Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WHO IS THE FOOL ON APRIL FOOL’S DAY?”

On April Fool’s Day in 2012, I thought it wise to address the issue of foolishness and the fool. Therefore, I beg your indulgence as I make mention of some observations I have made from God’s Word about fools and their folly.

The first time we find the word fool in our English Bible it is uttered by King Saul to the valiant warrior, David, who has been anointed by the prophet Samuel to succeed Saul as king, but has been on the run from Saul who has sought to take his life. Having crept up to where King Saul was sleeping for a second time and having taken Saul’s spear and water jug, David called out from a safe location and accused Abner of not properly protecting his king.[1] “Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.”[2] Thus, we see that foolishness is closely connected with both sin and error.

The first time we find the word fool in the Psalms, David declares by inspiration of God in Psalm 14.1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Not that the fool necessarily denies the existence of God, though some fools do that. Rather, the fool is one whose heart screams, “No, God.” Such a person, says David, is corrupt, has done abominable things, and none of them of that persuasion do good.

The first time we find the word fool in Proverbs the word is used to illustrate the son who does not heed his father’s warning about women. The result, of course, is that rather than being a leader of a woman he ends up following her, “He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks,” Proverbs 7.22. However, this should not be a surprise to us when reading this. After all, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,” Proverbs 12.15, and Proverbs 15.5 reminds us, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction.” So, what are you to say to a fool? You really cannot say much, since Proverbs 23.9 reveals that anything you say to such a fellow will only enrage him: “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ made use of the word fool twice during His earthly ministry, once in a parable about a man who enjoys such material prosperity that he anticipates many years ahead to enjoy himself, to eat, drink, and be merry, Luke 12.16-21. In verses 20-21, Jesus concludes the parable with these words, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” The fool is that man who presently enjoys life and anticipates both time and prosperity in the days ahead to continue enjoying himself. How is he a fool? In three ways: First, he ignores any consideration of God in his life. Second, he is presumptuous in that he thinks he has time that is not guaranteed him. Third, his focus and his concerns are the enjoyment of this life without any preparation for enjoyment of the next life.

On this April Fool’s Day 2012, would anyone in his right mind deny that one who ignores God is a fool, who presumes to have time left in this life not guaranteed him is a fool, and who enjoys this life while giving no attention to preparing to enjoy the next life is a fool? That said; allow me to take an entirely different tack.

Scenario #1. You are at the beach, enjoying a day with your family in the sun. Standing on the rocks near the water, you are suddenly swept off the rocks by a huge wave in what had been fairly calm waters. The sudden shock of being knocked into the water, along with the icy cold water and having no time to catch your breath, leaves you weak, disoriented, and drowning. You have never been a great swimmer, and with the clothes you are wearing, being under water without much air in your lungs, and having no idea which way is up to reach the surface, you are in real trouble. It seems like an eternity until you cannot help but open your mouth to inhale, but only water comes in and fills your lungs as you lose consciousness, realizing that you are drowning but having no strength to do anything about it. All goes black. The next thing you know you are coughing up water and a young lifeguard is kneeling next to you with a group of people surrounding you on the beach. Your wife is saying something you do not understand, and your kids are all bawling, but you are alive. He administers oxygen until the ambulance comes to take you to the hospital. After a few hours in the emergency room, you are released to go home, thankful to be alive, and profoundly grateful to the lifeguard who saved your life.

Scenario #2. Driving home from work on rain soaked streets is touchy, so you are driving a bit more slowly than usual. However, the guy right behind you on the off ramp is crowding you and wants to get by you so he can go faster. As he veers to the left to get by you, he clips your bumper, sending your car into a spin, into the guardrail, and over the side. The next thing you know you are upside down about fifteen feet below the off ramp, with an air bag in your face, and two severely sprained wrists from the air bag impact. Upside down, with useless hands from the severely sprained wrists, you cannot release your seat belt. There you are, handing upside down in your car for what seems like minutes. You hear some people talking and then one of them yells “Fire!” Your car is consumed in flames. You can feel the heat on the side of your face and the back of your next, but you cannot get out of the car. Your hands have no strength. Your weight is hanging from the seat belt and you cannot release it. The heat in the car is now burning your skin and your nostrils, sinuses, and throat are burning from the hot air and smoke from burning plastic as you breathe. You have to close your eyes to stop the stinging from the acrid smoke. The last thing you hear as you lose consciousness is breaking glass. The next day you wake up in the hospital with burns on your arms, face and neck, your lungs hurt from inhaling smoke and hot air, but you are thankful to be alive. The nurse tells you that your family was at your bedside all night but they have stepped out for something to eat. However, there is someone who would like to see you, the highway patrolman who smashed your window and pulled you out of the burning car to safety. Oh, how thankful you are he happened by shortly after your car rolled over and started to burn.

