Many of you will hear this program in the morning before you set out for work or school. So let me remind you: this is April 1, commonly known as April Fools' Day. I don't know that there are many original April Fools jokes any more. I think that most of them have been doing the rounds for so many years that most people are on their guard against them. Your kids will use them and laugh at them as if they had just been invented-and the amazing thing is that they will always get some poor character to fall for them. We were the same when we were young. Back in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I have no doubt that the telephone at Bellevue Zoo will ring today as it does every April 1 and a parade of people will say they are returning a call from Mr. C. Lyon. I have to admire the patience and politeness of the staff as they deal with a new batch of April Fools. At least they can laugh and be thankful that it usually happens only on this one day in the year-though, mind you, that puzzles me for I would imagine that more people would fall for it if they found a memo on their desk any other day saying that C. Lyons would like them to return a call.
All this set me thinking about fools. Not April Fools, real fools. There are different Biblical words that are translated "fool." There is one that we should be careful not to employ lightly. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 5:22, "Whosoever shall say [to his brother], Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Here the Greek word translated "fool" is moros and it is the equivalent of the Hebrew words nabal or perhaps moreh, both of which carry the idea of "a wicked, reprobate destitute of all spiritual or divine knowledge." Clearly this is not a term to throw around lightly. In fact, the man who does so proves himself to be the real fool, for only a fool would ignore the words of God's Son and so place himself in danger of hell fire.
The Bible gives us various examples of egregious fools. Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." What makes his folly so obvious is that every man has God's law written on his heart. To deny God a man has to deny the very root of his being. He has also to commit intellectual suicide. To deny his Creator he has to believe that all that exists came into being out of nothingness for no reason and with no intelligent force behind it. If that sounds crazy, it's because it is crazy. Atheism is the ultimate madness. Atheists may be educated, cultured and accomplished. But they are fools. God says so.
They are not the only fools. If he is a fool who denies that God is, how much greater is the fool who knows that God is but lives as if he did not exist? And what about the type of man of whom the Lord Jesus spoke in Luke 12? You remember, the man whom God prospered so much that he wondered what he would do with his bumper crops. He soon decided: he would tear down his barns and build greater; he would say to himself, "Soul, thou hast much good laid up for many years; take thine easy, eat, drink, and be merry." He had no thought of God, of Christ or of eternity and where he would spend it. He was wrapped up in this world, its possessions and its pleasures-in fact, he was just like most people today. But Jesus called him a fool. He was within a few hours of death and he was so ignorant of his mortality that he gave no heed to the needs of his soul. He was a fool of the worst order.So let me ask you: on this April Fools' Day, are you playing the fool-and playing for real? "O that they were wise ... that they would consider their latter end" (Deuteronomy 32:29).