Friday, July 29, 2011

The Way of the Fool

Psalm 53: 1-3

“The difference between the way of God and the way of a person who won’t listen to God is like day and night. Hello, I’m Phil Sanders; and this is a Bible study, ‘In Search of the Lord’s Way.’ We want to walk the way of God, not the way of a fool. So stay with us for this study and find out the difference between the two.

Hello, I’m Phil Sanders and we’re here to search God’s Word for the Lord’s Way. God’s ways are always wise. And we want to follow in His steps because we know that they lead to an abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven. And we’re so grateful that you have joined us. We want to be a part of your life each week.

Several years ago a couple in New Jersey were seriously injured by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, this bored couple lit the dynamite. They tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen; but they failed to notice that the window was closed. People can certainly hurt themselves when they act without thinking.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5 and verse 22 that, ‘whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.’ Now it’s not our place to get angry and call people fools, but the Bible does describe what a fool is and how a fool acts. We’re interested in studying what the Bible calls folly or foolishness, not because we want to call names, but because the Bible warns us not to choose the way of a fool.

Foolishness in the Bible is a frame of mind that either lacks the wisdom of God or has contempt for it. Foolishness shows a lack of understanding of God’s ways and an unwillingness to obey Scripture. The Bible indicates serious consequences whenever one rejects the wisdom of God.

Now, in general, a fool in the Bible lives life as if God and His commandments were trivial matters. According to Psalm 14, verse 1, ‘The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’’ Now, this verse continues: ‘They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.’ You see when people leave God out of their lives, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they become ungodly.

Well, if you want to study more about this topic with us, we offer this information free. If you’d like a printed copy or CD of our study, mail your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083 or send us an email; that’s to Or, you can call our toll-free telephone number. That number is 1 (800) 321-8633. We also stream this program on our website at The Edmond church will now worship in song, and then we’ll read from Psalm 53, verses 1 through 3.

Our reading today comes from Psalm 53, verses 1 through 3. ‘The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good. God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.’ This is a Psalm of David from the Holy Word. Let’s pray together. Heavenly Father, we pray that our hearts may be set upon not only understanding what You have written to us in Your Word but being willing to obey it, and to live by it, and to love it. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

The Bible calls people without godly wisdom ‘fools’ and describes their behavior as ‘folly.’ Now, simply speaking, folly is the opposite of wisdom, and a fool is the opposite of a wise person. Both wisdom and folly are depicted as perspectives on life. The religious person chooses wisdom, whereas the non-religious person opts for folly.

Wisdom leads to a successful spiritual life, while folly leads to heartache and ruin. The Bible says in Proverbs 1 and verse 7 that the ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Wisdom is the essence of a good life, while the fool is thoughtless; he is self-centered, and obviously indifferent to God. (Note also that we are not talking about being intelligent, smart, or having book knowledge. We are talking about wisdom. Wisdom comes from GOD!!!—my addition)

The Lord described and rebuked Israel in Jeremiah 4 and verse 22, ‘For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are stupid children and have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know.’ It’s not that these people have no knowledge at all. But what they lack or what they reject is a knowledge of God and His ways. Because they don’t know or value God, they do stupid and wicked things.

Sometimes people act naively. Because they don’t know better, they cause trouble for themselves and they cause trouble for others. The Bible contrasts the prudent and the naive in Proverbs 22 and verse 3, ‘The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and they’re punished for it.’ Again Proverbs 14, verses 15 and 16 explains that, ‘The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps. A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and he is careless.’ You see, his pride blinds him to the consequences of his actions, and he blunders through life.The Bible cautions in Ecclesiastes 5, verse 1, ‘Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know what they are doing and that they’re doing evil.’

You see, a foolish person thinks whatever worship or sacrifice he offers is pleasing to God, not realizing that our God is a holy God and we must worship reverently. You can’t worship a holy God just any way you want to. We need to listen to the instructions of the New Testament and worship God in church as the New Testament teaches; and it’s foolish to do otherwise.

Foolish people won’t listen to instruction and they don’t like rules. They would rather do their own thing and make up their own rules. Proverbs 12 and verse 15 says that, ‘The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.’ Now, a fool will convince himself that evil is good and good is evil. And it never occurs to him that he is ruining his life and hurting other people. Proverbs 16 and verse 22 says, ‘Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the discipline of fools is folly.’ (Think homosexual behavior and the supporters and enablers of this perverted behavior—my addition)

You see, some people will listen to God’s counsel and make the changes that help them to develop their character and to have a good life. But others are stubborn; they won’t listen to anyone; and they’re determined to pursue their own course no matter what.

Proverbs 26 and verse 7 says, ‘Like the legs which are useless to the lame, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools.’ Again Proverbs 15, verse 5 says that, ‘A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.’

Proverbs 17, verse 10 says that, ‘A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.’ Proverbs 27, verse 22 says, ‘Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.’ He doesn’t learn because he has a stubborn heart that doesn’t want to learn. A foolish man seems to miss the point of what God desires. He focuses on things that matter little while the things that matter most are ignored. The Bible tells this story from the lips of Jesus in Luke chapter 11, verses 37 to 40: The Bible says, ‘Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table. And when the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?’’

Now, there’s another aspect of foolishness that is even more insidious: and this is when a person deliberately sins against God’s laws. The Bible describes this kind of behavior in Jeremiah 29 and verse 23, ‘they have acted foolishly in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken words in My name falsely, which I did not command them; and I am He who knows and am a witness, declares the LORD.’ Oh, that’s foolishness!

Proverbs 1, verses 20 to 27 discusses this rebellious attitude and its consequences: ‘Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings: ‘How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused; I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.’’

