THE FOOL
Sermon Transcript

Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no-one who does good.” 

Psalm 53:1 then adds, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Do the two passages sound similar?  They are.  Psalms 14 and 53 are almost exalt duplicates. Then too, the Apostle Paul quotes quite a bit from these two Psalms in Romans 3.  The repetition of the verses certainly attests to the importance of the passages!  Let’s look at the verses now in some detail.

DAVID BEGINS THE PASSAGE WITH THE WORDS “THE FOOL.”

The word fool in the Bible means, someone that is lacking in common sense, understanding; someone who is dull, sluggish, silly, stupid, foolish.  The term draws to mind a person that makes bad choices when it comes to God, morals, personal habits, or eternity.  

The Hebrew word that is translated fool in the two verses that we are exploring today is Nabal. One of the wisest women in the Word of God was named Abigail.  You may remember her as being one of David's wives.  She is known in Scripture for her uncommonly good sense.  By contrast, her first husband was named Nabal - or fool. He was an evil man.  1 Samuel 25:25 quotes Abigail as she refers to this mean-spirited fellow, “Don’t pay any attention to that good-for-nothing Nabal.  His name means ‘fool,’ and it really fits him!” (The Contemporary English Version)

The Bible, in Psalms 14 and 53, gives 12 characteristics of a fool.  Please notice:

•        They say that there is no God --- verse 1

•        They live corrupt lives --- verse 1

•        They do vile things --- verse 1

•        They are without understanding --- verse 2

•        They ignore God and do not seek Him --- verse 2

•        They do not do good --- verses 1 and 3

•        They never learn due to their ignorance --- verse 4

•        They live in ignorance of God --- verse 4

•        They seek to devour God's people --- verse 4

•        They never pray --- verse 4

•        They are eventually overcome with great fear or dread --- verse 5

•        They frustrate the plans of the poor --- verse 5

Jesus adds to this list in Luke 12:19.  The fool says, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”  The fool is totally caught up in the here and the now.  He ignores his soul as well as his obligations to God.  Such an attitude is foolish.  Listen to the Lord's words in Luke 12:20: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”

Scripture then goes on to note several other characteristics of a fool:

•        Proverbs 29:11 notes:  “A fool gives full vent to his anger....”

•        Psalm 92:6 adds: “The senseless man does not know, fools do not under-stand....”

•        Proverbs 1:7 declares: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

•        Proverbs 1:22 likewise notes: “How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”

•        Proverbs 13:19 then cries: “...Fools detest turning from evil.”

The fool is obviously a person that is both evil and ignorant and is content to stay that way. He wouldn't change even if he could!

NOTICE NOW THAT THE FOOL SAYS, “THERE IS NO GOD.”

How many of you have ever heard of Lloyd Thoren of Petersburg, Indiana?  He operates a Dial-a-Atheist phone service. 

•        Do you need an uplift? 

•        Do you need something to inspire you?

Then just give Lloyd Thoren and his "Dial an Atheist" service a call!  Can you possibly imagine anything more pitiful and hopeless than that? I think a root canal would provide greater excitement. 

Mahatma Gandhi, the late spiritual/political leader of India, was once approached by an atheist who had hopes of creating an anti-God society.  Ghandi's comment was, "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists."

Calvin Coolidge, the former President, once said: "It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist.  Doubters do not achieve.  Skeptics do not contribute.  Cynics do not create."

Along this line, Charles M. Houser once wrote: "Atheism never composed a symphony. Never painted a masterpiece.  Never dispelled a fear.  Never healed a disease.  Never gave peace of mind.  Never dried a tear.  Never gave an intelligent answer to the vast mystery of the universe. Never gives meaning to man's life on the earth.  Never built a just and peaceful world.  Never built a great and enduring civilization."

An atheist complained to a friend that Christians have their special holidays, such as Christmas, Easter and the like; the Jews likewise celebrate their national holidays such as Passover, Yom Kippur and so forth.  He then went on to say, “But we atheists have no recognized national holiday.  It's unfair!  It's discrimination!”  The friend, being a quick wit, replied, “Why don't you celebrate April Fool's Day?”

NOW LET'S LOOK AT THE WORDS “NO GOD” IN OUR TEXT

As you look at the Psalms in question in some of your Bibles, you may notice that the words, "there is" are in italics.  What does that mean?  Can anyone tell me?  When words are in italics in Scripture, it means that those words were not in the original  text. The words were added by the translators so as to help make the meaning of the passage clearer. 

