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1 Corinthians 1:10-31

Boast in the Lord

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • June 16, 2024

The word ‘philosophy’ literally means ‘the love of wisdom.’ Everyone has a philosophy of some kind that guides their lives. It may come from parents, from the culture we live in, from books, or movies or from the Internet.

The problem is that the wisdom of the world stands in direct contrast to the wisdom of God and Paul addresses that point head on. The world’s wisdom cannot save and in fact stands in the way of authentic faith, because ultimately it is grounded in pride.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Boast in the Lord
1 Corinthians 1:10 -31
Jun 16, 2024

     In the last sessions we studied in Corinthians, we saw that Paul, in his introduction, firmly confirmed the gospel, reaffirming their sanctification and justification by the finished work of Jesus.

     This was very important, as the Greek culture they came out of loved to debate the philosophies of the day. Some followed Socrates, others took up the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle and others; men who established patterns of thought and have affected human learning for centuries. Almost all philosophies can trace their roots to the teaching of these men.

     The word ‘philosophy’ literally means ‘the love of wisdom.’ Everyone has a philosophy of some kind that guides their lives. It may come from parents, from the culture we live in, from books, or movies or from the Internet.

     The problem is that the wisdom of the world stands in direct contrast to the wisdom of God and Paul addresses that point head on. The world’s wisdom cannot save and in fact stands in the way of authentic faith, because ultimately it is grounded in pride.

Colossians 2:8, See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

     People can so easily go off track. They start out with good intentions, but if they are grounded in bad theology, it results in bad fruit. People can take a truth, and massage it so that in the end the truth has become a lie to them resulting in the lie becoming the truth..

Illus: Let’s take as an example evolution. It is a wisdom shown to be not wise. If your great grandfather is a monkey, what does that make you? People would rather believe that they are descended from slime, or as another preacher famously said, ‘From goo, through the zoo to you’, than to believe that they were created as the pinnacle of God’s creation by a loving God made in His image.

     Worldly wisdom can even negatively impact organizations who call themselves ‘church”.

Illus – Many ‘churches’ started subscribing to and supporting many things and lifestyles that are directly in opposition to what the Bible teaches. When the power of the word and God’s wisdom is shunned, it eventually only becomes a social club centered around their own ‘truths’.

     We will see that if people don’t put the truth of the gospel with Christ as the Center first, but rather build on their own wisdom, it becomes a very slippery slope.

     The Enemy is very subtle. If he can bring division, he can make ineffective. If he can plant the seeds of religion, he can make lukewarm, having people trust in their own efforts.

     This is why we will see in this section that Paul addresses having the same mind and the same judgment, not focused on worldly wisdom, but the Power of God.

     Wisdom of this world puts the focus back on the “I”. That is not where the power of God is found. The power of God is found in the message of the Gospel. And God uses the simple, the weak the foolish things of this world to show forth His glory.

I. Trust in Christ Alone

The church was quarrelling just like Greek philosophers of the age were quarreling. They could not come in agreement and focus on what was important.

A. Be in agreement

  • Verse 10 – … all agree and there be no division among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
  • This can be very confusing. Does this mean that we all should think exactly the same about everything? Should we 100% agree on all things?
  • This is not what it means. He is calling them to be of the same mind about one thing. The fundamental truth about the Gospel.
  • That was what the previous 9 verses we studied last time were about. The grace, justification, sanctification that God does in us. Be of one mind about that.
  • We can agree to disagree on some things that are not essential to the faith.

Illus – Let’s say you want to do street evangelism. … Different methods, same message.

B. Add nothing to Christ for salvation

  • The problem is the church was quarrelling, or maybe even boasting, about who they were following.
  • I am following Paul. He was called to the gentiles. He focuses on grace. I am going to start the church of Paul.
  • I am a disciple of Peter. Peter understands the Jewish church better. Jesus said that on Peter He would build His church. I want to start the church of Peter.
  • I am of Apollos He really understands the Greek knowledge side and how to apply. The rest doesn’t feel deep enough for me. I want to start a church on the other corner just listening to Apollos.
  • So, they were hanging on to Christ + Paul. Christ + Apollos.
  • Paul says: Are you crazy! Did I die for you? Are you baptized into being a disciple of Paul?
  • It is all about Christ. Anything added to the message of Christ births religion.
  • It subtly draws back into works, pride, and human wisdom.
  • I am not saying compromise on the truth. We don’t compromise on what the Bible says, but many things that divide has nothing to do with salvation.

Illus – Even something like baptism. There are those who say that you cannot go to heaven without being baptized.  Or you need to speak in tongues to know you are really saved. This is wrong interpretation of the word. Not even baptism can be added to be a prerequisite to salvation.

  • Paul just said it in verse 16. Many, I believe thousands, came to faith through his teaching but he only baptized a few.
  • Baptism is very important as a step of obedience after coming to faith in Christ, being an outward witness to others of something that already happened internally.
  • But you do not have to baptize someone a few minutes after coming to faith out of fear that he might die before getting baptized and therefore miss going to heaven. That is the root of infant baptism.
  • In other words, do not be distracted. The enemy is a master at bringing distractions that cause division and make the followers of Christ ineffective. Stay focused. Be of one mind.

II. Boast in the Power of God

  • Christ did not send Paul to preach the gospel in cleverness of speech, if that were the case, then the power of the cross would be unnecessary.

