Welcome everyone to Boasting 101. Your introductory class to boasting. Boasting is a skill that comes naturally to many people, if it comes naturally to you and you are just here for a refresher, great I am sure that you are going to pick up a few tips, and if you are new to boasting this is going to be great. By the time you leave you are going to be almost as good of a boaster as I am, but not quite.
We live in a world were boasting is everywhere. We are talking about boasting on Super Bowl Sunday, Will one of the top 5 defenses in the league be able to stop the potential hall of fame quarterback? It has been two weeks full of people talking about what makes their team the best. And no one knows who is going to win this weekend. But there are plenty of people out there that are getting paid a lot of money because they believe they are the best as tell people the best is. Who is the biggest? Who is the strongest? Who is the fastest? Who is the smartest? This sounds like an ad for the survivor.
Sports are a great place for boasting but we all have to do it at times in our life. But even if you're not athletic most of us have done some mandatory boasting in our life. If you have ever been to a job interview you have to do a little bit of boasting. Those questions are designed for it “What makes you think that you would be the best person for this job?” I don’t know there are probably a lot more people that would be better than, me. You have to boast, I’m great at a, b and C and don’t forget about what I told you about my previous experience at places 1, 2, and 3.
You boast because you are confident and proud about something. Where is our confidence? Where is our pride? When you look at Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, He is just in the opening part of the letter only a few hundred words and he says this.
6 Brothers and sisters, 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.
That seems like a bad move in public speaking to do something like that, doesn’t it? calling people not wise by human standards, not influential, not of noble birth. Rather than someone proclaiming how great they are you have the apostle Paul telling them why they weren’t really that great. That seems like the opposite of boasting doesn’t it, that seems like Paul is trying to humble them and humiliate them. There are people that are a lot smarter than most of you. There are so many people in this world that are more influential than you. There aren’t any royals here. What kind of boasting is that?
We aren’t wise according to human standards! We aren’t influential! We aren’t of noble birth!
Those would make awful cheers, wouldn’t they? Just like the first half five of those 8 beatitudes that we read in our gospel lesson. Who wants to be poor in spirit? Who would boast about that? Who is happy when they are morning? Who is rejoicing because they are meek? Our malnourished, or dying of thirst, or persecuted, or insulted. How in the world do you boast when someone is insulting you.
I want to be blessed. But I don’t want to be un-intelligent or crying, or meek, or hungry or thirsty or persecuted, or insulted.
And this is Paul says Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. He is quoting a verse from Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet who says this,
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these, I delight,”
declares the Lord.
If you are driving behind a guy with a Lamborghini, a car that starts at about $200, 000 and on the back of his car he has a MENSA bumper sticker, meaning that he is in the top 2 percent of intelligence, a 100k ultramarathon sticker, letting everyone know that he ran almost 2 marathons back to back to back to back, and you pull up in your smart car with just a Jesus fish on your car, who has more to boast about.
Let’s just for the sake of argument say that guy is an atheist who doesn’t believe any God exists, who has more to boast about? Are we the ones that are going to boast about our intelligence. Super, I made the Honor roll in high school, but I also have seen jeopardy before and I know there are a lot of things that I don’t know. You might feel the same, way, in fact, I think most of us feel the same way. As far as strength goes, there is not a single one of us that made it into the Super Bowl this year. That is a fact. We weren’t big enough strong enough or fast enough to be part of the 104 different players that get to be in Miami playing football tonight. And Riches most of us look up at those houses on the hill or hear about the price tag of so many things on the strip and we think how can someone spend that much money.
The thing about boasting in ourselves is that it is going to fade. Muhammid Ali claimed to be the greatest fighter ever, but he is dead now. He will not beat a single another person in a fight. Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, none of them will solve another problem, and it doesn’t matter how rich you are, even Bezos will have to leave his billions to someone else.
The things that would be easiest to boast about, money, strength, wisdom, all wear out. But you boast in Christ. You know this, it’s not anything new. You are going to heaven because Jesus died on the cross and has taken away all of your sins. You were assured of this because you are a baptized child of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ. You are assured of this and you receive his true body and blood in the Lord’s supper and are reassured that this forgiveness is for you, the one eating and drinking. You will be in heaven forever with no more death or sadness or pain where your eternal glory will never fade.
Not everyone has that. And you do. That’s your glory. That is your gift. We have confidence in this message, and it 100% based on the facts of what Jesus has done us. Boast about that. This is the best religion ever because it is the only true religion. Our God is an awesome God’s because he is the one true God. Jesus Christ is the best Savior because he is the only Savior from sin. I know that my God loves me because he has given me life eternal by forgiving all my sins! These are the boasts that we have. And no one can refute that this is what the Bible clearly teaches to you.
But what do we do? God, why do you hate me…. I’m never going to get to drive a Lamborghini. God why do you hate me, I used to be able to run a marathon but I probably won’t be able to do that again. God why do you hate me, I’m sick, I’m insulted, I’m persecuted, I’m insignificant. How much energy do we spend wondering why God hasn’t given us something that we want, complaining, worrying, about all of the fading things that this world boasts about. Rather than boasting to everyone how great it is to be you. And have faith and courage and strength because you know who your Lord and Savior is. He is Jesus Christ.
It’s a trick. And we all fall for it. We hear so many other people talking about how great this or that is in their life, and rather than being happy for them, we have a reaction to wonder, why didn’t I get that. There are so many people out there that spend so much time trying to hide weaknesses from other people hoping people don’t see the real you, we boast about things like high scores in frogger, or promotions, or things that we did in our glory days because we want to distract others and maybe even ourselves from who we are now.
The secret shouldn’t be a secret. It’s in black in white right in front of us and it has been told from generation to generation all over the world since the beginning of time. God our Savior wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Or as Paul says in Corinthians
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. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Do it. Boast in him. Tell the world how great he is. Tell everyone you meet. Talk about it with your friends. Talk about it with your family. Don’t talk about how many rushing yards you had in high school. Or who can eat the most chicken wings, or whose kids are the cutest? Boast that even though you deserve nothing from him, God has given you the gift of everlasting life. Because that is never going to change, that is never going to fade. That is a glory that will last forever. That concludes our Boasting class. Amen