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No Fooling! This Is Serious!

No Fooling, This is Serious!

     The frivolous “holiday” known as “April Fool’s Day” has just passed. Some seem to revel in tricking friends, family, co-workers, or school mates. These things are done in jest, and hopefully are not permitted to harm those upon whom they are directed. Pranks can sometime turn serious, especially when the pranked fail to see the humor or become angry upon becoming the butt of the joke.   When revenge for such an act is sought, things often get out of hand.   There is much in life that is enjoyable, fun, and pleasant. In fact, it is part of God’s plan that man enjoy life. In Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, the Spirit had the wise man tell us part of God’s gift to man is that “every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour”. For this, man is “to rejoice, and to do good in his life.”   But alas, not all of life is delightful.

     Some seek to “trick” others for personal gain. Perhaps the best biblical example of this is found in Acts 8:9, where Simon was known for enthralling the people of Samaria with enchantments and charming them out of their monies. This was done intentionally for Simon’s own personal benefit.   Even after Simon had been baptized, we see in Acts 8:19-20 that Simon’s mindset soon reverted to the deception and guile of his previous life.   Peter told him afterward what his condition was in Acts 8:21. He said: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.   That, my friend, is very serious!

     Simon was not the only Christian to be deceived after becoming a child of God. The Christians in Galatians 3:1 were asked who had “bewitched” them to the point they didn’t remain faithful. Galatians 1:6-7 makes it apparent that a “perverted gospel” was the source of the troubles the brethren in that area faced.   It is indeed very serious when the message that is delivered leads a soul to destruction.   Surely this is the reason the Spirit had the apostle Paul warn the Christians in Colossians 2:4 by writing: “lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

     It is indeed “enticing words” which lead people away from the truth. We have learned from Genesis 3:4 that words of deception (a lie) were utilized to tempt the woman to go against what God had directed. We now understand it only takes one word to change God’s Commandment into a falsehood. It is well stated in Proverbs 15:14: . . . but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. Could any other word than “foolishness” describe the words or actions of one intent on imperiling the soul of another?   Can one who does such be following God?   Proverbs 19:3 is where we find that the “foolishness of man perverteth his way”. Even those things that are “wise” in the eyes of the world are at best problematic, because it is declared in 1Corinthians 3:19 that man’s wisdom is foolishness with God, and their own craftiness becomes a snare unto them.

     This is very serious because souls are at stake.   This was true, even when Israel, as a nation was considering the physical blessings of being the people of God after deliverance from Egypt. It is serious because man must choose whether to serve God and receive the blessing, or choose to allow himself to be deceived, tricked, or beguiled into forsaking God, and thus rejecting the good God has promised man in this life and beyond.   In Deuteronomy 30:19, God had Moses set before them “life and death”, “blessing and cursing”, and implored that they choose life that they and their descendants might live.   The following verse shows that they MUST love God, obey His voice, and cleave unto Him to be able to enjoy the immediate blessing of living in the Promised Land, and ultimately to be with Him for eternity.  

     Life and its outcome is no less serious today. In this, the Christian age, we are blessed to have God’s Written Word to read and study that we can make informed choice regarding our soul’s Salvation.   Of course, after we “put on Christ” in baptism and are added to the church (Acts 2:47), we must continue to be serious about our service and dedication to God. In 1Peter 1:13-15 the Christian is enjoined to “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end”, and as “obedient children”, “be holy” as the one (Christ) who called us by the gospel is holy.  

     Additionally, we are to be ever conscious of, and watchful for the dangers that await throughout this life.   Our adversary the devil, in 1Peter 5:8, is compared to a “roaring lion” seeking to devour.   He cannot literally “eat us up”. But he can and does try his best to influence us to “give up our soul” to him. Influence using temptation is the only power Satan has over man. This is most serious, because 1Thessalonians 1:8-9 warns of the “everlasting destruction” that will come upon all who “know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”    

     This is serious because many are still trying to “trick” folks into following them or some man-made doctrine.   We are warned in 2Peter 2:1 that there were and are “false teachers”.   These are bringing “swift destruction” upon themselves as well as those that follow them. This is why 1John 4:1 directs all to “try the spirits (teachers) whether they are of God”.   Would you not agree that the place your soul will spend eternity is very important? This is the most serious aspect of your life.   Set aside all “foolishness” and search to see what God Himself has directed in His Written Word for your soul’s Salvation, and then do it out of love for God. No Fooling, this is serious!  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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