30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
May 14, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" This morning we are going to be studying a lesson entitled "The Foolishness of Man." Hello, I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, located at 407 W. Hwy 131 in Clarksville. I want to thank each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine this valuable truth of God's word. It is my hope that those of you that are listening today will honestly examine your heart to ensure that you are in fact doing only those things that are pleasing to our almighty God. As we discuss the topic of the hour, "The Foolishness of Man", I want to encourage you to have your Bible readily available so that you can examine the scriptures to make sure that what I am presenting is in fact God's will for you. I also want to encourage you to have a pen and paper ready to make notes. If you would like to have a complete transcript or audio tape of any of these lessons that are presented on WAVE 1450, you may request these by writing to the Clarksville church of Christ, 407 W. Hwy 131, Clarksville, Indiana, 47129, or you may call 944-2305.
By looking at the Bible passages presented this morning, you will be able to see for yourself that what I am teaching can in fact be backed up by book, chapter, and verse in the Bible. This is so vitally important as we strive to do only that which is authorized by God and not what some man may say about this subject or any other Bible subject. If you have a question or a comment regarding today's lesson, please forward them to me. I will provide you with the address and phone number again at the conclusion of today's message. Now friends, please have your Bible ready and let's study together another truth of God. As already mentioned, today, I want to study a lesson entitled "The Foolishness of Man."
Let's begin our study this morning by reading from the New Testament book of Luke, chapter 12, beginning with verse 16, reading through verse 21. Here the text says; "Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
In view of this passage, we now ask, "What is a fool?" The common definition in Webster's dictionary is, "A simpleton, a buffoon, one who does something foolish, or does foolish things." The Bible definition of the term "fool" is quite different from this. In Bible use, the term"fool" means "one who rebels against God. One who is without reason, or a lack of perception of spiritual things." At this time let's look at some Bible fools.
Psalms 14:1, reads, "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." The same statement is found in Psalms 53:1. Madelyn O'Hair was a fool, as are all who agree with her conclusions. Today, the person who says, "There is no God," God calls a fool.
There are many evidences of God. At least there is to the person who does not have a closed or prejudiced mind. Nature declares there is a God. In Psalms 19:1, we read, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork." Again, Psalms 53:1 reads the same. Just lift your eyes upward on a clear night and tell me, where did the stars all come from? Either this earth and the universe produced itself or it was created. Scientists know that something cannot come from nothing. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to know that things do not just appear out of nothing. Something is here, thus something has always been here. Either it was mind or it was matter. Which came first? Mind or matter? Is it reasonable to think that matter was here and intelligence or mind came from that matter. But, someone may say, "We have never seen God." In that case, please answer this question: have you ever seen the wind? You know that you have not. You have seen the effects of wind blowing. You have even felt the wind in your face, but you have never seen the wind. Does that mean that wind does not exist? Certainly not. We see its effects. So likewise, we have not seen God, but we have felt or seen the effects of God. You have never seen gravity. You know that gravity exists, you benefit from gravity. Were it not for gravity we would not be able to remain on this twirling planet we call earth. Surely, gravity exists, but no one has ever seen it. Because we cannot see gravity, should we reach the conclusion that gravity does not exist? Of course not. The fact that God has not been seen with mortal eyes does not mean that He does not exist. You have never seen electricity. You have used electricity, you can see what it can do, but you have never seen it. You may measure it, harness it, use it, without ever seeing it. So, to deny the existence of God because you have never seen Him is foolish. And God calls that one a fool.
To say there is no God, one must be omniscient and omnipresent. By omniscient, I mean, all knowing, must know everything. By omnipresent, I mean, must be everywhere. For there may be one thing he or she does not know or one place he or she has not been. And, that is that there is a God in heaven, as so expressed in His Book.
God has revealed Himself in that book we call the bible. Read 1 Corinthians, chapter two, and learn how God has revealed Himself to men through the inspired teachers of the first century. But, that is another lesson within itself.
Question: What can be gained by doing away with God? The obvious answer is: Man can do what he wants to do without correction. Sinful man does not want to be told what to do. They want to live a life filled with sin and iniquity without any censure. So, just do away with God, and we can live like we want to live. We will present some more on this thought later.
