Going To School On The Fool
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: Face it, we live in a post-Christian culture. This world is certainly no friend to grace and it has become a stranger to the Truth. The "fool" is one whose heart has withered and their inner sap has dried up because of the repeated rejection of God's revelation. Sadly, there is much to learn from the fool.
1. The Defense of the Fool (14:1-3)
A defense mechanism is a mental process that men use to protect themselves from some aspect of their lives they perceive to be unpleasant, uncomfortable, or threatening. The person who is in the process of becoming a fool will employ some of these defense mechanisms:
- Denial - A person automatically avoids or refuses to recognize some aspect of his life that is unpleasant. There is a refusal to recognize reality.
- Minimizing - Admitting to some degree of a problem but in a way it seems to appear to be less serious or significant than is the case. This is a minor admission.
- Rationalizing, Justifying, Blaming - Make excuses to ourselves and others that are less unpleasant than the real reason. This is using a minor reason to avoid a major problem.
- Intellectualizing and Debating - Talking about something in a detached way with no personal feelings. This is information without any personal application. This is intellect divorced from volition.
- Projecting - Focusing on others to avoid focus on yourself and seeing your own problem. This is the "mote and beam" issue raised by our Lord.
- Compliance - Agreeing to please others and thereby end the conversation. This is a decisional regeneration.
- Procrastination - Tomorrow never comes. This is delayed obedience which is really disobedience. Some call it a strategically delayed activity.
- Bargaining - "When I get straightened out, then I will come to church." Just one more night in Egypt.
- Terminal Uniqueness - "My situation is totally different."
- Suppression/Repression - Stuff it!
The world says that these defense mechanisms are used to avoid facing up to a sickness. The Bible says they are used to avoid facing sin.2. The Duty Of The Faithful
Compare this with Philippians 1:27-30 where we learn what the believer's stance ought to be in the face of an onslaught of atheism:
- Consistency (Philippians 1:27a)
- Cooperation (Philippians 1:27b)
- Confidence (Philippians 1:28-20)
Wiersbe said that adversaries are the proof of salvation(1:28), adversity is the privilege of salvation (1:29), and agony is the common experience of the saved (1:30). This is not the picture of the believer's life given by the popular prosperity preachers of today.3. The Deliverance Of The Faithful
(Psalm 14:7)4. The Destruction Of The Fool
Fools in their hearts believe and say,
That all religion's vain;
There is no God that reigns on high,
Or minds th'affairs of men.
From thoughts so dreadful and profane,
Corrupt discourse proceeds;
And in their impious hands are found
The Lord from his celestial throne
Looked down on things below
To find the man that sought his grace,
Or did His justice know.
By nature all are gone astray,
Their practice all the same;
There's none that fears his Maker's hand;
There's none who loves his name.
Their tongues are used to speak deceit,
Their slanders never cease;
How swift to mischief are their feet,
Nor know the paths of peace.
Such seeds of sin ( that bitter root )
In ev'ry heart are found;
Nor can they bear diviner fruit,
Till grace refine the ground.
-- Isaac Watts