Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

8-16-04

Title: The Atheist’s Psalm

 

 

Text: “…The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”   (Psalm 14:1)

 

 

 

Bible Reading: Psalm 14:1-7

 

1 “… The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

 

They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.


2 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God.


3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.


4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord?


5 There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.


6 You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.


7 O that deliverance for Israel would come out of Zion!

 

When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, Israel shall be glad.

 

 

 

Introduction:

 

God calls the atheist a fool: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” 

 

In this psalm atheism is traced back to its source in the human soul. 

 

The psalm reveals that atheism is not a mental problem, but a moral problem. 

 

It is not that a person cannot believe in God, but that he won’t believe in God. 

 

He enjoys sin, indulges in it, excuses it, and prefers it more than the knowledge of God. 

 

The very thought of God poses a threat to some; therefore, they want to get rid of God.

 

The Lord mentions four kinds of people in the 14th psalm; the foolish person, the filthy person, the fearful person and the faithful person. 

 

In my life to this point, I have to admit to having been everyone of these people at one time or another. 

 

I believe that you must have been like me, since no one starts out life by being faithful to God. 

 

Today’s message looks at the four kinds of people. 

 

When we are done, I’ll ask one question: “Which category are you in today, and how can you get where you want to be? 

 

Let’s begin our study with THE FOOLISH MAN. 

 

He is the one we meet right off the bat. 

 

A fool is defined as a stupid person or someone who does a senseless act.

 

In the Book of Proverbs, "fool" refers to a person who is morally and spiritually defective. 

 

Jesus drew a distinction between wise and foolish persons.

 

He said, “Persons who keep His sayings are wise; those who do not are foolish.

 

In the Bible, the most foolish person of all is the one who denies the existence of God the Father.

 

Within the verses we red we have the confession of a foolish man.

 

“…The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

 

Whether in Noah’s time, Moses’ time, and David’s time, or our own time, fools have always said that there is no God.

 

I read about a very intelligent man, who has been extremely successful in dealing with atheists. 

 

He was in a group of men one day when an atheist said, “I don’t believe there is a God.  Man doesn’t have a soul, and when he dies, he dies like a dog.” 

 

This man went on raving like a madman. 

 

The believer waited until the group began to break up and then approached this man. 

 

He said, “I understand you said you are an atheist.” 

 

Upon hearing these words, the man launched into another tirade about how there is no God.

 

The believer said, “I would like to ask you a question.  The Bible says, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’  The word fool means insane or mad.  Either you were not sincere when you talked about God as you did, and you were just talking for the benefit of the crowd or you are a fool and a madman.  I would like to know which one it is.” 

 

The man turned and walked away. 

 

Because of all we know about the universe today, only a madman would say there is no God. 

 

We have discovered that the universe works more accurately than any clock or watch ever made. 

 

And there is no watch running around that just happened—some watchmaker made it. 

 

The universe that is timed more accurately than a watch tells us that there is a universe-maker.

 

There are many people with PhD’s teaching in our universities today. 

 

Many of them are atheists. 

 

I want to say this carefully—the lowest that a man can sink in human depravity is to be an atheist.

 

That is what the Word of God says. 

 

If you do not believe there is a God, you are a madman; you are crazy.

 

There are a lot of smart people around, but it’s not enough to have a high I.Q. 

 

I once had a meeting with a man who was the president of his own company. 

 

Hundreds of men and women worked for him, and he was a very intelligent person. 

 

As we talked, one of his employees handed him a can of coke. 

 

He sat there for a long time, and while he talked with me, he was trying to twist off the top of the can as if it was a bottle. 

 

It was all I could do to keep from laughing and embarrassing myself and him.

 

Finally, another man opened the can for him. 

 

The man was smart, but he didn’t have enough common sense to get out of the rain. 

 

So you see, a college degree doesn’t prove your intelligence.

 

No one has to be a college graduate to believe in Jesus.

 

Faith comes from the heart deep within a person; it doesn’t come from the brain.

 

What is it that causes a person to think, “There is no God?”

 

We red, “They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.”

 

They are corrupt literally means that they have corrupted themselves.

 

Atheism relaxes moral restraints, and therefore it is usually accompanied by corruption.

 

We are also told, “They have done abominable deeds.”

 

That’s the end result of having a corrupt heart.

 

Finally, the verse says, “There is none that does good.”

 

The psalmist is referring to spiritual good, which is looked upon favorably by God.

 

It may be, there is a bit of atheism at the bottom of all sin, and it’s sin that works on a person to ruin them.

