• Matt Beaney

#448 (29/9/21) - NO ONE CAN BOAST BEFORE HIM (1 COR. 1:29)



This week’s devotionals are from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

‘So that no one may boast before him.’ (1 Corinthians 1:29)

This text begins with a connective: ‘So that’ speaks of the result of what has been said previously; Let’s remind ourselves of the previous verses,


But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are…so that…’ (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)

The result and aim of teaching us about our unprivileged background when God called us was ‘So that no one may boast before him.’ If we have understood what is taught in 1:26-28 we will be kept from boasting in ourselves before God. In essence, in 1:26-28, Paul has taught them that God chose them and saved them in Christ, even though most of them did not have the status and attributes which the world values. God chose them even though they were ‘losers’ (to put it in modern terminology).


REFLECTION LEADS TO HUMILITY AND WORSHIP

Remembering and reflecting on our condition when God called us will keep us from boasting in ourselves and cause us to boast in Jesus alone. If we believe that we are somehow owed salvation, that it’s some kind of right, we have no real understanding of our sin and God’s holiness! If we believe that we deserve hell but we are gifted with heaven, this will lead to humility, joy and worship.


This text makes it clear that we are Christians because God both ‘called’ and ‘chose’ us (repeated three times). The doctrine of unconditional election (predestination) will keep us boasting in Jesus. God chose and called us by grace alone and nothing in ourselves. Anyone who becomes a Christian does so because God chose them. The church is a chosen people no matter their background. He chose us when we had no merit at all. He chose and called us by His pure mercy and love. Paul wrote,


‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’ (Ephesians 1:3-6)

This text from Ephesians also ends with boasting in Jesus. God choosing us leads to ‘the praise of His glorious grace’.


How often do you reflect on God choosing you in eternity past? Does this great mystery lead you to overflowing with praise?


STOP BOASTING BEFORE HIM

Jesus warns against boasting in ourselves when He said:

‘To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”’ (Luke 18:9-14)

It’s a good sign that you have a healthy heart if you experience amazement that God could accept you. A warning sign is If you find yourself unmoved in worship and regularly talking about others faults.


In summary, we will be kept from boasting before God only as we reflect on God’s grace in choosing and calling us to Himself. We will also be kept from a prideful and judgemental attitude to others as we reflect on God’s choosing and calling us by grace.


OVER TO YOU

I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text. Use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).

1. Praise - What can you praise God for?

2. Petitions - What can you ask for?

3. Peace-making - Do you need to receive or give forgiveness?

4. Protection - How do you need protection?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Next week is SIV Week. Please come along ready to share, pray, and plan about how we are Serving, Investing and Inviting into our communities.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued in our series in 1 Corinthians. The title of the message was, 'BOAST IN THE LORD NOT OURSELVES'.


Please read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31


BOASTING IN JESUS OR BOASTING IN OURSELVES?

Pride is a constant danger for all of us. Pride is to judge ourselves as self-sufficient and better than others. Oftentimes, as in this text, prideful superiority is along the lines of ‘wisdom’ (superior education) 'influence' (being well connected) and being of ‘noble birth’ (high-status background). However, in our culture, we can also have a reverse snobbery that takes pride in our poor education, lack of influence and our ‘working class’ or particular ethnic background.

Rather than pride, God wants to bring us to a place of boasting in Jesus alone who saved us regardless of our past.


REMEMBER WHO YOU WERE

In order to combat divisive pride and inspire boasting in Jesus, God wants us to think of what we were. Most in the church are not ‘wise…influential… of noble birth.’ In fact, most of us were 'foolish...weak...lowly...despise...the are nots'! On top of this everyone, even with worldly status, is in sin and powerless to save themselves.


REMEMBER THAT YOU WERE CALLED

Having remember who we were in our hopeless state, We are to ‘think of what we were when we were called’. No matter whether we had more or less worldly advantages, God chose and called us regardless of these things. God wants you to know that you, specifically, were chosen by Him. Our hearts are stirred to boast in Jesus as remember His grace in choosing us.


REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE

We will boast in Jesus as we remember who we were, remember that He chose us, and, finally, remember who He has made us to be. In Christ, we have 'righteousness, holiness and redemption'. The worlds wisdom may look attractive and powerful, however, it is only God’s wisdom - Jesus and His cross - which can grant us these peerless gifts of righteousness (justification), holiness (set apart for God) and redemption (brought out of slavery). Anyone who truly understands the grace of God in Christ will boast in Him and throw off foolish and divisive pride.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?

2. What about your past inspires worldly pride and what about it causes you shame?

3. God chose us regardless of our past status. How does this make you feel?

4. We described the term 'righteousness' as being equivalent to justification. We described this as 'just as if I'd lived like Jesus'. Discuss the vital idea of justification in Christ.

5. This text is teaching us to 'boast in the Lord'. How will you put this into practice?

6. Do you have any additional questions about this text?

5. SIV

Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?


Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary.


Next week is SIV Week. Please come along ready to share, pray, and plan about how we are Serving, Investing and Inviting into our communities.







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