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THE HEART OF A FOOL - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 19, 2003


"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).


The Hebrew word translated "fool" in this verse is "nabal." It means "stupid" and "wicked" (Strong). We may say,

"The fool [the stupidly wicked person] hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Dr. Gill tells us that these are the type of people who "are fools in their morals, without understanding in spiritual things…alienated from the life of God; and whose hearts are full of blindness and ignorance…These endeavour to work themselves into such a belief, and inwardly to conclude, at least to wish, there is no God; though they [may] not express it with their mouths, yet they would [eagerly] persuade their hearts to deny the [existence] of God; [so that] they may go on in sin" (Dr. John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint of the 1810 edition, volume III, p. 577).

"The fool [the stupidly wicked person] hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

We live in a city which is full of fools like this. Last Sunday morning the streets of downtown Los Angeles were filled with such people. They ran in yet another marathon race. Hundreds of them raced half clothed through the streets during the traditional hour of Christian worship - with no thought of God, and no reverence for the Christian church! They do this several times a year now. They think nothing of blocking the streets for their godless races. They turn central Los Angeles into a hippodrome, a race-course, making it extremely difficult for the few real Christians who live here to get to their place of worship. And, as Dr. Gill said, "though they [may] not express it with their mouths, yet they would [eagerly] persuade their hearts to deny the [existence] of God."

"The fool [the stupidly wicked person] hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Matthew Henry said, "There is something of practical atheism at the bottom of all sin" (note on Psalm 14:1). We sometimes think that there was never such a time of unbelief in God as ours. But we are wrong to think that. The Scriptures, and the pages of history, show us that the great masses of humanity have always rejected God. And those who follow the godless, Christless, churchless masses are called "fools" by the Bible.

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

The word "fool" is "nabal" in Hebrew. There was a man who was actually named Nabal in the Bible. He withstood David. He withstood the will of God. He was a sinful wretch. His own wife said, "Nabal is his name, and folly [foolishness and wickedness] is with him" (I Samuel 25:25). Nabal, whose very name meant "fool," rejected God, and died in a drunken fit. He has been tormented in the flames of Hell for centuries. "Nabal is his name, and folly is with him."

"The fool [the stupidly wicked person] hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

I will ask three questions, and then answer them from this text of Scripture.

I. First, who says this?

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Who is this fool? Note that it is a fool who says this. It is a wicked and foolish person who says this. Are you such a fool? You are if you deny the existence and authority of God.

You are a fool if you deny the witness of God in nature.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

All around us we see what God has created. Look at your own hand. Your hand is proof of the Creator. The fingers, the thumb, the way it moves and works, show that an intelligent Being designed it.

Suppose you were the first person to step forth from a spaceship onto the surface of the Moon. Suppose no human being had ever done that before. And, as you stepped out onto the Moon's surface, you looked down and found a watch - like this one on my wrist. What would you think? Why, you would think, "An intelligent being was here before I came. Only an intelligent being could have made something as intricate and marvelous as this watch."

And yet your hand is much more intricate and marvelous than a mere wristwatch! Somebody designed your hand! Somebody made it! Somebody designed the universe, that moves in far greater precision than a watch! Who made it all? His name is God! Only a fool denies that! And you are a fool if you deny it!

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Dr. Watts said,

I sing the mighty power of God, That made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing seas abroad, And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, And all the stars obey.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, Where'er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the sky!

There's not a plant or flower below, But makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, By order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee Is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.
     ("I Sing the Mighty Power of God" by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

You are a fool if you deny the witness of God in nature!

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Yet again, you are a fool if you deny the witness of God through the Bible. You can look at nature and see that there must be a Creator. Look at a hummingbird. Look at the stars. Look at your own hand. These wonderful creations point out that fact that God, the Creator, exists.

But how can you know about Him? How can you know what He is like? How can you know that He loves you - and that He is there for you? You can know these things by reading the Bible - because God gave you the Bible to reveal Himself. The Bible is the revelation of God - it shows you who God is, and how you can know Him. We are told that

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…" (II Timothy 3:16).

The very words of the Hebrew and Greek, from which our King James Bible was translated - the very words of the Hebrew and Greek Bible, were given by inspiration - theopneustos - "God-breathed."

And God gave us the Bible, word-for-word, to reveal Himself to us, so we can know that  He  is  real,  that  He  is  there  for  us.   The  Bible  is  "a  light  that  shineth  in  a  dark  place"  (II  Peter  1:19).

Through sin, the world has become a place of great spiritual darkness. People practice magic. People worship idols. People believe in false religion. The world is full of darkness. We can never find God by going down the dark corridors of man-made religion.

I climbed up a shaft on a ladder - all the way up to Pharaoh's burial chamber in the Great Pyramid in Egypt. It was dusky and gloomy all the way up that shaft. When I got to the top, I stood in the blackness of the Pharaoh's death chamber. As I stood there I thought of the great darkness of the Pharaoh's false religion and the blackness of all of man's religion. No religion that man has ever invented can show you the truth. It is the Christian Bible alone that is "a light that shineth in a dark place" (II Peter 1:19). It is the Christian Bible alone that "is given by inspiration of God" (II Timothy 3:16).

