A Fool Not to Believe
It's always an adventure when you get a whole bunch of kids up front you never know what they're going to say.
Well today as you all know it's Easter right but it's also what. April fools. Easter and April Fools is not a good combination or a bad combination you know I was trying to remember kind of think back in my own life how often there has been Easter on April Fools and I was trying to think in my own mind and I couldn't come up with and so when you need to find an answer what do you do you good that's right you're Yes really smart and so I google how many times he's sure landed on April first and in the nineteen hundreds from one thousand nine hundred through one thousand nine hundred nine it only happened four times. That's right one thousand interesting Lee For those of you who like math it happened four times in a row each eleven years apart so what happened in one thousand twenty three thousand nine hundred thirty four nine hundred forty five and one nine hundred fifty six and it hasn't happened since one nine hundred fifty six so it hasn't happened in sixty two years is not interesting so most everyone in here probably does not remember the last time April Fools landed on a Sunday and for two thousand it's only going to happen while one person might remember.
And the two thousands it's only going to happen three times in this century today and then guess what in a loving years and then in eleven more years really come interesting I told my wife and she's I woud that so fascinating so.
Hopefully all of you like that kind of a mouth is kind of an interesting thing but April a yes or an April Fools is very rare and I honestly think it is extremely appropriate for Easter to be on April Fools But first we'll talk about that in a minute but first I want to talk about April fools you know growing up in Spokane Washington I always thought April fools had to deal. With the weather I grew up in Spokane and so April came around April Fools it's kind of like saying you know don't be fooled you're going to have cold weather for the next month or two months and tell you know if it gets warm however at some point I definitely realized obviously April fools can be based on the weather because April Fools happens everywhere in the world and the climate is different and so I went and I found out the history in April fools in fact I shared this back in two thousand and seven on April first in a sermon so I don't know if any Remember this is that was quite a while ago but here's the history of April Fools.
Because there you can't really pinpoint a natural first April fools and people are really quite sure where it came from the most identifiable beginning was back in fifteen eighty two and this is kind of where the tradition came from prior to that year and this is back in France prior to that year the New Year was celebrated for eight days beginning on March twenty fifth and culminating on April first but with the reform of the calendar under Charles the ninth Damaris you remember that to OK under Charles the ninth day you brought it up aren't.
Says the Gregorian calendar was introduced and the New Year Day was moved to January first so this is a long time ago while obviously back then news didn't travel very fast like it does today and so many people did not receive the news of the new year beginning on January first for several years and some of them I like how the little quote says others the more obstinate crowd refuse to accept the new calendar and continue to celebrate the new year on April first and these a backward folk were named labeled fools by the general populace and so on April Fools or someone was a fool A fool is someone who would continue to celebrate the new year on April first because they were not aware of what had. Taken place and now you know the rest of the story.
You know April Fools is basically started based on because someone didn't know something and in this situation it was the change of the New Year but I think all of us pretty much know what a fool is right a good definition for a fool I looked this up on Google a fool is a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding All right so a fool is someone who who just they just don't know certain things on my came up with my own definition because I like to do that and I'm the preacher today and I said I think another way to describe a fool is this if something can be known or something is noble and a person chooses not to research it and to know that thing and they act without that knowledge there are a fool so if there's information out there that you can know when you choose not to act on it you are a fool and we also know that the opposite a fool is someone who is what why so we want to be wise we don't want to be fools when I came across an article this week and I think it's perfect that it was close to April Fool's Day This happened on Thursday.
The twenty eight and there was an article that appeared on this it says Zion Christian church prophet Alec in da way was viciously attacked by a lion during a safari trip this man one had to prove to his church members they God would save him so the man went into a trance or began to speak in many different languages and then started to run towards the pride of lions that were eating an Impala in cruel cruel National Park in South Africa this is the definition of a fool OK. It says when he realized that the Lord was not going to save him he began to run back to the car however it was not long before one of the Lions caught up to him and bit him on his backside and it was only then that he managed to get away because one of the. Rangers fired shots towards the lion to make him stop so that's a great example of a fool we know today is Easter and again like I said I think it's so appropriate that it is also April fools day because today millions and millions of people if not billions of people all over the world gathered together to celebrate that a man died and came back to life.
