Three Things to Boast About
Thursday, May 17, 2012
It is the third largest country in the world, founded eight years ago by a Harvard dropout, described as a boy genius. Facebook, the social media giant that could just be a passing fad, is going public and it’s stock is now for sale.
Facebook is oversubscribed. Too many wanting to buy initial shares as the stock goes public for the company with 901 million active monthly users. If you are one of the fortunate few to get some of those first-offering shares, you may feel like boasting. And unless you are in for the quick sale with quick profits, Wall Street analysts say the company may not be worth holding for the long term. What are you boasting about? Are you boasting in your investing good fortune or do you feel like you have nothing to boast about? The Bible speaks of boasting in One – boasting in only the Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome to HT, I’m CM sharing the GS that’s all about Jesus and a program called Three Things to Boast About. As Facebook goes public and some will get to boast on how well they did, we are turning to the scriptures. We will be looking at boasting through the lens of God’s word.
Open-Just As I Am- Fernando Ortega- From “Come Down O Love Divine”
Finding Jesus is not an event that typically happens when things are going well. Finding Jesus at your lowest point is the way it works most of the time. That’s how Chuck Colson found Jesus after going to jail for Watergate many years ago. That’s how the men and women at Teen Challenge find Jesus. We’ve had some on the air. Drugs and alcohol take everything away and that’s when they, at their bottom point, find the Lord. That’s how the Apostle Paul found Jesus after he realized he’d been hating the Lord himself. That’s the norm, something happens, something bad and everything gets stripped away, everything you had to boast about, everything that made you really happy about yourself, everything you preened your feathers over. Something happens, all that gets stripped away and your soul gets searched out and you see who and what you really are. That’s when you find Jesus and you find new things to boast about then, 3 things that I find in Romans 5:2-11. Let me share this with you, “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that but we boast in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope and hope doesn’t disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit he’s given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die, but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood how much more will we be saved from God’s wrath through him? If when we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved through his life? Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we now have received reconciliation.” There it is, Romans 5. Three things in those verses that we can boast about after all the boasting has been knocked out of us. Did you catch them? Number one, we can boast in the hope of the glory of God. Number 2, we can boast in our sufferings. Sufferings? Yep. And number3, we can boast in God. But first we have to have the boasting in ourselves knocked out of us. There are actually 2 kinds of boasting Paul talks about in Romans, boasting in ourselves and boasting in God. We can’t boast in God though, until our boasting in ourselves has been stripped away. Let’s talk about that for a minute, boasting in ourselves. A boaster is somebody who goes around telling everybody how great he is, bragging about what he or she has done and who have complimented them and what a smart move they’ve made or how great things are going for him. Saying it out loud is bad form but boasting is going on inside of all of us all the time. It’s a dynamic process, our self concept is always shifting and realigning as we fail or succeed, as we have good days and bad days but in our heart of hearts we’re boasters. We’re perpetually trying to position ourselves in that good place where we can rejoice about ourselves. And you know what? That’s a good thing because then we can find Jesus and we can start boasting in the Lord. The Apostle Paul leads the way to this better boasting in God that he’s talking about in Romans 5 by carefully stripping away all our self-boasting in the first 4 chapters of this letter to the early church in Rome. Paul prepares us to rejoice in God by taking off the façade and showing us our true selves. What he says, in short, is this: all of us, without exception, when we’re laid bare, when we’re exposed for what we are will be found to be unrighteous. Unrighteous? Yeah, that’s what it says. We’re sinners, we’re all about ourselves. We don’t have a shred of the beauty that God looks for in a human heart, none of us, we’re all the same. Paul is ruthless about this because he’s laying the ground work to talk about the cross. He’s preparing us to realize what God has done on the cross through his Son Jesus. Exposed people, people that have been stripped away of their boasting, they’re the ones who have eyes to see the beauty and hope of the cross. God offered his Son to die for us. He gave his Son to make us right in his sight. God has done for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He has qualified us. He has made us righteous in his own eyes. He has paid for our sins and made us acceptable to himself. All the emphasis is not on me, it’s on him. So we can boast in him and in what he’s done. He’s the great one, not me. The cross itself is a powerful, living demonstration of the fact that we have nothing to boast about. Paul is deeply moved as he writes about the cross in Romans 3. You can feel the humbling in his heart in Romans 3:37 when he cries out, “Where is