Boasting in the Lord

1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:37
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If you have your bibles let me invite you to open with me to the book of 1 Corinthians.
If you are with the 3’s and 4’s class you are dismissed to your class. Thank you for worshipping with us.
If you need a Bible just slip up your hand and one of our church members will be glad to bring you one.
We will begin our time together in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 26 And we will read through verse 31…
1 Corinthians 1:26–31 ESV
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Lets Pray
Lord help us to obey this text of Scripture as we study this morning.
Help us to consider our calling.
Help us to boast in the Lord and only in the Lord.
We pray.
By Your Grace & For Your Glory
In Jesus Name Amen.
1 Corinthians 1:26 (ESV)
26 For consider your calling, brothers
This is the command of this paragraph.
Think over.…
Meditate upon...
Your calling.
We have seen this word “calling” several times already in 1 Corinthians.
Paul is using this word “calling” in a technical theological sense.
This is not so much referring to a vocational calling as it is referring to a supernatural action of God, in which he effectively calls sinners to salvation and to his service.
1 Corinthians 1:1 (ESV)
Paul, called by the will of God
1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV)
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:23–24 (ESV)
but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
According to Paul, God is not passive in the work of salvation. He is active.
He actively and effectively calls people out of spiritual death and into spiritual life.
He calls people out of faithlessness and into saving faith.
He calls people very much like Jesus called to Lazarus who was in the grave.… Lazarus come forth, and so he did.
The word called emphasizes God’s activity, God’s will, in bringing people out of their unbelief and out of their spiritual darkness.
And what Paul wants these Corinthians to do for just a moment is to consider how God graciously called them.
He wants them to consider their salvation story.
He wants them to think about what they were saved from
and what they were saved out of
and even what they were like when they were saved.
The Corinthian church was a divided church.
Primarily because they were allowing their desire for power, strength, position, influence, and self-gratification to drive them into quarreling with one another…,
Last week we saw…, that they had bent to the cultural norm of Corinth so much that they had drifted away from the primary message of the cross.
In doing so they also had forgotten their own position before God and their own story of being called by God.
In this paragraph, Paul wants to remind them of where they came from.
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards….
not many of you were powerful…
not many of you were of noble birth.
In other words, the world would not have chosen you for salvation.
If God’s criteria were the kind of standard that you are now using against others… you would not have been chosen for salvation.
In other words, you Corinthians are quarreling over your favorite leaders who meet worldly standards that you yourselves don’t meet.
Now lets pause briefly… What an interesting but common reality…
How often do we hold others to a standard that we ourselves are not capable of withstanding?
How often are we offended, or frustrated, or fed up with someone who is doing what we, ourselves are guilty of?
Its interesting that our relational and spiritual standards for others can often be impeccably high, while at the same time we would crumble under those same standards If they were to be placed on us.
The Corinthians are quarreling over which leader is wisest according to worldly standards, more influential, born of noble birth..
And now Paul is bringing the Corinthians back down to reality…
When God saved you…, You were not and are not the kinds of things that you now emphasize.
BUT, God did save you.
God called you.
God chose you…and it wasn’t an accident… It was very much on purpose.
This leads us to Truth #1