And so. It just saying that puts us all into one of two categories if that did not happen then you and I are a bunch of fools but if it did happen then only a fool would not respond to the implications of Christ's resurrection. So what are we are we fools or are we wise and that's what I want to talk about today our face is based on enough evidence that makes us why to believe and so I want to ask you a question kind of a rhetorical question obvious I don't want you to answer this aloud but I want you to seriously consider this right now. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave on the third day and if you do why. It's important for all of us to be able to say I believe that happen and here's why well what I want to do on this Easter morning is I want us to take some time to determine if we are fools for believing this or if we are wise to trust the evidence and I'm going to share with you three reasons why I believe and of course there are there are more than three reasons why I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there's probably twenty or thirty year but I know some of you have food in the oven at home and so I can preach for that long I would be very foolish for me to do that so I mean if you sorry reasons why I believe we would be foolish not to place our face in Jesus Christ and the first reason I believe is because Jesus said it would happen.
I believe that this. That's true because Jesus said this was going to happen you know people like to say that they're going to do something all the time we're working we tend to be like that and usually when things are within our control we go ahead and say we're I'm going to do this I'm going accomplish this feat like for instance let's say a young man or young woman grows up and they tell their parents and their grandparents I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up is it within their power or control to do that for most people it is right and so they go through this schooling in they get the education they get their degree and they become a doctor we can all be impressed because they said this is what I'm going to do and they went out and they accomplished it based on their control in another realm athletes athletes who like to accomplish great feats and some world class sprinters might be able to say I am going to sprint one hundred meters in ten seconds flat and can we believe them that they might be able to accomplish that and you might take a look at somebody and realize no they can't or maybe they will like if Steve McFadden says he's going to run hundred meters in ten seconds you're They know you'd be a fool to believe soon found would do that.
I've seen him run.
But many people will claim that they will do something but it's almost always within their control I want you to turn your Bibles to Mark Chapter eight.
Mark Chapter eight beginning in verse thirty one.
And what we're about to read in this passage Jesus tells his disciples that he's going to die and after three days he's going to come back to life and because Jesus was fully human like every other human being before him once he died he obviously had no power to bring this to pass unless God was obviously behind it so Mark Chapter eight beginning in verse thirty one this is where we find one of the places where Jesus said this was going to happen Mark eight thirty one it says and it began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed and after three days rise again this is what Jesus told His disciples and he said this plainly and Peter like this Peter took him aside and again to rebuke him but turning in seeing is disciples here view Peter and said Get Behind Me Satan for you are not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of man you know how many people before Christ have made this claim that they will die and come back to life none no one has ever made that claim and it hasn't happened you know I read this week that if you were to count all the people that ever lived on the face of this earth throughout the history of mankind you have about one hundred billion people and I'm not sure where people came up with that number that seems like it might be a little high but I've counted all the people that ever lived and today there's about seven point five billion people who live on the earth but how many of the people that have ever lived on this earth made the claim that when they die they will come back to life and it actually happened not one except Christ he said this was going to happen and it did I want you to turn your Bibles now to Luke Chapter twenty four. Luke Chapter twenty four this is one of my favorite passages dealing with the resurrection of Christ and if I could go back. Pick a time when I could live I'd like to be one of these men the Jesus met on the road to I'm a US Luke Chapter twenty four beginning in verse thirteen.
Luke Chapter twenty four beginning in verse thirteen and this is the same day that Jesus rose from the grave and this is an encounter that he had with two men on the road to amaze a mass Luke twenty four thirteen it says that very day two of them were going to a village named a man's about seven miles from Jerusalem and they were talking with each other about all the things that had happened and while they were talking and discussing together Jesus himself drew near and went with them but their eyes were kept from recognizing him and he said to them what is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk and they stood still looking sad then one of them named Cleo POS answered him are you only a visitor Jerusalem who does not know the things that happened there in these days and he said to them what things and they said to him concerning Jesus of Nazareth a man who was a prophet mighty indeed in word before God and all the people and how our chief priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death and crucified Him but we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel Yes and besides all this it is now the third day since these things happened Moreover some women of our company amazed us they went to the tomb early in the morning and when they did not find us body they came back saying that they had seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive some of those who were with us went to the two and found it just as the woman had said but him they did not see him and he meaning Jesus and Jesus said to them oh foolish ones and slow of hard to believe all that the prophets have spoken was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory and beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself so they. JR to the village to which they were going he acted as if he were going further but they urged him strongly saying Stay with us for it is towards evening and that is now far spent so he went in to stay with them when he was at a table with them he took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to them and their eyes were opened and they recognized him and then he vanished from their sight then they said to each other Did not our hearts burn within us while we talked while he talked to us on the road when he opened to us the scriptures and then they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem and they found out the eleven and those who were with them gathering together saying the Lord hasn't risen indeed and has appeared to sign them and then they told what had happened on the road and now he was known to them in the breaking of bed bread you know I look at this and I think what a thrilling moment for these two men to stalk with Jesus to have Jesus explain to them all the prophets and what they said regarding Jesus' life you know I believe that this happened I believe with all my heart this happened I believe that Jesus died and came back to life and the first reason I believe it is because Jesus said it was going to happen. Now another reason why I believe that this happened is because Jesus said it would happen and also the reason why Jesus explained to the man on the road to man and that is because the prophet said it would happen the prophet said it would happen you know on the road to M A S with those two disciples it says that Jesus is open the scripture to them and kind of explain to them from the Old Testament prophets all the things regarding him now don't you wish that Jesus would have said Now turn your Bible to this page so you know we could do that today obviously wasn't like that but what I want to do is I want to share a reference of Scripture with you and some of you probably are very familiar with this passage and I want to read it and it's going to be projected up here on the screen a Christian you put the first light up there I'm not going to put the reference up there but I want you to just read along with me as I'm. Reading this passage of scripture and I want you to just simply answer the question in your own mind who is this passage of Scripture talking about all right so let's just go ahead and read this and answer the question yourself who is this talking about.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed he grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a route out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him nothing in his appearance that we should desire him he was despised and rejected by mankind a man of suffering and familiar with pain like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised and we held him in low esteem Surely he took upon our pain and bore our suffering you know we considered him punished by God stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed we all like sheep of gone astray each of us has turned to our own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all he was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as sheep before its shearers is silent so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgement he was taken away yet who of his generation protested for he was cut off from the land of the living for the transgression of my people he was punished he was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death though he had done no violence nor was any deceit in his mouth yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer and the Lord makes his life an offering for sin he will see his offspring in prolong his days and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hands after he has suffered he will see the. Light of Life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities Therefore I give him a portion among the great and he will divide the spoils with the strong because he poured out his life and death and was numbered with the transgressors or he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors. Who is this about.
Obviously Jesus right this is clearly about the life of Jesus Christ and you don't have to go back to these passages but here in verse five it says he was pierced for our transgressions for those of you familiar with the crucifixion story what did the Romans insurance do after Christ had died they pierced his side to ensure that he was dead and out of his side flowed blood and water that's right there in that passage in verse seven it says that he was a person afflicted and he did not open his mouth he was like he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before his shearers a silent so he did not open his mouth all throughout the trial of Christ he remained silent that's what it said in verse seven verse nine of this passage you said he was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death before Jesus do after he died the Roman centurion is usually took the criminals and put them in a common grave but a rich man named Joseph of their meth the Took Jesus' body and put him in a rich man's tomb listen this is clearly about Jesus and this is the fifty third passage in Isaiah Isaiah fifty three and listen to this this passage was written seven hundred years before Jesus was even born. Seven hundred years before he was even born and you read Isaiah fifty three and it is crystal clear that this is obviously written about Jesus Christ you know I. In my my Sunday school class I found a whole bunch of videos taken by Jews who later profess faith in Jesus Christ later on in their life and there's this video of a man who said when he read Isaiah fifty three it was so clear that it was talking to Jesus as the Messiah that he placed his faith in him just off of Isaiah fifty three Listen this is just one passage there are so many more in the Old Testament they clearly tell us that these things were supposed to happen so in my opinion only a fool would ignore the evidence of the prophets and so this is why I believe and the third reason I believe is because of the changed lives of the people who didn't believe it first there are people who didn't believe Christ rose from the grave at first and then you see a change in their life and that gives us great evidence there's a couple of these is an example of doubting thomas many of you know doubting Thomases his this is his fellow disciple said Jesus rose from the grave he says I'm not going to believe it unless I touch you with my own hands and what happened he was able to touch him with his own hands I think that probably Saul of Tarsus is probably the most credible credible person to trust when it comes to someone who didn't believe it first and later did in fact Saul was so against Jesus and His followers then he went around throwing them into prison and Saul was in absolutely no way a part of Christ's original group of followers but in his writings he tells us that on the road to Damascus Jesus revealed himself to Paul and Paul spent the rest of his life not persecuting the followers of Christ but trying to convince everybody of the truth of that reality and and trying to get other people to place their face in him I want to turn to another passage this is an accepted twenty six.
