Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 10 months ago

Deceiving Yourself About Yourself

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

And Your Gospel, as we have been reminded of who we are in Jesus Christ, and that there is no boasting in ourselves, but only in him alone. We ask that, as we come to your word now in First Corinthians, that you would impress these truths on our hearts, that you would sink the roots of those truths deep down into our souls, that we would find ourselves to be steadfast in the word of God and built up in it. Lord, we ask that you would help us to be aware of our pride, to confess it and to set that aside, that we might trust in you and in you alone, and that your work might be done in us, according to the power of Your Holy Spirit and the promises that have been delivered to us in Christ. We pray this in his name. On men, please remainstanding, if you're able, and let's turn our attention now to first Corinthians chapter three. I'll read the whole chapter this morning, First Corinthians chapter three. But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the Flesh, as infants in Christ. I Fed you with milk, not solid food, for you are not ready for it. And even now you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For what? For? While there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says I follow Paul and another I follow a police, are you not being merely human? What, then, is Apollos? What is Paul Servants, through whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each? I planted, apolous watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his Labor, for we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation and someone else is building upon it. Let each one of the each one, take care how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now, if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, Hay Straw, each one's work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one is done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any one's work is build up, he will suffer burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's Temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's Temple, God will destroy him, for God's Temple is holy and you are that temple. Let no one deceive himself. If any one amongst you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise, for the wisdom of this world...

...is folly with God, for it is written he catches the wise in their craftiness and again the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise that they are futile. So let no one boast in men, for all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephus, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future, all are yours, and you or Christ's and Christ is God's Amen. You may be seated. There are many different things that we might consider from this passage this morning. I want to focus on what I think is one of the primary things that Paul wants to communicate to us, what God wants to communicate to us, and that's that we shouldn't boast in ourselves, but we should boast in the Lord and the Lord alone. This comes up in our passage. It came up in our hymn that we sung a moment ago. We called ourselves to poor contempt, on all our pride to a Lord Forbid. We saying that I should boast save in the cross of Christ alone. Why is that? Why is that so important? This is what this passage helps us to understand, and for very important reasons. Boast thing is essentially taking confidence in something else, whether rightly or wrongly. Boasting is placing our trust and are it's an expression, we might say, of a trust that is placed, and we like to boast in all kinds of things. We boast in things we have, we boast in things we say and the things that we've done, in the things that we plan to do. Now some boasting or pride, we might say, in a certain context makes sense as long as it's limited and qualified. Right we explain to future employers that we have done such and such a thing and so we are reliable to do another thing that we might be asked, and that's appropriate. It's not that kind of boasting and pride that Paul is talking about. He's talking about taking those penultimate things, those little things, and turning them into our ultimate confidence, taking this thing that you may have done or the thing you might have achieved and turning that into your source of hope, your source of trust for this life and for the next. And that boasting, that boasting and men, that boasting and wisdom, that pride in ourselves, has no place, Paul says, in the Christian life. Perhaps the strangest boasting of all from Christians is when Christians boast in their Christianity. And that's what we'll think about together. From First Corinthians three, God will show us that this most important, this most central all incompanisation aspect of our life, our faith in him. There's no prop room for pride in that. We belong to the Lord. Because of the Lord, we are God's building, we are God's field, because of God, we ought not to boast in ourselves but in him, and by removing our false boasting, the good news is that he also removes the consequences of false boasting, so that we can glorify and enjoy God instead. So I want to begin by talking...

...about the things that keep us from confidence in the Lord. The thing that keeps us from confidence in God, and the problem is selfdeception, or at least we can start here. The problem that keeps us from confidence in God is we deceive ourselves. That's what Paul says in verse eighteen. He says Lett no one deceive himself. That's a funny thing, isn't it, to deceive yourself to know the truth and then to trick yourself into believing a lie? It's really foolish, right. We would say, well, why would anybody do that? But of course we do it all the time. We trick ourselves end up believing things that aren't true. Maybe you've true to yourself into buying a car that you couldn't afford, or maybe you tricked yourself into marrying someone you knew you shouldn't, or maybe you tricked yourself into lifting something that you knew you couldn't. Debt, bad marriages, bad backs. These are the results of US fooling ourselves, and we could pile up the examples. We like to pretend that we are purely rational creatures and that if we just have the right facts, then we will be motivated by the truth and we will go where the evidence leads. But the truth is were more often than not happy to ignore the facts when we think that doing so will get us what we want. And sadly, amazingly, this applies even to our Christianity. This happens when people who have been graciously adopted by the father, have been given the inheritance of his only begotten Son, act as though all of that belongs to us because of our greatness. We have been graciously adopted by God while we were still sinners, right. We read this just a moment ago Intophesians chapter two. While you were dead in your trespasses and skin sins, God poured out this rich love to to us. But we deceive ourselves. Let me give you three examples, drawn from our passage, of how we do this. One way we deceive ourselves and in begin to boast in man instead of God is we replace our devotion to God with devotion to his servants. We replose devotion that is due to God alone with devotion to his servants. Now, God's servants are certainly important. They are worthy of our gratitude. We should honor them, imitate them, submit to them. They are those whom God is using to bring about good things in our lives, to build us up, to strengthen us. But we should never treat them as though they were God himself. They are only his servants. That's why Paul says in Verse Five. What then is a paulace? What then, is Paul Servants through whom you have believed? The author of Hebrews makes this point as well, in regard to one of the greatest servants of God of all, Moses, right great, Great Moses, this great man of God who led peep, God's people out from slavery and bondage under Pharaoh to freedom and life under God. But what does Hebrews say about Moses, this one who climbed up the amount Sinai and who, when he came down, his face shine with the glory of God so brightly that people told him to...

