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!

  1. A Meaningless Life – Solomon

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-2. Do you agree with Solomon, the
      wisest guy who ever lived?

      1. 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

      2. 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.)

      3. 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.)

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 1:3. How would you answer this question?
      Is there a meaningful result from your daily work?

    3. Skip down to Ecclesiastes 1:15 and read it. Is this true?

      1. 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.)

  2. A Meaningless Life – Paul

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:13-19. On what points do Paul (the
      writer of Corinthians) and Solomon agree? On what points
      do they disagree.

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    3. 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.)

    4. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    5. 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.)

    6. Friend, Paul tells us that faith in Jesus’ resurrection is
      central to our beliefs.

      1. 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.)

    7. Re-read 1 Corinthians 15:19. Do you agree with Paul on
      this point?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

  3. The Meaningful Life

    1. Read Colossians 1:3-4. What did the Colossians have going
      for them? (Faith in Jesus and love for each other.)

      1. How is your church doing on the faith and love scale?

    1. 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.)

    2. 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?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. How does love change our
      everyday life?

      1. If your life does not reflect these characteristics,
        does it mean you do not have hope?

      2. Notice that verse 7 tells us the nature of love is to
        always hope!

    4. 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.)

      1. 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
        to heaven!)

      2. 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

    5. Look again at 1 Corinthians 13:13: How easy is it to
      transmit your hope and your faith to your children?

      1. If your children (and those around you) are to have a
        meaningful life, is it essential to teach them faith,
        hope and love?

    6. 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.

  1. Next Week: Hope: Motivation for Mission.