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Chumps Chosen to Laud the Lord

Notes & Transcripts

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Title:  Chumps Chosen to Laud the Lord

Theme:  Christians boast only in the Lord

Goal:  to encourage believers to only boast in the Lord.

Need:  we often puff ourselves up when we are told that God uses the weak and the foolish.

Outline:

          Think of what you were when you were called

-         Not wise

-         Not influential

-         Not noble birth

But God chose the weak to shame the strong

          Chose the are not’s to nullify the ares

                   SO none can boast

It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus

          Christ is our wisdom from God:  the righteous, holiness, redemption

Let him who boasts boast in the Lord

Sermon:

          Congregation, we are so incredibly blessed.  When we sit down for our daily devotions and prayer time, its good to reflect on the day and see what blessing God has given you again in this day.    I have no doubt that we sincerely are thanking God for all the wonderful blessings we have, but I know I have this issue and many of us do this as well, we thank God for the blessings, but we reserve some of that thanks so that we can be proud of ourselves.  When we have made enough money to provide for ourselves and our families, we offer our thanks to God, but internally we still take pride in what we have been able to accomplish for ourselves.  In our retirement years perhaps we thank God for his provisions, but might we also be reserving some of that thanksgiving so that we can take pride in ourselves.  After all, your good financial set up now has a lot to do with your diligent work and your wise investments and your frugal spending, right?

          Perhaps there is some measure that we can be proud of ourselves, but I think we see as we look at our mentality, the more we pride ourselves for God`s blessing in our lives, the more likely we are to judge others and separate ourselves from people who don`t share that same type of blessing.   

          It should be the desire of believers to work to change our mindset from ones that take pride in ourselves when God has blessed us, to a mindset that truly sees all the circumstances of our lives are due to the goodness and sovereign power of our God in heaven.

          Paul had to deal with this issue in the church in Corinth.  From what we hear in the Bible, Paul had lots of trouble with the Corinthian church.  He wrote 4 letters to the church in Corinth.  We have two of those letters still surviving until today in the New Testament.  The problems in that church have so much to do with the way they created hierarchies in their church.   The people with money in the church were treated better than those without money.  Those with certain spiritual gifts were treated as more genuine Christians than others.  Generally, the church had the trouble of some lording what they have been blessed with over those who had not received that blessing from God.

          I have money so I get to be the first one to the Lord`s Supper table!  I have the spiritual gift of healing so I am more important to the kingdom of God than you are.  That’s what’s going on in this church. 

          So Paul sets out in this letter to disciple this congregation to get over themselves.  Get over themselves so they can put the glory, laud and honor exactly where it belongs, with the Lord.

          In our text for this evening, Paul is addressing on issue very specifically.  The main issue is this:  May believers be proud of themselves for having eternal life? 

          May we be proud that we have eternal life.  In the letter to the Corinthians this can be one more way that they can draw up boundaries.  I am a believer.  I have all the answers figured out.  I understand the cross.  You people who don’t have it all together are second rate.  Can believers be proud of themselves for having eternal life. 

          The answer is NO! And Paul explains it this way:

First the answer is NO! Because we are nothing without Christ.  1 Corinthians 1:26 (NIV)
26 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.[1]

          Think of what you were when you were called.  The Corinthians were told to remember that when they were called to Christ they were nothing special.  They had humble origins much like Christ born in a stable.  They were nothing special at all.

          The wealthy and the elite in the days of Paul were considered to be the ones with all the wisdom. They were considered to be the ones blessed above all. They were the upper crust, for sure.  So the people of the church in Corinth might have all been considered the lower class and foolish.

          Thankfully, God does things backwards from what we would expect.  In the passage just before this Paul has been telling the corinthian church how backwards God is.  His wisdom seems like foolishness to the world.  Yet, ironically, even the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. 

          We ought to be thankful that God doesn’t things so backwards.  If he did things the proper way, only the people who are born with godlike holiness and authority ought to be able to reap the benefit of eternal life.  If God didn’t do things backwards, than anyone who was even a shread short of the glory of God would not acheive true life in him

          Do you remember what you were before you were called by God.  Before the calling of God, we were the foolishness of the world.  We were the devils greatest joke. “ Those people.  The crown of creation.  They were supposed to have fulfilling life, walking with God every minute of every day.  And now look at them.  They are just dust and returning to dust.”  Without Christ we are just hunks of carbon moleucles mixed with some other stuff.  Without Christ, before Christ we are nothing.

          Verse 28 says it so well.  1 Corinthians 1:28-29 (NIV)
28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.[2]

We have no reason to boast because without Christ we are nothing.

And it is through Jesus Christ that God turns the smarts of this world on its head. 

Answer part 2:   No because we are only wise because God gave us the foolish “wisdom” of Christ.

