PREACHING THE GOSPEL IS "FOOLISHNESS" TO PERISHING FOOLS
Scripture Text: I Corinthians 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
When I was a young Christian, I often stood on university campuses in the United States and preached the Gospel to the young men and women who were walking to and from their classes. I've also preached on street corners in some of our larger cities such as at Times Square in New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and other resort cities from New Jersey to Florida.
While serving as a Dean in the School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, I often traveled abroad to present technical papers at various engineering conferences or seminars, and I've taken the opportunity to present the Gospel on street corners in such places as Hyde Park in London,England; St. George's Square in Glasgow, Princess Street in Edinburgh and in Aberdeen, Scotland; in front of the City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland; along the dockside in Oslo, Norway; and in the public parks of such places as Honolulu, Hawaii; Lima, Peru; and Bogota, Columbia.
In every place where I've preached in the open air, or passed out Gospel tracts printed in their own language, there have been passersby who smiled, laughed, made snide remarks or who looked at me with disdain, pity, skepticism or unbelief. To them the preaching of the cross was foolishness, but to we who are saved it is still the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.
The word "fool," as defined in Webster's Dictionary, is "anyone who acts absurdly, or pursues a course contrary to wisdom." Therefore, some of you may think me to be a fool for having such a desire to bring the Gospel to people with whom I've come in contact, but the word of God says in Proverbs 11:30 that "he that winneth souls is wise." Again in I Corinthians 4:10, we Christians are told that, "We are fools for Christ's sake." Tell me Friend, "Who's fool are you?"
In this message, with the imperative help of the Holy Spirit of God, I would like to briefly bring before you some of the various types of fools that are mentioned in the scriptures. And I believe that these types of fools have their counterpart in people who may be reading this message today.
First of all, we have the "Fearless Fool." He has absolutely no reverential fear of God, the One in Whose hand is his every breath and heart beat. He can take God's name in vain with no concern about the consequences of doing so. Yet in Psalms 139:20 we're told that "thine enemies take Thy name in vain." Again in Exodus 20:7 we read, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain."
The "Fearless Fool" is one who has no time for the Gospel. He has no time to think about the fact that he must meet God. He couldn't care less about the consequences of rejecting the love of God expressed in the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross. He is one who, when warned of coming judgment, continues on in defiance and disobedience to the word of Almighty God. In Psalms 103:11 we read, "For as the Heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him." And in Proverbs 9:10 we're told that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Another type of fool is the "Self-Reasoning Fool." This type of an individual, when he does hear the word of God, immediately goes to work and casts aside all divine expressions which are contrary to his own finite reasoning. He may deny the existence of God. Yet we're told in Psalms 14:1 that "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." He may deny that the Bible is God's word and divinely inspired. He may deny the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the miracles of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and the existence of a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. He often scoffs at the "preaching of the cross" and the God-given fact that souls can only be saved through faith in the sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Isaiah 55:8,9 God says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." So why is it that mere man would try to subjugate the mind of God, and try to bring that infinite reasoning down to an intellectual plane saturated by sin and a deceitful heart?
The "Self-Reasoning Fool" is quite often a person who believes that they can please God, like Cain in Genesis chapter 4, by the efforts of their own hands. He believes that as long as he does his "best", then God should be satisfied with his good intentions. He may even believe that sincerity, as the basis of his "religion", will find favor in God's sight. But we read in Proverbs 14:12 that "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Again in Proverbs 12:15 we're told, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise."
And while I'm in Proverbs, let me give a word of advice to anyone, though perhaps not a "Self-Reasoning Fool," yet you are associating with these types of individuals. To you God says in Proverbs 13:20, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
Now the word of God makes it quite clear that the soul's salvation cannot be obtained by the sincere "religious" activities or efforts of anyone. In Ephesians 2:8,9 we're told, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Over in Titus 3:5 we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." And the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
Friend, if so-called "good works", religious activities, high morals, culture and sincerity could take us into God's Heaven, then please answer this question, "Why did God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, die on the cross?" In Romans 5:8,9 we're told, " But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." That's it! He died for us! Yes, He bore our sins in His own body on the cross of Calvary. He Who knew no sin, was made sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. God expressed His satisfaction with the death of Christ by raising Him from the dead. Friend, if God is satisfied ... then we should be satisfied too!