...cover it up? He was a servant. Hebrew says he was a servant and though glorious, so glorious that people shielded their eyes from him, it doesn't begin to compare with the glory of Jesus. Hebrew says that, well, Moses was a servant in God's house, Jesus was a son, the Lord and Master of the House, to whom the father had given all things. Well, that's true of Moses, how much more so of Apollos and Paul and Cephas and others? We can, of course, be devoted to people. Paul was devoted to the Corinthians, the Corinthians were devoted to him. But we should never be devoted, we should never give our love in such a way that only belongs to God himself. When we do so, we begin to put our pride and our trust in man instead of God. All of us, whether we are great or small, are under God and under his authority. When we give what is do to him alone, to his servants, we turn his Gospel into law, we turn what is divine into what is human and we begin to trust in ourselves, in man more than the savior of man. This is one way, and we deceive ourselves when practical way in which we go about trusting in man rather than God. A second way we do this is by dividing God's servants against each other. So one way is by putting over an undo devotion in them. Another is dividing them, or another way to put it is dividing the Work of God, valuing some parts of his work and not others. In that way, we stand over God. When the people in Corinth stood over, in a sense, Paul and apolos and said I like this one but not that one, what were they doing? They were essentially saying I like this part of God's work and not that part of God's work. I prefer this thing God is doing to that thing God is doing. But is God's work divided? Are we in a position to stand over what God does and choose what we would like and what we would not like? Of course not. Paul says, I planted a Paulus watered, but God gave the growth verse seven. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything. It's God who gives the growth. We are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. This doesn't mean that servants don't exist. This doesn't mean that there aren't separate gifts, but it does mean that they are all one under the one Lord. The Lord's work is varied, and so our servants, Paul will go on to describe this, not only in relationship to him and other workers, but in relation to Corinth and all churches, even ours, to each of you, that the Lord has saved, He has poured out his Holy Spirit on you and has given you particular gifts, capabilities, ways in which you are called to serve him, and do serve him, and you ought not to despise it, and others not to. Ought not to despise it, and we not ought not to separate one of those gifts from the other and think of though one is more important than another. God uses...

...them all together like a body, members of a body, hands, feet, eyes, ears, all working together, and that makes the body good. But it also points us to God, who makes the body good. Our Trust is in God. When we deny that, when we die, divide up the body and we say well, this part's more important than that. Cut off the feet, cut off the hands, I don't want that here anymore, we are dividing up the work of the Holy Spirit. Now this, of course, doesn't mean that everything God's servants are do are perfect, but it does remind us that God is the one who is ultimately at work. God is watching. Paul talks about this some ways. As he begins to talk about the various ways in which the servants work and versus ten through fifteen, he says people build with different things, some of high quality, some of low quality, some of bad quality, and all will be revealed. That's good news to us. If we are trusting in the Lord, if we're trusting in servants, then we might find ourselves very wanting at the end of the day. We might find ourselves we will find ourselves disappointed, frustrated, angry when God servants don't act like God. But when we trust that God is doing his work, even with fallen people, we can know that we're safe. Even though the tools are imperfect. The day will come, all will be revealed and what we will find at the end of time is that the foundation in which all has been laid is secured. This is what God wants us to remember, is that this work that the Corinthians were trying to divide up these people, that they were pitting eat against each other, against one another, they were not to think of things this way. Instead, they were looked. They were to look first and foremost to God and to his work. The last thing that we ought to notice is that we boast in ourselves in giving this divine devotion to servants of the divine we thought about that. We thought about how we boast in ourselves by dividing God's work, by becoming a judge over God's work. And finally, we boast in ourselves and we deceive ourselves when we begin to think that we are our own making, as I've mentioned, as the scriptures say, we are God's work from God's tools. We are God's field and God's Temple. Notice the way that God says this. This is worrely wonderful. He says we are built on a foundation by his servants. Verse Sixteen. Do you not know that you are God's Temple and God's spirit dwells in you? Talks about our safety. Next, in verse seventeen, he says if anyone destroys God's Temple, God will destroy him, for God's Temple is holy and you are that temple. These things are, of course, all connected because of how we are built and by whom we are built. It tells us the kind of building we are. We are a protected structure, a safe one, secure one, a holy one, one, set apart for God to dwell in. This does not divide US and teach us to put other people down. Our unity in the Lord, our strength in the Lord, tells us to look to him and as we do so, we are built up these...