Let us leave “THERE IS” out of the two verses that we are studying and see what happens:  “The fool says in his heart, ‘NO GOD’”.

•        Simply, No God,

•        No God for me,

•        No God in my life,

•        No God in choices,

•        No God in my eternity,

•        No God in my thinking,

•        No God.

 •       Rather, I am going to have my own way. 

•        I am going to do as I please. 

•        I am going to have my fling. 

•        I am going to live as I want to live! 

Such a man or woman no longer has a sense of being under some kind of moral authority.  He has discarded God and His Holy Word therefore he is out on a spiritual limb all by himself. God is no longer there so he is free to do what he wants.

The atheist therefore thinks in his heart that there is no Judge,

•        no Final Arbitrator,

•        no Governor of the world,

•        no Providence ruling over the affairs of men. 

The scriptures are correct; such an individual is corrupt as well as vile.  He or she is a fool.

I want to now share with you Psalm 53:1 once again. This time from The Contemporary English Version: “Only a fool would say, ‘There is no God!’ People like that are worthless; they are heartless and cruel and never do right.” Such a person says, “no God.”  Such a person is truly a fool indeed!

PLEASE CONSIDER WITH ME FOR A MOMENT THE END RESULT OF SUCH A CONFESSION.

Walter Hooper, who was C. S. Lewis' personal secretary, laughed when he read the following epitaph: "Here lies an atheist, all dressed up with no place to go."  Lewis, however, did not completely share in his laughter.  He responded soberly, "I'm sure he wishes now that were true." Hell, my friends, is a sobering reality for those who do not believe.

Denying the existence of fire does not keep a man from getting burned by its flames so doubting the existence of God will not stop the Judge of all the earth from destroying the rebel who breaks His laws. The sin of atheism is a crime which much provokes heaven, and will eventually bring down terrible vengeance on the fool who practices or proclaims it--even if only in the secret confines of the  heart! 

On an episode of Barney Miller, the popular situation comedy that's still watched in syndicated reruns, the police captain Barney got into a conversation with one of his detectives, Dietrich, about the existence of God.  "Barney, do you believe in God?" he asked.  Miller said, "Well, I've always thought that there was something out there."  "Not me," said Dietrich.  "We are all probably the result of a big accident of some kind."  Barney said, "But what if you are wrong, and you wake up down there in an afterlife and have to explain yourself?  What will you say?" "Oops," replied Dietrich. 

What about you? If you were to stand before God today, what would you have to say?  To bet your life against the possibility of God's existence is a fool's gamble.  To deny the existence of hell is but a fool's hope The Bible says that it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.”  I am certain that facing Him at the Great White Throne Judgment with eternity on the line is going to draw forth a greater response of anguish than "Oops."

The poet therefore penned: 

"On earth are atheists many, In hell there is not any."

SO, IS THERE A GOD?

The truth is, the fact of God is so obvious that the Bible doesn't even try to prove it.  The Book simply opens with the declaration “In the beginning God created....”

John 1:1 adds: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....”  God was, is, and ever will be. 

I want to briefly share with you EIGHT SIMPLE ARGUMENTS for God's existence.  I could give you more but I will limit myself this morning:

1.         CREATION AND DESIGN

The creative works of God declare that He exists.  The world, it's order, it's beauty, it's laws all declare that there had to be some sort of master plan, a master designer that was behind it all.  That designer was and yet is God.

Isaiah 40:26 declares: “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.”

He prescribed their orbit.  He set them in the heavens, and although they are great in light and number, they nonetheless ever move as He commanded!

Earlier in that same chapter, He again speaks of His greatness in comparison to His creation.  Verse 12: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His Hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales?”

In verse 28, He then answers His own question.  “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth--THE LORD.”

The Apostle Paul therefore wrote in Romans 1:20: “Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

 2.        THE NATURE OF GOD

Man could not have thought up a God that is perfect.  Look at the gods of the ancient Greeks and the Romans.  They all had faults, sins, vices, but only on a larger than life scale.  Man does not have within himself the moral capacity to have come up with a sinless and holy God.

•        Look at the existence of the conscience -- is that a product of evolution?

•        Imagine a human being coming up with the idea of self-denial or cross bearing.

