The stars have aligned and Easter Sunday and April fools are on the same day. The last time this happened was 1956 and the next time will be 2029 and 2040. I can imagine that pastor have been licking their chops since they discovered that this would happen today. Pastors are a peculiar folk, dorks you might say, present company excluded of course. I don’t know if what I’ll be doing in 11 years so I have to seize the day as well.
In a way, Easter is the ultimate prank on the devil. Satan rejoiced when Jesus was murdered and then buried as though evil had won and then on Sunday Jesus rose to life. Jesus swallowed death and brought us victory. This connection between Easter and pranks has been made before. In the 15th through the 17th century in southern Germany. Priests would urge their congregations to laugh out loud on Easter, telling jokes inside the church, said Schweizer, who communicated through email while in China.
"Easter was an occasion for joy, and collective laughter was seen as the strongest, most direct expression of joy," Schweizer said.
Today is a day of rejoicing, a day of celebration, a day of laughter because God got the last laugh. Easter is the death of death, death was defeated. This morning I want to spend some time talking about fools. I want to answer the question “Which fool are you?” The bible has a lot to say about fools.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction
Proverbs 10:18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool
23 To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.
15:5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness
18:2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart
There are many more verses on fools in the bible. One of the prevailing themes is fools trust in their own understanding and that’s it. A fool walks by sight and not by faith. A fool trusts in their view of the world and doesn’t consider God’s. The first fool we’re going to consider this morning has a lot of the same qualities. He/she, we’re equal opportunity when it comes to fools here. This fool is found in Psalm 14. We’re just going to read vs 1-3.
Christians tend to have a field day with vs 1. In fact, in recent years I’ve seen several on social media call April fool’s day, International atheists day because a fool says there is no God. I don’t really like stuff like that, but for some reason Christians eat that up. I would agree that there are some haughty, arrogant atheists that have earned that label, there are some Christians like that. I don’t think that this verse is talking about intellect at all. Let’s take a closer look. It seems like the word is talking about the behavior of a fool. It’s talking about a lifestyle of wickedness. A fool lives life as if God doesn’t exist. A fool doesn’t think his/her actions matter.
In fact, take a closer look at what vs 1 says. Where or how does the fool say there is no God? In his heart. Not with his lips, but in his heart. What does this mean? It’s not the outspoken atheists that are only fools. In fact, there are a lot of people in our world that are functional atheists. There are a people in this room that are functional atheists. People that would never dare say that God doesn’t exist with their lips, but their hearts tell a different story. You might wonder how people can see what your hearts say, but the bible is clear that our words and actions come from our hearts. Your lips might proclaim Jesus as Lord, but does your life tell a different story? Do your works declare that your faith is real or fake? Author Brennan Manning had something to say about atheism
The single greatest cause of atheism in the world is Christians who acknowledge God with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.
He’s talking about atheism here, but the irony is the Christians who acknowledge God with their lips and deny him by their lifestyles are functional atheists. Functional atheists cause atheism. Jesus said they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. What are some signs that you’re a functional atheist?
You make important decisions without consulting God through prayer or scripture
You don’t read scripture or pray or have a desire to come to church
You know there are some things in your life that are wrong, but assume God will understand. Any sin we deliberately commit is an act of atheism
Your life is basically the same as your non-christian neighbors
You don’t ever give your money away
You can be a professing Christian and be a functional atheist. You can be a church member and be a functional atheist. You can be a deacon, sunday school teacher or pastor and be a functional atheist. We are functional atheists when we worry, we are functional atheists when we continue in sin, we are functional atheists when we complain, we are functional atheists when we ignore God and His word. I think that functional atheism does more damage in our world than atheism could ever do. Christians that don’t live differently than non-christians are fools. Functional atheists say that God is important, they’ll check the Christian box on paperwork, they’ll share something on facebook but it’s obvious their life is devoted to something other than God. To the functional atheist God is just a part of their life, a segment, one of the many parts of their life. Christ is way too jealous to be a part of your life. He wants to be your life. What does your heart say about God? What does your life say God? What kind of sermon is your lifestyle preaching?