Truth #1 God Chooses Unimpressive Sinful People

Look to verses 27-28
1 Corinthians 1:27–28 ESV
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
Paul reminds the Corinthians that God did not choose to save them because they were smart, influential, powerful, or wealthy.
In fact, notice the repetition of the word “chose”
Again, God is the actor here.
He is the one doing things.
He is choosing the foolish to shame the wise.
He is choosing the weak to shame the strong
He is choosing the low and despised, the things that are not (quite literally “the nothings” in the world), to bring to nothing the things that are.
Paul argues that God very often intentionally chooses to use the kinds of people and the kinds of situations that the world would say are unusable.
There is a divine purposefulness to this.
This theme is repeated not just in 1 Corinthians but in the entire Bible.
In Genesis 12, Sarah was a barren elderly woman whom God promised an offspring through which all the nations of the world would be blessed.
In Exodus, Moses was a stuttering, frightened, criminal on the run for murder, whom God called to confront Pharaoh and his army.
In our community groups we are studying 1 Samuel, and its Hannah, the barren woman, whom God would give a Son who would become priest and prophet for Israel.
David was the youngest and smallest son in the family who had been keeping the flocks, yet he was chosen to fight Goliath and reign as King.
Jesus demonstrated this for us in the flesh. He walked up to tax collectors, and fishermen, and war hungry zealots, and he called them. Before they had done anything good or noteworthy, before they had faith, before they had repented, Jesus walks up to nothings as far as the world is concerned and he says, “follow me” And they drop everything and they bring nothing but their sin and struggles to their relationship with JEsus.
Paul keeps ever before him his own calling from his own treacherous path. He references it often in his preaching and writings.
1 Timothy 1:12–17 ESV
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
As Paul reflects on his own calling.
And It does three things in him:
It humbles him,
It makes him more useful for the mission,
and it exalts God as the King of ages, immortal, invisible, only God, who deserves honor and glory forever and ever.
That is the right progression.
Now Watch the same progression unfold here in the argument here 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:28–29 (ESV)
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Truth #2 God Opposes Arrogance

That “so that” in verse 29 is an important hinge to the argument.
God chooses to save and forgive and transform unimpressive and sinful people.
SO THAT no human being might boast in the presence of God.
That phrase tells us two things...
It tells us something about the nature of a human being.
And it tells us something about the nature of God.
In regard to the human being… It tells us that our natural proclivity, the tendency, the leaning of every heart is bent toward pride.
Adam and Eve reached out for the forbidden fruit under the illusion that they would be “like God” as the serpent promised….
and their curse has become our curse,
our hearts are ever grasping for what will make us feel in control, sovereign, and better than everyone else, and better than we really are.
Arrogance is not an action it is a way of being that expresses itself in many ways.
Gordon Fee offers some enlightening commentary on the actual word used here for “boast”
He writes,
“This word presents considerable difficulty for translation. It can mean ‘to take pride in’ or ‘to glory in’ hence ‘boast’. But at times especially here, it comes very close to the concept of ‘trust,’ that is, ‘to put one’s full confidence in.’ (Gordon Fee, 84)
The problem with the human heart and mind is that it more naturally puts full confidence in Itself.
Though we are in continual need of things outside of our control like oxygen, and gravity, and sleep, and the ongoing function of our organs…., we go on fooling ourselves and others that we are self-sufficient beings...
We go on believing that we do not need what God says we need.
that we don’t need prayer.
that we don’t need our perspective adjusted by anyone else.
that we don’t need close Christian community.
that we don’t need the food of God’s word in our lives.
We go on believing that we are always right,
and everyone else is somehow always wrong.
We go on believing lies because of this sin nature in us that causes to trust ourselves above anyone else including our brothers and sisters in Christ and including God Himself.
That is what we are like.
Arrogance may express itself in different ways.
For some its very obvious.
There is a stench to arrogance..
You almost smell it in the way someone speaks,
In the way they interact with people,
In the way they respond when they are disagreed with,
In the way they are slow to listen, slow to consider, quick to speak.
Its a funny thing that we all actually are opposed to arrogance in other people.
The only arrogance any of us are content with is our own.
And though it may express itself in different ways…, arrogance and pride is THE monster in your heart that will continually gain ground in you if you are not busy crucifying it in the presence of God.
Now lets turn our attention to what this teaches us about God.
1 Corinthians 1:29 ESV
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Its such an interesting way to to phrase it.
Why not just say, “so that no human being might boast.”
Why include, “in the presence of God” Unless Paul wants to communicate something about God Himself
something about God’s intentions.
Remember God’s work is the calling of the unimpressive and the sinful to salvation…
And the stated reason now is that God does not want any to even be able to boast in his presence.
There is something about the presence of God which consumes arrogance.
It eradicates arrogance.
Arrogance is the opposite of God’s purpose for the whole universe.
The universe exists because God created it and sustained it
The universe glorifies God through its dependence and its rejoicing over what only God can do.
We exist to worship God through joyful dependence on him for our very existence and in everything we do.
Pride evaporates in the presence of the only truly self-sufficient being in the universe.
Like Isaiah who steps into the throne room and sees God…, we all declare “woe is me” in his presence… we have nothing to boast in.
And God saves us from our sin in a way that highlights this reality.
It is all for the glory of God.
Listen to commentator Gordon Fee again as he meditates on this phrase.
With this clause Paul expresses the ultimate purpose of the divine folly: ‘so that no one may boast before him.” God, it turns out, deliberately chose the foolish things of the world, the cross and the Corinthian believers, so that he could remove forever, from every human creature, any possible grounds on their part of standing in the divine presence with something in their hand. The ground is level at the foot of the cross; not a single thing that any of us possesses will advantage him/her before the living God - not brilliance, clout, achievement, money, or prestige. By choosing the lowly Corinthians God declared that he has forever ruled out every imaginable human system of gaining his favor. It is all - “trust him completely” - or nothing. (Gordon Fee, 84)