•        What man could have thought up The Ten Commandments?

Moral law implies a moral lawgiver and moral governor of the universe.  Who might that be if there is not a God?

3.         UNIVERSAL BELIEF IN GOD

The great majority of men in all ages and places have acknowledged the existence of God.  God has placed such a conviction in man.  He has declared His being from the beginning by that which He created.  Man believes in the existence of God because God has left His autograph everywhere!

•        Look at the mountains,

•        The sunsets,

•        Birth,

•        Animal life,

•        A garden,

•        The heavens on a bright starry night,

•        A mother’s love,

•        The complexity of matter,

If a person can see all of these things and not see God, then he or she could also LOOK ALL OVER THE SKY AT HIGH NOON ON A CLEAR DAY AND NOT SEE THE SUN!

4.         UNIVERSAL HUNGER FOR GOD

Mankind is in a never ending search for God. Look at all of the religions, the substitutes that we human beings have come up with.  There must be a supreme being that has placed that hunger there and that is capable of meeting that hunger when people turn to Him and meet His terms for reconciliation and fellowship. 

While in Romania some time back, evangelist Luis Palau told a television reporter: "The experience since World War II of atheistic governments in Eastern Europe was essential because many people felt, ‘We tried religion and it didn't work, so let's try atheism.’  But these past forty years have proved that a nation without God can not flourish.’  Palau added, 'The experiment we call atheism' was worth it because it proved to this generation once and for all that the human soul clamors for God.'"

5.         HISTORY

As I love to say, history is really "His Story!"  The record of events in the whole of history gives overwhelming evidence of the existence and providence of God in the rise and the fall of nations, the preservation of the races such as the Jews, and the innumerable events which had no natural explanation other than it was an act of God!

6.         PERSONAL TESTIMONY

Millions of people down though the ages have had personal encounters with God. He has saved them, delivered them, healed them, or performed some other grand miracle in their lives. 

•        Read the story of John Newton who wrote "Amazing Grace." 

•        Read the account of the conversion of Billy Sunday, the baseball player turned preacher. 

•        Read The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and read of the conversion of Nicky Cruz, the  former gang leader in New York City. 

Jesus did it!  There is no other plausible explanation!  Multitudes can testify of changed lives by simple faith in God.

If Jesus Christ has saved you and you can testify of His miracle working power to transform lives, then I want you to stand up right now.  Each and every one of you is a walking, talking witness to the existence of a great and gracious God!  You may be seated.

While this is true among Christians, not one infidel, agnostic, or atheist can boast of any benefits whatsoever from their unbelief!  Not one!

7.         SCRIPTURE

Listen to this true account: The wife of an alcoholic spent years living in total misery until someone gave her a Bible and she became a believer in Jesus Christ.  The lady found much comfort in reading the Word and in time it became her most treasured possession.  Her husband, though, sneered at her newfound religion.  He mocked her and tried to get her to turn away from her faith.  One day he came home drunk, snatched her Bible from her hand, and threw it into the lit fireplace.  He shouted, "Now we'll see what will be left of your precious Bible!"  The next morning the fellow had sobered up and he decided to clean out the ashes from the previous evening's fire.  As he did so, he noticed a few pages of Scripture had not been burned.  His eyes fell upon Jesus' words in Matthew 24:35 which state: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”  He was startled as he read the message.  In time, the Holy Spirit used this experience to convict him and to bring salvation to his sin-hardened soul!

The Bible is God's Book!  Look at it's beauty.  Consider it's many prophecies.  Meditate on it's amazing historical and scientific accuracy.  If you do so with a pure motive, I promise you, you will see God written out on every page!

8.         THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST

Jesus--the holiest man who ever lived--testified that their was and is a God. 

•        He submitted to God.

•        He declared that He had seen God.

•        He was spoken to by God.

•        He prayed to God.

In fact, Jesus and God were so intertwined that Jesus was to note that “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

 Do you believe?  I believe!

 AS I CLOSE OUT THIS SERMON, I want to share with you a true story borrowed from the pages of The Reader's Digest.  It's an account about a man in Manhattan by the name of Marcel Sternberger. 

Marcel Sternberger was a creature of habit.  He used to take the 9:09 Long Island Railroad to Woodside every morning.  When you live in New York, you begin to live like a machine.  Everything is like clock-work.  Even the delicatessen man learns just three words: "Thank you, Next."  Like rote, life goes on. 