Scenario #3. It had been grueling at work for weeks. Layoffs, a new boss, quarterly reports to get out, and then a mandatory team dinner and meeting after work. You got home late, were able to sleep only a few hours, and had to get up early to be at the office for the overseas phone call. The last thing you remember is the alarm clock going off and the butcher knife in your chest. Several days later, you wake up in the hospital with a huge incision in your chest from the emergency quadruple bypass surgery performed after arriving at the hospital following your 5:00 AM heart attack. Your surgeon informs you that you had flat-lined several times in the ambulance on the way to ER, but a very tired EMT who had been handling one call after another all night long had enough left in him to keep you alive until they got you to the hospital. Though there was a scheduled bypass he was prepping for, your surgeon bumped that patient so he could deal with you, because your problem could not wait. How that EMT kept you alive the surgeon did not know, but now that you are out of recovery, you seem to be doing okay. Getting back on your feet will take a while, but with a new way of eating and a careful fitness regimen, you have a few good years left. How thankful you are the EMT did everything right to keep you alive.

I am sure you can appreciate these three scenarios. I could have added one with a fireman, another with a police officer in a hostage situation, perhaps an FBI agent with a child kidnapping case, or some other scenario in which a man or woman performs some function, displays some measure of skill or expertise, and the result is that your life is spared. What is different about today is that today is April Fool’s Day, and we have already considered some of the characteristics of foolish behavior. Remember King Saul saying, “I have played the fool”? He admitted that his folly was both sinful and erroneous. Then there is the folly of saying “No” to God and in resisting the instruction of your father concerning women. Then there was the Savior’s parable of a foolish man who left God out of his plans, presumed he had time that he did not have, and is concerned about enjoying this life without any thought of preparing for his enjoyment of the next life. As for the three life-threatening scenarios I described, I would like you to consider what was missing with respect to the lifeguard who saved you from drowning, the highway patrolmen who saved you from a burning car, and an EMT who kept you alive during a heart attack. Does it matter to you that each of those three guys is a jerk? Does it matter to you that none of the three has personalities that lend them to being the kinds of guys you would choose for close friends? In the end, do you care that the lifeguard is not mister super personality, that the highway patrolman is a bit abrasive and has no personality, or that the EMT seems a bit cocky and arrogant at times?

Can you ever imagine being in a life-threatening emergency and refusing to allow the first responder to address your immediate needs until you first evaluate his likeability quotient? I know guys in law enforcement, and guys who work as EMTs, and I was as lifeguard for several years. I know that some helicopter pilots who fly medivac missions, and others who rescue soldiers from certain death situations, are not always nice people, but no one cares. I would bet that those of you who work in hospitals know many a surgeon who is obnoxious and arrogant, but whose patients only care about the fact that by mean of the skills God gave him and along with those abilities he acquired by hard work and practice those whose lives he saves and improves for the better are still grateful. Would they like their surgeons to be nicer? No doubt. Will they take his life saving skills even if he is not the best in terms of personality? Only a fool would not.

I stand before you a flawed man with a much less than perfect personality. I stand before you a man with the message of a Savior who saves sinners from their sins. If you do not know me, please do not think that because you are unfamiliar with my personality that you need to get to know me better so you can decide if you like me enough to listen to me. If you do know me and you do not like me, please do not think that because I do not have a likeability quotient that is as high as you demand that you can, therefore, dismiss my message as unimportant or irrelevant. In a few moments, I will set before you the gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ. On the judgment of the Great Day, my personality will be of no consideration to either you or God. Whether you liked me back in the day or did not, will be of no consideration to either you or God at that time. Therefore, I urge you to consider the man who almost drowned and how irrelevant to him the personality of the lifeguard happened to be. Think about the accident victim and how unconcerned he was about the highway patrolman who pulled him from a burning automobile. Finally, reflect on the victim of a heart attack who flat-lined on the way to the hospital, and how little attention he paid to the likeability of the EMT who saved his life. The lifeguard’s personality was not the issue; saving the victim’s life was the issue. The highway patrolman’s personality was not the issue; pulling the victim from the burning car was the issue. The EMT’s personality was not the issue; keeping him alive on the ride to the hospital was the issue. In like manner, but with respect to an infinitely more important truth, my personality is not the issue. My likeability quotient is not the issue. The only thing that is important is your consideration and proper response to the saving message of the gospel of God’s grace.