There are many today who verbally express a belief in God, but by their life and action, they refuse to accept His divine teachings. They say they believe in God, but they make no effort to do His will. Indeed, the fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
Turn now in your Bible to the Old Testament book of Proverbs, chapter 28, verse 26. Here it reads; "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool" And again, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes" (Proverbs 12:15). The fool walks in his own ways. He uses his own reason to determine what he or she should do. Everything about the fool is subjective reasoning. What he feels in his own heart. Have you ever talked to someone and they beat upon their own breast and say I know what I feel right here. Now there is nothing wrong with having emotions and feelings, but our feelings and emotions are not the criteria for right and wrong. Just because someone trusts in their own heart does not make them right before God. In fact the Proverb letter says it is a "fool that trusts in his own heart." How may we determine what is right or wrong? Not by the way we feel, but by the revealed word of God. What does God Say? Jeremiah 10:23 states, "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."
Turning to Proverbs 3:5, the text says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" What does that verse tell you? It tells me that in spiritual matters I cannot trust my feelings, nor my emotions; Yes, I must turn to God's word and place my trust there. Have you ever heard someone say, "You could give me a stack of Bibles, but I know what I feel in my own heart." My friends, that is a fool. Truly we must have convictions in the heart, but those convictions must be based upon a thus saith the Lord; and not upon how one might feel. Is it found in God's word? If it is, then believe it with all your heart. If it is not found in God's word then reject it with your every fiber. My friends let me ask you, do you have book, chapter, and verse for everything which you believe and practice in religion? If you do not, my friends, then you are a fool in God's sight, for the Lord says, the "fool trusts in his own heart."
Now let us turn to another passage of scripture from the book of Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 5. Here the text says; "A fool despises his father's instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent." It seems that we have raised a generation of children who are smarter than their parents. They simply will not take advice. Their parents are"Old fogies," they are "back-numbers." They just do not understand what is going on in the world around us. Perhaps a lot of these feelings come from the fact that so many fathers and mothers do not accept their responsibilities toward their off-spring and have failed to meet their obligations toward their children. Children are left to flounder in their own unprepared ways. "Latch-key" children have been left to their own devises. Mothers and fathers are too busy with their own ways to spend much time teaching and rearing their children. Children are left to raise themselves. They no longer have any respect for their parents. And who could blame them? When parents are set on satisfying themselves and their own desires, their children are left to raise themselves. And children are not ready to raise themselves. They do not have the wisdom nor preparation to know what is best for themselves.
Our nation is in deep trouble. Our family values are crumbling. The family is being left in shambles. And when the family goes, so will our great nation. Back in January of this year I presented a series of lessons on "The Troubled Family." If you would like to have a copy of those transcripts or audio tapes, please send me a request, and I would be more than happy to honor your request. They will be sent at no cost to you. I will furnish the address and phone number at the conclusion of this program.
So far we have seen that a person is foolish that declares there is no God. Nature itself declares the existence of a Heavenly Father. We also have seen that a "fool trusts in his own heart" (Prov. 28:26). And that a "fool despises his father's instruction" (Prov. 15:5). Friends, I now encourage you to open your Bible to the New Testament book of Matthew, chapter seven, verses 24-27. The words of Jesus come through very clearly as He says; "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
Did you hear Christ's description of a fool? One who hears His word but then refuses to do it. It is not enough to hear the Word of God. One must likewise do it. Have you ever talked to someone and listen to them talking about the Bible, even being able to quote from the scriptures quite fluently; they had a good knowledge of the Bible. But, you also knew the life that they were living--a life not in harmony with what God's Word demanded of them. They talked the talk, but they did not walk the walk. Christ calls them a fool. There is much validity to the statement that "our talk talks and our walk talks, but our walk talks more than our talk talks." This is one reason that faith without works is a dead faith. Isn't this exactly what James says in James 2:24. Listen to the text here; "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."
While in the book of James, look back to chapter one, verses 22-25. Here it says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." Doesn't James say the same thing that Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7? One must not only hear His word, but one must be a doer of that word. Friends, that is simply Bible obedience. One who refuses to obey the Lord is called a fool. May I hasten to point out that the works which James refers to are works of righteousness, works of obedience. In Chapter two, James uses Abraham as an example of one who obeyed as he says; "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" (James 2:21, 22). God called upon Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham responded. Abraham went about to comply with that command. God says that his faith was shown when he obeyed the command of Jehovah.
So it is today, when man responds to the commands of the Lord. Jesus said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Do you have enough faith to be baptized? But someone might say,"Baptism is a work and we are saved without works." How could one make that statement in view of what we have seen in the book of James. If Abraham was called upon to offer his son, why is it so strange that Christ calls upon you to be baptized. If one can be saved without baptism, then Abraham could have been right without offering his son. If not, why not. The simple answer is: whatever God asks of us to do, we must do it with all our might. If we refuse, we are fools.
