I Corinthians 1:26-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
Glory Only in the Lord
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption
31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
"You see your calling," God has chosen to use you!
--No one is excluded from God's love and blessing.
--Think of all those in all walks of life He's used.
--In the Scriptures, in history - and if God can use a persecutor like Paul, and sinner as I, He can use anyone, no matter who. God can use you. Let Him!
We have been chosen and called of God to follow Jesus Christ, our Messiah, Savior and Lord; to "preach Christ crucified" (v 23), and risen, to bless us all.
--"You see your calling," that is, to each of us.
--That's right, each one "God has chosen," to be saved for heaven, and to be used to live for Him.
--No matter our background, or past, or inabilities.
God can use all kinds of people, and does every day.
--"Not many wise according to the flesh" (v 26), but even the wisest are chosen, changed, and used.
--"Not many mighty" or powerful or influential, follow close to Christ these days - but many do.
--"Not many noble are called" mostly common folks.
--Just every day people like most of us, God uses.
--God wants everyone of us to let the Lord use us.
Look at verse 27, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise."
--"God has chosen the weak things" - as we - "to shame the things which are mighty." Many are weak.
--Weak in body. In faith. Courage. And Spirit.
--How God has used so many such folks to change many lives for good. Because strong in faith in Jesus.
--Committed youth. Adults in wheel-chairs. On beds.
--But what testimonies! What prayer-warriors! Those penning letters of encouragement. Or great hymns.
"God has chosen the base things .. and things which are despised .. and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are" (v 28). Reaches us all.
--By His love and grace. Why? "That no flesh should glory in His presence." Give God all the glory!
--No place for pride - God calls it a sin, to boast.
--Not pride of race or face - looking down on others.
--No place for pride of place - position, home, car.
--Even the pride of grace - thinking we are more holy, or better, tghan some other of God's followers.
--Let's let the Lord judge. And we be more humble.
"God has chosen" us to bless us, so "you may prosper in all things and be in health, as your soul prospers" we read in III John 2. So we may bless others.
There is always place for humility - not for pride.
--St. Paul is alluding to this in I Corinthians 1.
--He says, "Not many wise according to the flesh" or worldly wisdom, come to Christ - though some do.
--Education and learning is good, but can't forgive!
--All the wisdom in the world cannot save - has never gained heaven - for anyone! It takes God! Jesus!
--Verse 21, "The world through wisdom did not know God." We cannot find God by our human wisdom!
--"For the message of the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18).
The "world through wisdo did not know God," as some worldly wise feel preaching of the cross is foolish.
--"The foolishness of preaching" of a God so humble, as to be crucified (I Cor. 1:22). God, crucified?
--What kind of God is? A holy, merciful, loving God!
--The only, true, and living God, Who only arose, as did Jesus! The Gospel is not foolish. No! No!
--"It is the power of God to salvation to all who believe" (Romans 1:16). Who trust and obey Jesus.
I know the cross of Christ divides men - saved, from the unsaved - but it was meant to unite us in Jesus.
--It is the one great Good News - Gospel - God uses to redeem and change man, and bring peace to all!
--Not by a sword! Or getting to heaven as a martyr.
--Not by dying for faith. But living for a Savior!
--It is Jesus Who took our place, so we can, in His.
--"Because I live, you shall live also .. with Me."
--One of many benefits, when we "choose Christ."
Back then, Judaism had ritual. Gentiles had wisdom.
--Ritual, wisdom, are good. God's Gospel is better.
I Corinthians 1 is tremendous, in God's great grace.
--Some people feel we don't need the Lord, we can be good enough, and get to heaven, our own way!
--They would depend on their own wisdom, education.
--All this is good in its place, but doesn't save.!
--History shows that all the wise and brilliant have never ever found God, from their human wisdom!
--It is by humility. Repentance. Faith. Obedience.
This philosophy-worship reached its zenith in Greece, in Athens or Corinth, especially with many temples.
--With all their philosopsy and temples, of man-made gods and goddesses of all kinds - unable to save.
--They had religion - all kinds of gods, even to "the unknown god" - but not Jesus, or a sure salvation!
--To them, to us, Paul said, "We preach Christ."
--Jesus is still the message we need to forever live.
Others, we read, want some "sign from heaven" (v 22).
--But friend, we already have many - the miracles of Jesus, His cross and bodily, visible resurrection!
--The proofs Jesus showed to multitudes.
--Or His bodily, vusible, ascension back to heaven!
--Fulfilled every prophecy; fully qualified Messiah!
Do not be persuaded by some who cannot see Jesus, as the revelation of God - a "God with skin on" as we.
--"Who came and dwelt among us." Loves, understands.
--"But to those who are called and chosen of God (and that is all of us!), Christ is the power of God and wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1:24). A Savior for sinners.
--Jesus did it all for us, lest we would boast to say that we did it! He did it for all who couldn't!
Man can put men on the moon, but only God can put men in heaven! And put heaven, in men. All kinds of us.
Think with me, what kind of people usually follow Jesus? Is it the sophisticated? The worldly-wise?
--Is it always the most youthful? Most attractive?
--It surely can be; but it's mostly common folk as we.
--That's why, remember, God has chosen you. And me.
--"Not many wise .. mighty .. noble." But sinners!
--"Base things .. those despised, God has chosen" (27).
"God has chosen" everyone! Let the Lord use you.
--"The weak, the base, the despised" - up or down.
--That is why God chose Paul of Tarsus who destroyed the lives of believers, until "born again" - then went everywhere telling others of Jesus, the Lord!
--That's why Jesus chose rugged fishermen, like Peter, James and John - and all the others He did.
--All kinds. Unbelievers. Doubters. Indifferent.
--Young folks, older folks. Men, women. All races!
--They have come by the millions, to follow Christ.
--Yet there is room at the cross, for many more!
Let us ask of ourself, where are we with the Lord?
--You may be going through some tough times today.
--Maybe despondent. Discouraged. Doubts, or fears.
--Lonely, sad, heart-broken; no job. Call on God!
--So let's follow the Lord, with all our ability.
--In His Word. Prayers. Obedience. In worship.
Remember that Jesus had His cross that Good Friday.
--But Jesus surrendered all - His resurrection came!
--A new day! New life! Make it happen, in yours!
Christianity is Christ. We in Jesus; He in us.
--Friend, there is no other Savior, or faith, as He.
--Sure, there are all kinds of gods, and religions.
--But none who did what Jesus did! And is doing!
--He is "ever interceding - praying - for us."
--Are we praying with Him, so "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28)? Let's do our part.
I recall a boy in our church in West Virginia, rowdy and mischievous - with no father - younger brothers, and sisters - a mother trying to make a living.
--But we got them in our gym, then Sunday School, worship .. and to accept Christ, and graduate.
--Helped him get into a Christian college. It took!
--That unlikely youth applied himself; graduated, is now doing youth ministry in a church for the Lord.
--You know why? He was told, "God has chosen" you!
--That is what I am trying to tell everyone I can!
Will you choose Him?
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. DD. 922