A. The cross makes worldly wisdom foolishness

  • To those who are perishing, the word of the cross is foolishness. In other words, the notion that God sent His Son to pay the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross is offensive to them.
  • The prideful heart wants to stay in control, not needing anyone, not bowing to anyone.
  • The notion, then, that God gave proof to all men by raising Jesus from the dead is equally as preposterous.
  • There are many people today, so-called philosophers, otherwise known as university professors and hosts of late-night television programs, who would say, “Do you actually believe in these fairytales?” To them it is foolishness.
  • It is interesting that the same talk show hosts will promote other New Age religions that will help you become more ‘spiritually enlightened’, promising that you can become a god. The evil deception is that in the end you become a slave of the evil forces you submitted to. You do not control them, they control you.
  • The truth of the matter is that there are many of the cleverest people including top scientists, professors, and doctors who, when objectively looking at the facts and are willing to humble themselves to what they discover, come to faith in Christ.
  • Others see the same data, but their human wisdom and pride prevents them from acknowledging the truth of the facts.
  • The arrogance of people towards God is astonishing. Some think that having lived, studied, or researched for 20, 30, 40 years make them experts on all things, making God obsolete.

Illus – As kids grow up, they learn new things. As knowledge increases, it is like new worlds can open up to them every day. It is fun to discuss these things with them and see the wonder that comes from new discovery. Learning about space, molecules, and technology. I loved watching programs with my kids on how things work. Development of IT is another fun field to see how they can get excited on how computers and the industry develop. But some kid might come to his dad, thinking the dad knows nothing about computers, because he is now a self-proclaimed expert in the field, although his dad works in IT.  It is then that the dad asks, where were you…

  • This is the type of discussion that God had with Job in Job 38.

Job 38:2-3, Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Romans 1:20, Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Psalm 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

  • How does God make the world’s wisdom foolishness? By making it completely empty and void of power to transform the soul or give eternal life.

Illus – The wisdom of man sees selfishness, but has no cure for selfishness. It sees that hatred brings destruction, but has no cure for hatred. It sees that man cannot get along with man, but cannot see that the root of the problem is that man is estranged from God. The nature of God is not present and directing man.

Romans 1:21-22, For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,

  • Vs 20-21 – the world, in its wisdom, did not come to know God.

Illus – A famous story is commonly used in Eastern philosophy to illustrate that men in their blindness cannot know God. Each religion only has one part, one aspect and misses the greater truth; four blind men and an elephant… The problem with the story is that, in fact, God makes Himself known.

Hebrews 11:1-2, God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

  • God saves those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.
  • Grace looks foolish. Human wisdom says: you cannot get something from nothing! Everyone has to pay! It cannot be so simple to just believe in the work of Jesus on the cross.
  • That which the world calls foolishness is the very thing that God uses to save those who believe.

B. Jesus is the power and wisdom of God

  • Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ and Him crucified, Paul wrote.
  • To the Jews, Jesus is a stumbling block; and to Gentiles, Jesus is foolishness.

Acts 17:30-31, “Having overlooked times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

  • What more proof is needed?
  • Verse 25 –people call the death and resurrection of Christ foolishness, but it is the wisdom of God that puts their wisdom to shame.
  • On the cross, Christ appeared weak and defeated, but it was the wisdom and power of God revealed, infinitely wiser and more powerful than anything men can do.
  • That which seemed weak would have the power to save all who believe. Every self-proclaimed prophet is still in the grave, only Christ has been resurrected.

John 11:25 -26, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

C. We are the foolish things God has chosen

  • God chose the weakness of the cross to demonstrate His power and He chose the foolish things to demonstrate His glory.
  • Can you imagine God turning the world upside down with a few fishermen and a despised tax collector?
  • Why not use the clever and eloquent debaters of the day? Because their so-called wisdom blinded their eyes; no, God chose the foolish things. God chose the humble.
  • You cannot fill a cup that is already full. Those who thought they knew everything was not teachable.

2 Corinthians 4:7, We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

Illus – When I was younger, I felt not good for my calling…

  • You might look at yourself and think that you’re nothing, you’re one of the foolish things of this world. Then please know that you’re just who God is looking for.
  • God is not looking for perfection, for the best pedigree. He is looking for those who are willing and humble.
  • By the way, if you say, but I am of pedigree, I am wise and clever. Am I now excluded from God using me? If those are the qualities you boast in, then yes. All need to realize that compared to God we are all without pedigree, all are unwise, none are clever.
  • The gospel is not complex. It is simple. You don’t have to be a quantum physicist to understand it. God has kept the gospel so simple that a child can grasp it, but based on a wisdom greater than the wisest of men.

Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

  • God chose the simple things, the foolish things; that no man should boast before the Lord.
  • We have a tendency to boast of ourselves by changing the story a bit to make ourselves the hero…

Jeremiah 9:23-24, Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Illus – When God wanted to give Israel a victory through Gideon, he deliberately reduced the army from 32,000 to 300.

  • Why did God do this? So that when we would read it we would not say, well Gideon won because he had 32 000 men. I don’t have the resources to overcome my obstacle.
  • It is so that we will know that it is the power of God that makes the difference. It gives us hope that if we trust in God and follow His lead, He is more than sufficient.
  • Our faith is strengthened when we know that God is able. We can put our confidence in God.
  • Nowadays it seems that you can either have self-confidence, or self-loathing. Isn’t there a third option? Yes, you call it God confidence. Boasting in God.
  • Like Gideon, you might say I am of the weakest family. That doesn’t define you anymore. You are now in God’s family.
  • Verse 31 -Would you believe God? Will you trust God? Wil you boast in His power? Will you stand in His confidence? Will you boast in His love for you? Will you take God at His word?

1 Corinthians 1:10 -31    NASB

10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”


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