Monday, June 8, 2020

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Kopp Disclosure

(John 3:19-21)


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Stupid is as Stupid Does

No one is pure and perfect in every way.

That’s why Jesus came.

We need Jesus to make up the difference between God’s perfect will for our lives and our inability to do it.

If we weren’t such sinners – rejecting God’s perfect will for our lives in so many ways so often – we wouldn’t need Jesus to save us.

If it were possible to be pure and perfect in every way, we wouldn’t need to be forgiven by grace through faith.

If it weren’t for Jesus, we’d be scared to death.

We’d be scared of death.

Because of Jesus, chains to the past are broken, we live victoriously through the present and face the future unafraid.


We know who wins in the end.

We know who wins forever.

He said, “I am the resurrection and life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet will he live; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”

That’s the gospel.

Jesus!

By grace through faith in Him, the assurance of eternal life in paradise the first nano-second apr├Ęs the last breath generates/guarantees a zest for living punctuated by strong and calm serene sanity.

Saved!

That’s why intelligent people invite Jesus into the head, heart and gut as personal Lord and Savior.

Who wants to go to…?

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between smart and stupid people according to Jesus at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7.

Let’s get right to it.

Jesus explained the difference between smart and stupid people at the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “Smart people build their homes on a solid rock foundation.  They survive and overcome the storms of life.  Stupid people build their homes on sand.  Like ignorant children who build sand castles on the beach and expect them not to be washed away by the inevitable floods of life, they watch in horror as their homes are swept away.”

Three quick notes.

Jesus is talking about Himself being the solid rock foundation of life.  He is saying a personal relationship with Him by grace through faith assures survival and overcoming in time as a preface to eternal life in paradise.  He is saying life without Him is existentially and eternally hellish.

Jesus used the word moros for people, therefore, who try to build their lives apart from Him.  Most English Bible translations of moros use the softer sounding fool to describe people who try to go through life without Jesus.  Too bad.  That doesn’t capture the laughably sad disdain that our Lord has for people who try to build their lives apart from Him.  They’re morons! That’s what Jesus is saying!  Moros sounds like moron because people who try to build their lives apart from Jesus are morons.  Or as Eugene Peterson translated and then paraphrased it in The Message, people who try to build their lives apart from Jesus are stupid: “If you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.  When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

Jesus stunned the hearers of His sermon on the mount: “When He finished, those who were paying attention were astonished at His teaching.  He wasn’t like some old clergyman in religious costuming going through the motions and quoting someone else.  He taught and preached like someone with authority.”  Who does He think He is?  God?  Yes!   Jesus is Lord and Savior!

Those are the three quick notes.

Now let’s go deeper.

Who are you trusting with your life and eternity?

Now that we know mostly well-meaning governments, health organizations, scientist, doctors and other smarty-pants “experts” have been mostly wrong in their models, projections and prescriptions when it comes to CCP COVID-19, David is making more and more and more existential as well as eternal sense: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust humanity…Happy is the one whose help is God…Some trust in princes, presidents, professors, preachers, governors and mayors but we trust in the Lord” (several psalms).

David’s son Solomon put it this way: “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight…Lean on God!...God leads to the promised land!...Trust God from the bottom of your heart and don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything that you do, everywhere you go.  He’s the One who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

In short, trust God…first…foremost…always…and you’ll live happily ever after.

In keeping with our text at the close of the Sermon on the Mount, a smart person does that.  A smart person trusts God for life and eternity.  Only a really stupid person doesn’t.

Forrest Gump’s mom remains right: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Actions speak louder than appearances.

Only a really, really, really stupid person doesn’t trust God for life and eternity by grace through faith in Jesus.

It’s sink or…be saved by the ultimate lifeguard Jesus.

Remembering no one is pure and perfect in every way and everyone needs Jesus to be saved, which is among the reasons why we can endure each other, one of my favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut.

Before this CCP COVID-19, I often felt like Vonnegut on Sunday mornings as he expressed while preaching at NYC’s St. Clement’s Episcopal Church on Palm Sunday in 1980: “People don’t come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God.  I thank you for your sweetly faked attention.”

While there’s always been fertile soil every Sunday, I often felt like that before CCP COVID-19.  I don’t anymore; and I’ll get to that later.

Anyway, my favorite KV line comes from Breakfast of Champions: “1492…The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings.  Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492.  That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.”

As we mature, we realize some of our idols weren’t that smart.

Some were, in fact, really…

How do you think _____ got elected?

Parenthetically, ever wonder how some of our whacked elected officials ever got to Springfield and D.C.?