When people won’t listen to God’s calling for them to obey, they pay a very dear price. They ruin their lives and they separate themselves from God. Proverbs 1, verses 28 to 33 describes this situation: ‘Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; (God says) they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me (that is the wisdom of God) shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.’

My friend, whether we listen to God and call on Him matters greatly. Some people think they don’t need God, but all of us reach those times in life when we can’t do without Him. When King Asa of Judah relied on God, the Lord delivered him from the massive armies of the Ethiopians with their many horses and chariots. At a later time, however, when Israel blockaded Judah, Asa turned to a man, Benhadad, the king of Aram. And he foolishly put his trust in men and he lost sight of his need for God’s help to defeat Israel. Well, Hanani the prophet came to Asa and he said: ‘Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this.’ That’s from 2 Chronicles 16, verses 7 to 9.

You see, foolishness is relying on man’s wisdom or on man’s ability rather than turning to God. We have got to turn to God for our answers in life. God can see things that we can’t see and He can do things that we cannot do on our own power. And it is foolish to doubt God’s wisdom or His power. God is wiser than men and more powerful than men. First Corinthians 1, verses 23 to 25 says, ‘but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those of us who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.’

Many people think that anything religious is foolish and weak, but we must never think lowly of God and highly of ourselves. Mankind knows many things and can do many things; but being smart isn’t the same as being wise. And just because we can do many things doesn’t mean that they are the right things to do. Our lives possess a spiritual and moral dimension that transcends human wisdom and human power. (This is why I’ve been saying over and over that we must change and return to GOD or all the balanced budgets in the world will not help the United States!!!—my addition)

The apostle Paul was critical of the idolatrous people of his day, because they had left God out of their lives and substituted their own speculations. When they cast out God, they also cast out the marvelous moral and spiritual dimension that God brings to our lives. Paul wrote in Romans 1, verses 18 to 21: ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.’

Paul explains, (Romans 1: 22-23) ‘Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.’ (Romans 1: 25) ‘They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator….’ Now this rejection of God left a moral emptiness in humanity. And their sense of morality, what they ought to do was replaced with doing whatever they wanted. They dishonored their bodies and practiced and committed indecent acts. Their lust of the flesh led to unnatural things. Proverbs 14, verse 9 says that, ‘Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is good will.’ Oh, fools do mock at the whole concept of right and wrong. They scoff at righteousness, while they live sad, unhappy lives. Proverbs 17, verse 25 says, ‘A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.’

[(The author left out but I will not: Romans 1: 26-27 {NIV}) “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” When the Apostle Paul wanted to give an example of men exchanging the truth of God for a lie, he gave, as an example, men and women involved in homosexual behavior!!! Get the picture? Homosexual behavior is a SIN. No court, no State, no group of men and women can change that TRUTH!!!—my addition]

So Romans 1, verses 28 to 32 begins to explain, ‘And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, (they’re) insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but they also give hearty approval to those who practice them.’ (Sound familiar? Today, as in the case of homosexual behavior, they also give preferred legal status. Talk about calling evil good and good evil!!!—my addition)

Ah, without God we live in a morally depraved, and abusive, and terribly unhappy world. God never intended for us to live that way. And that’s why He revealed Himself and His will to us in Jesus Christ and His teaching. Wherever the gospel of Jesus is preached, people become happier and more moral and better to each other. They love what is good and right and they turn away from what’s harmful and bad. They are filled with peace and hope. They are lights in a darkened world, and they have good families, and they give of their time and their money to bless those in need. Ah, the difference between the wisdom of serving God and the foolishness of ignoring Him is as evident as day and night to any careful observer. We need God in our lives. Let’s pray together. Father, help us to love You and to listen to You and to serve You so that we may be wise children and not foolish. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

The Lord Jesus told this parable in Luke 12, verses 16 to 21, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grains and all my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; so take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’

Wouldn’t you hate for God to call you a fool? This man had no place for God in his life. His whole focus was on taking care of his own needs. He thought he could live life as he pleased. He never considered God. How much place does God have in your life? Are you willing to listen to His wisdom and follow His teaching? God’s way is always wise; and we should listen to God in every matter.

The Bible teaches us to believe in God, to turn from the evil that ruins lives to righteousness that will bless everybody. When we confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God; and whenever we are baptized into Christ and into His death (you know it’s at his death where He shed his blood) we learn that that’s when we have salvation. Romans 6, verses 3 to 7 teaches that when you do this (that you are baptized into the death of Christ) that the old, foolish man of sin inside of you dies; and you will be washed clean of sin and born again. This is a great day to turn from foolishness to the wisdom of God. Won’t you do that today?

We hope and pray that today’s study of God’s Holy Word has blessed you or challenged you to think. If you want a free printed copy or CD of this message, mail your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way; that’s P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083 or send us an e-mail to Or, you can call the Search office toll-free at 1 (800) 321-8633. Now our programs appear on our website at We also offer Bible Correspondence courses, just let us know and we will be glad to send you one. We also offer free study sheets that go along with our program; and you can download them free before each program at our website or you can call and request them. Now if you contact us, we won’t put you on a list or hassle you for money.

Please worship with one of the churches of Christ in your area. They’re the reason that we don’t ask for money. And if you’re looking for a church home, we’ll be happy to help you find one. Churches of Christ love and they want guests, and you’ll be glad that you went and visited and you will be welcome. Well we’ll be back next week, Lord willing; so keep searching God’s Word with us and tell a friend about this program. God bless you and we love you from all of us at In Search of the Lord’s Way.”