One of the most prevalent type of fools today is the "Educated Fool." Now I realize that the term itself is paradoxical, because there should be no such person as an "Educated Fool." However, there are many people today with high degrees of academic excellence and achievement, yet when their thinking, conduct and rationale are analyzed, they fall into the category of a "fool."
Now I'm not trying to antagonize anyone whose life has been taken up with acquiring an education because I did the same thing before I was saved, but if the acquisition of an education, or anything else, takes you away from preparing for the vast eternity that lies ahead, then you are definitely being foolish. And in so doing, you are running the risk of spending all eternity in the place that Jesus Christ called Hell. Is it worth it, Friend ?
The "Educated Fool" is usually characterized by his unbelief in the Genesis account of creation. He'd rather believe that "we came from monkeys," although he can't explain why we no longer "evolve from monkeys." He enjoys disseminating the diabolical doctrines of humanism. He believes in a mode or attitude of thought or action centering upon distinctively human interests or ideals. He believes in bowing down to the gods of science, technology and philosophy.
There are many outrageous theories being propagated by the "Educated Fool" in our schools and colleges today, and I believe that it is past time that Christian parents do more to stop the foolishness which infects the mind, body and soul of our children. Teach them from infancy that there is a God, and that the Bible is the word of God. Teach them that we are all "born in sin and shapened in iniquity." Teach them that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Teach them that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," etc.
Friends, It is a shameful fact to report, but in some of our institutions of higher learning today, many of which were founded by Godly individuals, the revelation of God has been dethroned, and the faulty reasoning of fallen man has been exalted to the place that rightfully belongs only to God. True and appropriate are the words we read in Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
Still another type of fool mentioned in the scriptures is the "Proud Fool." In Proverbs 14:3 God says, "In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride." Oh, how many souls are in Hell today because of a foolish and false pride. Many of them heard the Gospel time and time again, but their pride kept them from accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their own and personal Saviour. They were too proud to acknowledge their sinful condition in God's sight. They were too proud to admit that there was absolutely nothing they could do to either merit or inherit God's salvation. They were too proud to be "saved," or to bear the stigma of being referred to as "born again." They were too proud to associate with true Christians for fear of being ostracized by their unsaved friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors or class mates. In Malachi 4:1 we read, "Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord ..."
In Luke's Gospel chapter 12, the Lord tells us about another type of fool. This fool I would call the "Self-Sufficient Fool." He was a farmer who was richly blessed by the Lord of the Harvest, yet he had no time for God, Who had blessed him so bountifully. The farmer was making plans for a greater harvest which would mean that he needed bigger barns in which to store his "fruits and goods." After the barns were filled he would say, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be, which thou has provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Friend, is it possible that you are just like this man whom God had prospered, and who had made plans for his retirement in comfort, and you too have forgotten about death and the fact that you must meet God? If God would say to you today, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." Where would your soul be? Heaven or Hell? Well, the decision is entirely up to you. God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Yes, God would "have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." I hope that it will never be said of you like it was said by King David about rebellious Abner in II Samuel 3:33, "Died Abner as a fool dieth."
In Matthew chapter 7, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us of two men, one who was wise and built his house on a rock, and the other who was foolish and built his house on the sand. When the storms came the house on the rock stood firm, but the house on the sand fell apart. In verse 26 the Lord said, "And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:" Here, the Lord Jesus Christ is telling us that anyone who hears His word and disobeys that word is a fool. I would call this the "Rebellious Fool" because he was warned to build his house on the rock, but he rebelled against the truth, and he paid the terrible price for his rebellion. Friend, upon what, or upon whom, is your eternal destiny based? If you're not resting your soul's salvation on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary's cross, then you're rebelling against a loving God.
Well, I thank God that I am resting God's promise of eternal salvation upon the "Rock of Ages," the Lord Jesus Christ. In I Corinthians 3:11 we read, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." In John 10:9 the Lord said, "I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Again in John 14:6 He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." Even the Apostle Peter declares in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Friend, time is running out, and the day of God's grace is quickly drawing to a close. If you're not saved soon, then you can forget about being saved at all. Some of you have been basking in the sunshine of God's love, mercy and grace for many years, but you're still unsaved. God's admonition, in love, is quite clear in Deuteronomy 32:29, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!." We are also told in Proverbs 15:24 that "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Hell beneath."
Friend, I plead with you today, in love for your soul, not to be foolish, but to be wise, to consider your "latter end," and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour, because if you do, you'll be saved for time and for all eternity. And REMEMBER, MY FRIEND, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk