Summary: This is the sixth of a series of sermons based on scriptures where a rhetorical question beginning with the phrase "Do you not know. . ." is asked. This sermon deals with the rhetorical question asked in 1 Corinthians 5:6. "Do you not know that a little

Series: Do You Not Know?

Sermon: The Leaven of Boasting

Text: 1 Corinthians 5:6-10.


Paul warns of some of the dangers in boasting. He asks the rhetorical question, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” Boasting, like leavening working its way through the bread dough, works its way through the church. But we need to sweep that kind of boasting right out the door. Christ, our Passover lamb, is the only sacrifice for sins. The scriptures have much to say about boasting. Let’s take a look.


Vain Boasts

Boasting of a victory before the battle has started (1 Kings 20:11). 11 And the king of Israel answered, "Tell him, ’Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself like he who takes it off.’" This is one of the wisest sayings that evil King Ahab uttered. It is one thing to put on the armor and be willing to go into battle with confidence. But is another matter to be able to take off the armor after the victory has been one.

Boasting of one’s riches. 23 Let not the rich man boast in his riches. (Jeremiah 9:23). Riches are fleeting. You see the people who are on the infomercials trying to persuade you to their latest scheme? What they don’t tell you is how many times they have filed for bankruptcy. Think about it, if their system was so good, why would they waste their time and money trying to convince you? A fool and his money are soon parted.

Boasting of Evil. 1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. (Psalm 52:1). Do you think that God has not seen what you have done? Do you think you have gotten away with something? God sees the evil in the world and he will judge; maybe not today or tomorrow, but the Day of Judgment is inevitable.

Tooting your own horn. 4 I say to the boastful, ’Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ’Do not lift up your horn. (Psalm 75:4). What is accomplished by tooting your own horn? When we toot our own horn and brag about our accomplishments, everyone sees that for exactly what it is. Wouldn’t it be so much better to have someone else toot your horn.

Boasting about tomorrow. 1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1). Who knows what may happen tomorrow? Do you remember the movie “Frequency”? And how Johnny (“Chief”) talks to his friend over a time-warped CB transmission to his life long friend Gordo, and tells him “Yahoo!” In the movie, Gordo buy stock in Yahoo and becomes quite rich. Six months after the movie came out, the internet stocks all took a plunge and Yahoo! went on a huge downward spiral. Who’d have thought?

Boasting of another’s troubles. 12 But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune; do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin; do not boast in the day of distress. (Obadiah 1:12). I guess in today’s lingo we would say, “Don’t kick a man when he’s down.” What satisfaction is their in gloating over someone else’s troubles. Don’t we all have enough troubles of our own?

Boasting in the Law. 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. (Romans 2:23). It would be one thing if we were any good at keeping the Law. Anyone can make himself look good if he is selective enough in the criteria.

Boasting about being justified by our works. 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (Romans 4:2). Don’t dare stand before God and tell him he owes you anything. We’ve all fallen short, if we are seeking justification by works. Don’t boastfully ask for justice, because you’ll get it. Plead for mercy.

Boasting of one’s tolerance of sin. 2 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (1 Corinthians 5:6). In the context, we have a man who is bragging about his sin before the church—he was committing adultery with his step-mother. And the church was boasting, “See how tolerant we are!” This seems to be the state of affairs in our world today. We are called intolerant because we call sin, sin! We are called intolerant because we believe that there is a difference between right and wrong! The world is so tolerant—except with those who are intolerant of sin. There’s a big difference between forgiveness and tolerance.

Boasting of one’s own salvation. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9). If we could be saved by works, we would only have cause to boast if we were perfect in every way. But we are not. Fortunately for us, God does not save us on the basis of our works. He saves us by his grace. All cause for boasting is eliminated. We’ve all fallen short and are only saved by God’s mercy.

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