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Fools For Christ’s Sake

“We are fools for Christ’s sake . . . “

I Corinthians 4:10

Why does the world largely reject the testimony of saved people today? I believe it is due to our lack of dedication to God. The radical terrorist is willing to give his life, to blow himself up, for his cause, yet the people of the one, true God are not willing to do the one thing He asks of them: “I beseech you therefore, brethren . . . that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . “ God does not ask us to give our lives for Him but to give up our living for self to live for Him.

In I Corinthians 4:10, Paul stated that he had been called a fool because of his dedication to Christ. The word in the Greek is “moros,” meaning dull, not acute. We get our word “moron” from this Greek word. In Acts 17:18 the Apostle was called a “babbler.” That is literally a “seed picker.”  It was a reference to a small bird which picked up seeds and was also applied to the idle men of Athens who lived by collecting the refuse of the market place. Who of us would want to be thought of in that manner? In Acts 4:13 Peter and John are called “ignorant and unlearned men.”

In I Corinthians 4:10 Paul went on to say, “We are despised (without honor). And, in verse 13 he said, “We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” The “filth of the world” referred to that which is thrown away in cleansing. It was used in Athens of worthless persons who in plague or famine . . . were reserved to be thrown into the sea in the belief that they would cleanse or wipe off the guilt of the nation. The “offscouring of all things” speaks of the “scrapings from all around; scum, filth.” That surely doesn’t sound like the manner in which most church members want to be thought of today. Nor does it sound like the reputation that most preachers (especially the “joy boys” of television) want to hold in this present evil world.

Why did the world look upon Peter, John, and Paul in this manner. Back in verse 10, Paul gave the answer when he said, “We are fools for Christ’s sake.”  He was thought a fool for a lifestyle that did not promote self and self gain. Paul had completely surrendered himself to Christ and lived in that manner. One may be able to attend church occasionally and not be thought a fool. However, start really living for Christ, forsaking some things and giving all to serve Him, and see what happens. A careful reading of Acts 17:32-34 will reveal that most in the “intellectual community” have never considered the saved as worthy of being heard.

Paul may have been thought a fool for Christ’s sake, but he was never foolish for Christ’s sake. There is a vast difference between the two. Unfortunately, today in our entertainment oriented society there are many teachers, youth leaders, and, yes, even preachers who will act a fool to draw a crowd. They claim they do it so they can “preach the gospel” to a large group of people. However, resorting to the world’s tactics to draw a crowd only cheapens the message and the messenger. And, when the “show” is over, you can be sure the crowd will go away and, next time, seek a bigger and better show. “Preach the word” was the instruction Paul gave Timothy, and I believe that admonition is still good today. And, based on God’s Word, I am sure that if we will just dedicate our lives, homes, families — everything to Christ, we will, indeed, be thought fools . . . “for Christ’s sake.”

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Joshua 1:9; Daniel 3:16,17; Philippians 1:28

I am reminded of that old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” There is an element of truth in this saying. What I have observed is, courage is not a reckless abandonment without due consideration. When we see anyone rush into a burning building, it is not reckless abandonment but with quick deliberation and an understanding that great harm might come to the rescuer. Courage is not the abandonment of all sense, but the consideration of the possibility of harm.

In the consideration of our position with God through His Son Jesus Christ, we do not abandon all sense as we live our lives in a Godly manner and witness for Him. Joshua received a word of encouragement in Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” We have the support that others do not have. Through prayer, before we enter the fray, God is right there with us to support us in all of our endeavors to witness to lost and saved alike. Why did I say the saved? Because of some that are saved stray or fall back and we need strength, courage, and wisdom to go to and encourage them. The lost we understand but sometimes we forget about those that have backslidden.