Whacked people keep electing ‘em!

Stupid is as stupid does.

Getting back to Vonnegut, he wrote, “An Indianapolis cousin of mine, who was also a high school classmate, did very badly at the University of Michigan while I did badly at Cornell.  His father asked him what the trouble was, and he made what I consider an admirable reply: ‘Don’t you know, Father?  I’m dumb’  It was truth.”

What’s that declarative from Colonel Jessup?

“You can’t handle…!”

Some can’t.

Some won’t.

That’s why some nations and souls are going to…

Jesus promised, “Ask, and it will be given to you.  
Seek, and you will find.  Knock,  and the door will be opened to you…God gives good things to His children.”

It’s laughably sad.

It’s laughable that some people can be so…

It’s also sad that some people are so…

People marry the wrong person.

That’s…

People buy the wrong car.

That’s…

People take the wrong job.

That’s…

Churches ordain pastors and elders and receive members that don’t believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book.

That’s…

Stupid is as stupid does.

If you’re not getting saved, it means you’re not asking the only One who can deliver and not seeking the only One who can save and not knocking on the right door for entrance into His pleasure.

That’s…

Jesus invited while He cautioned, “Enter through the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it…Narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life.”

After reading that, I thought of a more accurate title for this message: “Lots of Ways to Go to Hell.”  

It’s true according to Jesus by the book; pero, well, you know…

But it’s true!

There are many ways to go to hell but only one way to get to heaven!

Invite Jesus into your head, heart and gut as personal Lord and Savior and you’ll live happily ever after.

“And that’s,” as Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann liked to say, “the truth.”

More precisely, in His words, “I am the way, the truth and the life…No one gets to the Father in heaven apart from Me” (see John 14).

I’ll never forget Dorothy.

I’m not talking about our Dorothy on staff.

She’s great!  
So is our whole staff these days!

I’m talking about Dorothy who was the business manager of the Second Presbyterian Church in KCMO when I was its pastor.

She was great too…but said one of the stupidest 
things that I’ve ever heard in my life.

Late on a Friday afternoon, she called me out of my office so she could show me the beautifully buffed tiles in the narthex; and then she said, “It’s too bad it’ll all be scuffed up on Sunday.”

Whoa.

That was…

God wants everybody to be saved!

Even the ones who keep messing up the place!

Like you and me!

Just ask Dorothy!

Anyway, I said I’d get back to how I’ve changed my mind about religious posers and people pretending to be believers and Christianettes wanting sermonettes with three forgettable points and a syrupy poem at the end on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

It’s one of the many blessings that faithful folks have experienced since CCP COVID-19 as we’ve lived, worshiped and witnessed in the spirit of Psalm 46 and Romans 8:28.

Here’s what we’ve discovered.

People who have worshiped in person and online – made the effort to worship in person or online – have been texting, emailing and calling me and pleading with me not to fiddle around with the worship liturgy or order of service that we’ve been experiencing since CCP COVID-19.

People are saying worship is now more meaningful than ever before.

People are saying there’s an overwhelming presence of God’s Holy Spirit in our worship in person and online since CCP COVID-19.

People are saying that canning the announcements in worship which is not worship and ordering worship with fewer distractions have increased the focus on God that, as David promised in Psalm 22:3, increases our intimacy with God and, ergo, increases our strong and calm serene sanity: “God inhabits the praises of His people” (KJV).

And isn’t that what we really want?

Don’t we want to get closer to God?

Don’t we want to feel His pleasure and love without distraction at least once a week in corporate worship with our family of faith?

Wouldn’t it be really…if we departed now from what we’ve only just begun.

Why would we get off the rock and jump back into the sand?

That would be so…

Remember how we said our Lord is laughably sad about people who try to build their lives apart from Him?
Remember what He called them?

Morons.

Stupid.

It’s laughably sad.

It’s laughable that too many people are so…

It’s sad that too many people are so…

It’s so stupid for people to forfeit existential relief and eternal life by spiritually distancing themselves from God.

Psalm 2: “Why do the nations rage and people plot in vain against the Lord?...It’s so stupid!...God laughs at them…God mocks them…There is no happiness or heaven apart from God…Be wise!...Use your head!...Serve the Lord!..Pay homage to Him!...Worship Him!...All who take refuge in Him are happy!”

Matthew 23: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stone those who are sent to her.  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you , you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” 

Ask Jesus, seek Jesus and knock on His Kingdom’s door.

He is the only way and truth to the life that you want.

On Christ the solid rock we stand!

All other ground is sinking sand!

Some people are so smart and some are so…




Blessings and Love!




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