A hoax can be defined as “something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage.” Today is known as April Fool’s Day where pranks, practical jokes and hoaxes are played. For example I am a fan of Swiss Chalet sauce. Swiss Chalet oddly is a restaurant that specializes in rotisserie chicken. When it comes to the sauce I prefer a spoon but I have no problem drinking it as a warm beverage. I always ask for extra so chicken and fries can be dunked with left overs to drink. Did you know that you can also buy this savory goodness at the grocery store for those special occasions? Last year Swiss Chalet emailed fans to say that after 62 years of serving rotisserie chickens in their famous chalet sauce, we felt it was time for a change. Click here to see this devastating news. http://email.swisschalet.com/dm?id=808DB81FA8F9EFB5A82E889528CCCFB230B8C178E786FA7B
    "Click to learn more" Well played Swiss Chalet, well played.
                This is just one example of what can take place on this day. It could be as simple as saying you saw a deer in the backyard and getting everyone to look or it could cause pandemonium like fake news. Sadly fake news has become part of the everyday news. We need to be informed so we know the difference. Don’t be gullible. Don’t be deceived. Yes April fool’s day can be harmless and fun but the hoax we are talking about today is no joke. If someone were to go around the nation and tell people in church they were being deceived, they would be told to stop spreading nonsense and for the most part rejected. This is not new as many who proclaimed the true gospel were rejected including Jesus himself. Ezekiel 3:4 “He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” People do not realize the magnitude of this worldwide deception in the church that has led to this power failure. The main cause is the churches refusal to listen to God’s word. Most everyone has a bible so read it for yourself. Ask God to show you the deception before it is too late.
                This deception ain’t no joke!  One person said, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Now he has convinced many in the church that hell does not exist even though Jesus Matthew 25:41 “will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” as just one example. The ones who fall for this do not know the voice of God nor do they know satan’s power. Many have fallen for the popular orators, writers and the seemingly successful. Just because men and women can fill stadiums and have huge followings does not mean the Spirit of God is flowing in them. There is great deception in the land. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:12 “Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” Paul said 2 Corinthians 2:11 “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." As satan schemes, he has made a mockery of the church and the Lord’s people have become fools as they will not listen to the truth of His word anymore. They have believed satan’s deception and refuse to believe God’s word. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 “For this reason (unbelief) God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Revelation 16:9 “They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.” The church is so set in going their way; they refuse to turn back. Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.” The deception has led them to believe all is well when it is not well with their soul; it only appears that way. It’s a great song but it had better be true in your life according to God’s word.
                As we saw the other day Proverbs 12:15 “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” The fool will continue doing what they have been doing and will refuse to turn for their wicked ways. Proverbs 1:22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” This will continue to happen because there is no fear of God in the land. Psalm 36:1 “I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Isaiah 32:6 “For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the Lord; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water.” In our day we no longer know God. Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”  Deuteronomy 32:5 “They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. 6 Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”  Jeremiah 4:22 “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
                It is strange how the message of the true gospel can appear foolish. There is such resistance to the word of God as the church has become content with the form of godliness but still deny the power. Anything different appears to be foolishness. 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” The church is so far away from what the true church is supposed to be, that when confronted with the truth, they don’t want it. 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” Luke 24:25 “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Psalm 92 “Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, 7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.” Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.”
                There is an obvious different between a fool who will not listen and those who will listen. Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 10:13 “Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, He won’t call me to account?” To many in the church are unconcerned about the wrath of God, another part of the deception. satan still says, did God really say? We need to be very careful when we worship and not be foolish. Ecclesiastes 5:1 “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.” There are many fools with a large audience. Ecclesiastes 9:17 “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Fools refuse to listen to God’s word and continue to go their own way. They reject the truth but this is not where we want to be.  Titus 3:1 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”
                Paul then switches this around and becomes the fool for the gospel, with a touch of sarcasm. 1 Corinthians 4:10 “We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!  2 Corinthians 11:16 “I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!” The church has spent too much time listening to the wrong people because they appear to be successful yet they do not teach the truth.  Paul then shows us the true power of God. 1 Corinthians 4:14 “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
                Yes satan is working hard to keep you from believing. He knows he is and will be defeated as 1 John 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We must not believe the lie that there is nothing more for us than the apathy present in today’s church. Luke 24:25 “Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” There are fools who do not want the power of God to flow and they continue to mock the work of the Lord. Psalm 74:18 “Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name. 19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever. 20 Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. 21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. 22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. 23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.” We need to make sure we are building on the right foundation. Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” There are way to many sandcastles being built that people think are safe and secure. Many do not seem to care but Luke 12:20 “God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
                In the end we do not want to be deceived and be a fool but having said that, we need to be fools for Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:18 “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.” Don’t be afraid to humble yourself and turn from your wicked ways, as this is what God has asked you to do. Satan is deceiving you by getting you to think all is well with your soul. We live in a day of great deception and yes we appear to be fools but don’t be the fool who will not listen to God’s word. What He has said will come about; do not fear. Isaiah 44:24 “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ 27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” Hold fast to the promises of the Lord. Don’t be fooled!