Easter Fools Day

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“The fool says in his heart,
‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1)

INTRODUCTION: Guess what? I didn’t prepare a message for today. I know, April Fools! I always loved April Fools Day as a kid. In fact, I would start dreaming about April Fools Day months in advance. I would plan out the most elaborate hoaxes on my family and friends. I’m sure I was really annoying as a kid, but boy I had a lot of fun!

Today is not only April Fools Day. It is also Easter. And so, I’ve titled this morning’s message, “Easter Fools Day.” Our text this morning comes from Psalm 53:1 which says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Someone has taken that text and jokingly called April Fools Day “National Atheists’ Day,” because “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1)

The Bible has a lot to say about God, a lot to say about Jesus, and a lot to say about foolishness. And so, I would like to talk about this verse in relationship to Easter this morning and the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why is it the fool says in his heart there is no God, and what does Easter tell us about that? Why is it foolish not to believe in God?

I. We know God exists because of creation

There are a number of reasons why it is foolish not to believe in God. First of all, we know that God exists because of creation. This is basic apologetics 101. If there is a creation, there must be a Creator. Nothing comes from nothing. Every effect must have a cause. The very fact that there is a universe, the very fact that there is a world around us is Exhibit A in the evidence for God.

   A. God’s power and glory are clearly seen from what has been made (Romans 1:19-20)

There are many places in Scripture which tie the creation to knowledge of the Creator, but I especially want us to look at Romans 1 this morning. Romans 1 tells us that God’s power and glory are clearly seen from what has been made. Look at verses 19-20 with me: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)

Some people say, “How can I know there is a God if I can’t see him?” And they’re right. You can’t see God directly. The Bible tells us that God is Spirit, and Spirit, by definition, is invisible. And yet you can see certain things about God through his creation. And that’s what Romans 1 is talking about. Ever since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.

God didn’t make just any universe. He made this universe. First of all, the universe is huge. That tells you something about God. God could have made a universe that was really, really small, the size of a grapefruit. Now that would still be evidence for God. You can’t have a creation without a Creator. But it wouldn’t say much about his power. But when you look at how large the universe is, the distance between our planet and the sun, the distance between our solar system and the next, the staggering size of our galaxy which is just one galaxy out of countless others, now that begins to tell you something about God’s power.

Secondly, the universe is old. Whether the universe is billions of years old or God created the universe with time already baked in, it doesn’t matter. God is before creation. God created space, matter and time which means he is before time. He is outside of time. Which tells you that God is eternal.

Thirdly, the universe is majestic. We stand in awe of God’s creation around us just on this planet. And the deeper we look into the rest of the universe, the more we are filled with awe at the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. Once again, all these things tell you something about God. That’s what Romans 1 is saying. Ever since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that we are without excuse.

   B. We are foolish to exchange God’s glory for anything else (Romans 1:21-23)

Now here’s where we get to Easter Fool’s Day. Because God’s power and glory are clearly seen from what has been made, we are foolish to exchange God’s glory for anything else. Back to Romans 1 now, look at verses 21-23: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23)

You see all of us know there is a God because of creation. And so, when we know there is a God, and yet we refuse to glorify him as God, when we refuse to give thanks to him for life and breath and being, there’s a word for that. The Bible says we are foolish. Our thinking becomes futile, and we exchange the glory of God for created things. Instead of worshiping God, we worship the things God gave to us, and we make ourselves fools in the process.

What do you worship this morning? Whatever you value the most in life that is what you worship. Do you worship the God who made you? Or do you worship something that God has made instead?

God’s power and glory are clearly seen from what has been made. And we are foolish to exchange God’s glory for anything else. The fool says in his heart there is no God. That’s our first point this morning. We know God exists because of creation.

II. We know God loves us because he sent his Son

Secondly, we know God loves us because he sent his Son. It’s one thing to know that God exists, and that he is all powerful, majestic and glorious, but how does that help me if he doesn’t love me? In fact, if he doesn’t love me, I might just be a little nervous, no scratch that, I would be downright terrified and afraid of this all powerful being who created me and gave me life. Because if he gave me life, he can also take it away. And why wouldn’t he take it away, when I’ve been so foolish as to exchange his glory for something else?

And that is what we have all done. We have all worshiped created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. There’s a word for that, too. The Bible calls this sin.

We think about sin in small and petty terms. We say things like, “We all make mistakes.” Or “I just slipped up.” Or “I made an error in judgment.” But the Bible calls sin for what it is. God is all-powerful, majestic and glorious, and I have exchanged his glory for something else. I have broken God’s holy law. I have personally and directly offended him. And so, if this God doesn’t love me, then I am in big trouble.

There are many ways God shows his love to us. He fills this world with good and beautiful things. He gives us food and family and friends. He sends countless blessings our way, many of which we never notice or take for granted. But the primary way we know God loves us is because he sent his Son.

