“WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I”?

I was at a community event today and sat next to a scientist whom I thought was a person of faith, he is a member of the Jewish community, but to my surprise he said he was not religious and therefore had no faith because he is a scientist.

I responded with surprise that he was not a believer and that he thought being a scientist was incompatible with believing in God. He then adjusted his stance by saying he was agnostic not atheist.

Sadly, we couldn’t continue with the conversation for the programme started soon afterwards but not before I made him to know that most scientists of old were believers and in some cases were very strong and committed people of faith. He didn’t deny what I said but we ran out of time.

On the way home after the event, I started praying for him because given his Jewish background and as a Christian, I find it disconcerting that he was agnostic. Then in my own head I began to reason about which is worst being an atheist, agnostic or someone who believes in a false or untrue God or someone who believes in the God of the Bible but never repents and follow Jesus Christ.

Thinking about this some more the title of the blog was the conclusion of my thoughts.

No one wants to be described or looked on as a fool. Being called a fool is seen as offensive. Yet we know some people can be described as fools because of what they have said or what they have done.

The bible lists many kinds of fools some of which I will cover as I proceed.

David twice in the psalms (Psalm 14 and 53), refers to anyone who don’t believe in God, or as he puts it, who say there is no God, as a fool. So, according to the Bible an atheist is a fool.

Given the complexity of our world, the beauty of our world the order of our world, the intelligence and awareness of men and women, surely it is foolish to say there is no God. No one could look at a finely crafted watch and say there is no watchmaker but that the watch evolved through the many, many parts coming together into a final piece of jewelry that we call a watch and if by magic, actually works.

Another kind of a fool is the man who decides to ignore knowledge of foundations and construction and builds his house upon sand knowing that when, not if, the wind, floods and rain comes, his house would not stand a chance. Each weather condition duly turns up and his house didn’t survive.

This kind of fool is a presumptuous fool.  The parable is a warning that believers in the message of Jesus Christ must apply the word of God to their lives. We must be doers and not only hearers of the word. Again, Jesus said, if you love me keep my commandments.

Another kind of fool is to be found in the parable of the rich fool. This man had success and wealth. He worked very hard for what he had and said to his soul make a final push, acquire as much as you can and then retire. His retirement plan worked for he is much wealthier than before so he decides to retire to enjoy the “good life”; to eat drink and be merry.

Sadly, he dies almost immediately leaving all his plans and riches behind. His wealth is enjoyed by others, his hard work was in vain. Jesus in the parable called this man a rich fool.

This description is apt because to amass such riches took ingenuity, hard work and sacrifices. Not many become rich and if it was easy to become rich then everyone would be rich. Furthermore, Jesus said we will always have the poor with us. This man was also very ingenious because he knew if he didn’t plan for retirement he could struggle later on in life. He needed enough money to take care of himself and others in retirement. He didn’t want to struggle in retirement but to enjoy the benefits of his wealth. This man was a careless fool.

He took great care in making his fortune but never thought about his soul. He would have had opportunities, possibly many opportunities, to make sure his soul was right with God but never took it. In the end time ran out. The very night he retired, he was told by the Lord, “thou fool tonight thy soul is required of thee”. (Luke 12:16-21).

“What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul and what will a man give in exchange for his soul”?

Then we have the parable (Matthew 25: 1-13) of the five wise and five foolish virgins. The parable points out that all ten fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom to come. The foolish virgins lost out because they were negligent. It’s one thing to fall asleep while waiting but when the alarm sounds one must be ready to move.

Soldiers on the battlefield sleep with their clothes on and their weapons close by. The night of the great exodus from Egypt, the Hebrew people, including children, went to bed ready to leave at a moments notice. After midnight the death angel moved swiftly throughout Egypt killing every first born in the land where the blood covering was missing.

Once the alarm was sounded by Pharaoh following the death of the first born, the Hebrews were ready to leave immediately.

The foolish virgins were not ready and soon found out that they ran out of oil. Desperate for oil the foolish virgins asked the wise to share theirs, no! Said the wise, lest there be not enough for you and us, go and buy from those who sell oil.

While the foolish went to buy oil the bridegroom came and those that were ready went with him. Later the foolish virgins came with oil but it was too late. These were negligent fools.

The bible describes and offers three levels of the Holy Spirit available to believers in Jesus Christ.

First, the born again level. No one can be saved or born again without the Holy Spirit. In John chapter 1: “to as many has received Him, to them gave He the power to become the children of God”. Romans 8: “His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God”.

Second, the infilling, baptism or being filled with the Spirit. Throughout the book of Acts and presented in the epistles and as mentioned by our Lord in the gospels, is the promise of the fulness of the Spirit. “he that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled”. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 1), “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit”.

In Acts 8, Peter and John visits Samaria where Phillip was for they heard good things had taken place in Samaria following the preaching of Phillip.

When Peter and John arrived, good things indeed had occurred for many had become followers of Christ and were baptized. Peter and John laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 19, Paul asked twelve believers if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed. These believers were unaware of the Holy Spirit. After further inquiry, Paul ministered to them the importance of the Holy Spirit and they were baptized in water again this time in the name of Jesus Christ. He then laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul writes: “be not drunk with excess of wine but be filled with the Spirit”.

The third level is the outflow of the Holy Spirit.Out of your bellies, said Jesus, “shall flow rivers of living water”. (John 7: 37-39).

On the day of Pentecost there was an outflow from Peter as he responded to the thousands of people that came that early morning. Peter, the fisherman quoted accurately the words of the prophet Joel to explain the phenomenon of the Holy Spirit. Peter spoke with boldness and convinced the critics, three thousand of which were later baptized and became the first fruits of the newly established church.

Peter and John later attended the weekly prayer service and outside the temple sat a beggar. “Silver and gold I don’t have said Peter, but such as I have give I thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. There was an outflow from Peter which brought healing to the lame man.

The outflow are the gifts of the Holy Spirit: for healing, working of miracles, new languages and interpretations of new languages, prophecies et al.

In conclusion, believing is good but the bible says the devil and demons believe and even fear and tremble. What it requires is to act on our faith by doing what the Lord requires.

Peter and the rest of apostles on the day of Pentecost were asked “what must we do?

“Repent and be baptized everyone of you for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Was the response.

Three thousand acted upon what they were told and became the first fruits of the kingdom of God. (Acts 2: 37-38).

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.

The Lord’s servant
Lloyd Denny

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