Do you want to know about God? Do you want to find out if He cares about you - if He is there for you? Then do not go by feelings or emotions. Go to the Bible. Open the Bible and read the revelation of Almighty God! Please turn to John 3:16. The Bible tells you,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

That's the truth! That's the light that shines in a dark place! That's the gospel of Christ - given to us on the pages of the Bible! That's how to know God! Believe on His Son, Jesus, and you will have everlasting life!

But a fool will not look at the creation, and believe in God. A fool will not read the Bible and come to Christ. A fool will go right on denying that there is a God who has a claim on his life.

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

I beg you not to be such a fool! Come to Christ. Believe on the Son of God. Be washed clean from your sin by His Blood!

Who says there is no God? A fool says this!

II. Second, where does he say this?

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

This verse does not tell us that the fool says this openly. He says it "in his heart." Calvin tells us, "They may not plainly deny the existence of God but they imagine him to be shut up in heaven" (comment on Psalm 14:1). Are you like that? Do you think there might be a God, but that He has nothing to do with you? Then you are what Matthew Henry called a "practical atheist." You say there is a God, or there might be a God - but you do not think that He sees you, or that He knows your sin.

You can come to church. You can pray and sing the hymns. But your heart is far from God. Jesus said,

"This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" (Mark 7:6).

Does that describe your heart? Is your heart far from God? If it is, you are a "practical atheist." You may as well be an atheist if your heart is far from God this morning.

The Bible teaches that the human heart is corrupt and wicked. The Bible says,

"The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

What madness is in your heart if you come to church, but do not seek God! What madness is in your heart if you live your life without seeking God! Yet most people live their lives without ever seeking to know God, without ever seeking salvation through Christ. "Madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead."

Let me reason with you this morning. What hope do you have without God? What future do you have without God? What will happen to you when you die without God? Common sense should tell you that you must have God - or there is no meaning or purpose in your life - and no hope in eternity.

It is reasonable and sensible to seek to know God. Don't you agree? Doesn't that make sense? Without God life means nothing. Without God there is no hope after death. Then, shouldn't God be the most important person in all the world to you? Shouldn't you search for Him until you know Him? God says,

"Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

You will find God only when you search for Him "with all your heart."

You cannot find God with your mind. I could give you many rational arguments for the existence of God. They are very strong arguments. You could even believe them - but you would still not be a Christian. Why? Because you cannot find God with your mind. You can only learn facts about God mentally.

Again, you cannot find God with your feelings, your emotions. I could tell you to get all worked up and have a strong emotional experience. I could shout, "Feel the Holy Ghost!" And you might actually feel some sort of strange emotion. But you would still not be a Christian. Why? Because you cannot find God with your emotions.

You can only find God with your heart! The Bible says,

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…" (Romans 10:9-10).

Believe on Jesus with all your heart and you will be saved!

"Give me thy heart," says the Saviour of men,

Calling in mercy again and again,

Grace more abounding is mine to impart,

Have I not died for thee? Give me thy heart.

"Give me thy heart, give me thy heart,"

Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:

From this dark world He would draw thee apart;

Speaking so tenderly, "Give me thy heart."
     ("Give Me Thy Heart" by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

But

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Who says this? A fool says it. Where does he say this? He says it in his heart.

III. Third, why does he say this?

A  fool  says  this  because  inwardly  he  is  against  God.   His  heart  is  in  rebellion  against  God.

"Because the carnal [unconverted] mind is enmity against God"
      (Romans 8:7).

Your unconverted heart strongly rebels against God. You would have been saved long ago if that were not true. What stops you from being saved? What keeps you from becoming a Christian? Isn't it your own proud and sinful heart?

But God has been so kind to you. He has drawn you to this church to hear the gospel. Or you were born and raised here, by His great mercy. Or someone invited you to come, and through them, God drew you here, by His mercy and love, to hear me preach on how to become a Christian. God says,

"I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jeremiah 31:3).

God Himself is drawing you to Jesus. You see,

"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Christ died on the Cross so that your sinful, rebellious heart could be reconciled to God. You rejected God. You did not seek Him. Many of you did not come to church at all. Others came to church, but your hearts were as far from God as though you weren't here at all. How about you? Have you rejected God in your heart? Has your heart been far from Him? Have you been what Matthew Henry called a "practical atheist" - a person who didn't take God seriously? Have you been such a fool in your heart? Do you have a sinful, God-rejecting heart?

Christ came and died on the Cross so your sinful heart could be reconciled to God. The Bible says,

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10).

Christ died on the Cross to reconcile your sinful heart to God. Christ rose physically from the dead, and ascended into Heaven - where He is seated at the right hand of God.

Will you trust Jesus with your heart? Will you be reconciled to God through Jesus? Will you believe in Jesus now - with all your heart? Mr. Griffith, come and sing that song again.

"Give me thy heart," says the Saviour of men,

Calling in mercy again and again,

Grace more abounding is mine to impart,

Have I not died for thee? Give me thy heart.

"Give me thy heart, give me thy heart,"

Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art:

From this dark world He would draw thee apart;

Speaking so tenderly, "Give me thy heart."


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 53:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Give Me Thy Heart"

(by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE HEART OF A FOOL - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

(I Samuel 25:25; Psalm 14:1)

I.   Who says this? Romans 1:20; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:19;
John 3:16.

II.  Where does he say this? Mark 7:6; Ecclesiastes 9:3;
Jeremiah 29:13; Romans 10:9-10.

III. Why does he say this? Romans 8:7; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:8, 10.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."