the boasting? It’s excluded.” All boasting in ourselves has been excluded by the cross. All feeling like we’re better than anyone else has been excluded by the cross. If that humbling hasn’t really happened in us then we haven’t really gotten it. We don’t understand the cross. But getting it isn’t something that happens just once. Paul says in another letter he wrote, 1 Thessalonians, that the Gospel is at work in those who believe. It keeps on stripping us. As believers we’re always repenting, not just for our sins but for our boasting, for rejoicing in ourselves, for feeling superior, for preening our feathers, for judging others. We don’t need to get arrested for fighting pit bulls for that to happen. We just have to look at the cross. But there’s the other side besides boasting in ourselves and getting that stripped away. There’s boasting in God. After we’ve stripped way our boasting in ourselves we can begin to boast in the Lord. WE can boast with great joy in what God has accomplished for us through Jesus and Paul breaks it down into 3 specific ways. First we can boast in the hope of the glory of God. Second, we can boast in our sufferings and third, we can boast in God himself. We can boast everyday in these three things. In fact we should. First, boasting in the hope of the glory of God. Whenever Paul says “hope” he means something that’s a done deal, not “might happen”, “will happen”. So what will happen in the future of all believers? The glory of God. We’ll see the glory of God with our own eyes. The “Beatific Vision” is what they used to call it, the “Sight of all sights”, the craving of the hearts of all God’s people. We’ll see it, we’ll feast our eyes on it. God himself revealed in visible face of the Lord Jesus Christ and we’re seeing it now by faith, but then, face to face. But you know what? That’s not all Paul’s talking about here. He’s not just talking about what we’re going to see, he’s talking about what we’re going to be. We’re going to be transformed into the glory of God. What’s that about? How is that possible? Well, I’ve got to be frank, I don’t know. But I know it’s going to happen. We’re going to wear God’s glory like a robe. We’re going to be filled with God’s glory like light, pure, wholesome light. We’re going to be remade into the glory of Christ, the glory of the Sons of God as Paul puts it later in Romans 8. But it’s not all about the future. Right now this hope of the glory of God can fill us with joy and confidence. We can rejoice in it today. It can put things in a wonderful new perspective right now. It can raise our optimism and charge us with excitement and great anticipation right now. And it can strengthen us in our sufferings today. That’s the second thing Paul says we can boast in. We can boast in our sufferings. How can we boast in our sufferings? Well, he explains to us. Normally, suffering is not something we boast about. Normally, we boast in our strength, our health, our success, but Paul says, no. Get that out of your head. The very things that make you feel weak and like you’re not winning in the game of life you can actually boast about, you can rejoice about those things. Why? Because of what they accomplish in you. Paul does a lot of boasting about his sufferings and weaknesses in some of his letters, especially in his letters to the Corinthians. It’s not that he’s bragging about what a great martyr he is. It’s not because he thinks those things make him look good. It’s because they make Jesus look good in him. Jesus shines through. We can rejoice in sufferings because they strip away our self boasting and our illusions about what life has to offer us and they get us focused. They focus our hope on our hope, our hope of the glory of God and Jesus shines through. And the Apostle Paul says that stripping and focusing process will create perseverance in us. As we live through the hard things by faith our faith gets stronger. It becomes more stable. We’re not so wobbly and prone to forget and drift away. We get focused in on our hope and Paul says that hope doesn’t disappoint us. Why? Because God sheds abroad his love in our hearts right now. The Holy Spirit fills our hearts with God’s love for us and it’s like a foretaste. A first, sweet sip of what’s in store for us in the future. How can we be sure? How can we know this is going to happen? If you’re afraid this hope is still up in the air, if you’re afraid it’s not for certain, that it depends on how you perform, then you need to turn your eyes away from yourself and rejoice in the Lord. He will do it. Paul goes on in the next few verses of Romans 5 to focus our confidence in God who gave his Son for us while we were sinners, while we were his enemies. If he did that, then what’s going to stop him from bringing us safely to glory? Number 3, we can boast in God. He belongs to you. All the barriers that have been cleared way from the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s heart is wide open to you and his favor rests on you. He’s brought you into a very real, very intimate Spirit given friendship with himself. You can point to the sky and you can rejoice and sing to the heavens because friendship with God is the real touchdown and Jesus has taken you over the goal line. So join me today would you? Join me in boasting, not in yourself, but in the Lord alone.
Come Down, O Love Divine
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After 5 years Fernando Ortega teams up again with producer John Andrew Schreiner for his new album Come Down, O Love Divine.This lush album is complete with 14 songs and features a full choir ensemble to accompany Fernando's vocals and arrangements....
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