Be Careful Of The Way Of Fools

Text: Ephesians 5:15-21

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

It is easy to do.  It is easy to get complacent and lazy, supposing there is nothing to fear. 

What am I talking about?  I am talking about this Christian faith.  As Christians, we can hear the Gospel and be comforted by it but then we can become lazy.  In other words, we can forget that we still live in this world and we can forget that the devil still desires to kill, steal, and destroy our faith. 

Typically this forgetfulness is not intentional, though.  We hear the Gospel, which delivers assurance, hope, and comfort but then we go on our way and drift along, becoming complacent and doing whatever seems to be ‘natural’ for us.  Easily, we can quickly forget reality, believing that there is no danger for us as Christians – that this Christian life is some sort of life of ease, with the exception of some scary terrorist plots that we might watch on the nightly news from time to time. 

With this stated, this flighty and complacent way of living is unwise.  It is actually foolish to simply drift along in our Christian lives thinking that there is nothing to fear and nothing to be aware of.  The reason why?  It simply is not true.  It is not reality.  It is the way of foolishness. 

Consider a moment the parable from Matthew’s Gospel, the seventh chapter.  Jesus tells us about two houses.  One house is built upon the sand and the other house is built upon the rocks.  Then in the parable, both houses experience rain and harsh winds.  As is expected, the house on the rocks remains; however, the house on the sand blows down experiencing a great fall. 

This parable shows us that when we hear Jesus’ Word and become flippant with Christianity, by either downplaying the realities of sin, the devil, and the world or by denying the need for the Lord’s Word and constant grace, well… we are like a fool that builds a house upon the sand.  When we are spirituality apart from God’s Word and deny the realities of life, we are like a house with no foundation on some beach, a house that is unprepared and unable to withstand the approaching storm, a storm that will completely destroy us. 

Tragically, when churches go on their jolly ol’ way ignoring the reality that this world and all that is in it, oppose the Kingdom of God and when churches go on their jolly ol’ way forgetting God’s Word and following their own thoughts, well… babblers seem to come into the pulpits not only silencing God’s Word but also preaching their own fantasies, resulting in the church collapsing.  In other words, churches become like the house on the sand when they think that the Christian life is all about beautiful sunsets and calm cool breezes on the beach.  They become like the house on the sand when they do not listen to God’s solid Word and when they follow the unstable thoughts of mankind or when they follow every changing opinion of culture that is around them. 

Dear friends, the reality is that the Christian life is not a life on the fine white sands of a beach with beautiful sunsets and calm cool breezes, but rather, it is more like a life in the midst of hurricanes and mighty storms that blow against us.  And as you already know, a house that is built upon sand – the wavering opinions and ideologies of mankind – will not withstand the wind and rain, but will collapse upon itself.  Therefore, it makes sense now why the Apostle Paul is warning us in our Epistle reading from Ephesians.  

Paul is warning us to be careful; he is warning us about becoming complacent.  He is warning us as a church about the dangers of believing that we can build our Christian faith upon unstable opinions and ideologies of mankind and not the Word of God.  He is warning us that in this world there is no such thing as peaceful sunsets and calm breezes – spiritually speaking.  Even though building a house upon the sand may sound attractive and may appeal to our natural way of thinking, the Apostle Paul calls this foolishness.  

Dear friends, the reality is not that there is nothing to fear in this world and that we can eat, drink, and be merry, without any cares in this life.  No!  This way of thinking will not stand, it will collapse.  Only the fool says, we shall not worry; my God is all about love and would never send people to hell!  Only the fool says, eat, drink, and be merry; my God has nothing against me, for he just wants me to be happy.  Only the fool says, don’t sweat the small stuff; my God doesn’t judge anyone.  Only the fool says, do what feels right and live life to your fullest passion; my God embraces all forms of sexuality. Only the fool says, sin does not exist; it is just the church’s way to prevent people from having fun.  Only the fool says, the devil; blah, just a bunch of superstition, nothing more.

Dear friends, this is the way of fools!  Only fools go around without any cares as if no dangers were before them.  Only fools forsake the Word of God in exchange for their own thoughts.

But you, dear Baptized Saints, are not called to foolishness but to wisdom.  You are called to be wise, for we live in evil times, among evil people.  And since this is the case, we are faced with temptations not only to sin but also to ignore God’s Word.  We are tempted to take things for granted and to assume that we have nothing on earth to fear. 

Now, it is true that this Christian life and the life of the church are a life of receiving grace and mercy and comfort from the Lord; however, it is wrong to disregard and dismiss the fact that the devil is always prowling around hoping to corrupt anything and everything – including us Christians.  In other words, it is wrong to think that you will have the good life of ease and comfort where you do not need the help of the Lord.  Baptized Saints, you and I will always need the Lord, for we will always have the devil in the world attacking us in every good.  The devil and his cohorts set up every thinkable con in order to undo our Christian faith. Truly, the devil and his fallen demons set out hostilities and difficulties for the church, so that the church might have to fight against all sorts of wrongdoings and hindrances in this world. 

But unlike the house built upon the sand that easily falls down when pressed by the wind and rain, this is not true for Christ’s Church – it is not true of you as blood-bought-baptized-saints.  Indeed, it is not true for you and it is not true for Zion Lutheran Church, for we are not called to approach the evil times in which we live by automatically accepting everything.  We are not to simply drink the Kool-Aide of culture without being careful.  But rather, we are to deal with our lives in the light of God’s Word, knowing that it is God’s Word that guides our thinking, shapes our emotions, and leads us. 

As God’s chosen and beloved, we shall not live by our emotions, we shall not live by the ideologies of culture, we shall not live by what is politically correct, we shall not live by what will make us fit in, but rather, we shall live carefully, as we are captivated by God’s Word.  And when we don’t live by God’s Word, it is our prayer this morning that the Holy Spirit through the Word would bring us to repentance and forgiveness, and return us to the Lord’s sustaining Word again.   

Dear friends, to be careful in our Christian lives and to live in wisdom is not for us to gather up a bunch of intellectual knowledge.  It is not to accumulate a bunch of college degrees or credentials.  It is not for us to do brain exercises or to start talking with sophisticated lofty voices.  No, it is none of this, but rather, to be wise is to always have God’s Word in sight.  To be wise is to always be occupied by God’s Word – His Law and His Promises.  To be wise is to let God’s Word of Law and God’s Word of Gospel permeate our minds, to invade us, to convict us, and to comfort us.  To be wise is to be dependent not on our own understandings, but in all things to depend on the eternal truths of God.    

This is what it looks like to be in the house built upon the rock.  Only when the church is built upon Christ Jesus and His Word, is it build upon a rock.  Only when the church is built upon Christ’s Word is the church able to be that mighty fortress in the midst of the rain and winds of the world. 

You and I do not have the strength and ability to fight against the devil and the world; however, God’s Word severs the darkness.  God’s Word breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod.  Even if the devil and his hordes fill the land, we shall not tremble this day, for we stand unmoved by God’s Word.  The world and the devil cannot overcome God’s Word; the gates of Hades will not prevail against Christ’s Church; therefore, walk as God’s Child, living deliberately in His blessings, His forgiveness, His love, His protection, and His wisdom.

In the name of Jesus Christ: Amen.

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