Summary: This sermon searches the mystery of the purpose of life and finds the answer in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Intro: Show the 1980’s commercial “Where’s the beef?”

One of the funniest catchphrases of recent years is from an old Wendy’s commercial. King Solomon looks at life and says similarly “Where’s the beef?” Many people ask this same question about life. They find themselves sandwiched between birth and death, and, unfortunately, they often find themselves in a sandwich without substance--a sandwich with no meat. Struggling to find identity, to find meaning in life, they ask, "Where’s the beef?"

Keys to understanding this book

1. Written by someone who is credited with being the wisest of all time (1 Kings 3:11-13; 10:23)

2. Written by someone who has made many mistakes

A minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot added, “I should have one of he parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he took one and jumped.

The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So he took one and jumped. The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad smile said, “You are young and I have lived a rich life, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.” The boy Scout said, “Relax, Reverend, the smartest man in the world just picked up my knapsack and jumped out!

That computer whiz wasn’t so smart after all or as smart as he thought he was! Steve Shepherd

For someone so wise, you wonder how they could be so dumb.

I mean this is a man with 700 wives and 300 concubines!

He lived and excessively extravagant lifestyle

He even “fell off the wagon” at the end of his life (1 Kings 11:9-13)

3. Written after many pursuits and a lot of personal trial and error

Solomon was a man of great means.

He had more money than he could spend

He had more power than he could exercise

He had more material possessions than he could enjoy

He had more accomplishments than any of his predecessors

He had more wisdom than any before or after him

He had more wives and concubines than he could please… if there is anyone who could speak with authority on this matter, it was Solomon.

….he had everything a person of the world could want and plenty of it! and yet he said it all was vanity, meaningless, worthless, futile, empty.

Perhaps he was even going through a mid-life crisis for his words are lined with the bitterness of regret and the thought that life just isn’t fair

Solomon’s experiments: He sought purpose through…

1. intellectual pursuits (1:12-18)

a. His conclusion (v.18)

2. pleasure (2:1-2)

3. alcohol (2:3)

4. human achievement (2:4-7)

5. money (2:8)

6. sex (2:8b)

What is it you think that you don’t have that would make you happy? more money, more power, more sex, a bigger house, a nicer car, recognition, fame or fortune?

Here is a man who had it all and said it was empty!

A rich man was determined to give his mother a birthday present that would outshine all others. He read of a bird that had a vocabulary of 4000 words, could speak in numerous languages and sing 3 operatic arias. He immediately bought the bird for $50,000 and had it delivered to his mother. The next day he phoned to see if she had received the bird. "What did you think of the bird?" he asked. She replied, "It was delicious." Source Unknown.

His conclusions have been confirmed by many before and after him… that all these worldly things lead to emptiness if there is not a proper relationship with God (2:24-26)

This is the secret to the mystery of the purpose of life… a personal relationship with God!....and that can only happen through Jesus! Jesus is the answer!

1. Without Jesus, life is void of purpose (v.2)

Clarence Darrow, the great criminal lawyer of another day, had among his friends a young minister. This seems strange, because, as you remember, Darrow was usually thought of as an atheist, infidel, agnostic or what have you.

They were talking one day and Mr. Darrow became reminiscent. He talked of his career and some of the famous trials in which he had been the lawyer for the defense. He said, "This has been an exciting life." He made at least a comfortable fortune and he guessed he might be regarded as somewhat of a success.

Then Mr. Darrow asked, "Would you like to know my favorite Bible verse?" His friend said, "Indeed I would." Mr. Darrow said, "You will find it in Luke 5:5. ’We’ve toiled all the

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