God’s Counterintuitive Choice Studies in 1 Corinthians Series  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 June 1, 2014 Pastor Paul K. Kim
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF SECULARIZATION IN THE CHURCH Lack of God-centeredness: it leads to man-centeredness [me-centeredness] by default. Lack of Discernment: it leads to careless openness to worldly wisdom and values. Lack of Vigilance: it leads to a ripple effect of subtle worldly influence. Lack of Spiritual Hunger: it leads to gradual apathy to joy in God.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES GOD’S COUNTERINTUITIVE CHOICE SHOW GOD-CENTEREDNESS? 1)God chose us although not many of us were wise or powerful by worldly standards. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (v. 26) “Calling” here refers to God’s effectual calling of his elect; most Corinthian Christians were from humble backgrounds. Many of them were former slaves who became a Roman citizen—they were ordinary people in worldly standards. God’s choice is counterintuitive; it is to show God’s wisdom and power completely apart from human merit and pride.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES GOD’S COUNTERINTUITIVE CHOICE SHOW GOD-CENTEREDNESS? 2)God chose the foolish and weak to shame the wise and strong in the world. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are (vs. 27-28) God’s choice is God-centered—it often looks foolish and weak in the eyes of man-centered world and its wisdom. God’s prefers to choose the foolish and weak in the world to shame the wise and strong in a supernatural way. Why? It is to get ride of all of the obstacles to seeing the reality of our utter need of God’s grace and God’s power.
What Do We Christians Really Rely On? We Christians often quote ‘not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD,’ and yet in practice we seem to rely upon the mighty dollar and the power of the press and advertising. We seem to think that our influence will depend on our technique and the program we can put forward and that it would be the numbers, the largeness, the bigness that would prove effective. We seem to have forgotten that God has done most of his deeds in the church throughout its history through remnants. We seem to have forgotten the great story of Gideon, for instance, and how God insisted on reducing the 32,000 men down to 300 before he would make use of them. We have become fascinated by the idea of bigness, and we are quite convinced that if we can only stage, yes, that's the word, stage something really big before the world, we will shake it and produce a mighty religious awakening. That seems to be the modern conception of authority. — Martyn Lloyd-Jones
IN WHAT WAYS DOES GOD’S COUNTERINTUITIVE CHOICE SHOW GOD-CENTEREDNESS? 3)God chose the low and despised in the world so that no one might boast in themselves but boast only in the Lord. 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (vs. 29-31)
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
IN WHAT WAYS DOES GOD’S COUNTERINTUITIVE CHOICE SHOW GOD-CENTEREDNESS? 3)God chose the low and despised in the world so that no one might boast in themselves but boast only in the Lord. 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (vs. 29-31) Ultimately, God’s counterintuitive choice leads all of us stop boasting in our own wisdom and abilities. In so doing, we see God in the right view—the Wise One who saves us by giving us worth, holiness, and usefulness for God. Hence, our humility in God’s choice ought to lead us to a commitment to boast of the Lord alone for his glory!
Only the prisoner shall be free; Only the poor shall be rich; Only the weak shall be strong; Only the humble exalted; Only the empty filled; Only nothing shall be something. Martin Luther
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.In what ways are you thankful for your calling—that God chose you? How does this humble you? 2.How does God’s counterintuitive choice help you become more God-centered in your everyday life? 3.What do you need to stop boasting about? What would it mean for you to boast only of the Lord?