   A. God sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10)

The Bible tells us God sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. We read in 1 John 4: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

In other words, the reason God sent his Son goes back to the sin problem we have just been talking about. God knew that we had sinned against him. He knew that unless he intervened, we would die in our sins; we would be lost and separated from God’s love forever. And so, God sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

That word “atoning” simply means the removal of God’s wrath. Yes, God is rightly angry with us because of our sin. We get angry about sin, too, don’t we? Don’t you get angry when someone sins against you? Don’t you get angry when you read about school shootings or racial violence or abuse? Well, so does God. Every sin is a sin against God, and so God is rightly angry about sin.

But 1 John tells us that God sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday, he died as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. He died to pay the penalty for sin that you and I could never pay. He died to take away God’s wrath against sin, so that we could be forgiven and brought back into relationship with the God who created us.

Do you know how much God loves you? (Spread arms open wide.) This much. God loves you so much that he sent his Son to the cross as an atoning sacrifice for your sins. All you need to do is believe in Jesus who died for you, and all your sins will be forgiven. That is the message of the cross. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.

   B. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18)

But not everyone who hears of Jesus believes in Jesus. Not everyone believes the message of the cross. And why is that? Well, we’re right back to Easter Fool’s Day again! Why doesn’t everyone believe? Because the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. We read this in 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. If you are not trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior this morning, the Bible says you are perishing. You have sinned against a holy God. You have exchanged his glory for something else. You are worshiping and serving created things rather than the Creator. You are lost in your sins, and you will die in your sins unless you turn to Jesus in faith and believe.

Why would you die in your sins when Jesus already died in your place? That’s foolishness. And yet so many people continue in their sin day after day when God has already provided salvation through his Son at the cross. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

III. We know God saves us because Jesus rose from the dead

And that leads us to our third point. We know God saves us because Jesus rose from the dead. Now we are getting to the heart of the Easter message. The good news of Easter is not just that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The good news of Easter is also that Jesus rose from the dead.

   A. God promised he would send us a Savior (Romans 1:1-2)

Long before Christ came, God promised he would send us a Savior. We read these opening words in the book of Romans: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” (Romans 1:1-2) The word “gospel” means good news. Yes, God sent his Son, but long before he sent Jesus, he sent us his prophets who foretold the good news of Jesus. And these promises of God were recorded for us in the Scriptures.

   B. Jesus was shown to be God’s Son by his resurrection (Romans 1:3-4)

God promised he would send us a Savior. And how do we know that Jesus is that Savior? Well, that’s what Easter is all about. Jesus was shown to be God’s Son by his resurrection. We just read about God’s promise of the gospel in Romans 1:1-2. Let’s continue now with verses 3-4 where Paul writes that this gospel is: “… regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:3-4)

Jesus was born into this world as a human being. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. As to his human nature, Jesus was a descendant of David. But Jesus was so much more than just a man. He was not only the son of David. He was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.

That’s what we celebrate at Easter. God promised he would send a Savior. Jesus was shown to be God’s Son by his resurrection. We know God saves us because Jesus rose from the dead.

IV. Who’s the real fool?

Which brings us to our key question this Easter Fool’s Day. Who’s the real fool? There are only two options.

   A. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christians are the real fools (1 Corinthians 15:14)

Here’s option one: If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then Christians are the real fools. That’s what the Bible says. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we Christians are the biggest fools of all. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then what are we even doing here? We might as well pack up our bags and go home. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then my preaching today is useless and so is your faith. You know why? Because a dead savior is no savior at all! If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then Christians are the real fools.

   B. How foolish and slow of heart not to believe (Luke 24:25-27)

But if Jesus did rise from the dead, then how foolish not to believe. That’s what Jesus said to the two disciples he met on the road to Emmaus after he rose from the dead. We read in Luke 24: “He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

I’m not going to review all the evidence for the resurrection with you right now. For those of you who are intellectually curious, there are plenty of resources out there that will go through all the evidence for you. (For example, you could start here: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/the-resurrection-of-jesus/) I just want to make the point this morning that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then Christians are the real fools. But if Jesus did rise from the dead, then how foolish you are and slow of heart not to believe. Because Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for your sins. And he rose from the dead to be your Savior.

CONCLUSION: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” The fool says in his heart, “There is no resurrection.” The fool says in his heart, “There is no hope.” The fool says in his heart, “There is no salvation.”

But the believer says in his heart: “Yes, there is a God. I see his hand in creation around me. I know he loves me because he sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I know he saves me, because Jesus rose from the dead. I refuse to be foolish and exchange God’s glory for anything else. I refuse to be foolish and slow of heart to believe. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead to prepare a place in heaven for me. I put my faith in him as Lord and Savior now and forevermore.”

Don’t be the fool on Easter Fool’s Day. Jesus died for you. He rose again on the third day. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Jesus is alive. Put your faith in him today.

© Ray Fowler

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