Truth #2 God Opposes Arrogance

So what happens to our hearts desire to boast.
We have something inside of us that does desire to exalt, to glory, to worship, to boast, to proclaim…
That desires does not dissipate entirely..
Rather, it is redirected.
And this brings us to our final truth

Truth #3 The Gospel Redirects Our Boasting

1 Corinthians 1:30–31 ESV
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Lets begin with the Old Testament quotation that Paul references.
It is apparent, once again, that Paul grounds his understanding of God and God’s world in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Jesus is the key which unlocks the Bible for Paul.
Paul references Jeremiah chapter 9.
Jeremiah 9 is part of a series of judgment oracles spoken against Israel for their departure from worshipping the one true God.
But what we find throughout the judgment oracles in Jeremiah is the same theme that Paul takes up here.
Follow along with me.
Jeremiah 8:8–9 ESV
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?
as the men in Israel think themselves to be wiser then God,
they turn on each other.
Jeremiah 9:4–5 ESV
Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity.
Jeremiah 9:8 ESV
Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.
Jeremiah 9:12–13 ESV
12 Who is the man so wise that he can understand this? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 And the Lord says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it,
Jeremiah 9:23–24 ESV
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Paul again seems to have been reading Jeremiah and he is seeing in these words the state of the Corinthian church…
A people so wrapped up in their own arrogance that they have turned on one another.
Jeremiah pleads with the people of Israel not to boast in man’s might any longer, but to boast in this that they understand and know the Lord…
the Lord who practices steadfast love,
The Lord who does justice
The Lord who accomplishes righteousness on the earth.
But now Paul brings even greater clarity how the Lord is pouring out steadfast love, justice and righteousness on earth.
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
This sentence is a summary of THE gospel message,
This is a summar of the WORD of the cross that powerfully saves.
Paul tells the gospel story through distinct theological words through which you can understand the gospel.
The first word or phrase is Paul’s phrase “In Christ Jesus.”
God has United Us to Jesus
This is a matter of identity.
It is a matter of unity or belonging to.
To be In Christ Jesus is to be attached to him and to benefit from all this blessings.
My arm is united to my body…
It benefits from the beating of my heart pumping life blood into it…
It benefits from my head sending signals to nerves which enable it to move, and feel, and be.
We are the body of Christ attached to him, united to him, and he is our head.
We are in Jesus relationally and positionally.
He is our greatest source of identity And belonging
secondly, Jesus is our wisdom.
The Corinthian culture believed that the wisdom of man would lead humanity into deeper fulfillment, abundant life, and true purpose.
Paul disagrees.
Its Jesus who became for us true wisdom.
Its Jesus who accomplishes for us all the things that we might have hoped worldly wisdom would do.
Worldly wisdom tells you to seek personal identity and fulfillment in sex, in stuff, in power, pride and position.
But its Jesus who soothes the anxious with promises of peace
Its Jesus who quenches the thirsty soul with living water…
He is the true wisdom…, but he provides more then what people of the world are even looking for.
He provides what we don’t even realize we need.
Thirdly, Jesus is our Righteousness.
The Gospel is Good News about Christ’s Righteousness For Us.
The word for righteousness here is the same word translated elsewhere as “justification”
Now thats a word that is discussed and defined at length in Romans.
so lets see if you can remember the definition of justification from our Romans series… What does justification mean?
it means to “declare righteous”
This is one way of describing the gospel.
This is a forensic term, in other words, this is court room language.
All we sinners stand guilty before God.
All we sinners stand deserving the judgment of God.
Jesus took our guilt at the cross…,
and he put his righteousness on us who trust him..,
so that we might boast in Jesus in the presence of God.
We stand in the presence of God, not by virtue of our own righteousness.
We do not brag about our church attendance, or service, or missionary work, or good deeds, or how we avoided a lot of the big sins…
Everyone in heaven only ever boasts in what the Lord has done.
No one in heaven feels for a moment that they deserve to be there.
Church should be a foreshadow of that kind of community.
A Church should be full of people who do not feel that they are owed anything, but rather are overwhelmed by grace that humbles them.
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
Fourthly, Jesus is our Sanctification
The root of this word is what we have seen already in the introduction In the words passive completed verb “sanctified” and in the adjective “saints”
Sanctified was a religious ceremonial word.
It is the word that they used in the temple to describe the act of cleansing something for use in the temple.
It was the process of washing something clean and setting it apart for holy things.
According to Paul.. This is what God has done for those who are in Christ through faith.
God has set his people apart, cleansed them, and made them useful for his purposes.
This is something God does positionally at the moment we place faith in Jesus…, but this is is also something that God does progressively as we follow him.
We are always or should always be becoming more holy in our life and actions…
we are becoming what we will always be…
sanctified and set apart for the purposes of God Like a utensil in his temple.
and Finally, Jesus is our redemption.
Now this word is different then the previous 3.
Jesus is our wisdom, thus we are free from our folly.
Jesus is our Righteousness, thus we are free from our guilt.
Jesus is our Sanctification, thus we are cleansed of our filth.
ah but redemption encompasses so much more.
This is the kind of word the Bible uses for Israel’s freedom from slavery in Egypt.
For 400 years Israel lived in enslavement.
They lived in a continual:
and slavery to cruel task masters.
That was their existence, UNTIL God redeemed them.
He took them out of that land of death, and he brought them into the land of promise… and everything about their every day existence changed.
Charles Hodge puts it this way…
“When Jesus is called our Redeemer, he is presented as our deliverer from guilt, from hell, from sin, from the power of Satan, from the grave. But when distinguished from justification and sanctification, it refers to the final deliverance from evil. The day of redemption is the day when the work of Christ shall be consummated in the perfect salvation of his people as to soul and body.” (Charles Hodge, 28).
We Christians know that there is coming a day where God will again work an Exodus like salvation…
only he will not deliver us from the world… Rather, He will come like a triumphant king and he will re-make the world.
He will overcome every enemy, and he will redeem us from everything that is cursed in this world.
And we will marvel So much so that Jeremiah 9 will finally and forever be fulfilled in us.
1 Corinthians 1:31 ESV
so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Heaven on earth will be a forever boasting in only the Lord who saved us.
But for now…