This brings me to the second kind of fool I want to talk about this morning. 1 Corinthians 4:8-13
If Paul were to write a letter to the evangelical, Bible-believing churches of late twentieth century America, I believe it would be much like I Corinthians. Their world was like our world: the same thirst for intellectualism, the same permissiveness toward moral standards, the same fascination for the spectacular. And their church was like our churches: proud, affluent, materialistic, fiercely eager for intellectual and social acceptance by the world, doctrinally orthodox but morally and practically conforming to the world.
The Corinthian church had thought that they could kind of have their cake and eat it too. Status was really important in Corinth and many felt they could keep their status and serve God. They wanted Christianity their way. So Paul is using sarcasm here to differentiate between types of followers of Christ here. Paul recognized that his life would look like a fool to anyone on the outside and he was okay with that. He says in vs 10 him and his friends are fools for Christ’s sake and do you know what made him okay with that. The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Look at 1 Corinthians 15 real quick 12-19. He realized his life was pitiable if Christ had not risen, something to feel sorry about. Then look at vs 20,25-26. What made the difference? How could they handle looking like fools? The resurrection. You see if that tomb is empty, that means death has been defeated. If that tomb is empty that means the rest of the bible is true, that means I can trust Him. Here’s a hard truth, many of us are like the Corinthians, we are too worried about what the world thinks or what others might think to be seen a fool. Jesus is worth being thought a fool for. David dancing naked. Jesus was mocked and treated as a fool for our sake. If you don’t look foolish once in awhile, you’re not doing it right. If everything you do can be explained by worldly logic and wisdom then you’re a functional atheist. The way we live our lives should have people scratching their heads once in a while, it should have people making fun of us once in awhile. The way we handle our money should be different, the way we deal with trials and tribulations should be different, the way we treat our spouses and children should be different, the way we forgive should be different, the way we hope should be different. What we believe should be different and we should embrace the weirdness. Making Christianity weird again.
Which kind of fool are you? Are you the functional atheist? Maybe you profess God, maybe you’ve been baptized, but do you live like God doesn’t exist or like He doesn’t care? Or are you the kind of fool that cares more about what God thinks than anything else? The kind of fool that is absolutely sold out for Christ. Whose yes is laid on the table, whose life belongs to God not Him. Who loses their life for His sake. Give me 5 of those and we’ll change the world.
I went to the funeral of a missionary couple the other day. ........So much of their life only made sense if the tomb was empty. They lived in rough conditions, with rebel forces fighting around them, with risk of disease, with mosquitos and unsanitary conditions. They lived away from their kids, their grandkids. They weren’t there for so many milestones. They spent 30+ years in a land that wasn’t originally their home so that others might know Jesus. They died on their way to tell people about Jesus. If Christ has not risen they are utter fools, but you know what, they are my heroes. You haven’t lived until you have found something worth dying for. So much of our lives are spent on the trivial, I want to spend it on the eternal. I want you to. Christ is worth it. Which kind of fool are you? Are you the functional atheist with one foot in the world and one foot in God’s kingdom? Are you tired of the fence sitting? Or are you a fool for Christ’s sake. Are you living your life for the one that died for you? What a complement to be thought a fool for his sake.
For those of you who have come to Jesus, it’s time to be a fool. If you’re sitting out there and don’t know if you’ve come to Jesus, hear me out for just a minute. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, He made it perfectly and made man and woman perfectly. He designed everything to work a certain way for our good and His glory. Man and woman chose to sin, to do it their way and not His, to rebel against His perfect design and the result was brokenness. Brokenness in our world, brokenness in our relationships, brokenness in our heart. If you’ve never gave your life to Jesus that’s where you still are, but God made a way out by sending His son Jesus in our place. He lived the life we should have, died the death we deserved and defeated death once and for all. If we believe and turn from our sins to Him we will reign forever with Him in eternity. If we believe and turn from our sins He will restore us to His design here on earth and forever in heaven. He will fix what is broken in us. I will give my life for that message. I want to close with a verse and an invitation. Let today be the first day of the rest of your life. Let today be the day you trust Jesus and believe in Him and His work with all of your heart. Come to the altar, or wave someone to your seat, but don’t delay in coming to Jesus today.
1 Corinthians 1:18 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.
To some of you it’s foolishness, what I said makes no sense, but be warned that you are perishing. To the rest the message is life giving, it is the power of God, it’s given us reason to worship. Which kind of fool are you?