And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. And when his friends heard it, they went out to seize him, for they said, "He is beside himself." And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons."                                                                                                        Mark 3:20-22


There was again division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, "He has a demon and he is a madman why listen to him?"     John 10:19-20


For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake.                                                         I Corinthians 4:9-10a


One of the most liberating things that can happen to us is when we get to the point where, for the sake of following Jesus, we are willing to be looked upon as fools. When we're fools, then we are,


- free to do the things that need to be done,

- free to speak without forever guarding our­selves and beating around the bush.


If the hotel where you're staying catches fire, you may look like a fool running down the fire escape in pajamas and bare feet. But the people who are afraid to be fools, who, even when they see the smoke pouring in under the door, still think they have to change into respectable clothes before they make their grand appearance on the fire escape, they burn to death.


Once you catch a vision of the Kingdom of God and in the light of that Kingdom you see the sword of God's judgment poised over the earth, how else can you order your life but as a fool coming down the fire escape in his pajamas?


Once you've begun to see what God is doing, how can you keep yourself from speaking words that will sound absurd to the children of darkness?


"He has a demon and he is mad; why listen to him?"


Nor do we waste time trying to prove to all our detrac­tors that we really aren't mad. Of course we're mad, from their point of view.


- We're sold out to a Jesus these eyes have never seen.

- We are directed by a Spirit who comes and goes like the wind.

- We find our peace in a human blood ­sacrifice that took place at Jerusalem centuries ago.

- We're looking for Jesus to come in glory to judge the earth.


And, if we believe all this seriously enough to consis­tently love our enemies,

give to those in need,

to forgive seventy times seven, we're going to be pitied,


                                                                                         suspected, and loathed by the world.


They aren't going to shake our hand and ask for our autograph. There are many of us, of course, who up to now, have been afraid to take the leap and be a fool for the King­dom. We want to believe secretly, to pussyfoot around those bold words God commands us to speak, and those bold deeds God has told us to do, because we are deathly afraid that any one should ever think of us as a fool.


If we could sneak on the Kingdom train we'd do it. But to climb up the steps of the train before the. eyes of the jeering world, that's too much.

Then there are those of us who have made the leap. We have become fools for Christ. Yet, we seem to think that to be fool for Christ gives us license to be stupid. We aren't using the minds God gave us.


- Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets.


- We swallow everything they feed us.


- Jesus tells us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.


- We eat it like bread.


- Jesus tells us to stay awake.


- We promptly lie down and fall asleep.­


To be fools for the Kingdom never gives us license to be stupid. Even while we appear to the world as fools, in the sight of God we are called twenty-four hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, to be wise as serpents.


What does it mean to be wise as serpents?


 1.  It means that we know who God is.


"No one has ever seen God, the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known."                                              John 1:18


Jesus makes us wise by revealing God to us. Looking at Jesus, we see God.


Jesus is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.


The closer we come to Jesus - the closer we come to God.


When we know Jesus – we know God,

          When we walk with Jesus – we walk with God.

          When Jesus lives in us – God lives in us. And when God lives in us how can we be

          anything but wise?


2.  To be wise as serpents means that we know who we are.


If a man thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself and is the worst of fools.


If a man knows that he is nothing, he has tasted the beginning of wisdom.


And what are we?


             We're exactly what Jesus says we are….


                        lambs in the midst of wolves.


We are not big shots. We are not experts.

We are not yet the manifested sons of God.


- We are lambs and we are surrounded by wolves who have the power to devour us

   were it not for God's presence with us.

When we forget that we are lambs and start pushing the wolves around as if we were powerful in our own right, we get torn and mauled. When we start playing games with the wolves we soon feel their teeth. God help us to remember, at all times, that until glory comes we are, lambs in the midst of wolves.


3.    To be wise as serpents means that we know who the enemy is.


"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places."                                                       Ephesians 6:12


That man, or that race of men, which you have regarded as your enemy, is not your enemy and you are choosing to re­main stupid by regarding him as your enemy. Nor is your enemy the Establishment, the Communist Party, the Tea Party, the Democrats, the Republicans, Wall Street, the male sex or women.


- Your enemy is Satan, the Father of Lies.


And the foundation of his entire kingdom is the lie. Any time he can get you to believe in, or follow, or speak, or live a lie, he as brought you under his authority.


Satan draws you down his path by means of illusion. He makes the path look so lovely. He deceives you about yourself. He fills your mind with numberless lies about God and about your brothers and sisters.


We won't be able to say,


 - "But Lord, I didn't know. I was deceived."


We will have to confess that time and again we pursued a lie even when we knew it was a lie. Satan knows just the lies we love and he feeds them to us.


4. To be wise as serpents means to be alert.


"Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil."     Ephesians 5:15-16


Many of us seem to think that as long as we're pious we can afford to be stupid. As long as our "hearts are right" it's permissible to let our minds gather mold. And because we aren't thinking, watching, and praying, we stumble from one stupid mistake to another.


King Saul's problem was not that he was an evil man. He was a stupid man. He didn't use the mind God gave him. He let his mind slide over things that needed attention and then, at the last minute, he would act impulsively. So he had to be removed as king.


5.    To be wise as serpents means that we are to be aggressive.


"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead I press on

to­ward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 

                                                                           Philippians 3:13b-14


Those followers of Jesus who turn into slobs are not fools for Christ, they are fools for the devil. They soon sink to the bottom.                                         


 Jesus calls us to be


- aggressive in our prayers,


- aggressive in our pursuit of God's will,


- aggressive in our search for the lost sheep,


- aggressive in our confessing of him before men.


Not just for six months, but until the hour of his return.



6. To be wise as serpents is to be single-minded.


To have our heart, soul, strength, and mind fixed on loving God and doing his will.  Many of us substitute for this the one-track mind. Our mind is consumed, not by God, but by our spiritual hobby.


- Here's a saint whose hobby is demons. He eats, sleeps, drinks casting our demons. The one thing around which all his thought and conversation revolves is casting out demons.


- Here's a saint whose hobby is the "New Testa­ment Church." That's his one love; to build the real  New Testament Church. If it doesn't look like the New Testament Church, forget it. 


- And here's a saint who has found the answer to everything in praising God. He thinks that praising  God will make every door open. What­ever miracle you need will occur when you praise God.


- Somebody's hungry. Don't bother to feed him, just tell him to praise God.


- Somebody's naked, or in prison. Tell him to praise God.


Now, if we're single-minded about God, we'll never have a one-track mind about any aspect of his Kingdom. Praise, prayer, casting out demons, and the building up of the Body will fit into our lives where they belong. God will be in the center and not some spiritual hobby.


7. To be wise as serpents means no compromise with evil.


"Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."                                    Matthew 10:16


If you lose your innocence, friend, you lose your power – if it's God's power. If we open the door to the Father of Lies, even a crack, he comes in. There's no such thing as mixing a little evil in with the good and having the good purify it. Every time you mix a little evil with the good, the good is corrupted.


"We have renounced disgraceful underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of truth we commend ourselves to every man's con­science in the sight of God."         

                                                                                 II Corinthians 4:2


For those who are still trying to be wise in this world, the call is to take the leap and be a fool for your Lord. Join the fellowship of rejects.


For those who are foolish fools, the call is to become wise as serpents.


We need to get clear in our minds once-and-for-all, if we are not ruled by the wisdom of God, the enemy will have us tied in knots in no time.


God has given us his Spirit,


- not only to shed love abroad in our hearts,


- not only to empower us to heal the sick and cast out demons,


- but also to anoint us with that wisdom with­ out which we'll never survive.



God help us to walk in that wisdom.