...kinds of Gospel truths. When he tells us you are holy, you are secure, you are under my protection. They teach us to then to turn to other people and do it with the dignity they deserve, the love they deserve. The opposite is, of course, true. Selfdeception, brothers and sisters, is dangerous. When we deceive ourselves and begin to think that we ourselves are worthy of a pride, of being boast, of boasting in we can fall into great folly and Sara a man who decides to do his own heart surgery because he watch something on Youtube and he's just really confident that he can do it. Consider somebody who tries to build a house without any plan or knowledge of how to build a house and just look around their garage and start, you know, stapling tarps to pieces of wood, and it's not going to end will, and it's not just the way in which we build these things that will end in our folly, but it's also, we have to say, the danger of offending him, the giver of all of these things. When God offers this great salvation to us, when he says, I will give you everything, I will give you my spirit, I will build you up, I will make you holy, I will protect you, I will keep you, I will unite you, both in this life and in the life to come, and we say, never mind, I've got it, I can do it on my own, I can do it in my own way, I can staple my wood together and build my own structure and you know, I will fill myself with only spirit. This will not turn out well. The scriptures warn us that when we despise the gifts of God, when we turn away from the gifts of God and put our strength in our own pride, we will fall. We will fall not only under the weight of our own foolishness, but under the weight of God's wrath. Who is offered to us a so great a salvation and then we reject of it? The antidote to these things is given right here in our passage. Don't be self deceived, but instead remember the truth that our being a taught here to remember and believe. But the Holy Spirit speaks to us today to remember self deception, how pernicious the flesh is, how prideful we can be, and to be on guard against it, on guard by holding fast to the very truths that God speaks to us here. And what is the truth? The truth is that the Lord is good and it's him who builds his church, and that foundation on which he builds his church is Jesus Christ himself. When we try to build the church out of our own righteousness and out of our own prides, it's like building that foolish house. It's like building house on a foundation of sand. The winds come and knock it down and it all falls apart. But we build our foundation on the Cross, the Cross of Christ, on the righteousness of Christ, we do have something strong and sure, even, as Paul tells us, we know this from the cross. I think about this way. If we had some great thing to offer God, the building materials, the skills of the builders, add all...

...of these things up, why would God send His only begotten Son to die? If we were perfectly capable of assembling all of our righteousness, get righteousness together, constructing a holy temple fit for God to dwell in. Why would Jesus have to suffer and die the way that he did? He wouldn't. God would simply say get to work, we'd get to work and all would be well. Jesus had to die because we were unable to do that. And in our inability, God still loved us, and so, instead of judging us and pouring out his wrath upon us for our pride and our rebelliousness and our idolatry, he instead poured out his wrath on Jesus as a act of love toward us, and built our hope not on our own righteousness but on his. Jesus died because we needed God. God came into this world and took on human flesh because we needed God. God offered himself as a sacrifice for our sin because that's what we needed. God established our hope in Heaven on his righteousness alone, because that's what we needed. That's why, when we look to the cross, when we survey the Wondrous Cross, we throw contempt on all our pride and trust only in Jesus. Christ alone. He died because we weren't worthy righteous the people. He died because we were unworthy, unrighteous people who are in need of His grace. And having died and having given us all things, we can know that the foundation of our life now and the foundation of our hope in the future rests not on me trying or you trying, but on God accomplishing and finishing his work. Our Salvation rests on the foundation of the forgiveness of our sins given by God himself. We stand in the presence of God. We dwell in the love of God because of his love toward us. And so let us not deceive ourselves and boast in our pride, but instead give all glory to God, Father, son and Holy Spirit. Let us not seek to build on any other foundation, to give Undo weight to his servants, to divide them up, to trust in them or anything else. Let us not deceive ourselves, but instead know the truth and trust in God alone. When we boast in ourselves, we undermine all our hope, but we boast in the Lord, we find solidity and hope and joy forever. I'll praise pe to God. Let's pray our heavenly father we ask that you would help us to remember these truths. Were so prone to self deception, so prone to wandering away. We lose sight of who you are. You, we lose sight of who we are, our security, our protection, of the love with which you have...

...given to us. You have given to us all things in Christ. We ask that you would help us to keep our eyes on him, and to do so through the cross. As we look at the cross, help us to remember that he, Jesus Christ, is not just a helper and aid, some kind of a side power that comes into our lives and helps us get a little better, grow a little more, but instead, O Lord, you are our Savior. You raise us from death to life. You unstop our ears, which were at once unable to hear and now can hear. You Open our eyes, which were once unable to see, and allow us to see the very light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Lord, let us put all of our rest and our hope in him and, as we do so, by the power of your spirit, we ask that you would continue your work in this world, of drawing in your people, of building up your church, of placing one living stone on top of another and filling us all with your presence, that we might glorify and enjoy you forever. As those who have been built into this holy structure and built by your hands, we pray this all in Jesus name. Amen.

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