“Love Does Not Brag”
1 Corinthians 13:4
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.4 Part 3 Love does not brag
1 Corinthians 13:4. Bragging is the topic this morning… and I believe it’s going to best message on bragging that you’ve ever heard! 😉 Are we awake this morning? 😉
ILL: We know, pastors can brag. “I pastored six churches for forty-two years, some of them large, influential churches. Why, in one of my churches, I had a Sunday School teacher who was a commissioner of the CDIC, appointed by Prime Minister Harper. And the sister of famous evangelist so-and-so was a member, too. In fact, we are having the best year of growth ever. Why, last year we baptized 8 billion people!”
ILL: As mentioned last time, our family has a book of pictures attempting to illustrate this passage. For “love does not brag” Hudson and Pazli are standing next to each other each of them holding a picture they drew. Hudson is 10 and Pazli is 5. We can imagine whose picture was better, whose gifts are better. Two gifted people, one clearly more gifted than the other … and they are smiling and wonderfully unified.
Hudson could have bragged but didn’t. Pazli could have been jealous, but wasn’t. hat’s not always the case in our home, but it’s amazing what a photo op can do! Thus 1 Co. 13 will always be needed in our home and for the rest of our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:1–8 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…
That’s exactly what the Corinthians needed to hear, specifically that love doesn’t brag.
Among other things, the Corinthians were bragging about whom they followed. “I’m of Paul” oh yeah? “I am of Apollos.” Oh yeah? One up you here “This is the “one-up ya” brag… “well, I’m of Cephas.” And I’ve got you all beat, “I am of Christ!”
And so clearly, Paul is rebuking the Corinthians…and us. And don’t forget, this: that 1 Co. 13 occurs after chapter 12 and is before chapter 14. Big deal right? =)
Yes, actually, because Paul is correcting them about how they exalt giftedness in both chapters! Not everyone is an eye, not everyone is a nose, or a mouth, or a hand. We each have different gifts. But we are each to show tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Bragging wrecks that.
And so we are to actively show patience to one another. When somebody sins or makes mistakes or you disagree with them, there is an active showing of long-suffering toward them.
As well, we’re to be kind. Not only are we not to be upset with them or be angry at them, we are to express kindness toward them. Instead of giving them anger, we give them peace and are actively and genuinely kind and building them up.
Love also is not jealous. We’re not to simply desire others’ giftings or achievements, but to praise the Lord that He is the one who gives the gifts and privileges.
And now this morning, love does not brag, but instead love boasts in Christ.
So we’ll look at the description of bragging, the damage caused by bragging, and finally some direction. Like last time … Description, damage, and direction…
Description of Bragging (Text)
The word for brag in verse 4 only occurs here in the Bible. But other similar words are translated “boasting” in our NT. Boasting can be a good thing in the sense of “taking pride in” something or being “thankful” for or “rejoicing” in something. We do this when we say “I’m so proud of you.”
But most often it is a bad thing. So …. what is bragging?
What is bragging?
We can all detect bragging to some extent. Like the diehard braggarts, you know the kinds of people who never seem more than five minutes away from erecting statues of themselves. They brag about everything, “I’m smart” “I’m a nice guy” … ILL: and I heard a certain president say this morning “I’m the best at using the internet.” *Facepalm.* That’s easy to recognize.
And so bragging is this: when in one way shape or form we are calling attention to ourselves to gain admiration or approval.
Some of it is easy to detect in ourselves, many times it isn’t so easy. And we can get confused about what is and isn’t bragging.
ILL: Let’s say, for example, you live in Rockview County Alberta where the average net worth of the residents there is … ready for this… over $3 million. Average. And you live there. And I ask you, “Where do you live?” To answer the question is not bragging. Just like it is not bragging to say that you live at such and such address in Athabasca.
In this case, not answering the question would be bragging. Whoa? How? “Where do you live?” Ummm….how bout those Oilers? And then when you are pressed, you finally answer, “in Rockview county.” Clearly you , because you live there, you view yourself as having a higher station in life than the person you are talking to. It’s embarrassing to say you live there to some extent. And that’s why you didn’t answer. And you feel the need to conceal your bragging because you’ve had bragging in your heart about it.
And so bragging is when in one way shape or form we are calling attention to ourselves to gain admiration for approval. Now …. behind bragging there is the constant need to compare ourselves with other people.
A person can brag because he might feel small and insignificant. And to boost his ego or to boost his appearance in the sight of others, he brags. He exalts himself, his abilities, or whatever it is. People who brag are uneasy about themselves, or they need to prove themselves, they feel like they need to make a strong impression, they need to sell themselves.
ILL: I remember a time recently and someone who said they were considering attending the church… and they never have, but anyway, they said they wanted teaching on how to live better. And so I proceeded to sell myself and tell him my educational background to prove that I can teach him. That was bragging, I repented of that when studying yesterday.
Other people brag because they fear abandonment. He wants friends. And so he brags to get other people to like him. Others may simply lack social awareness. They think everybody is their mommy and daddy and are proud of them for every little single picture that they ever make. And they come up to people and say, “Look what I can do!”
And aside here … as a pastor, I’d love to hear about your spiritual successes. Your Bible reading, who you’re witnessing to, someone’s salvation, who you’ve had in your home. And you’ll know though if you’re trying to brag or not.
Other people need control and dominance and their intention, their intention is to cut you down.
Sometimes bragging can be hard to detect… See if you can find the brag in these comments posted on social media, anyone in the world can read them, ok?ILL: ILL: ILL:
“Will twitter be available for me in Paris, Milan, or the Maldives? I hope so because it won’t be available in Hong Kong or Singapore.” He’s bragging… that he’ll be traveling a lot. Or this one…
“I just did something very selfless. But more importantly, it was genuine and I know it means a lot to the person in the long run [hashtag]soworthit” … nauseous yet? OR this one…
“I’d be the worst at the Price is Right gameshow! I brought $20,000 to the store to buy a monitor, but it was only $350.” The needless detail, a kind of failure brag.
In what area of your life have you bragged?
ILL: King Nebuchadnezzar did it when he said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?”
And he was driven mad and ate grass like an ox.
ILL: Peter did when he said to Jesus, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” And he denied him to a servant girl.
ILL: And the Corinthians did it when they failed to recognize the sinful man in their midst and discipline him. He’s with his father’s wife! And they thought that everything was ok! They thought everything was well with the congregation and so they were complacent about their spiritual health. “Aw, we’re fine. No big deal.” Boasting! But it wasn’t fine! Could someone be in sin in our midst and we don’t care? And we don’t address it? Could someone be hurting spiritually and we don’t reach out?
ILL: And then there are those who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and say … “tomorrow we will go to the city and earn a profit” and they don’t seek the Lord’s will, James says that they are boasting. They are expressing dependence on themselves. “We are going to earn this profit!” Boasting!
ILL: People can boast in their good works…Because salvation is by faith alone, Paul asks,
Romans 3:27 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
He also says …
Ephesians 2:8–9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Receiving cleansing from sin and eternal life, eternal redemption, has always been by faith alone. Why? So that no one can have any bragging rights before God!
ILL: “Look, my eternal and holy righteous Father whose infinite love surpasses anything about me, look at my shiny new good work!”
But those who insist that salvation is a result of good works in some way, it’s a bragging religion. They actually reserve the right to boast before God!
And so people will boast in their good works …
ILL: One man on twitter said, “I just gave $100 to the homeless man I see every day here in Vancouver. Irrational kindness does feel really really good.” Braggart!
ILL: “Hey Bob, how’s the house renovations coming?” “Great!” says Bob. “I’ve read the Bible annually for the last 13 years.” Ok …
ILL: Or someone else says, “When I was praying at 4am the other morning, I heard the most wonderful bird out of my window!”
We’re told in preaching class not to be the hero of your own stories. How easy it is to toot your own horn when many words have to be spoken!
ILL: Some pastors can be like, “We lead the league in baptisms last year, I had the most saves out of any starting pastor…so, humble pastor, tell me your trouble, maybe I can help.”
ILL: And so I’m reminded of another area of bragging in which I fall short. Yes, another! If you are aware of another area, please see me after the service and kindly let me know! … When people disagree with me on an issue like theology, I can get rather passionate about it. It can come across as trying to win a debate and “I’m right, you’re wrong.” I’d like to think of myself as trying to get to the truth. There may be some of that in there, but if I were honest with myself, I’d at least have to consider the fact that I’d have some bragging rights if I am indeed right and they are truly wrong! I’m in the process of learning not to assert myself or my viewpoints too quickly. When the passion rises up in my spirit, that’s when I need to be careful…., and I’m learning to ask questions more and to ‘gently correct those who are in opposition’…with a focus on gently. And being teachable when I’m wrong.
ILL: I remember my time at Bob Jones University and working on campus one summer with a fellow student. And he would tell me things like, “I’m going to go home for a month and read my Bible two times.” And during the school year, he had an important, high profile job.
And he was talking to me that summer about his dating relationship with a prominent pastor’s daughter in the community and he was describing to me how he worked in such and such office and how high of a position that was and what she would think of that. And I was so disgusted, I told him to his face, “get off of your high horse!” … Could have handled that one differently!
Types of Bragging
ILL: I was reading an article and the author noted 17 different kinds of bragging. I’d like to share just 7…
The basic brag, like when Haddie was a 1 year old in South Carolina. She was helping her mom clean our room and then she lifts a pillow over her head and put it on the bed and then she said, “I am so strong and so mighty, there is nothing that I cannot do!”
One up brag, “I’m smart! Oh yeah, I’m smarter! Oh yea, I got a 200 on the IQ test…Oh yea” In a conversation, someone always has to one-up the other guy “I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, oh yea, I’m of Cephas, Ha, I’m of Christ” The one-up brag.
