fool

Sermon Recap (11/6) "Proverbial Fool: Scoffer"

Growing up, you probably heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." In fact, you may have even said this yourself. But the truth is, that phrase is totally wrong. I would venture to say that every person can remember at least one moment in life when someone has said something to us that remains with us today. Maybe a parent told you that you could lose a few pounds. Or a classmate said you're annoying. Maybe a boss criticized your work in front of a group of colleagues. Whatever it is for you, it proves that age-old phrase to be false. 

Words have the power to destroy or restore life. Words are powerful.

This week in our Proverbial Fool series, we're taking a look at the proud fool - scoffer.

WEEK 4: THE PROUD FOOL

In Proverbs 13, Solomon introduces us to the scoffer. He says the scoffer doesn't listen to rebuke, his soul feeds on violence, and his lips shall have destruction. In just three verses, Solomon proves to us that words can hurt us. 

"You have never spoken a neutral word in your life. Either your talk brings life or brings death." -Paul Tripp

In Proverbs 4:24, he instructs, "Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you." We are directed in this book to stop speaking words that tear people down. Instead, to get as far away from becoming a scoffer. But how do we do that?

Luke 6:43-45 says, "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure in his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." In other words, trying to stop speaking hurtfully or saying bad words is like buying a bag of apples and taping them on a rotten tree. The state of our hearts are revealed in our words. In order to fix the problem - to produce good fruit - we  need to figure out the root issue. 

STORY OF A SCOFFER

A scoffer can also be described as a mocker, scorner, and babbler. They're the fools who ridicule people constantly. In the Bible, a great example of a scoffer is Nabal. In first Samuel 25, we learn that Nabal (the Greek word for fool) is a man who had material riches, but had no riches in character. He was a fool and a scoffer. Somehow, he was lucky enough to be married to Abigail (meaning a father's joy), who was kind-hearted and beautiful. 

As the story goes, David sent his men to talk to Nabal with kindness, offering peace. Nadal, as a scoffer does, rebuked them and offended David's name. When David heard about Nabal's response, he decided to send his men to fight. 

When David encountered a scoffer, he had to decide how to react. Proverbs 26:4-5 gives us two options:

  • Verse 4: Don't respond to a fool, or you'll be like him.
  • Verse 5: Respond to a fool, or he'll think he's wise.

These seem like such contrasting statements, but they actually aren't contrasting. They're simply giving us a choice. This is where the Lord comes in, because we have to rely on Him for guidance. The response really changes based on the situation.

FRUIT VS. ROOT

Take a look at this list to see the fruit that scoffers produce, and the root behind that behavior:

  • Arrogant | Self-Competence
  • Cusser | Self-Satisfaction
  • Liar | Self-Preservation
  • Talker | Self-Deception
  • Joker | Self-Glory
  • Flatterer | Self-Adultion
  • Gossiper | Self-Comparison
  • Complainer | Self-Exhaltation 

Do you notice a theme? Self, self, self self, self. Scoffers are all about themselves. The bad fruit that's produced is a result of idolizing self and making ourselves the most important thing.

THE REMEDY

Jesus, of course!

2 Corinthians 5:15: "He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."

We have to die to self in order to avoid becoming this proverbial fool. Once Jesus takes over in our hearts, our words will flow from a place of life, rather than death. Words have the power to bring life or death, so let's make an effort for our words to be words of encouragement and life. 


Sermon Recap (10/23) "Proverbial Fool: Lazy"

Everything in our society points us toward believing work is evil. We dread Mondays, find hope in Wednesdays (#HumpDay) and live for Fridays (#TGIF!). For some reason, we're stuck in this pattern of believing work is a bad thing.

This week in our Proverbial Fool series, we're taking a look at the lazy fool - the sluggard.

WEEK 2: THE LAZY FOOL

In Proverbs 6:6-11, Solomon says, "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep-So shall poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man."

Clearly, Solomon thought there was something wrong with being a sluggard. He instructs us to use ants as an example for how we should live. Ants do their work efficiently, without instruction, without anyone to praise them for their good work. Yet many people fall into the trap of becoming a lazy fool. They are idle, and they don't accomplish much at all, if anything.

To add to laziness, the sluggard is full of excuses for his unwillingness to work (Proverbs 26:13-16), he has the resources, but refuses to use them (Proverbs 20:4) and stewards his resources poorly (Proverbs 24:30-31). He has fields, he has opportunity, he has time, he has physical ability, but the sluggard doesn't use these gifts wisely.

Can you think of areas in your family or your job where you just do the bare minimum to get by, but don't truly put as much effort in as you should? Do you push the snooze button too many times in the morning? Do you go to work just for the paycheck, but not to make any real difference? Do you have the time, money, or energy to do more, and choose not to use them wisely? Maybe God has even been convicting you of laziness in your life lately!

A NEW OUTLOOK ON WORK

As we said earlier, we have pretty much been trained to believe that we shouldn't enjoy work. At some point, we starting thinking that work was a result of the fall - that it's not a good thing and that it's some sort of punishment for our sinfulness. This is just not true.

In Genesis 2:15, 19-20, before the fall ever happened, God gave Adam work! God intended for us to use our hands. We were meant to work and to not be sluggards. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, the Thessalonian church is instructed to work with their hands. Idle hands leave room for temptation and disruption. 

"Laziness could run a competitive race for the most underrated sin. Quietly it anesthetizes its victims into a lifeless stupor that ends in hunger, bondage, and death." -Ronald Sailler and David Wyrtzen

APPLICATION

The whole point of this series is to learn how to walk in wisdom by applying the fear of the Lord. In order to avoid becoming the sluggard, we should examine the heart behind everything we do. 

Do everything for God's glory
Colossians 3:22-24 - "Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

Sometimes, we get in the habit of only doing our best so others will notice us. It could be for a promotion or a raise, or even just to get a pat on the back. But everything we do should be to bring God glory and it should be done out of reverence for him.

Reflect God through your work
Titus 2:9-10 - "Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."

By working hard, you can actually show Jesus in the workplace. Isn't that so cool? 

Redeem your time
Ephesians 5:14-17 - "Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

This passage in Ephesians is a great reminder that these days are evil. They are working against us, and we should spend every moment redeeming the time, bringing God glory, and walking in His will.