Three things for you to consider this morning:

First, NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT THE SALVATION OF YOUR SOUL

It does not all end when you die. In fact, nothing ends when you die, especially that which pertains to your soul and your sins. You see, you are not a physical person who happens to have a soul. Rather, you are a spiritual being, an eternal and undying soul, who happens at present to live in a physical body. Though your body will certainly die, your soul will continue its conscious and perceptive existence throughout eternity.

What you are when you die is what you will be forever. That is, if you are right with God when you die you will be with God for all eternity, an eternity of joy, delight, and bliss. However, if you are not right with God when you die, as evidenced by your response to the gospel and your life of service to Christ, you will enter eternity what you are when you die, an enemy of God. If it sounds very simple, it is because it is very simple. In Matthew 25.46, the Lord Jesus Christ pronounced that the unrighteous shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. If you have been converted to Christ you will enjoy eternal life, but if you have not been converted to Jesus Christ you will experience only and always everlasting punishment.

This is why the Word of God identifies a man who discounts the existence and the will of God a fool, and who refuses to seize opportunities to prepare for eternity a fool, and who thinks he has no need to prepare for eternity a fool. As Jesus said in Matthew 16.26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Second, THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT YOU ARE GUILTY IN GOD’S EYES

How can I be sure you are guilty in God’s eyes? I can be sure you are guilty in God’s eyes because everyone is guilty in God’s eyes. Job 15.15 reads that God is so holy that even “the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Is that language a little poetic for you? Then consider Psalm 14.2-3:

2      The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3      They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Sometimes a fellow is so stubborn to the truth and so blind to reality that he absolves himself of guilt by relegating God’s requirements to the Old Testament, supposing that God’s Laws do not apply to him. Romans 3.18 easily deals with such nonsense, the very pinnacle of Paul’s inspired indictment of sinful men, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

There is no denying that applies to you. You do not fear God, and I can prove it. The drowning man is so concerned about drowning that he has no concern about the personality of the lifeguard. The same is true with the car accident victim in a burning wreck and a heart attack patient in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. If you have any concern about the personality of the pastor, the personality of the preacher, the personality of the missionary, recognize that you do not fear God. If you feared God, your sole concern would be God’s impending wrath and how to flee to safety from His wrath. Nothing else would matter . . . if you feared God.

Finally, JESUS SAVES

Why did the eternal Son of the living God become a man and suffer the death of the cross if men were not guilty of their sins and condemned in the sight of God? If not all were guilty, then those who were not guilty could rescue those who were guilty. However, all are guilty; therefore, Jesus came to save all who come to God by Him. You know this message is true. After all, the Spirit of God bears witness to the truth of what I say. Additionally, more than two thousand years of uninterrupted gospel history attest to the truthfulness of what I declare. Add to that the historical proof that Jesus died, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

So you see, my personality is entirely beside the point to be made. Every preacher’s personality is entirely beside the point at this stage of God’s dealings with you. The responsibility is now entirely yours to consider your guilt and destiny, and the salvation from sins that only Jesus provides. You are guilty and you are doomed unless you are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Does the person who is drowning need the ministrations of the lifeguard? Does the driver in the wrecked and burning car need the help of the highway patrolman? Does the heart attack sufferer need the help of the EMT? They certainly do. In similar fashion, the gospel minister provides help to the sinner by leading him through obstacles and objections so the sinner can come to Christ as a little child.

When Philip was brought to Gaza to deal with the Ethiopian eunuch, did the Ethiopian vet Philip’s personality to establish his likeability quotient? No. When Cornelius, the Roman centurion who was living in Caesaria, was confronted by the Apostle Peter (who made it clear that he really did not enjoy being in a Gentile man's home), did he give a care? No. He humbly sought Peter’s help to meet his spiritual need.

May I urge you to consider the spiritual realities surrounding this service and your condition? The whole point of this church service and the preaching of God’s Word is so you will pay as little attention as possible to us or to me, and as much attention as possible to your need and the Savior who alone can address that need. Therefore, for your soul’s sake, for your eternal destiny’s sake, and for the sake of those whose lives you may someday influence (your spouse, your children, and even your grandchildren), concentrate on the matter at hand. You stand in need of a Savior and that Savior, the only Savior, is Jesus Christ.

May I have the privilege of talking to you about coming to Him for salvation from your sins? Would you not agree that it would be foolish for so unimportant a thing as personality to stand between you and the Savior of your soul?



[1] 1 Samuel 26.15-16

[2] 1 Samuel 26.21



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org