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  • 1. “Life is like a tin of sardines – we’re all looking for the key” Alan Bennett
  • 2. New series ‘How can I make sense of life?’
  • 3. Which of these statements would you agree with? • Generations come and go, but the world stays just the same • A man is no better than an animal, because life has no meaning for either • It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to always want something else
  • 4. • Put your investments in many places, because you never know what kind of bad luck you’re going to have in this world! • I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman! Which of these statements would you agree with?
  • 5. … everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope Romans 15:4
  • 6. Philosophical ideas of our day • Fatalism • Existentialism • Hedonism • Cynicism • Pessimism
  • 7. Who wrote Ecclesiastes? ‘the Teacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem’ Solomon ‘qoheleth’ = speaker in an assembly or one who gathers and assembles
  • 8. Key words & phrases ‘Meaningless’ (39x) Heb word ‘heh'vel’ = breath/vapour ‘Under the sun’ (29x) describes the earthbound perspective
  • 9. Key words & phrases ‘Chasing after the wind’ (6x) ‘God’ (40x)
  • 10. Key to understanding Ecclesiastes Viewpoint 1 ‘Secular’ person Viewpoint 2 ‘Spiritual’ person Earthbound (under the sun) God not in view Meaningless Heaven bound God included Meaningful
  • 11. Theme of the Book ‘Without God, everything is meaningless’
  • 12. Today – ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ Ecc 1:2
  • 13. Today – ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes James 4:14
  • 14. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 1. Life is often a grind What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun? Ecc 1:1-3
  • 15. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 2. Life is fleeting Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains for ever Ecc 1:4
  • 16. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 3. Life is often repetitive The sun rises and the sun sets … The wind blows to the south and turns to the north … All streams flow into the sea … Ecc 1:5-7
  • 17. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 4. Life is unsatisfying All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing Ecc 1:8
  • 18. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 5. Life is unchanging What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun ... ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago … Ecc 1:9-10
  • 19. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ 6. Life is insignificant No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them Ecc 1:11
  • 20. ‘Is this all there is to Life?’ “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless” Bertrand Russell – Atheist
  • 21. If you feel that Life is:- A daily grind Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters Col 3:23
  • 22. If you feel that Life is:- Fleeting Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should Psalm 90:12 LB
  • 23. If you feel that Life is:- Repetitive & tiresome He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31
  • 24. If you feel that Life is:- Unsatisfying Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth 1 Tim 6:6 NLT
  • 25. If you feel that Life is:- Unchanging Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows James 1:17
  • 26. If you feel that Life is:- Insignificant For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ Jer 29:11