Summary: Through these verses the Apostle Paul removes any thought of a believer boasting over anyone other than the LORD.
It happened in the jungle one day. A lion with a big ego went around asking the other animals who the king of the jungle was. “Who’s the king of jungle?,” the lion roared at a monkey. “Why…you are, Mr. Lion,” said the monkey with fear in his voice. The lion went on and found a zebra. “Who’s the king of jungle?,” he snarled. “There is no doubt about it…you are Mr. Lion,” said the zebra. Seeing a turtle crossing his path the lion bellowed, “Who’s the king of the jungle?” Scared out of his shell the turtle said, “You are Mr. Lion. You are the king of the jungle.” Then the lion came upon an elephant. Once again he roared out the question, “Who’s the king of jungle?” The elephant used his trunk to grab the lion by his tail. He spun him around over his hand several times, dunked him in a mud hole, and slammed him into a large tree. Dazed and dirty the lion said, “Just because you didn’t know the correct answer was no reason to get upset.”
Aren’t we often like that lion. In spite of the evidence to the contrary we are still filled with thoughts of how great and important we are. From an early age we brag about what we can do that other children can’t. We may brag about the toys that we have. “I have a Game Boy and you don’t!” We may even bring our family into the bragging. “My dad is bigger than your dad!” When we become working adults we may think that it is our skills and our efforts that keep the company running. We believe that if it weren’t for us things would fall apart at the office. We may not say it out loud but when we reflect on our successes in life a smug smile appears on our face we think of how great we are. Those of us who are parents may even compare our children to the children of other parents we know. “Well you know…my son knew his letters, numbers, and colors before all the other kids in the neighborhood.” With the passion for sports that most of us have we love to brag about whose team is the best. Tonight there will be some football players bragging about being the best in the league. “We’re number one!” will be their claim.
Through the Word of God for our sermon this morning we will have every last bubble of pride within us popped. We will be reminded that we have only one Person about whom we can rightfully boast. Listen again to the second Scripture lesson for this Sunday. (Read text.) Let’s take the Apostle Paul’s encouragement in that last verse that I read for the theme of our sermon. He tells us,
“BOAST IN THE LORD”
I. Because he chose us who had no reason to boast
II. Because he has given us so much to boast about
Before the Apostle Paul got into the heart of his letter to the Christians at Corinth he reviewed some of the basic truths of the faith. He wanted the Corinthians to remember how they were brought to faith. It was all God’s doing. They had been told the unbelievable news that through the death of a Jew named Jesus their sins were forgiven. That message that brought them to believe in Jesus was delivered by an unimpressive man named Paul. What seemed like utter foolishness to the wise people of that age made the Corinthian Christians wise about salvation. They were living proof that God’s plan of salvation can’t be “figured out” and logically understood. Since they did nothing for their salvation they had nothing to brag about except God’s grace to them. Indeed, God took them from people who had no reason to boast on their own and gave them so much to boast about. If they were going to do any boasting it could only be boasting in the LORD.
Paul began by reminding the Corinthians of what they were when God called them to faith. “Brothers, 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.” Why would a pastor speak this way to his congregation? Imagine if I stood in front of you this morning and said, “You people at Abiding Word were a bunch of losers before you joined this congregation. Nobody here was successful in business, most of you weren’t that bright, none of you came from a good family.” That sure doesn’t seem like the right thing to say to a congregation of Christians. Although Paul’s words could be misunderstood he wrote what he wrote for a reason. The Corinthian Christians seem to have been boasting about how smart they were to be followers of Jesus. Sinful pride had descended like a fog over their church. It caused them to fight among themselves and to lose sight of their mission. Paul knew that they needed a reminder about how far God had brought them. That wake up call would put their pride back in place. They had nothing to offer God when he called them to faith. If they were going to brag about someone who is great God was their only choice. He chose them when they had no reason to boast.