer did he allow himself to be betrayed by it into making rash resolutions for the achieving of the impossible.
In fact, this day had ceased altogether to be for him the beginning of a new year’ – this is what I want you to note, he says: ‘it was only the beginning of another year, another year of boredom and yawns, of disgust and despair, of wearily trudging through a monotonous waste of desert sand’.
I wonder could that be said of any of us here today, whether we are saved or lost, whether we’re one of God’s people or not, it’s irrelevant really in the light of God’s truth today: could it be said that, as we stand of the threshold of a new year, that it is only the beginning of another year, another year of boredom and yawns, of disgust and despair, of wearily trudging through a monotonous waste of desert sand? Chappell remarked, ‘The trouble with this man is that he has allowed himself to become a cynic’. He saw so much of life that he didn’t like, that he could not understand, make head nor tail of, and he became a cynic.
We’re all cynics at times, we all adopt a cynical attitude from time to time when various circumstances come into our lives.
In case you don’t know what a cynic is, the Oxford English Dictionary definition of it is this: ‘someone with little faith in human sincerity and goodness’.
You’ve lost your faith in humanity, lost your ideal that people really can be good at times. Henry Ward Beecher, another great American preacher, defined the cynic like this: ‘The cynic is the one who never sees a good quality in a man, yet never fails to see a bad one.
He is the human owl, he is vigilant in darkness and blind to the light. He puts all human actions into two classes: the openly bad, and the secretly bad.
He holds that no man does a good thing except for a profit’.
…to be continued next week, follow us on website, evangelist.com.ng