Reciprocation Brag: “Hi, I’m pastor Greg!” And she says mockingly, “Hi, I’m president Mary!” True story I said that, she said that, but the name was changed to protect the guilty. So I try not to introduce myself like that!
Baloney brag: It’s a total lie. “Hi, I can read 25 languages, speak 122, etc.” Total lie.
Humble brag, seems like you’re being humble: “I just ruined my perfect grade by getting a 96% on a quiz.”
Beneficence brag, seems like your being kind. A mother had her 11-month old baby in a sling and an overbearing lady approaches her in the supermarket to say, “The reason your child can’t walk is because you’re carrying her all the time. My baby was walking at 7 months.” Finally, the …
Prop brag: make sure your material possessions brag for you. Fancy Nancy, anyone? Keeping up with the Jones’? Why? Because they brag about their wealth with their stuff!
Love doesn’t do this. Love doesn’t consider self. Someone who loves doesn’t want to call attention to himself for approval. A loving person therefore won’t compare herself with others. A loving person, if she does feel small and insignificant, won’t brag to make herself feel better. Nor will he try to boost his ego… Love simply doesn’t consider self, but actively and sacrificially will serve others.
TRANS: Naturally, we can see that bragging would be very damaging.
The Damage from Bragging (James 3:5)
EXP: Very damaging! During our Bible reading time we heard this …
James 3:5 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
Bragging is so bad, it has company with heinous sins: 2 Timothy 3, it’s in the company of lovers of money those who are disobedient to parents and unholy, irreconcilable…no matter what you do you can’t reconcile with them, gossip, and treacherous.
In Romans 1, it has company with envy and murder, inventors of evil, and the unmerciful.
ARG: And according to the apostle John, it is one of the three thing that is in the world.
1 John 2:16 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The Jones’ prop bragging next door can cause us, their naive jealous neighbors, to long to keep up with them. We don’t have to keep up with those prop bragging Jones’! Boastful pride of life!
When we practice bragging, we’re out of fellowship with God and that by itself has lasting implications, affecting one’s ministry, and can wreak havoc in an assembly.
TRANS: And so, the direction.
Direction for Those Who Brag (Ga. 6:14)
Like with any sin, we need to repent, ask for forgiveness where appropriate, and then prayerfully seek to grow.
And meditate on some verses. For example, #1 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, v.28… and the low and the despised things, God has chosen.
Now, does that throw some ice water on the fire of your bragging? Do you have bragging rights, you foolish, weak, low, despised thing? To prevent bragging, Christian, consider your calling!
Second, consider that anything good you have is from God. Again, Paul’s counsel to these bragging Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 4:7 7 For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
You can’t boast if God made you and gave you the good things you have!
As James says …
James 1:17 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, [constantly streaming down] from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
It didn’t come from you! They continuously stream down from Him in all of His splendor. To prevent bragging, consider that anything good has come from God! Children, also, need to learn that one. Your good looks, your youthful strength, are not from you, but are from God. You deserve no credit for them!
Your identity is not in any gift, power, or wisdom. If you have trusted into Christ and you’re in Christ, your identity is in Him. That’s why the LORD says in Jeremiah…
Jeremiah 9:23–24 23 …“Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
Instead of boasting in your self, glory in the LORD! Rejoice that you know Him!
EXP: And of course, our biggest help not to boast, is the cross. Look at what it took to save your high and mighty soul! There … right there, now look at that cross of blood on which the prince of glory died there… no … don’t turn your eyes from the horror of it all … do you see the Eternal One dying on the tree for you? He’s taking God’s wrath you deserve. Ok now, let’s hear from you about how spiritual you are! How mighty!
How theologically astute (scoffing tone), how you follow all the right preachers on the internet, how wealthy you are, how you walk with God and others don’t do it as well as you, etc. Friend, a fresh look at the cross will put your face to the floor and you’ll put your hand over your mouth!
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.4 Part 3 Love does not brag
But a fresh look at the cross will also cause you to boast in it! Love doesn’t brag…love doesn’t bring attention to itself to gain admiration. But … love will boast in something. Love will boast in the cross!
Galatians 6:14 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Glory only in the cross! Never boast for self glory, glory only in the cross! Live and die with that notion!
love does not brag, but instead love boasts in the cross of Christ.
That’s really weird! Boast in the noose, glory in the electric chair! Glory in execution… If you were at the foot of Christ’s cross that day, you probably wouldn’t be boasting … you’d feel wretched inside, that rugged cross, those cruel nails, the screaming, the torture, you’d be vomiting. NO! Boast in this cross?
Yes! Why? Because as a song put it … It was my sin that held Him there…Until it was accomplished…His dying breath has brought me life….I know that it is finished … I will not boast in anything … No gifts, no power, no wisdom…But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Meditate on these things and give yourself wholly to them so that your profiting may appear to all. Love glories in the cross. 137 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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