by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4 August 9, 2015 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(011)Thesis:"Boasting" is clearly a legitimate activity when the foundations are located in God's works.
Introduction:We have seen that the Thessalonians were growing in an extraordinary way by the grace of God. We have seen from 1 Thessalonians 3:8 that Paul had invested a lot of his "life" in the Thessalonians and how they responded to their Gospel-induced difficulties. Thus, as we move on into what Paul was saying to them in verse four of our text, it is significant that he brings his response to their response into the picture. Our questions are two: what is "boasting" and why did Paul bring it up?
I. What Is Boasting?
A. We can glean from Paul's negative uses of the term that "boasting" is "expressing the exuberance of a deeply held value being realized".
1. It is the negative uses that highlight the "Jewish" pride of superiority. a. Romans 2:17-20 emphasizes the Jewish attitude. b. Romans 2:23-24 reveals the result: active conflict.
2. It is also the negative uses that bring Paul's understanding of the impact of "boasting" to light. a. 1 Corinthians 5:6 makes "boasting" a "leaven" that destroys the entire "lump". b. Romans 3:17, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 4:2 all clearly make "boasting" an extremely negative
c. 1 Corinthians 1:29 says that God has determined to eliminate all negative boasting.
B. We can see from the focus upon "works" in these negative uses that Paul is addressing those situations wherein the "spirit's" values are being realized.
1. Because of John's identification of "the pride of accomplishment" as one of the three basic issues (all that are in the world -- 1 John 2:16), we can see that "pride in works" is an extraordinary leaven that is heavily destructive in a relational universe.
2. This is the domain of the human spirit.
C. But there are positive uses of the concept throughout the New Testament
1. These positive uses are summarized by 1 Corinthians 1:31 -- "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord".
2. They invariably fall under the thesis that God has done some extraordinary thing that makes the spirits of his children enthusiastically verbal.
3. But we must remember that the concept of the spirits of His children boil down to the soul's rejoicing by the Holy Spirit that is within us as a substitute spirit.
D. We can conclude that "boasting" is both an internal enthusiasm and an external expressing.
II. Why Did Paul Bring "Boasting" Up?
A. His focus in our text is upon the Thessalonians' "endurance" and "faith" in the face of persecutions and tribulations.
1. Both persecutions and tribulations have one design by those instigating them: the cessation of whatever is being done.
2. The concepts fit together: endurance focuses upon the persecutions and faith focuses upon the tribulations.
B. His goal is to sustain those attributes.
C. "Boasting" about someone's involvement in good accomplishments tends to strengthen that person's commitment to the pursuit of more such accomplishments.
1. It is crucial that we understand that the Holy Spirit is the root of the accomplishments, but the soul's of the believers are involved at a profound level, being married to the Spirit of Christ.
a. There is a knife edge involved in being the reason for the "boasting" of another.
b. There absolutely has to be a very solid understanding of grace's "substitutionary methodology" in all things in order for the "boasting" to not have a negative effect.
2. Paul claims to be using the Thessalonians "in the churches of the God" to promote an imitation of the same responses of the soul in others.
C. Thus we conclude that Paul is attempting to encourage the Thessalonians in the face of their difficulties so that they do not lose focus because of the magnitude of them (as Peter did when he was walking on the water).