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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sermon on Romans 1:16

"For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).  The world is made up of so many kinds of personalities. I suppose this is good, for it would indeed be a boring life if we were all alike.  But amidst all the various types of personalities, our God has selected to classify them into one of two categories.  These two classes of men are sometimes referred to as the "saved," or the "lost."  On other occasions in the Bible they are called the "goats" and the "sheep."   God's word has also classified them as the "wise" and the "foolish."  "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good life his works in meekness and wisdom" (Jas. 3:13a).  "The fool has said in his heart there is no God" (Psa. 14:1).   This particular classification is quite revealing, for it places all men into one of two categories based upon their own acceptance or rejection of God's word.   To those that are saved God's message is the power to save the souls of men.   The "wise man" not only knows the word of God, he applies it to his life (Matt. 7:24-27).   As a consequence, the wise man will "show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom" (Jas. 3:13b).  The "wise man" will conduct himself in accord to God's word.    The "fool" is quite the opposite.  To those who are perishing, God's word is foolishness.  The fool consists not only of those who disbelieve in a God, but those who refuse to build upon the word of God, and who, in turn, trust in their riches (Luke 12:16-21).  Of particular interest in the passage to which we referred at the beginning of this article is the fact that Paul said "to them that perish" the word of the cross is "foolishness."  It would be interesting, and beneficial, to observe how this "lostness" and "foolishness" fit together. Let's think along this line for a moment.


First, let us consider the atheist.  To him the story of a resurrected Savior simply does not make sense.  He will accept nothing he cannot see with his physical eyes; he will believe nothing that cannot be experienced with the five senses.  He refuses to believe viable witnesses who claim to have seen Jesus nailed to the cross, laid in a tomb following His death, and then raised from the death three days later.  The atheist ignores the evidence of design, and in his foolishness, he brands himself as a fool in the sight of God.   It is not so much the fact that the atheist denies the existence of God that makes him a fool; it is that he does so in the face of such incredible evidence that cries out, "There IS a God in heaven!" 


Second, those who "are perishing" would include the ignorant.  To the ignorant, God's word is unimportant. Oh sure, he believes in God – of some sort!  He may also believe that he ought to respect that God – in one form or another.   But his service consists of worshipping and serving God in a manner that is self centered; what Paul calls "will worship" (Col. 2:23).   Unwilling to reject the existence of a Divine being, he has progressed beyond the status of the atheist, but because of his ignorance of God's word, he is still considered as foolish in the sight of the Almighty.  All those who look upon the word of God as some book of rules only to be ignored and broken fall into this category.  Those who are deceived by false teachers, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, fall into this category.  They study, but they are deceived by false teachers into believing something that simply is not true.  They follow men and put their trust in human wisdom.  Unwilling to abide by God's simple design and pattern, they launch out into the vast ocean of human stupidity in an attempt to satisfy the inner conscience while ignoring the very Book that can lead them to the Father. 


Finally, there are the unfaithful, unruly, rebellious, indifferent, lukewarm members of the body of Christ.  Members of the family of God? Yes!  Faithful?  No!  Like the atheist, who ignores the word of God, and the ignorant who change or pervert the word of God, these who once "were enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come" (Heb. 6:4-5), now find themselves in the same category.  They are fools, for they have turned their back on the only means of salvation. They have done despite unto the precious blood of Christ.  By their actions they have put themselves down as foolish in the sight of God. 


Oh yes, to those who are "perishing" – the atheist, the ignorant, and the apostate child of God – God's word is simply not important.  To them it is foolishness.  The question you must entertain is: "Am I wise, or am I foolish?"   Dear reader, how do you regard God's word? 


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