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Having Easter on April 1st, that is, April fools day, is kind of a dream come true. I’m actually living every pastor’s dream, and that is to be able to use the word, “fool,” in a sermon, and not get in trouble for it.
Why is it such a big deal? It’s because of what Jesus says about calling someone a fool.
“But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22 NKJV)
“Raca” was used as a word of contempt. It means you are calling them a worthless idiot. And taking them to council would be in our day the same as taking someone to court for defamation of character.
And yet as bad as that may be, to call someone a fool, that is calling them stupid, wicked, and vile is far worse and the consequences are far more severe, and that is the danger of being tossed into the fires of hell a result.
Now, maybe you can see why pastors shy away of using contemptible language and calling someone a fool. And this isn’t something that I will do even here. But what I will do is use what the Bible says, and that is we’re all foolish, and that there is no one that is immune from being foolish, or immune to foolishness.
The Bible speaks of a number of things that make a person foolish.
• Not believing in God, or an unbelieving fool. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1 NKJV) This is why April Fools Day has been suggested as the national holiday for atheists. Let me just say that since science declares that they haven’t discovered all there is to be discovered, then isn’t it foolish to say there is no God.
• Rejecting godly wisdom, or the ignorant fool. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NKJV)
• Being self-righteous is also foolish. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15 NKJV)
• It is also foolish to mock sin, that is, think it’s more of a joke and that those who think differently are the fools. “Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.” (Proverbs 14:9 NKJV)
• Being self-sufficient is also foolish. “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22 NKJV)
• And then you have the angry fool. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV)
• The slandering fool, “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18 NKJV)
• The talking fool, “A fool’s voice is known by his many words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3 NKJV)
We chuckle at some of these, because we know some people who fit these various descriptions, but more likely we winced at their mention, because we see ourselves in far too many of them.
Let me just say that to be foolish is no joke, because being foolish could very well mean our lives. This was King Saul’s take when once again his life is spared by the very man, David, which he is trying to hunt down and kill.
“I have sinned … I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” (1 Samuel 26:21 NKJV)
We see this foolishness lived out by King Saul based upon our own definitions above.
First he thought he could go around God’s word and do what he thought was right by offering up a sacrifice to God, when this was only to be done by a priest. Listen to his rationalization. “I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 13:12b NKJV)
Next we see him foolishly telling the men not to eat anything until he got his victory, not God’s, and therefore they weren’t able to take advantage of the victory, 1 Samuel 14.
And the coup-de-gras was his disobeying God and then lying about it, 1 Samuel 15.
This whole idea of foolishness costing us our lives is seen in Jesus’ story of the Rich Fool. His ship was coming in, his harvest was well beyond what even he could have expected, and so he was going to expand his operation, but Jesus said, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20 NKJV)
It’s not that he was about to get rich; rather it is about how he was going to use his newly acquired wealth, because he left God out of the equation.
And so, going back to my original assertion that we’re all a little foolish, it’s probably then a good thing that if we’re going to be foolish that we be foolish for what is right rather than what is wrong.
If we’re all foolish, and if we’re going to be foolish, then it probably best that we’re foolish for the right reasons and for the right cause. This is what the Apostle Paul brings out about himself in his first letter to the Corinthian church.
“We are fools for Christ’s sake.” (1 Corinthians 4:10a NKJV)
Paul earlier tells us why it’s wise to be a fool for God.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 1:25a NKJV)
Then Paul goes on to say, “Not many of you were wise by human standards … But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NKJV)
Earlier Paul asked this question, “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV)
And so what is the foolishness of God that is wiser than anything that man can come up with? The cross.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)
How is it wiser, because it is through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection that He proves all the doubters and critics, all the atheists and agnostics wrong, and that He is Lord and is alive and well to save all who come to Him.
You see, it’s absolutely foolish not to believe in the resurrection, because everything points to it’s reality, that is, it really happened.
These are just a few of the reasons that confirm the resurrection of Jesus.
The Empty Tomb
On the day after Passover, or on the biblical feast of First Fruits, the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, but when they got there He wasn’t. He was as Paul described Him as being the firstfruits from the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:20.
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24:2-3 NKJV)
Even the authorities knew this reality of the tomb being empty, so they bribed the soldiers who stood watch over the tomb telling them to say that the disciples came at night and stole the body, Matthew 28:11-13.
This is one of the theories used by those who want to disprove the empty tomb, but this theory of the body of Jesus being stolen was debunked very early on. And who would have thought that a bunch of fishermen who were hiding for their lives would have enough guts, not to mention military proficiency, to face Roman soldiers and Jewish guards and win?