Truth #3 The Gospel Redirects our Boasting.

I want to leave you with two takeaways.
Consider Your Calling
Consider the state that you were in when God saved you.
If you were a child, marvel at such grace that God would work in you at such a young age, for no other reason then his good pleasure.
If you were an adult who had lived a godless life for much of your life, marvel at such grace that God wold work in you despite your many rejections of him.
This passage should humble the proud
And it should encourage the downcast and self-loathing.
Two wonders we confess our worth and our unworthiness.
If you are here and you have seen no change in your life, no redirecting of your boast from self to the Lord, maybe God is calling you right now.
Maybe your here in this place in this moment because God is drawing you to himself.
he has called you to believe..
To trust God and what he said and what he has done through Jesus.
If thats you and your wrestling with that I urge you to come talk to me after the service,
or to talk to drew,
or to talk to any one of our welcome team greeters
or pastors who will be at the door after the service.
Consider your calling and consider whether you have ever heeded the call of God.
Consider Your Boasting
Where is arrogance showing its ugly head in your life?
Where is pride effecting your ability to be faithful to the things God has called you to?
Is pride effecting your marriage?
Is self-sufficiency affecting your prayer life?
Is arrogance hurting your witness at work or in your relationships?
What does it mean for you to redirect your boasting so that you are a person who actively and regularly boasts in the Lord and not yourself?
Lets Pray
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