Six Kinds of Fools
March 1, 2003 - The Bible has thousands of promises for us to claim and to apply to our lives. Yet some of us live as though God never made any promises. Jesus said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe" (Luke 24:25. KJV). In 1 Corinthians we read: "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain" (1 Corinthians 3:18-20, KJV).
A Message by Billy Graham
In the dictionary, one definition is that a fool is "a person deficient in judgment. "Another meaning of fool is "one who is a professional jester or a clown."
In the Bible, the word "fool" has a moral meaning. The verses seem almost paradoxical. In Proverbs we read, "Fools despise wisdom," (Proverbs 1:7, KJV) and in 1 Corinthians we read, "Let him become a fool"(1 Corinthians 3:18, KJV). In the first passage, the fool is an unthinking, thoughtless, careless person, one without true understanding. In the second passage, the fool is someone who has received Christ and is laughed at by the world and called foolish and ridiculous. So, in the Bible, there are unwise fools and there are wise fools.
The Atheistic Fool
First, there is the atheistic fool. Repeated twice in the Psalms are the words: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1, KJV, and Psalm 53:1, KJV). But in Hebrew the word "fool" actually means, "There is no God for me. "This is the atheistic fool.
Now, I believe that every person believes innately that there is a Supreme Being. To be an atheist or an agnostic, you have to block out of your mind the realities of birth and life and death and the entire universe. Who can look at the heavens and read all that the astronomers tell us and see all that our satellites have discovered, without believing that there must be a Supreme Being behind this universe with all its galaxies?
Then there is the practicing atheist. Many people are not really believing atheists, but they are practicing atheists in that they live like atheists. They profess to believe in God, but they live as if there is no God. They believe in God with their minds. They may go to church, but they live as though God does not exist.
The Mocking Fool
Second, there is the mocking fool: "Fools make a mock at sin" (Proverbs 14:9, KJV).The Bible tells us that we have sinned against God and His holiness, that we have broken His laws, and that we are under the sentence of death: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23, KJV). We all have sinned and have broken the laws of God. And so we all are sentenced to die.
We will die physically, but sin also causes spiritual death. Physically we are alive, but our soul is dead toward God. So we are under the sentence of death—eternal death, the judgment to come, separation from God, hell. We are under that sentence of death, and in that sense every one of us is on "death row."
The Slandering Fool
Third, there is the slandering fool: "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18, KJV). That includes passing along an evil story about others, maligning other people's characters, wrecking their reputations by evil gossip. The Bible says that gossiping is a sin. And yet how frequently that sin is committed, even by persons who call themselves Christian! Gossiping is a terrible sin in the sight of God, and God says that person is a fool.
The Doubting Fool
Fourth, there is the doubting fool. After Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and was raised again, He appeared before two disciples who were on the way to Emmaus, outside of Jerusalem. The disciples were sad. They were disappointed. They were disillusioned. They were mumbling and groaning. Then a Man joined them, but they didn't recognize Him. As He talked with them, He asked, "Why are you so sad" (Cf. Luke 24:17)? They answered, "Haven't You heard all the happenings in Jerusalem during the past week about this Jesus who did wonderful things? We thought He was the Messiah. We thought He had come to save the world, but He was killed. Now the third day is past, and we heard rumors that He was raised from the dead" (Cf. Luke 24:18-24).
And then Jesus said, "O fools" (Luke 24:25, KJV). He expounded to them the Scriptures, from Moses through the prophets, as to who He was. Then He spent the evening with them. As He sat at the meal in their home in Emmaus, He blessed the bread and gave it to them, and suddenly their eyes were opened, and they saw that it was Jesus.
In other words, the doubting fool is one who has the Word of God in his hands, who reads it and yet doubts the promises of God.
The Covetous Fool
Fifth, there is the covetous fool. Jesus told the story about a rich man and his barns. The man built his barns bigger, and he said that he was going to retire because he had made enough money. He said, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke 12:19, KJV).
But God said, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:20, KJV).
Jesus said, "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21, KJV). You see, the rich man tried to find happiness in the wrong place—money. If you had asked this man, "What is your name?" he probably would have answered, "My name is the rich man." Or, "I am an eminent man." Or, "I am a great man in the neighborhood." Or maybe even, "I am a famous man."
But if you had asked God, "Lord, what is this man's name?" the answer would have been: "Fool. "The rich man had been called by his family name, his given name, his rank, his titles, his wealth, the flatteries of men. But in the sight of God his name was "Fool." That is all we know about that rich man, that he was a rich fool who had laid up treasures on earth but nothing in heaven. How many of us are in this same category?
The Saved Fool
Sixth, there is another kind of fool, the one who has eternal salvation:" The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18, KJV). What the world counts as foolish we have rested our eternal salvation on. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and turn your back on the pleasures and the sensual lusts and materialism of this world, people will think you are a fool.
Those of us who know Jesus Christ have Christ in our hearts. The Holy Spirit produces love and joy and peace, like a mighty river flowing through our hearts, no matter what the troubles and the circumstances may be. Oh, yes, we may go through a lot of suffering and we go through death, but it is not the same as with a nonbeliever. For the Christian, the sting of death has been removed. There is joy and peace in the midst of it. Whatever happens to us, Christ is with us in every circumstance. And then we have all glory ahead, eternity forever with Him!
Are you one of the devil's fools? Or are you willing to be a fool for Christ's sake? You have to make a choice.