Acceptor twenty six we're going through the book of Acts in our Thursday morning men's Bible study and we recently went through the section and I found this was a very interesting here Paul is making his defense also the book. Actually see Paul on the he's he's on trial and he's going to be sent to to Rome because he appealed to Caesar but before that some of some of the government governing authorities are trying to figure out what they're going to write to Caesar saying why Paul is on trial and Paul has in this story that we're going to look at he has an audience with the King and King Agrippa and he agreed it was a king in Palestine and he would have been alive and in some form of authority when the events of Christ took place and so here is Paul talking to Kenya grip on and this is how this interaction goes look at Acts Chapter twenty six and we'll start in verse four
come to get some background on what he's about to say to King Agrippa X. twenty six pour in this is Paul sharing with King Agrippa who Paul is who he is he says. My manner of life from Use spent from the beginning among my own nation and Jerusalem is known by all the Jews they have known for a long time if they're willing to testify that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a fair city and now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers to which our twelve tribes hope to attain and they earnestly worship night and day and for this hope I am accused by Jews OK Why is this thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead and so Paul is on trial because he believed that Jesus raise was raised from the dead and then he continues in at the end of his speech with Skip ahead to verse twenty four so he's still talking to King Agrippa and Festus and other governmental official and this is the last thing that happens in this part of the story verse twenty four X. six twenty six twenty four.
And as he was saying these things in his defense Festus said with a loud voice Paul you are out of your mind your great learning is driving you are to your mind befall said I am not out of my mind most excellent Festus but I am speaking true and rational words for the keen he a grip on the King knows about these things and to him I speak boldly for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice for this is not been done in a corner and so Paul knows the King Agrippa knew all about these events he knew the claims that Jesus came back to life King Agrippa knew all of these things and all this happened while he was in some form of power and so King Agrippa knew exactly what Paul was talking about in verse twenty seven palaces King Agrippa do you believe the prophets I know that you believe and Agrippa so. To Paul in a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian and Paul said whether short or long I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am except for these chains now Paul was a changed man and his dramatic change leads me to believe that this is all true you know I read this story about a group and we were talking about this in a men's Bible study I wonder what happened to him you know he was he was presented with what the prophets had said about the Messiah and he knew all the events surrounding Christ life I think it's probably twenty or thirty years after when we have Paul talking to King Agrippa So sometime around there and so we're saying can you put these two together can you take the events that you know that's around of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and what the prophet said in key Agrippa do you believe can you put them together and place your faith in Him in our passage in actually six we don't see King Agrippa placing is faith in him but at some point he Agrippa was going to have to make a decision at some point he was going to have to decide it's true or it's not. And just like Paul said to King Agrippa I say to all of you what do you think is this true or is this not and it all comes down to this listen if this is not true then we are fools today we are fools for even being here but if it is true then it is wise to believe in only a fool would not believe. So this morning I ask you what do you think did this really happened to Jesus truly be born of a virgin did he live his life did he die on the cross and he come back to life I personally believe this is true I believe this is all my heart and I have devoted my entire life to proclaiming this truth I believe all of it and they know so many of you here today believe this is well but some of you are here to. Day and maybe you haven't made this decision for yourself and so just like Paul asked King Agrippa I'm going to ask you after seeing all this evidence do you believe.
And if you've never done this before if you never place your faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and you realize that that is a decision that you can and you need to make you can do that right now today. And the way that we place our faith in Christ is laid out very specifically in Scripture Christian if you can put up that last passage this is Romans ten Romans ten nine ten says very plainly if you confess with your mouth the Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart to God raised Him from the dead you will be saved for with the heart one believes in his justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
I know many of you in this room have done that before you've prayed this prayer you've confessed with your malice and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead but if there's anyone here who has not done that why would you wait another minute. Why would you wait another minute in fact I invite you to do that at this very moment like all of us to just our heads in the closer eyes and if you're here today and you are ready to make this decision for the first time I invite you to simply pray this prayer to God along with me and he will hear this in your heart simply prayed to God say this Dear God I believe. I believe you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and I believe you raised him from the dead as the first of all who will be raised back to life I now place my face in Jesus alone for myself nation.
Now if you prayed that prayer for the first time today I hope that you would tell that to me or somebody else before you go home right now let's turn to the Lord in prayer on this praise and for what we can celebrate today the Resurrect. Christ your father we come before you on this beautiful Sunday morning on this April Fool's Day Even And we we proclaim to you father that we're not fools we know that this took place we believe with all our heart and soul the you sent your son to die on the cross as in a toning sacrifice for our sins and you did not leave him in the grave the just like you said you would do just like Jesus said would take place after three days he came back to life and he is the first among the dead to be raised back to life and because you raised him back from the grave all of us have the hope that we too will be raised back to life as well as the father on this Easter morning we praise you we think you for giving us this hope and revealing to us the way in which we can be saved father and as you tell us and based on these events is not just something that we should just believe that something that we should allow to permeate every part of our life so Lord and today as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ help us to live with this resurrection power so the world around us might have this hope as well we pray these things down Christ may Amen.