INTRO: There is a word which occurs over and again in the book of Proverbs and which does not usually have good connotations in our minds. It is the word fool. As it is used in that Old Testament book, it means silly or stupid or perverse (the word perverse means turned away from what is right or good ... incorrect). Now, to the parents of young children I need to say that I know we try to teach our children not to refer to others as stupid. And I appreciate the need for us to so teach. But scripture describes behavior that is both stupid and incorrect throughout the book of Proverbs. And as we examine some of the fools or foolish of this book, I think we will begin to understand why inspiration has used such a strong descriptive word.
1. Prov 1:7 - Fools are those who despise wisdom & instruction
a. in the context, of course, the instruction is that of parents
b. so, 1:8 - instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother
c. many, many are the children these days who refuse such instruction
d. many, many are the parents these days who are failing to instruct
e. Eph 6:4 - in moral, ethical, spiritual matters they do have a standard
f. to the young people here I would say, Do not become the person of whom Solomon speaks here. Listen to and observe the teaching of your parents
2. Prov 1:32 - Fools are destroyed by their prosperity
a. how can prosperity destroy a person? oh, it is not all that hard to see
b. prosperity often changes the priorities of a persons life - to getting more
c. prosperity often creates the illusion of self importance - who needs God
d. prosperity often leads one into the wrong company - Prov 13:20
e. prosperity is an incredibly great challenge for righteous people!
f. 1 Tim 6:17-19 - a needed warning and sound advice
3. Prov 10:23 - Fools are careless of others
a. do you know people who laugh, joke about the misfortune of others?
b. do you know people whose behavior is at the expense of others?
c. well, truth is, there are a great many people like this ... and so many of them do not enjoy it when the tables are turned
d. Eph 4:29 - our interest should be in words and behavior that build others
e. this verse refers to a man of understanding - we need to learn to understand others, their situations, their needs, their sensitivities
f. 1 Ki 3:9 - I wonder if we should be praying for understanding hearts?
4. Prov 12:15 - Fools think they are always right
a. notice the part of the verse which refers to counsel
b. a mark of wise people is that they seek advice & counsel at critical times
c. wise people are listening people, learning people, processing people
d. and when they make decisions, they rarely have later regrets
e. not so fools - who insist on doing it my way - even when it becomes evident that my way leads to nothing good ... and to hurt
f. 2 Cor 10:12 - here is the way of foolish people
5. Prov 18:6,7 - Fools dont know when to stop talking
a. fools are contentious people! they rush into argument, strife, contention
b. Prov 26:21 - this person just keeps on adding fuel to the fire of strife!
c. it is important to note the joining of the thoughts of these two verses - a fools mouth becomes his destruction ... a snare of his soul!!!!
d. are you permitting your mouth to endanger your soul? do you know when to refrain from talking? (Prov 20:3)
e. notice, too, that the writer refers to strokes - deserving a beating!
f. the book of Proverbs minces no words ... we would do well to listen
6. Prov 26:11 - A fool does not learn from his mistakes
a. the picture here is not a polite one - but there is a lesson to be learned
b. and the lesson simply is that fools refuse to learn from their foolish errors
c. for wise people experience is a good teacher (not always the best way to learn - but can certainly be an excellent source of instruction)
d. Jno 5:14 - sin no more, lest a worse thing... - foolish behavior which would continue in the sin could, would lead to worse things!
e. the life of a Christian is a life of repentance and change ... growing
f. but there are Christian people who continue to make the same errors in judgment and behavior ... over and again ... learn, and change!
CLOSE: Many years ago I either heard or read a sermon entitled Bible Fools. Well, the book of Proverbs certainly identifies many of them. Wise, or foolish ... which are we?
Cecil A. Hutson
19 September 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)