 

The final state of the foolish man is marked by the completeness of his foolishness.

 

Verse 2 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God.”

 

What does the Lord see?

 

He sees that there is none that does good.

 

If you would reed Romans 3:1–12, you would find that Paul refers to this psalm to support his contention that man is totally depraved.

 

There are a lot of fools around today, but I believe the biggest fool of all time was Judas.

 

 

When he placed the kiss of betrayal on the face of the Lord Jesus, he acted as a fool. 

 

This is the opinion of history. 

 

The writer known as Dante pictured Judas in the very bottom of hell. 

 

He pictured him as isolated from all other sinners and gripped by the most horrible torment.

 

Only after his betrayal did Judas feel that he had played the fool. 

 

 

And then he considered that the only appropriate response was to end his life in suicide.

 

Judas’ folly is best seen when we consider the end of his life. 

 

When Judas realized that Jesus was going to be crucified, he went back to the priests with deep regret. 

 

He wanted to return the money they had given him, but they mocked him. 

 

In despair he cast the silver coins on the floor and rushed out to end it all. 

 

Suicide was the ultimate gesture of despair. 

 

It was his way of saying, “Nothing can ever bring meaning to my life.  My life is no longer worth living.”

 

Judas went to hell, a place of eternal separation from Jesus Christ. 

 

Although his end was tragic, hell is the logical end of a life without Christ.

 

The second kind of person is found in verses 3 and 4; It’s the FILTHY MAN.

 

He is filthy first of all because he is corrupt.

 

It seems inconceivable to me that those who are without Christ are unaware of the damage they do to others.    

 

They poke fun at, rob, and make miserable those who are trying to live obedient lives before God; they do it as easily as they eat bread.

 

They never pray to God, since their corruption breeds coldness toward God. 

 

Paul wrote, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” (Rom 10:14).

 

They don’t do any good in the world, since they don’t serve God or honor Him in any way.

 

Instead, they cause a great deal of hurt.

 

The disease which corrupts mankind is epidemic. 

 

Sin has infected the whole human race. 

 

God has proof of it since He is an eyewitness, according to verse 2.   

 

The Lord looked down from heaven and observed the deeds of men, and then He asked a question.

 

And the question was, “Did any of them seek God and put him before themselves.” 

 

The Lord answers His own question in verse 3, “There is none that does good, no, not one.” 

 

God had made this search once before, back in the world that existed before the flood.  

 

Then, He was able to find only one good man; Noah. 

 

Friends, no one desires to do good until they are changed by faith in God’s Son.

 

Whatever good can be found in people or is done by them comes from God’s work in them; not from themselves.

 

When God made the world he looked at his own work, and said it was very good (Gen. 1:31); but, some time after that, he looked at man’s work, and said it was very bad (Gen. 6:5).

 

The filthy person is not only corrupt, he is also immoral.

 

They are not only against God; they are against the people of God.

 

Verse 4 says they are “all evildoers who eat up people like they eat bread.”

 

They eat up God’s people with as much greediness as they eat bread.

 

They have such an inborn and entrenched hate for God’s people that they want to ruin them, because they really hate God.

 

These persecutors actually enjoy causing trouble for Christians. 

 

Their conscience is not bothered by it, just kike Joseph’s brothers who threw him into a pit, and then set down to eat bread.

 

That’s the filthy person.

 

The next person to consider is the FEARFUL PERSON.

 

They are afraid because they are suddenly confronted by God.

 

They were in danger, and therefore, they were afraid.

Their conscience condemned them for what they did, and filled them with fear.

 

Many times, the proud and cruel bullies have been made to shake like a leaf when they realize that God punishes those who harm His people.

 

You can be sure that God’s people cannot be attacked without provoking God to action.

 

He will protect His people.

 

The fearful person when suddenly confronted by God will be convicted by God.

 

Those who persecute God’s children shame God, because the Lord is their refuge.

 

The ungodly mock the godly about the existence of God, and they malign God when they say, “God isn’t present within Christians and the Holy Spirit is only make-believe.

 

Nevertheless, the very same God who the fool claims does not exist is the refuge for those who put their trust in Him.

 

On the judgment-day it will add to the terror and confusion of sinners to see God receive His righteous saints, whom they have hated and mocked.

 

The problem with fear is that it always costs you something.

 

Joseph of Arimathea, lived with fear since he was both a successful business man and a secret disciple of Jesus.

 

If he was found out, he would lose his standing in the community and his business would dry-up.