Our adversaries love to see us as weak and uncertain. While teaching seminary, I instructed students that when they came to one of those words in the Old Testament that they were not sure of how to pronounce, instead of muddling around and hemming and hawing, simply say it with authority. Many, who think they know how to say it will say hmmm, maybe he is right. Understand, I am not saying to speak salvation in ignorance or any other doctrine for that matter. Know the plan of salvation and support scripture. Know doctrine and support scripture. Then say it with authority instead of being mealy-mouthed in our discussion. There are certain things we should be masters in knowledge. In Ephesians 6 we are told to stand. I love the answer of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:16,17 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. This passage thrills me to no end. The part of the answer where they say, “. . . we are not careful to answer thee. . . “ this thrills me to my tippy toes. They are saying, we don’t have to think about our answer, we don’t have to consult each other about our answer, we don’t even have to pray about it because we know God’s answer already. NO,NO,NO. These young men were standing as Joshua was told to stand and be courageous. There is another part to this answer that I also love, “If it be so. . . “. Let me tell you about the power of our God. If He wants to deliver us, He will. If He does not want to deliver us, that is ok also. We will not lose our trust and faith in God. Do what you want and what you think you can king. We are prepared.

Preachers, Pastors, we are called to be courageous and to stand. I have communicated with a number of you that are dissatisfied with how some things are slipping among our churches. I have heard the terms, fed up, wrong, things amiss and a few other things. There seems to be a fear that one might be ostracized or shunned to speak up with courage and take a stand. May I restate a common scripture, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Let me add this, who cares who is against us. A good preacher friend of mine, solid scripturally, accepted the pastorate of a small Southern Baptist Church. His thought was to teach and preach the truth to this church and bring it into our work. All the time he pastored this church, they never observed the Lord’s Supper. After several years he came to the realization, that he would never achieve his goal and resigned. He came to me and said, I want to join your church, I know you are the pastor and I will always support you. My reply, why not pastor Brother. He said I have been blackballed in our local and national association. My reply, welcome brother. Maybe it is my age, maybe I am just ignorant. I simply believe in the Word of God and believe that if we don’t take a stand today, tomorrow may be too late. Paul said to the Philippian Brothers, Philippians 1:28 “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Every member and every preacher and pastor is called to stand and be of great courage. I challenge you to stand for the scripture truth and follow many of our forefathers in the battle for God.

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Ecc 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

Fools words injure others and himself.
A fool betrays his own folly by his words.
A fool does not realize that with a few words he is found out to not know what he is talking about. A fool displays wisdom when he listens more than he speaks and thereby learns.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

Our words are to be words of God because our study has been directed to find the truth instead of satisfying our predetermined minds. Without a study plan we cannot find truth. Would you notice that the unlearned are call profane and vain babblers which increase to more ungodliness. Now Paul mentions two men that were apparently called Christians at one time but Paul in I Timothy 1:20 delivered Hymenawus unto satan.

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

We find truth when we compare scripture to scripture and principle to principle.

An example: Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This passage is salvation encapsulated in just a few words. Notice it is from God. It is given because of His great love for mankind. It is given through His Son. It is available to any that believe. The person that believes will not perish but is secure in God’s salvation.

Now we can build upon this. We will not take anything away or add to it. We will simply put meat on the bones.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Every person ever born is in need of a Savior because we all have sinned. This is implied in John 3:16, yet it is not expressly stated.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All of us are worthy of death because we all have sinned and have reaped the wages of sin.

Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

A statement that was not understood by Nicodemus but was clarified by Jesus in verse six comparing the natural birth and delivery when our mothers water breaks to the flesh and the second birth as a spiritual birth. Therefore the gift that John 3:16 refers to is the new birth.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Here is the means. By Grace. Whose Grace? God’s Grace. Through faith. Faith in who or what? Faith that Jesus Christ was crucified for us and shed His blood for us that we might be cleansed of our sin. That faith must extend to His resurrection. If He were still in the grave, He would have died in vain. Notice that what is very plainly stated here is, there are not any works that will get us in heaven. Isaiah said “all our righteousnessess are as filthy rags.” We simply in our flesh cannot please God. This leaves out baptism, church membership and the Lord’s supper. Notice – believe, Grace, faith. These bring salvation.

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Repentance and confessing our sin to the Lord Jesus. With heart we believe and with the mouth confession is made.

John 3:16 has it all there but study of scripture; line upon line and precept upon precept makes it clear enough for a Nicodemus to understand and for children to trust upon the Lord unto salvation.

If you have never been born again but this has been clear enough for you to understand, leave a comment. You don’t have to reveal who you are unless you want to.

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