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Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018.05.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1Corinthians 1:26-31

Questions for Littles: How many wise according to the flesh are called (v26)? How many mighty are called? How many noble are called? Why has God chosen the foolish things of the world (v27)? Why has God chosen the weak things of the world? Why has God chosen the base things of the world, and the things are despised, and the things which are not (v28)? What does God want no flesh to do in His presence (v29)? How did we come to be in Christ Jesus (v30)? What four things is Christ Jesus for us? In what (whom!) should we glory, instead of ourselves (v31)? 
In this week’s Epistle reading, God lowers our self-esteem. He reminds us that the world considers us foolish. He reminds us that, humanly speaking, we are weak. We are unimpressive, and of little earthly account.

The sooner that we just admit this about ourselves, the sooner we can get to the (literally) glorious reason for this: so that our only glory will be the Lord Himself! At the end of the day, the more we try to retain some wisdom, strength, goodness, or any other quality worthy of admiring, the less we will admire the Lord alone.

Sadly, many of us have not gotten this message. As individuals, we think that we will be so impressive to our unbelieving friends that they will just want to become Christians on the spot after they meet us! We harbor secret suspicions that if our fellow church members would just be a little more impressive, we’d be able to get more people to stick. Or even worse, we build up an entire array of programs and strategies for looking impressive, and think that it’s actually a good thing when people come and stay for them!

If only we would, more often, take out the 1Corinthians 1:26-31 mirror and take a good long look and say, “the only thing genuinely impressive about me is Jesus.” If only we would, more often, take out the 1Corinthians 1:26-31 mirror and take a good long look and say, “the only thing genuinely impressive about our congregation is Jesus—and He is the only thing that can ever be genuinely impressive about us.”

Is Jesus’s glory so small that we think we can add to it, or feel that it needs adding to? Do we think that we do anyone a favor by displaying ourselves, when they could have Christ displayed to them instead? Would it be healthy if they were drawn to us, when they would not have been drawn to Christ?

Here is God, the eternal Son, who has become a man; and, as a man, He has become for us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption! Glory!!! Surely, if one is not moved by this, it matters little if we can get him to think that we are warm, welcoming, and have much to offer him!

May the Lord save us from ourselves and our self-esteem… so that we may have eyes fully open to the glory of Christ, and rejoice in His glory among us!
Of what are you tempted to be impressed about yourself or your church? How does this passage remind you to think about it instead? What are you hoping will draw people to Christ? If that is your hope, then how will you go about evangelizing them?
Suggested songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or HB132 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name”

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