Introduction: Is life worth living? Is everything we do essentially
meaningless? If your life is important and is worth living, what
makes it worthwhile? Does hope play a role in living a meaningful
life? Let’s jump into our study and find out!
- A Meaningless Life – Solomon
- Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-2. Do you agree with Solomon, the
wisest guy who ever lived?
- If you disagree with Solomon, can you think of any
meaningful things that happened in Solomon’s life?
(Solomon may have been wise, but he certainly
suffered from depression. I think anyone who reads
Ecclesiastes comes away with the feeling that Solomon
had some very dark moments. He built the great
Temple in Jerusalem — a fabulous monument to the
worship of God and the place where God would meet His
people. (See 1 Kings 5-6) It was ultimately
destroyed, but it certainly had meaning for many
- If you disagree with Solomon, what in your life has
meaning? (I disagree with Solomon. What you are doing
right now – learning more about God and (hopefully)
sharing it with others has great meaning.)
- If you look at “Solomon’s temple” as something that
gave his life meaning, is there a connection between
the temple and giving people hope? (The sacrificial
service pointed to the hope of Jesus.)
- Read Ecclesiastes 1:3. How would you answer this question?
Is there a meaningful result from your daily work?
- Skip down to Ecclesiastes 1:15 and read it. Is this true?
- Is this the subject of our hope? (This is precisely
the subject of our hope. Through the power of God the
twisted can be straightened and what is lacking can
be supplied. This happened through the life and death
of Jesus – something that the temple service
represented. Solomon is absolutely wrong.)
- A Meaningless Life – Paul
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:13-19. On what points do Paul (the
writer of Corinthians) and Solomon agree? On what points
do they disagree.
- Let’s focus on some of these verses. Read again 1
Corinthians 15:14. What is the key to our faith and hope?
(That Jesus was raised to life.)
- How important to a meaningful life is that hope?
(This Bible study, your work for the church, indeed,
all “gospel” activity is “useless” if Jesus was not
raised to life.)
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 15:15. In addition to being
involved in useless endeavors, if Jesus has not been
raised to life, what else is wrong with our gospel
activity? (We are liars. We are misrepresenting God.)
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 15:17. What else is wrong with your
life if Jesus is not raised from the dead? (You are still
a sinner – with no hope of your condition changing.)
- As you consider verses 15 and 17, does Paul believe
that there is a God even if Jesus is a fake? (Yes.
This is very interesting. Many today would conclude
that if Jesus was a fraud, then the whole “God-thing”
was a story. That is not Paul. Paul believes there is
a God who cares about the sin problem. If we are
wrong about Jesus then we are lost because God will
not tolerate sin.)
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 15:18. If all we have discussed
before is not bad enough, what else goes wrong if Jesus
was not raised from the dead? (Our loved ones who have
died before us are forever gone.)
- Friend, Paul tells us that faith in Jesus’ resurrection is
central to our beliefs.
- What evidence of Jesus’ resurrection do we find in
Paul’s life? (Paul is absolutely right that we are
wasting our time on gospel work if Jesus was not
resurrected. It is obvious that Paul believed in
Jesus’ resurrection because he devoted his life to
sharing that gospel.)
- Re-read 1 Corinthians 15:19. Do you agree with Paul on
- Isn’t following Jesus’ teaching the intelligent way
to live – even if there is no hope of heaven? (I have
long believed that even if we did not have heaven as
our hope, if everyone lived the Christian life, our
lives would be better.)
- What do you think Solomon would say about Paul’s
view? Would he agree that life is really useless?
(Solomon would agree. His view was that even if you
live a good life and prosper here, it ultimately
means nothing. My father lived a good and prosperous
life. He has been dead 12 years and many of those
that knew him are dead. When my generation has
passed, the memory of my father will be almost
completely gone. One generation and you disappear!
The gospel hope changes all of that.)
- The Meaningful Life
- Read Colossians 1:3-4. What did the Colossians have going
for them? (Faith in Jesus and love for each other.)
- How is your church doing on the faith and love scale?
- Read Colossians 1:5-6. What is the source of this faith
and love possessed by the Colossians? (Our hope that we
will see heaven.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Hope is the source of love,
according to our text in Colossians. 1 Corinthians seems
to turn this around. How important is love to our hope?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. How does love change our
- If your life does not reflect these characteristics,
does it mean you do not have hope?
- Notice that verse 7 tells us the nature of love is to
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Solomon told us that all our
work was meaningless because it would disappear. What
part of our work in life is “eternal?” (The love part.)
- What does that mean – that love “never fails?” What
does it mean to say the “love part” is eternal? (Read
1 Corinthians 13:11-13. Our prophecy, tongues and
knowledge are incomplete, like a child’s knowledge is
incomplete. Only when we get to heaven will our
knowledge be “adult size.” However, our faith, hope
and love are eternal qualities that we can have now
from God in “adult portions.” These are gifts that
we can possess now. Gifts that will endure through
- Can you transmit love to your children more easily
than you can transmit your knowledge? (My parents
transmitted their love for me much better than they
did any specific knowledge. For example, I could not
do my father’s job based on what he told me about it.
However, his loving (and sometimes stern) attitude
toward me was something that I understood very well
and could use (or reject) when dealing with my own
- Look again at 1 Corinthians 13:13: How easy is it to
transmit your hope and your faith to your children?
- If your children (and those around you) are to have a
meaningful life, is it essential to teach them faith,
hope and love?
- Friend, Solomon was only partially right. Life is only
meaningless if we leave out the hope of the gospel.
Faith, hope and love make our life meaningful now, and
give us characteristics that will carry forward to heaven.
I invite you today to cross over from a meaningless life
to one that is full of meaning and joy.
- Next Week: Hope: Motivation for Mission.