I now return to the passage which I read at the beginning of our program this morning from Luke 12:16-20. In that passage you remember that Christ stated there was a man who had a successful crop but did not have room in his barns to store all of it. So, he tore down his barns and built larger ones. Then he said to his soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." But, God called him a fool.
Let us examine this man for just a little while this morning. This man was a farmer, an honorable and honest occupation. It is an occupation which is approved of by man and by God. Here was a man that was very successful in his undertaking. He had planted seeds, he had cultivated the ground; he had gone about harvesting his crop; and he had been a very good farmer. No doubt when his neighbors talked about him they spoke with glowing words of praise for his endeavors. In fact, he was so successful that his barns simply would not hold all of his increase. So he reached a conclusion. I will build bigger barns that I may have more goods laid up for years to come. Isn't it tragic that he did not heed the words of Christ as found in Matthew 6:19-21 which says; "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
This man thought that his soul could be satisfied with the grain from the field, for he states, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years" He then states his philosophy of life when he said,"Eat, drink, and be merry." The world is filled with those who have no spiritual desires whatsoever. Their whole life is spent in satisfying the flesh, doing the things of the flesh, having a good time. And by good time, they mean, doing the fleshly things of sinful man. Thus, it matters not if they are guilty of running around with another woman's husband; it matters not if they become drunken; it matters not if their family disintegrates, if they are having a good time, why not. The Lord says, "Thou fool." And so one is. It is the fool who leaves God out of their life, out of their plans, out of their activities. That one is the biggest fool of all. It makes no difference how successful one may be, how much goods are laid up for many years to come. If we leave God out of our plans, out of our life, we are fools.
We might ask this man's neighbor. "What kind of man is your neighbor?" The answer no doubt would come back, "Why, he is a good man, a very industrious man, a good worker, a good farmer, a good neighbor, a good provider for his family, and many other compliments. The world's verdict: There is a wise men. God's verdict: He was a fool. This man sought happiness in material things. But, when death steps in, we must leave all these things behind. We should all remember that a shroud has no pockets. We shall take nothing of this world with us when we leave this life. Paul states, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (1 Timothy 6:7). We shall leave all of this behind. The only thing that will matter when this life is over is what kind of life did we live with reference to Christ and His Commandments.
The great apostle Paul states, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16). It does make a difference how we live and how we conduct ourselves. We just cannot afford to be unwise, to be fools. He says, "redeeming the time." By that he means to buy back the time, to use it wisely. We must make time our ally. Use it wisely. Do what is commanded by the Lord. It should be our constant desire to hear the Lord say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of life."
It matters not what we have amassed or accumulated while here in the flesh, if we miss heaven, we have missed it all. This life is a time of preparation for eternity. It was never intended to simply give us opportunity to have a good time, to live it in riotous living, but to seek out and do the will of the heavenly Father.
My friends in our listening audience. If you stood before God this very hour what would He say to you? Enter in or Thou fool. It is your decision, my decision. If I am lost, it will be my own choice. God does not desire that any be lost (2 Peter 3:9), but many are going to be lost. It will be in spite of what the Lord has done. He showed His love for each one when He left heaven and came in the flesh, ultimately to die upon that cruel cross, that you and I might have access to heaven. It is through and by His blood that forgiveness has been made available. But, not all shall be saved. And why is that? Because not all will hear and respond to His Word.
Remember in the passage we read from Matthew 7:26-29, where Jesus said that the wise builder is the one who hears His words, and then does them. The fool is the one who hears His words and then refuses to do them. You are either a wise builder, or a foolish builder. You see, it is not enough to just build something, it must be built in harmony with the words of Christ. Sometimes people seem to leave the impression, just as long as you are doing something it will be accepted by the Lord. Not so, my friends. What we do must be based upon what the Lord says.
Jesus sent the apostles out with the message, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16). Have you done that? Have you, upon your faith, been baptized into Christ Jesus for the remission of your sins? (Acts 2:38). If not, then you are a fool. Did not the Lord say that you must do what you hear what is commanded? In Psalms 111:10, we read,"The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all they that do his commandments." Do you fear Jehovah? If so, you will hasten to do what He has commanded. If in any way I can assist any in our listening audience to a better understanding of God's word, please call me and let your request be made known. The address and phone number will be given in just a moment. Friends, thank you so much for listening this morning and I invite you to listen again next week as we examine another Bible subject to find out "What Is Truth?"
This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"