Summary: Epiphany 4(A) - Believers have reason to boast. Boasting is never because of one's human flesh. Boasting is always found in the Lord!
BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO BOAST (Outline)
January 31, 2010 -
Epiphany 4 -
INTRO: Pride and boasting are words coupled with great sinning. It was the pride of Adam and Eve that brought sin into the world. Out of pride they disobeyed God and did as they pleased. It was the boasting of Satan that tempted Adam and Eve to proudly think that they knew better than God. In our text verse 29 says, “that no one may boast before him”. But then verse 31 adds: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord”. What is the answer? No boasting? Or boasting? "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (GALATIANS 6:14).
BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO BOAST.
I. Never in our flesh. II. Always in our Lord.
I. BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO BOAST: NEVER IN OUR FLESH
A. Verse 26a. Paul wants these new Christians to remember where they came from, darkness.
1. Verse 26b. Corinth was the second largest city in the world. It was also the most wicked.
2. In this setting the power of God’s word was put to the test. God’s word worked.
3. Mostly slaves populated Corinth. So was the church. Not many were “influential, noble”.
B. Verse 27. God’s thinking and working and doing was the very opposite of man’s plans.
1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Not a “wise” choice to for the King of kings to be born.
2. Jesus was mocked and crucified. Not a very “strong” position for the leader of Christianity.
3. God chose these very events to shame the wise and the strong things of this world.
C. Verse 28. What man would consider worthless God uses to display his power.
1. Jesus faces death on the cross. It seems to be weakness. A thief pleads for a place in heaven.
2. Jesus says: “It is finished!” No life remains. A Roman centurion admits, “This is God’s Son!”
3. In what appears as weakness and nothingness sins are forgiven and military loyalty is denied.
D. What God considers valuable we sometimes overlook. All too often we can easily get caught up in what this society values. Too many too often only look to themselves and all of their accomplishments. We often burst with pride at our own great accomplishments. Many times our plans do not always work out or even fail. Our dreams are not always fulfilled. We tend to think too much like everyone else around. We strive for praise, honor, glory, fame, and riches. God wants us to remember that there is more to this life on earth. "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (ECLESIASTES 2:11). Eventually we realize how unimportant the goals of this life can be.
E. As believers we will still want to strive to do everything to the best of our abilities. We will still want to strive to give glory to God. BUT this life on earth is always infected and infested with the effects of sin. All of our pride and boasting do not cover up the effects of that first prideful sin of Adam and Eve. We are born with sinful, wicked hearts. Our lives often reveal what is buried in the depth of the blackness of sinful hearts. "But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength…." (HOSEA 10:13). We cannot really ever trust in our own sinful, human flesh. It is only through Christ that we can do all things.
F. Consider our birth into this world. We are born as enemies of God, completely and totally. But it is the Lord God Almighty who changes our hearts. By God’s grace we are saved. Consider the miracle of baptism. We use water and God’s word. It might not seem so miraculous. Miracle of miracles another infant is snatched from Satan’s grip and made a child of God. What seems so insignificant is the most powerful miracle of all. "Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches" (MATTHEW 13:32). Millions of believers perch in the branches of the Christian church. It started with Jesus. It grew with twelve apostles. Christianity seemed a small seed when planted. Christianity flourishes.
BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO BOAST --
but never, ever in our sinful, human flesh.
II. BELIEVERS HAVE REASON TO BOAST: ALWAYS, IN OUR LORD