What do you have that you did not receive?
—The Apostle Paul
The lives which have no use, no meaning, no purpose, will fade out. You will have to justify your existence or perish.
—George Bernard Shaw
Pride is essentially competitive.
Blessed are the arrogant, for there is the kingdom of their own company.
SERMON SUMMARY: We all know the picture—arms raised in the air, fists punching the sky. This seemingly universal picture of human conquest is something we have all seen and experiences. “I am the greatest,” Ali said. But what does this universal human tendency have to do with God’s triumphant shout: “Jesus is the greatest.”
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.”
25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
CONFESSION OF SIN:
O Lord our God, you have searched us and known us.
You know not only what we say, but also what we think.
You know that we have been quick to boast in ourselves and eager to condemn others.
We have been slow to acknowledge our faults and hesitant to turn to you in need.
We have doubted the power of your love and forgotten the abundance of your grace.
Father, forgive us through Jesus Christ, and heal us by the power of your Spirit. Amen.
CONFESSION OF FAITH:
Christian, have you received God’s grace because of any merit of your own?
No, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
SONG TO CONSIDER: