Summary: This sermon underscores the need for believers to focus their lives totally on God b/c He is the only reason to boast.
“BE BOASTFUL!” Jer. 9:23-24
INTRO – 2 young boys got into a bragging match about their fathers. “My daddy is stronger than your daddy.” “Well, my daddy can run faster than your daddy.” “Well, my daddy can beat your daddy up.” “So what, my mama can beat my daddy up!” (illus. from sermon by Douglas Bryan, www.sermoncentral.com).
When we think of boasting, it is usually in a negative way. Dictionaries define boasting as “glorifying oneself in speech; or talking in a self-admiring way; or speaking w/ excessive pride” (www.dictionary.com). Most of the time, we don’t like to be around someone who does this. Kind of grates on your nerves when someone is doing this, doesn’t it?
• Someone who boasts b/c they think they know it all.
• Someone who boasts b/c they think they are above everyone else.
• Someone who boasts b/c they are obsessed w/ themselves, their needs, their wants, their desires.
• Someone who boasts b/c they think they are better than everyone else.
• Someone who boasts b/c they are full of pride and full of themselves.
Folks like that usually are pretty obnoxious. Kind of like this guy (show clip from “The Emperor’s New Groove”). The emperor definitely fits the definition of a boastful person! Like the woodpecker who was pecking on the trunk of a dead tree when a sudden bolt of lightning hit the tree and splintered it. Woodpecker flew away unharmed. He looked back to where the dead tree had stood, and boasted, “Look what I did!”
The nation of Judah had become proud and boastful. They had mistakenly assumed that they could worship God and also bring back some of the worship of other gods alongside the worship of the One True God. They wanted to make the other nations – Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan – think that they were as powerful, as smart, and as influential as these larger nations. One way that they tried to accomplish this was by doing away w/ some of the reforms that the godly king Josiah had brought about during his reign. Judah’s pride and boastful attitude caused them to compromise their convictions and their devotion to God and God alone.
God will not settle for 2nd place in our lives. He will not tolerate compromise and continual sin and rebellion against Him and His commands for our lives. He is a holy God who demands holiness in the lives of His children. As someone once said, “It does not matter who you are; it matters who God is;” and who He is is a God of holiness, purity, and righteousness, all of which He expects in our lives.
The prophet Jeremiah had some pretty strong words that God had given to him to give to the people. Jot these verses down. Listen to these verses:
• Jer. 2:9,11-13
• Jer. 5:11-13
• Jer. 6:16-17
• Jer. 7:24
• Jer. 8:6-9
• Jer. 11:13
They were headed down a path that was leading them so far away from God. Had nothing at all to brag or boast about. Thought they were smart. Thought they were spiritual. Thought they were getting away with their compromised convictions. But God knew where they were and what they were doing, just like He knows where each of us is in our spiritual lives right now.
How God’s heart was breaking over the sin of His people! They were sinning against Him and proud of it. No one was going to tell them how to live their lives. No one was going to put any restraints on their lives. They were going to worship their false gods no matter what God had said about it.
So many in our world live this way. “I can do anything I want to do no matter what the Bible says about it, and nobody can tell me any different.” We see it everywhere.
• If I want to abort my baby, I will.
• If I want to marry my homosexual partner, I will.
• If I want to cheat, lie, steal, lust, or do anything else, I will.
Not only do so many live this way, but there is a boastful, prideful attitude so many times that accompanies these actions.
So what is the big deal about boasting? We hear professional athletes do it all the time. Why preach a sermon about boasting? 2 reasons:
I. SELFISH BOASTING HAS NO PLACE IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE – v. 23
A. Look at the focus in this verse:
a. “the wise man…the strong man…the rich man…” – the focus is on the man, not on God.
B. The first steps away from God take place when we take our focus off of Him and begin to focus on ourselves.
a. The very first sin occurred when Adam and Eve allowed the serpent to divert their attention away from their relationship w/ God and place their focus on themselves.