 

He hid his faith because of fear, and it cost him dearly.

 

One thing that fear cost him was the opportunity for fellowship with Jesus. 

 

We don’t know for how long Joseph was a secret disciple, but his opportunity for fellowship with Jesus was lost forever. 

 

He missed seeing many miracles, hearing many lessons, and sharing many conversations with Jesus. 

 

He could have joined Peter and the others as they walked with Jesus. 

 

Let me ask, “Is fear keeping you from a closer walk with God?”

 

If it is, there’s a cost that must be paid.

 

Joseph of Arimathea’s silence could have cost him the assurance of eternal life. 

 

There may be room for debate about whether or not a person can have eternal life and be a “secret disciple.” 

 

Regardless of what you and I believe about it, surely you will agree with me that a secret disciple can have no real assurance of salvation. 

 

Fear brings only torment, guilt and self-accusation. 

 

Joseph must have been ashamed to face himself in the mirror when he considered his cowardly actions toward Christ.

 

How could he have any confidence in his salvation, since that assurance comes with a bold confession of Jesus as Lord. 

 

That is what it says in Romans, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). 

 

Just saying that Jesus is Lord and believing in the fact of His resurrection is not sufficient for salvation.

 

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.

 

Belief in the saving power of the risen Christ must come from the innermost part of man’s being.

 

This is described as man’s heart.

 

But more than that, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Confession with the mouth is evidence of genuine faith in the heart.

 

Frequently both our Lord and the Apostle Paul indicate the bringing together of faith and a confession.

 

Confession with the mouth does not bring about the reality of belief in the heart, but it gives evidence of it.

 

There may be someone who wants to know what happened to Joseph of Arimathea; did he ever reveal that he was a follower of Jesus? 

 

I’ll let you make your own mind up about that.

 

 This is what Luke had to say in his gospel.

 

“Then a man named Joseph, a member of the Jewish Supreme Court, from the city of Aramithea in Judea, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  He was a godly man who had been expecting the Messiah’s coming and had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other Jewish leaders.”  So he took down Jesus’s body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth and laid it in a new, unused tomb hewn into the rock…”

 

I believe his actions revealed to everyone that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

He was no longer a fearful person.

 

The last person is the FAITHFUL PERSON.

 

Of the twelve men Jesus made apostles, only one was faithful to the end; the apostle John. 

 

Why did John stand beneath the cross while the others hid in fear? 

 

If we know this we will know the secret of faithfulness. 

 

Could it have been a sense of duty that compelled John to stand beneath the cross? 

 

I believe that we would all agree that it is such a sense of duty that helps us to be faithful in hard times. 

 

A sense of duty keeps a soldier in his place of danger when others might flee. 

 

It keeps a son or daughter faithfully attending to the needs of aging parents. 

 

But the real secret of faithfulness goes much deeper than a sense of duty.

 

John gives us a clue to why he was there by the way he identified himself. 

 

He calls himself, the disciple “whom Jesus loved.” 

 

His presence at the cross was a response to that love. 

 

Jesus loved all of the apostles just as much as He loved John, but this man seemed to have a special capacity to receive that love. 

 

He had a special awareness of that love. 

 

He seemed to know better than the others that Jesus was bound to the cross by His love for them. 

 

If Jesus could die on a cross out of love, couldn’t John stand by the cross through the ordeal? 

 

Gratitude and love compelled him to do it.

 

This is the secret of Christian faithfulness. 

 

It will keep us faithful in our service. 

 

It will keep us to remain faithful through all kinds of persecution. 

 

It will make survivors out of us. 

 

If we waver in our commitment, we need to be renewed by a fresh awareness of how much we are loved by Jesus.

 

Conclusion

 

I said I was going to ask a question when we were done.

 

I want to know, “Of which group are you a member? Have you made your allegiance known?” 

 

Today, the problem is not that there are too many atheists; it’s that people are living as if God did not exist. 

 

The problem is that too many Christians are backsliders that have a broken relationship with the Lord. 

 

It’s still true today that when people deny the existence of God or live like He doesn’t exist the quality of life will suffer. 

 

When a society forgets God then its lifestyle becomes depraved, corrupt and sinful and its people are foolish, filthy and fearful.

 

However, those who faithfully follow Christ are rewarded in this world and the next. 

 

Jesus is a friend that stiketh closer than a brother. 

 

He has proven His love for us, by dieing on a cross. 

 

Let’s love Him back, and then let’s show our love for Him by living in a way that honors and glorifies Him.

 

Amen.

 

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