Again, Sternberger used to get on this 9:09 train to Woodside every day.  One day he didn't do it.  He decided to go and visit a sickly friend who was dying. He wanted to pay him a visit because he knew he wouldn't be around that much longer. As a result, Marcel hops a different train - a train that he had never ridden before.  As he gets on another man gets up hurriedly to leave.  This leaves a vacant seat which Marcel manages to get.  Sitting next to him is a man who is reading a Hungarian newspaper.  Marcel Sternberger, being of Hungarian descent himself, eventually strikes up a conversation with the fellow.  He asks the stranger what he is doing in New York City.  The brother replies that he is in the city looking for his wife.

"What do you mean, you're looking for your wife?" 

The stranger then said, "Well, my wife and I used to live in Dubreken in Hungary.  During the war, I was taken away and made to work in the Ukraine burying the German dead.  In time I managed to escape and run back to freedom. When I returned home, I found that my wife had also been taken away by the Nazis. One of the neighbors said they thought she had been taken to Auschwitz and, therefore, she would have been killed in the gas ovens." 

Someone else told him that they thought that the Americans had arrived in time to save some of the prisoners and had taken some of them to America.  His wife might have been among those that were rescued.  He said, "By a long shot, I'm hoping my wife is here."

Marcel Sternberger kept listening to this story. The more he listened, the more familiar the account sounded to him.  He asked, "What is your wife's name?"

The stranger said, "My wife's name is Maria.  My last name is Paskin.  It's Maria Paskin."

Sternberger took out his wallet and found a dog-eared piece of paper.  As he looked down he saw the name Maria Paskin with a telephone number.  He had met the lady at a party some time back.  She had shared with him the same story that he had just heard.  For some reason, he made a note of her name and number.   Marcel then said, "Look, I want to do something for you now.  What is your name?"  He said, "My name is Bela Paskin."  Sternberger then said, "Bela, get off with me at the next station."

As they got off of the train, Marcel went over to a phone and called the number on the dog-eared piece of paper.  After many, many, rings a feeble voice answers the phone.  Marcel asked if he was speaking to Maria Paskin and she said that he was.  He then went on to say, "Maria, my name is Marcel Sternberger.  We met some weeks ago."  She said that remembered him.  He said, "Can you tell me what your husband's name is?"  Rather shocked, the lady answered, "My husband's name is Bela Paskin."  He said, "Can you tell me a little more about him?"  Again, the two stories were identical.  Sternberger said, "just a moment, I think you're about to witness one of the greatest miracles you will ever see."  Then, as Marcel held on to the receiver, he called Bela Paskin into the booth and he said, "Would you please speak to this person?"

In about 10 seconds or so Bela's expression changed.  His look was beyond description.  He then started to scream as the tears profusely poured down his creeks, "It's Maria!  It's Maria!  It's Maria!"

Marcel Sternberger took him away from the telephone and hailed a taxi.  He was going to go with his new friend to be a part of the moment when he decided that the occasion was to sacred for him to witness.  So he put Bela Paskin into the cab, paid the taxi driver, told him where to take him, and sent him on to the reunion of his dreams.   

Listen to the way the writers of The Reader's Digest end this article: "Skeptical persons would no doubt attribute the events of that memorable afternoon to mere chance.  But was it chance that made Sternberger suddenly decide to visit his sick friend, and hence take a subway line that he had never been on before?  Was it chance that caused the man sitting by the door of the car to rush out just as Sternberger came in?  Was it chance that caused Bela Paskin to be sitting beside Sternberger reading a Hungarian newspaper?  Was it chance or did God ride the Brooklyn subway that afternoon?"

Was it chance?  I will leave that for you to decide.  However, let me say that that the God that we serve is a God that does things like that.  He is a great God; He is an awesome God! 

I also submit to you that it is distinctly possible that the same God who orchestrated the events that brought Maria Paskin and her husband together has likewise ordered the events that has resulted in your being here this morning.  I submit to you that the God who is, is the God who is seeking to speak to and minister to your needs right here today  Won't you respond to His loving hand?

SOMEONE NOTED:

“If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money, God could have sent us an economist.

But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.”

That Savior came, bled and died for me, for you. If you have not accepted Him into your heart, please do so today. Don't leave here a fool.  Don't say, "No God."

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