The next part of the answer to this issue is No we may not be proud of ourselves because eternal life really has very little to do with us, and so much to do with the sovereign wisdom of God.

          Paul calls Jesus the wisdom of God.  He pinnacle of this universe that just doesn’t make sense is Jesus.  The God-man.  The one that we cannot completely wrap our mind around.  He is the wisdom of God.  That is him.  Verse 30 says, 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.[3]

          Jesus Christ is our wisdom.  He is what gives us value in this world.  He is the one that saves us from the position of having nothing and being the big joke of the creation.  These chumps are chosen through Jesus Christ.  He became our wisdom.  There is so much packed into a couple of words here.  He is OUR righteousness.  That doesn’t make any sense.  Jesus is our righteousness.  Either we are righteous or we are not. 

          Mark Staal doesn’t get to claim to be a Stanely Cup winner just because two of his brothers have won the cup.  It doesn’t make sense to work that way, but that’s what Christ has done for us.  He has become our righteousness.  We sin.  Christ lived the perfect life and became our righteousness.  We are ashamed of our selves in the perfect holiness of God, but Christ becomes holiness for us.  We would like to pull ourselves out of the miserable pit of sin and death and pay for our sins, but we need a redeemer. We need redemption.  Jesus is that redemption.  He pays the price for us.

          Is any of it our own doing?  May we be proud of ourselves that we have eternal life.  No.  Everything that gives us eternal life comes as a free gift to us through Jesus Christ.  We do nothing.

          Answer part 3:  No because even from the Old Testament times we have been told to boast in the Lord.

          That’s the third part.  Paul goes back the Old Testament to reinforce this point again.  May we boast?  Can we be proud of ourselves for eternal life?  May we put our selves on a different level than others because salvation. 

          No.  We may not be proud of ourselves.  We really are just chumps that have been chosen by God.  We are nobodies, all of us.  Wipe that smirk off your face you because there is nothing to smile about in our original condition.  We are nothing.  . . . .  nothing but SAVED by the Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ.

          So we don’t boast in ourselves. We boast in the Lord. The message from Jeremiah to the Old Testament people went like this: Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV)
23 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.[4]

          We are nothing with out God and his work in our lives through Jesus Christ.  And with that work in our lives, we are everything!

          But this passage calls us to action in a few different ways as well. 

          First of all, since Paul is bashing us over the head with this fact that we may not set up levels and tiers and boast in oruselves, we need to look out for the forgotten people in society.  It is among them that God is often working his power.  We so quickly think of ourselves as healthy sophisticated educated people that pulled ourselves up to this sort of economic standing.  We might have worked hard, but hard work only turns into prosperity when we are touched by the gracious hand of God.

          We need to pay special attention to the forgotten in society because Christ went to them when he wasn’t recieved by the well-to-do.  In many ways we need to look up to the down and out, because unless we understand that our condition is the same is there, we will never be able to understand the depth of the love of Christ and how he is our righteousness, our holiness and redemption.

          The second call to action we have is to make a concentrated effort to not judge people any more.   Don’t judge people; it’s just another way of boasting in yourself.

          You know what bothers me quite often is how homosexuality is part of every tv show that is on now.  Reality tv seems to always have a homosexual couple.  We could talk about this for a long time, but I used to let it make my skin crawl.  It makes me cringe thinking about this, but in that skin crawling, I was actually consider myself to be a better human being than they were.  We can’t do that.  We can boldly say that God’s word condemns homosexuality.  We can stand against resolutions that try and make marriage a bond between same sex couples.  But to be proud that we don’t struggle with a different sexual orientation is not right.  The truth is, jesus is the righteousness for the homosexual person, just as much as the one who lusts with his eyes, or the one who hates with her mind, or gossips with her tongue or spoils the creation with pollution.

          Here’s the challenge then. When some sort of action goes on that you are opposed to, I want you to hijack your own thinking.   If you find yourself appalled by someone actions, stop yourself and think about how it is by God’s soveriegn choice that he gave you the ability to conquer the temptation that this person struggles with.  Think of the type of sin or person that drives you toward judgmental attitudes.  Christ has given you a passion in that area.  Be passionate, but don’t be judging.  That’s just another type of boasting in yourself instead of boasting in the Lord.

          And the last challenge.  Live by the wisdom of Christ.

          The wisdom of Christ is righteousness.  Now continue to live out that righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is also a gift to us.  And that Holy Spirit is generating in us the holiness of Christ.  Be more and more like Jesus Christ.  It might look absolutely foolish to the world.  But be okay with that.  The foolishness of the world is the wisdom of Christ. 

          Your life of love for God and others is the number 1 way to boast in Christ.

AMEN


----

[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[4]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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