Vol. 5, No. 2
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"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). This is not a skeptical and pessimistic view of life, but a poignant refutation of materialism. Wealth, power, pleasure and fame are all fleeting. Solomon, generally acknowledged as the author, observed:
"I denied myself of nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
This is the attitude of one looking at life from a purely materialistic point of view. It portrays the hopelessness of those who trust in wealth, power, pleasure and knowledge. Experience teaches that rich or poor, wise or foolish, great or small, all must die. That being true, our author laments:
"So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 18).
Maybe you've felt the same sense of futility. If you have, don't despair! There is hope. Having tried it all, our author concluded that man's whole duty was "to fear God and keep his commandments" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Wisdom, knowledge and happiness come to those who put him first, but to those who do not, life remains meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:25-26). A man may chase the wind, but he never captures it!
Is there meaning to life? Is there hope? Can man find peace? Yes, but not in material pursuits! There is no lasting satisfaction or joy in a life apart from God. The struggle is futile until God comes into the picture. One may be rich, famous and powerful, but if God is missing, life offers nothing lasting (Luke 12:16-21). Everything is meaningless! Does your life have meaning?
"These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
Many churches have abandoned long held beliefs regarding both doctrine and morality. The Bible is no longer viewed as the inspired, authoritative, all-sufficient, inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And, if the Bible is rejected, then there is no basis for objective truth. Morality then becomes a matter of personal preference.
Churches which have embraced this philosophy no longer believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6). They now deny such fundamental biblical doctrines as the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus and his resurrection. For many he was at best a good man. There are many ways to God, they argue, he is but one of them.
In the realm of morality, little is considered inherently evil. We are told to be nonjudgmental. We must tolerate different points of view and be critical of no one. Tolerance is defined as acceptance, and the only sin is that of intolerance. In the quest to incorporate everyone and alienate no one, sin has been air brushed away. Anyone who argues otherwise is judgmental, intolerant, homophobic, pharisaic and unchristian. But that's a lie!
The church must be the pillar and support of truth. This involves doctrinal truth (such things as the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, his resurrection, etc.) and moral truth (his call for holiness, righteousness and godliness). When churches compromise on doctrinal issues it is not long until they give ground on moral matters as well. Compromise has been the name of the game for way too long!
The church ought to be the conscience of society. Christians are called to take a stand for truth and right. We must not conform to the world, but rather strive to bring the world to Christ (Romans 12:1-2). Any church which abandons the truth (doctrinal or moral) cannot be Christ's church. The church is the pillar of truth!