Another theory was that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, but only swooned, that is He fainted. It’s known as the Swoon Theory. They say that is was the coolness of the tomb that revived Jesus. There are a couple of problems with this bit of worldly wisdom, or should I say foolishness.
• First, the Romans were experts at execution and death. They crucified hundreds of thousands of people. And just to make sure Jesus was dead, the stuck a spear into his side and up into his heart cavity. Jesus was dead.
• Second, if Jesus only fainted on the cross, then with all the blood he lost when they flogged and crucified him, how could He, in this condition, move a stone that would take several large men to move, and then how did he fight the soldiers who were guarding the tomb. Also remember that He had holes in His hands and feet.
• But then you have the disciples. Seeing his physical condition after the crucifixion, and if He didn’t rise from the dead, what sort of confidence would that build within them that He truly was the Lord God where they would readily lay down their lives for Him, knowing that it was all a lie in the first place?
Another confirmation of the resurrection is the …
In a court of law, the testimony of eyewitnesses establishes the truth about the claim. In the case of Jesus’ resurrection we’ve got over 500.
“He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-6 NKJV)
One theory people use trying to discount the resurrection is known as the Hallucination Theory. That is, they only thought they saw Jesus after the resurrection. They were hallucinating.
The only problem with this is that it’s been proven that if two people hallucinate something it’s never going to be the same. There is no such thing as shared hallucinations. Therefore, for the disciples to hallucinate the same thing at the same time is unheard of, not to mention that over 500 at the same time saw the exact same thing.
And to say that many of these same people were still alive and could confirm this truth adds to the validity of the resurrection.
The last confirmation of the resurrection that I’d like to share is the …
After the resurrection you see the lives of the disciples radically change. Here were a group of men who were afraid of their own shadow. When Jesus was arrested they scattered to the four winds. And after this death and burial they huddled in a room without hope and fearing for their lives. This was their condition when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection.
“The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:19 NKJV)
After their encounter with the risen Jesus, their demeanor changed. Now, instead of hiding, they openly went out and testified of Jesus and the resurrection. Of Peter and John it says:
“Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 4:1-2 NKJV)
If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, but rather swooned or had his body stolen, the disciples knowing this would never had continued, willingly submitting themselves to persecution and even death for something they knew to be a lie.
And so the facts would indicate that is it foolhardy not to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. And the reason it is foolhardy is because …
1. It’s the Power of Life
It’s foolish not to believe in the resurrection because in God’s wisdom He gives life through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within, because of the resurrection of Jesus.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11 NKJV)
Within this mortal body lies sin, and therefore death reigns within us. This is the inheritance that has been passed down from generation to generation from Adam and Eve, Romans 5:12. This is one of those inheritances that we could do without, but unfortunately, we inherit it whether we want it or not.
King David lamented this fact saying that he was conceived and born in sin; Psalm 51:5. Later this was confirmed through Solomon saying, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.” (Proverbs 22:15 NKJV)
But through the resurrection God has made these bodies of sin and death alive by grace through faith in Jesus. We who were dead in our trespasses and sins He has made alive, and by His great grace we have been saved with heaven as our home, Ephesians 2:1-7.
This brings us to the second reason why it’s foolhardy not to believe in the resurrection of Jesus because …
2. It’s the Hope of Heaven
It’s foolish not to believe in the resurrection of Christ, because if we don’t believe then we’ll miss out on God’s inheritance for us, and that is, heaven. The Apostle Peter says it is our living hope in a world designed to squash all hope.
Peter starts out saying,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3 NKJV)
Because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, God in his abundant mercy has created within us a living hope. And this living hope is God’s salvation through faith and His inheritance of eternal life that He has reserved for us in heaven.
“An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5 NKJV)
The third reason why not believing in the resurrection is foolish or foolhardy is because
3. It’s Our Promise of Resurrection
Once this life is over, our bodies go the way of the earth, but our spirits go directly to be with God.
The Bible speaks of this reality through what the Apostle Paul said.
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens … We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 7 NKJV)
But the promise is that one day our bodies will reunite with our spirits.
“For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 NLT)
It is what is known as the Rapture as Paul goes on to describe.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NKJV)
Jesus promised this reunion saying,
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3 NKJV)
In fact, this was His promise when He raised Lazarus from the dead.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26 NIV)
So I think it may be safe to say that while the Bible talks a lot about being foolish, the most foolish thing that any one could possibly do is not to believe in Jesus and in His resurrection, because it is the heart of the gospel message that bring salvation to everyone who believes, Romans 1:16.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study